Cinderella but Better: The Ugly Stepsister by Aya Ling

The Ugly StepsisterThe Ugly Stepsister

Aya Ling
Author | Goodreads

Big thanks to Xpresso Book Tours for providing me a review copy!

When Kat accidentally rips apart an old picture book, she’s magically transported into the world of Cinderella–as Katriona, one of the ugly stepsisters! Life turns upside down now that she’s a highborn lady and must learn how to survive the social season, including how to get through the door in a huge metal hoop skirt. To get back, she’ll have to complete the story, right to the end of happily ever after. But the odds are huge: the other stepsister is drop-dead gorgeous, the fairy godmother is nowhere to be found, and the prince, despite being insanely hot, openly dislikes balls. Can she ever return to the modern world?


This book is one I’ve been waiting for a while for. I love a good fairytale so let’s begin!

Once upon a time, in a kingdom where child labour, vicious girls and charming princes live…

The Ugly Stepsister was big on reality even though its base was fantastical. Kat was really outspoken against child labour and gender roles which I’m sure all of us would be if we were in her shoes (Cinderella pun included). I loved how the book had such a strong character in Kat because I’ve always found Cinderella to be a bit boring.  I mean the Cinderella story is so overplayed everywhere because everyone loves a good poor girl-rich guy romance. But Kat was great because she asked the real questions like why the hell was the stepmum so pushy in getting her daughter a rich husband? That’s a golddigger right there. Why can’t females fight for a cause alongside males?

A girl and the prince, do they live happily ever after?

The romance drew me to the book and it kept me reading. It’s super adorable and just everything I want in a Cinderella retelling. Also can I just mention how everyone obviously shipped Kat and the prince together! Loved it. I was really curious for the ending though because we all know the prince does not end up with a stepsister. The ending was where I got really annoyed because it felt too sudden and easy. So many questions after that last page.

As for the other characters, I’ll sum up my reactions to them:

Edward: Swoony as hell, all around awesome and really sweet towards Kat

Elle: Our Cinderella, sweet, kind and really everything I don’t really like about Cinderella, still liked her though

Bianca: The other stepsister, all round bitch along with her friend Claire

Poppy: Claire’s cousin, super sweet and innocent, secretly a croquet pro, what Elle could’ve been but no


Krev: a goblin who tells Kat why she’s in the storybook world, super sarcastic, super annoying to Kat, is my spirit animal because he knows what’s up

All in all, I really liked The Ugly Stepsister. It kinda grew on me as I reread it! My question to you guys is what is your favourite Cinderella retelling? Doesn’t even have to be a book!

love prima


Author: Prima

Still crazy obsessed with High School Musical and is still disappointed real life high school did not involved as much singing and dancing. Almost 18 but relates to 5 year olds. Super cynical about Disney movies and kdramas but still loves them. Blogs about books and feels.

5 thoughts on “Cinderella but Better: The Ugly Stepsister by Aya Ling”

  1. Great review. I loved this book. It was full of depth and excitement. I too wasn’t that keen on the ending. It didn’t feel right to me. I think it would have been better if she stayed or he got sucked in to her world. Because what happened after? Did the original ugly stepsister go back to being herself? Did the Prince then not love her? Really enjoyed it overall though.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! It’s good to hear you liked the book! I really had a hard time too with the ending… I mean does the whole world just not exist anymore? If it did (I had the exact same thought as you) does that mean the real ugly stepsister came back? So many loose threads..

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ye I agree, and there isn’t really roo for a sequel either, since how would she get back and would it reset itself? I Would read it agin though I think, the rest was good enough. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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