Title: Damnation (Tales of Cinder #3)
Author: M.J. Haag
Genre: Fiction/ Romance/ Fantasy/ YA/ Fairytale
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Favourite Quote: ‘Too much sarcasm laced my words, and her resulting smile should have struck fear in me.
I was too blindly angry, though.
“You test me?”
Glancing at her, I snorted. “What will you do? Gouge out my eyes? Drain me of my essence? Walk me naked through the streets? Have men use me and touch me? Cut the hair from my head?” My voice rose with each question. “Do it all! I care not. You’ve already killed me; my body is only too stupid to die.”‘
Eloise finally feels like she has the upper hand now that she has been given protection from Rose, Maeve and her daughters can no longer cause her physical harm, not that that will stop them from trying or using others against her. Knowing she has successfully broken the magic mirror, Eloise can at least finally keep her sister safe from her evil stepmother from afar as well as the rest of the Kingdom who stands in her way. With the Prince officially announcing his return with plans on holding a ball in pursuit of a bride, the guests have no idea that it is also a means to lure out the evil that is threatening the Kingdom. With Kaven bringing Eloise’s attention to the Prince, Maeve uses the opportunity to place herself in the centre of it all with her dark intentions now out in the open. Eloise just needs to decide whether to follow her heart or her duty and protect the Prince and the Kingdom from Maeve once and for all.
‘I looked up into his beautiful blue eyes and saw his determination and stubbornness. Both would get him killed. I know then that I needed to let him go. But how?
His expression softened.
“Don’t,” he said softly.
“Find a reason to push me away.”
My brows rose in surprise.
“I can read you better than you realise, Eloise. When you feel threatened, you don’t run, you fight back.”‘
Eloise has broken the magic mirror, Kellen has eaten the cursed apple, the town is still recovering from the illness Maeve threw at it, the Prince has returned and Maeve’s entire plan has now come out in the open. Eloise’s revenge comes back with a passion when she discovers the truth about why her parents died. She knows she’s a pawn in Maeve’s plan, but Eloise needs to decide how far she is willing to go to push the boundaries of her safety and those around her in order to stop Maeve, Cecilia and Porcia from their plan in taking over the Kingdom. Haag continues to draw you into the dark and horrifyingly twisted Cinderella retelling that will keep you on the edge of your seat. Be warned, it’s just as dark as the previous book and doesn’t hold back on the details of the horrors Maeve inflicts on her victims.
Eloise continues to impress me as the story goes on, whilst she sometimes struggles to continue the fight, she finds the willpower and determination to overcome it all again. She’s been through so much in such a sort time, it’s understandable why she goes through each decision the way she does, once again picking her battles. She loses a few in this book and suffers the consequences but it isn’t all about her and her sister anymore, it’s about the Kingdom and the Prince who has become a target for Maeve and her daughters. If she fails, the Kingdom will suffer. Even though she has lost everyone she has ever loved, she was still willing to sacrifice her love for Kaven for the good of the Kingdom. She’s her own hero in her own fairytale and I love her for it.
‘”I would give a piece of myself to you so you would always remember the love I bear for you, no matter what direction life takes me.”
“You are the most stubborn -“
Lifting my mouth to his, I silenced his protest.’
I liked Kaven, I really did, but from being a brazen carefree curious but witty man in the woods in book one, to a frustrating – just open your eyes and look at what’s happening to the poor girl – ignorance who seems to always be waiting around for her in book two, to suddenly being an increasingly needy immature pining man who doesn’t know the meaning of patience in book three was really the wrong direction for our knight in shining armour. If you could even call him that. Which I shouldn’t. Because he didn’t do anything to deserve that title except show up. Again and again and again. Even I had enough of his cluelessness but it was that very thing that kept him alive so I guess it helped the story along. I just wanted to slap him sometimes and tell him to open his bloody eyes. It was only when the whole truth came out at the end that I really started to like him again – but I won’t spoil it for you… anymore than I probably have. You really shouldn’t be reading this review unless you’ve committed to the first books let’s be honest.
Of course it’s a retelling of Cinderella so of course you won’t be surprised by it’s happy ending, even if it took a while to get there. All the pieces of the story come together after its emotional rollercoaster of pain, heartbreak and devastation to a great conclusion that will make it all worth it. I love the author’s writing style and the way she is able to hold you captive right up until the very end.
I was glad to see more of Rose the enchantress. She played a large part of the Beastly Tales which is another series written by Haag – one of my favourites, a guilty pleasure that I keep going back too. Rose was portrayed as the villain in that tale, but I’m glad she’s been given a different approach with Tales of Cinder which has me wanting to read Beastly Tales all over again. I love how the author has been able to combine characters from both stories, giving the whole setting a bigger perspective that what it was in each series. I’m keen to see what else Haag brings to the universe! We get a further glimpse into Kellen’s Snow White story at the end and I’m keen to find out more!
(also the author has done a spin off story about Margaret – Eloise and Kellen’s mother – in Disowned Tales of Cinder #0.5 if you crave more of their story – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/45318968-disowned)
With the reason behind her mother’s death revealed, it’s a race for Eloise to exact her revenge and prevent her stepsisters from marrying the prince. However, amidst the glittering jewels and colorful ball gowns, the royal court holds secrets of its own that will devastate Eloise and strike a final blow to her plans. Betrayed by the one person she thought she could trust, Eloise questions how far she’s willing to go for revenge.
After all, in the game of kingdoms, everyone is a pawn.