In Christina Bauer’s fourth installment of the Fairy Tales of the Magicorum is a no-fail modern fantasy retelling of Cinderella. In Slippers and Thieves, Manhattan-based Elle attends an exclusive prep school where fairies, shifters, and witches are mixed with humans so they can hide from their evil step-families. To get by, Elle retrieves stolen jewelry and returns them for a reward.
Slippers and Thieves by Christina Bauer
Fairy Tales of the Magicorum #4
Published on 26 November 2019 by Monster House Books
Genres: Young Adult, Paranormal
Years ago, Elle—never call her Cinderella—escaped her evil step family in order to build a new life for herself in Manhattan. Today, Elle’s awful past is a distant memory. In fact, Elle even attends West Lake Prep, an exclusive high school where regular humans mix with members of the Magicorum, such as fairies, shifters and witches. Although she still must live in hiding from her evil stepfamily, Elle has always found ways to get whatever her heart desires.
That is, until Alec Le Charme.
Alec is the heir to the Le Charme dynasty of high-end jewelers. He’s also kind, charismatic, has a knee-melting smile. Elle has fallen for him, hard. Unfortunately, thanks to Elle’s evil step family, Alec is absolutely off limits. In fact, if Elle and Alec so much as kiss, it will start a magical chain reaction that would end in powerful factions of witches and wizards going to war. As a result, Elle and Alec vow to stay friends, no matter what. Then West Lake Prep holds a masquerade ball. Identities get mixed up and forbidden kisses are finally shared.
Time for the Magicorum to go to war, and for Elle to confront her hidden past in ways she never thought possible.
On my senior year in high school, I was a frazzled student who had bad time management skills but almost always dedicated a huge chunk of my week to making write-ups for the school paper, as the Editor-in-Chief. Four years before that, the club was full of people and life and ideas, but by the time I took over, the school paper wasn’t, well, as glorious as it used to be. I had a small staff, a limited pool of energy, and a bi-annual 18-page broadsheet newspaper to fill. With school works and college applications, that meant forcing myself to come up with all these ideas and prompts, or
like the nerd I was, get inspiration from my old write-ups that I did “just for fun”. A feature article I ended up writing, borne from a twelve-year-old’s brief pondering, centered on the evolution of Disney princesses (I know, how unoriginal) from victims and dainty damsels to independent kickass girls, and how they were all crafted according to how a women should be in that particular period.
Of course, beyond Disney, the more independent portrayal of heroines became better depicted in media and literature. In particular, retellings of fairy tales have been a constant presence in our local bookstore, and I think that’s simply because no matter how old we get, we simply couldn’t get enough of the childhood stories we grew up with. I still get undeniably kilig when I watch Hilary Duff and Chad Michael Murray’s A Cinderella Story, still find myself reaching for Sarah J. Maas’ A Court of Thorns and Roses, still wonder when I’ll finally find the time to immerse myself in Marissa Meyer’s The Lunar Chronicles, and still on the lookout for a copy of Drew Barrymore’s Ever After a.k.a. one of my favorite Drew movies… ever (heh).
Parenthetically, a popular remake subject seems to be Cinderella’s, and in fact, even Slippers and Thieves follows the same template/plot, but let me tell you, our main character here certainly isn’t as timid. Though the strong-willed personality only came forth in modern retellings, the book here carries a similar tone but under the fantasy genre. I guess a little bit like Celaena Sardothien, but in Manhattan.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t finish the book on time for the tour due to the rescheduling, so instead let me share with you a mood board and this amazing excerpt:
Elle – Age Fifteen
Then, jewel heist.
Rubbing my eyes, I refocus on my computer screen. A final study question appears.
SUN is to BRIGHTNESS as MAGIC is to…
- a) casting
- b) eternity
- c) fading
I click on c) fading. A green check mark appears on screen.
Nailed it. Yay, me!
Not that the question was super-tough. Everyone knows magic’s disappearing from the world. Shifters, fairies and casters—folks called the Magicorum—are basically an endangered species. I should know. I’m one of them. In my case, my father’s a caster while my mother’s a fairy.
A knock sounds on the door. “Elle, may I come in?” That’s my mother, Rae.
