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By: J.A. Kazimer
Published by: Kensington Publishing
Author’s Website: http://www.jakazimer.com/
Format of Review Copy: Paperback
Recommendable for people who enjoy: Fairytale retellings, comedy
Synopsis (from Amazon):
Definitely not for baby’s bedtime reading, this hilarious and irreverent take on classic fairytales–think Shrek for grownups–combines humor, mystery, and characters only a fairy godmother could love… When Cinderella is run over by a New Never City bus, her not-so-ugly stepsister, Asia, suspects murder. So she hires RJ, a private eye, to investigate. Little does she know RJ is actually a villain on mental health leave from the Villain’s Union. Cursed with an inability to say no to damsels in distress, RJ travels to the Kingdom of Maldetto, meets the rest of Cinderella’s family–including her fiancé, the flamboyant Prince Charming, Cinderella’s crazy stepmother, and a seriously twisted version of Hansel and Gretel–and dodges bullets, explosions, fires, and his own ex-wife to slip his own version of glass handcuffs on the wrists that fit. All while falling for Asia, who has a curse of her own to deal with…
First, I need to give a big thank you to my girl Bunny Cates for lending me this book. If she hadn’t, chances are that I wouldn’t have picked it up or probably even heard of it!
But, anyway. If you’re an adult who enjoys adult humor (let’s classify “adult humor” as strong language and some sexual scenes) placed in a fairy tale setting, I think that you’ll enjoy this. The description in the synopsis doesn’t lie – this book feels like Shrek for grown ups… Seriously, think Disney gone wrong.
The story revolves around RJ – a villain who has been placed on a temporary mental health leave by the Union… That’s right, the villain union. In RJ’s current “impotent” state, he is unable to carry out any dastardly deed and in fact is compelled to do anything asked of him. So, when the not-so-Ugly Stepsister of one (recently deceased) Cinderella mistakes RJ’s identity for Sherlock, he is pulled into the grand adventure of helping Asia solve Cindi’s murder. As RJ and Asia begin to uncover the clues that point towards Cinderella’s murderer, more craziness and schemers are revealed.
The biggest thing going for this book is RJ’s voice. He tells the story in a first person point of view and so, we’re given a running commentary on his thoughts about certain characters, events, and his past… and it is hilarious. RJ is sarcastic and sincere and slightly similar to the villain character Dr. Horrible of Dr. Horrible’s Sing-A-Long Blog – sure, RJ is a villain, but he’s more likely to steal a princess’s bluebird than to actually commit an evil act.
The next thing that I loved about the book was the fairy tale/Disney-esque setting. I honestly felt like I as reading a Disney story for adults. A bunch of well loved stock characters from well known fairy tales make an appearance… but with a twist. For instance, we meet Hansel (of Hansel and Gretel, of course) who is in a questionable relationship with the witch, Missy – a not so attractive and huge dominatrix. Naturally Prince Charming make an appearance but as an effeminate young man who is more likely to lend you a scrunchie than to sweep you off of your feet. Each chapter held something new and I loved seeing how Kazimer tweaked each fairy tale to suit her own needs.
The action was fast paced and I never once felt like the story was dragging. I read this book in (almost) one sitting despite its nearly 300 page count. There were more twists than I could count and Kazimer pulled them off. The story line was never predictable and I was often left guessing where she was going to take RJ next.
Overall, I loved this book. It was so unique and I think that it is really hard to find a story that feels new these days. Curses! A F**ked Up Fairy Tale is a combination of Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum novels, the 10th Kingdom, and a typical “guy” kind of movie (Super Bad, Knocked Up, etc.). I do need to send out a word of caution though – there is some pretty strong language and sexual references. If you’re looking for a YA book, this is not for you.