Pretty Deadly by Kelsey Josund is an exciting dark fantasy Cinderella retelling.
Thank you to Shannon of R&R Book Tours and Darkstroke Books for sending me a free Advanced Review Copy of Pretty Deadly in return for an honest review. The Amazon links used here are affiliate links — I will receive a small commission from Amazon for any purchases you make.
We all know the story of Cinderella. Cinna is living with her cruel step-sisters and becomes their live-in maid, caring for their every need. Her step-sisters call her Cinders and make her life a living hell. But in this story, Cinna has taught herself to be a skilled con artist. When the ball at the Royal Palace is announced, she bets her best friend, Johann, that she can get a better heist. He takes her up on the bet and they both carry out their own heists on the same night.
I love retellings of fantasy stories and a good heist, so I was really excited to read Pretty Deadly, and it didn’t disappoint. Kelsey Josund has taken the traditional Cinderella story and given it an amazing and unique twist — I absolutely loved it from start to finish!
The point of view switches between Cinna and Johann throughout the book. Both characters are really likeable, and as the story progresses, we learn more about their friendship. I couldn’t really pick a favourite as I loved both characters equally! The sexual tension between the two is great too. The dialogue is very realistic and vivid — I could really picture their interactions together.
Despite the dark fantasy elements (there are a couple of murders along the way, and hints of rape/sexual abuse), the word I’d use to describe this book is fun! I loved how the two heists are written — we don’t know what either character has planned, but learn it as the night goes on. I was kept guessing about both character’s plans until the very end. It’s fast-paced and there is never a dull moment. It makes for an absolutely gripping read that I couldn’t put down.
Pretty Deadly ends on a cliff-hanger, so I’m looking forward to finding out what’s next for Cinna and Johann, as I don’t think this story is over just yet…
(Not convinced? Check out my spotlight post which has an extract!)
Cinna would quite literally kill for the throne.
She’s spent years forced to serve her wealthy cousins rather than attend society events alongside them, waiting for the chance to prove herself and exact revenge. When a ball is announced at the castle, promising to bring many powerful people to town, she seizes the opportunity to strike.
She bets her best friend, a small-time thief and con-man, that she can land a greater score the night of the ball than he can. They embark on parallel heists. But as their plots unfold, things begin to unravel: by the end of the night, the castle’s on lock down, a duchess is dead, a mansion has burnt to the ground, and Cinna hasn’t stolen anything. Or has she stolen something more valuable than gold and jewels?
About the author, Kelsey Josund
I am a software engineer and author living and working in Silicon Valley, California. I studied computer science at Stanford University, but I’ve always loved stories in all their forms. I approach writing fiction the same way I approach writing code: I like to know where it’s going, but I want to figure out the details as I go along. Good software is a lot like a good story, full of neat and clever solutions to tricky problems, beautiful at a granular level but also from a distance.
Originally from Seattle, I love getting outdoors and living in places that allow me to escape to the mountains on the weekends, and I care deeply about the ecosystems that humans impact and that impact us. My writing explores these issues while also following classic coming-of-age arcs in science fiction and fantasy. I’m also very interested in stories and characters that complicate the traditional and familiar, leading me to fairytale retellings from unexpected angles.
Book tour organised by R&R Book Tours
This Pretty Deadly spotlight post is part of a book tour organised by Shannon of R&R Book Tours. Check out the other bloggers taking part in this book tour for more reviews, extracts and guest posts:
- Reads & Reels (Spotlight) http://readsandreels.com
- @inkspit.blog (Review) https://www.instagram.com/inkspit.blog/
- Jessica Belmont (Review) https://jessicabelmont.com/
- MacroMicroCosm Blog (Review) https://www.vraeydamedia.ca/macromicrocosm-online
- Rambling Mads (Review) http://ramblingmads.com
- @amysbooknook8 (Review) https://www.instagram.com/amysbooknook8/
- @atrailofpages (Review) https://www.instagram.com/atrailofpages/
- Series Book Lover (Review) https://seriesbooklover.wordpress.com/
- Books of All Kinds (Review) www.booksofallkinds.weebly.com
- Bunny’s Book Reviews (Review) https://bookwormbunnyreviews.blogspot.com/
- Bri’s Book Nook (Review) https://brisbooknook.com/
- @libraryofash (Review) https://www.instagram.com/libraryofash/
- @tiny.bibliophile (Review) https://www.instagram.com/tiny.bibliophile/
- @swimming.in.books (Review) https://www.instagram.com/swimming.in.books/
- @NerdyFoxReads (Review) https://www.instagram.com/nerdyfoxreads/
- Stine Writing (Spotlight) https://christinebialczak.com/
- Books + Coffee = Happiness (Review) https://bookscoffeehappiness.com/
- Lecari’s Live Journal (Review) https://www.lecari.co.uk
- Liliyana Shadowlyn (Review) https://lshadowlynauthor.com/
- @happily_undignified (Review) https://www.instagram.com/happily_undignified/
- @dreaminginpages (Review) https://www.instagram.com/dreaminginpages/
- B is for Book Review (Spotlight) https://bforbookreview.wordpress.com
- Dash Fan Book Reviews (Review) https://dashfan81.blogspot.com/
- @by_hckilgour (Review) https://www.instagram.com/by_hckilgour/
- I Smell Sheep (Review) http://www.ismellsheep.com/
- @jypsylynn (Review) https://www.instagram.com/jypsylynn
- @fortybelow_bookish (Review) https://www.instagram.com/fortybelow_bookish/
- Port Jericho (Review) http://www.aislynndmerricksson.com
- Owl Book World (Review) https://www.owlbookworld.com/
The Amazon links used here are affiliate links — I will receive a small commission from Amazon for any purchases you make. Thank you for supporting my website!