The door swings open; Mom steps inside. She’s willowy and petite with large blue eyes and long blonde hair. My heart sinks. Mom’s shoulder bones jut out against the straps of her yellow sundress. She’s getting more skeleton-like by the day. Meanwhile, I’m a younger and healthier version of her. I can’t help but feel a little guilty about that.
“How are you?” My voice wobbles as I ask the question.
“Better and better.” Mom waves me off. “Is your homework done?”
Once again, Mom veers the conversation away from her illness. In Mom’s mind, if you don’t talk about being sick, then it isn’t happening. And today, like most days, I don’t have the heart to bust up her system. If Mom says she’s better, then I won’t push it. After all, we’ve tried tons of healers. And we live in New York City, home of the best cancer treatment centers ever. Nothing has made a difference for Mom.
I plaster on a fake smile. “Almost finished here.”
Mom closes the door behind her. I frown. Closed door chats are never good.
“I wanted to talk alone,” says Mom. “You see, Marchesa’s daughters are the same age as you.” She twists her fingers together at her waistline. “Both Agatha and Ivy love their high school. They’re meeting all sorts of new people.”
In this case, Marchesa refers to my mother’s lifelong frenemy, Lady Marchesa Oakwood. Lately, Marchesa has been sharing supposedly helpful tidbits about her daughters. Sadly, the stories only make Mom feel like she’s failing me. A protective urge runs up my spine. Marchesa’s supposed to run our family store, not load Mom with worry.
“Agatha and Ivy aren’t me.” I tap my chest. “Here’s one girl who likes online stuff.”
“But this is your parents’ office.” Mom frowns. “It’s not a regular classroom.”
“Come on. This is a cool spot.” And I mean it. The office is small with red brick walls. There’s even a great view of Second Avenue.
Mom still looks concerned, so I go on. “Hey, I get the deal.”
There’s no need to explain more.
In this case, the deal is the fact that I’m the warden of all fae magic. It means I’m super-powered, which is certainly nice. But fae aren’t like other Magicorum. While shifters and casters worship their wardens, the fae kill theirs. That’s why I take online classes and generally avoid new people. My full time job is pretending to be the weakest fairy in the history of ever.
“I’m glad you understand the, uh, deal.” Mom’s face brightens. “And you’re absolutely fine with online classes?”
“Do you really think I’d keep my yap shut otherwise?”
Mom chuckles. “No, I don’t.”
“Then we’re both good, right?” In my heart, I want everything to be good, not just conversations about online classes. That’s not possible, though.
“We’re better than good,” replies Mom. “We’re great.” She heads back toward the door and then pauses. “Your father and I will be in the store this morning. Give us a yell if you need anything.”
Long after Mom’s left, I still watch the closed door. With every passing second, a weight of worry settles more deeply into my soul. All members of the Magicorum get pulled into a fairy tale life template. Mine’s Cinderella. So I can’t help but notice some facts.
Fact one. Marchesa has two nasty daughters who are my age.
Fact two. Marchesa also stares at Dad with googly eyes that make me want to puke.
Fact three. Mom has been sick for a really long time.
I’ve seen the Disney movie here. In short order, I’m heading into the not too pleasant phase of the Cinderella story. This is where my parents are gone and I’m stuck with a frenemy stepmother who names her kid Agatha. Other Cinderellas may sing at their window and hope for the best.
Me? I’ve got a plan.
Which brings me to the fave part of my day: planning my next jewel heist.
Thank you, Giselle of Xpresso Book Tours for letting me be a part of the Slippers and Thieves blog tour! You can read about the tour here on Giselle’s blog. Don’t forget to check out the other amazing posts from my fellow bookworms and tour participants:
Christina Bauer thinks that fantasy books are like bacon: they just make life better. All of which is why she writes romance novels that feature demons, dragons, wizards, witches, elves, elementals, and a bunch of random stuff that she brainstorms while riding the Boston T. Oh, and she includes lots of humor and kick-ass chicks, too.
Christina graduated from Syracuse University’s Newhouse School with BA’s in English along with Television, Radio, and Film Production. She lives in Newton, MA with her husband, son, and semi-insane golden retriever, Ruby.
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