The first time I heard the term “retelling,” I expected it to refer to reimagined fairytales. I didn’t exactly expect these to be simply be stories inspired by fairytales. Stepsister, however, is exactly that which I had originally expected of a retelling. It builds upon the well-loved fairytale of Ashputtel, blood and all. It was entertaining with its dark humour as it continued to tell the story of how it might have continued. Stepsister was more detailed since it’s a novel rather than a short story but stylistically, it still very much read like a fairytale.
I’m not particularly fond of books in which the entire plot revolves around travelling from point A to point B. Yet, I tend to be drawn to road trip novels. I suppose this stems in part from the fact that I suffer from motion sickness. Actual road trips therefore aren’t exactly enjoyable. And so, reading is a way for me to experience these vicariously. On that front, Mariam Sharma Hits the Road absolutely delivered. I felt right at home with this trio.
The first 200 pages were not written well. I was bored and felt growing discomfort with the mangled Middle Eastern culture this fantasy book was premised on. At least the next 150 odd pages picked up a little in terms of plot and also storytelling, so I didn’t end up thoroughly hating Rebel of the Sands. Still, this book has so many problems, I’m relieved I didn’t order the sequels before finishing this one first.