The Wicked Ones by Robin Benway

The Wicked Ones (A Dark Ascension Novel) by Robin Benway. Disney Press, 2023. 9781368078627

Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 4

Format: Hardcover

Genre: Fantasy

What did you like about the book? When sisters Drizella and Anastasia were seven and six-years-old their father absconded with anything of value he could find and skipped out. Sometime later their mother remarried, inheriting a younger daughter, Ella.  Ella’s dad and Lady Tremaine’s husband dies a year later. Ella is the household slave, despised by her stepmother and ignored by her stepsisters. Now Drizzy and Annie are 17 and 16-years-old respectfully.  The prince has come of age and a ball will be given in his honor with all the eligible young maidens invited to attend.  Annie is excited, Drizella not. They are forced to take music lessons to prepare for the gala though both of them are without talent.  By chance Drizella meets Madame Lambert, a scientist, who not only takes Drizzy under her wing but offers to take her on as her assistant when moving to Paris!  Annie meets a handsome groom, Dominic, who works at the king’s palace.  He and Annie fall in love.

Lady Tremaine wins awards as one of the most despicable villains in literature.  She is cruel, belittling, devoid of love and caring. Will Annie and Drizzy be able to free themselves from her?  And what of Ella?

Anything you did not like about the book? I was pretty much unable to put this down, but it is utterly depressing.

To whom would you recommend this book? Those who like embellishments on fairy tales could well enjoy this but can only hope that a sequel is in the works that might undo some of the fatalistic pathos.

Who should buy this book? Public, upper middle school and high school libraries

Where would you shelve it? YA Fiction

Should we (librarians) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? No.

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City: Katrina Yurenka, Retired Librarian, Contributor, Youth Services Book Review

Date of Review:  February 7, 2023

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