The Fairy Godmother (Five Hundred Kingdoms #1)
Elena Klovis was supposed to be her kingdom's Cinderella -- until fate left her with a completely inappropriate prince! Determined not to remain with her stepfamily, Elena set out to get a new job -- and ended up becoming the Fairy Godmother for the land. But breaking with "The Tradition" was no easy matter. True, she didn't have to sleep in the chimney, but she had to deal with arrogant, stuffed-shirt princes who kept trying to rise above their place in the tale. In fact, one of them was so ornery that Elena could do nothing but change him into a donkey.
Still, her practical nature couldn't let him roam the country, so she brought the donkey -- er, the prince! -- home to her cottage to teach him some lessons. All the while keeping in mind that breaking with tradition can land everyone into a kettle of fish -- sometimes literally!
And so begins a whole new tale...
Elena is in a Cinderella situation with no Prince. She becomes a Godmother and works to make The Tradition work for happy endings for others. Then she meets an arrogant Prince, whom she turns into a donkey as punishment. Then she finds that she must try to make the Tradition work for her, not against her, and to be allowed to choose her own destiny.
The romantic parts of this story were cheesy and stereotypical. Otherwise Elena was a strong female character. The way the author worked all the fairy tales into one system was very cool. And the magical elements and characters like the Brownies added a lot of fun to the book.
Elena is living as a servant in with her stepmother and stepsisters. This sounds familiarly like the story of Cinderella, which is precisely who Elena is supposed to be. But even with this unfortunate turn of events, Elena is surrounded by the Tradition, a powerful magic that will do anything to return Elena's situation back to normal.
When a surprise opportunity comes up, Elena leaves her house and meets and old lady, her kingdom's fairy godmother, who informs Elena that she will be training to be the next fairy godmother. Elena goes through the proper training, all the while encountering odd situations, such as a pregnant girl having odd cravings which her husband tries to cure. And a baby girl being born to parents only to have a bad witch, Arachnia, come to put a curse on her.
Yet through all her training, and her encounters, she never expected to take a great task into her own hands, curing a prince of his stubborness. She turns him into a donkey, and slowly she watches his progress. After a while, they fall in love, but it is unusual for a godmother to have a consort. Yet, a grave situation causes the two to use their brains and rescue a prince in danger and shows them the true feelings they harbor for each other.
This book took me a while to get into. The beginning was a bit boring. But the book overall was wonderful. I loved how the author used a great variety of fairy tales in her book, such a Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, and Rapunzel. This is a great read for all fairy tale/ fantasy lovers. Mercedes Lackey is a great author.