Official Review: The Wicked Sister by Virginia Barlow

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gen_g
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Latest Review: The Wicked Sister by Virginia Barlow

Official Review: The Wicked Sister by Virginia Barlow

Post by gen_g »

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "The Wicked Sister" by Virginia Barlow.]
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2 out of 4 stars
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Virginia Barlow’s debut novel, The Wicked Sister, is a flipped retelling of one of the most iconic fairy tales of all time: Cinderella. However, in this version, we follow Lady Anastasia Covington as she struggles to come to terms with the death of her beloved stepfather, Lord Robert Covington. This death is a massive blow to the family: without Lord Covington’s income from his diplomatic work, Anastasia and Beatrice (Anastasia’s biological sister) now have to learn how to cook, clean, and sell their farmed produce in the village marketplace just to make ends meet. Their shared reality now is a far cry from their previous lifestyles of aristocratic privilege. To make things worse, the malicious Lady Rella, Lord Covington’s daughter from his first marriage, seems to be plotting something even more sinister against Anastasia in order to get her hands on the riches of the Covington estate.

I did enjoy reading this book. The Wicked Sister had action, romance, and a murder mystery too! In fact, I read it in a single sitting; the story flowed well, and the pacing was excellent. Scene and perspective transitions were also done seamlessly, and I was very glad about this, since it definitely helped my immersion and aided in character development (to a certain extent). There were also some minor twists in the book, which I enjoyed, as it added a much-needed element of unpredictability to what would have been a straightforward retelling of Cinderella.

Nonetheless, just as there were positive points, there were also quite a few major flaws present. First of all, The Wicked Sister is not only a retelling of Cinderella, as mentioned, but also, instead of being in the familiar form of the fairy tale, it is now in the form of the 1990s bodice-ripper. A disclaimer: I am certainly not saying that the genre of the bodice-ripper is inherently inferior – I do enjoy a good one every now and then – but rather, in this particular case, character development in the book was compromised as a result.

Consequently, most of the supporting characters were one-dimensional. For example, Prince Percival, Anastasia’s Prince Charming, falls in lust with Anastasia at first sight, and he then horrifyingly conflates it with love. Still, I suppose this oversight could still be condoned to a certain extent; after all, being a retelling of Cinderella, there is still a certain plot trajectory that has to be followed. This is also why I enjoyed the minor plot twists present, as they were refreshing additions to what would have been a straightforward (and dull) story.

In addition, and unfortunately, The Wicked Sister was not professionally edited. There were numerous grammar errors present, such as misspellings and erroneous punctuation. They did detract from the reading flow, but I was still able to maintain my immersion in the narrative due to the fast-moving story, which was fortunate. However, these errors also contributed to the book feeling unpolished, which doesn’t leave a good impression. Still, this could easily be remedied with a couple of rounds of editing.

Therefore, I rate Virginia Barlow’s The Wicked Sister 2 out of 4 stars; I deducted one star for the lack of nuanced character development and another for the sheer number of grammar errors. I would recommend this to those who enjoy risqué fairy tales, as there are a couple of sexually explicit scenes, along with some explicit language.

******
The Wicked Sister
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Post by Faithmwangi »

This sounds like it could do as a weekend read. Its a shame about the errors,hopefully the author will heed to your suggestions.
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Post by Stephanie Elizabeth »

This sounds intriguing! I like how the story is flipped, so readers get a different perspective. Thanks for the lovely review.

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Post by adamgreenrock »

It's nice that people are still making their own interpretations on what comes after happily ever afters in fairy tales. I may give it a read. Thanks for your review!

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Post by En+kay »

Fast and evenly paced, touch of romance, adventure and murder I will add this book to my must read shelf.
Rising above the fall from grace to grass, there's a lesson to learn- it doesn't hurt much to have a hand dirtied by hardwork.
Happy endings I sure love it

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Latest Review: The Wicked Sister by Virginia Barlow

Post by gen_g »

Faithmwangi wrote:
19 Mar 2020, 04:49
This sounds like it could do as a weekend read. Its a shame about the errors,hopefully the author will heed to your suggestions.
It would definitely be great as a weekend read! Thank you for stopping by, Faithmwangi. :D
Last edited by gen_g on 19 Mar 2020, 22:44, edited 1 time in total.

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Latest Review: The Wicked Sister by Virginia Barlow

Post by gen_g »

Stephanie Elizabeth wrote:
19 Mar 2020, 06:01
This sounds intriguing! I like how the story is flipped, so readers get a different perspective. Thanks for the lovely review.
Me too! That was the best part of the story for me, and I did find myself amused at how the author took it creatively. Thanks for the comment, Stephanie! :D

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Latest Review: The Wicked Sister by Virginia Barlow

Post by gen_g »

adamgreenrock wrote:
19 Mar 2020, 06:31
It's nice that people are still making their own interpretations on what comes after happily ever afters in fairy tales. I may give it a read. Thanks for your review!
I hope that you will enjoy it! Thanks for stopping by. (:

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Latest Review: The Wicked Sister by Virginia Barlow

Post by gen_g »

En+kay wrote:
19 Mar 2020, 12:20
Fast and evenly paced, touch of romance, adventure and murder I will add this book to my must read shelf.
Rising above the fall from grace to grass, there's a lesson to learn- it doesn't hurt much to have a hand dirtied by hardwork.
Happy endings I sure love it
I certainly do hope that you do enjoy reading this book, as I definitely did, despite the various flaws present! Thanks for stopping by. (:

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Post by Shabram22 »

It's truly a shame about the low points you have mentioned because I was instantly taken by the plot as I am a sucker for Cinderella stories. I do hope that the author takes your advice to heart. Thank you for your excellently written review!

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Latest Review: The Wicked Sister by Virginia Barlow

Post by gen_g »

Shabram22 wrote:
20 Mar 2020, 04:42
It's truly a shame about the low points you have mentioned because I was instantly taken by the plot as I am a sucker for Cinderella stories. I do hope that the author takes your advice to heart. Thank you for your excellently written review!
Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment! I do think it's a great beach read, so if you do take it up, I hope you will enjoy it! :D

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Post by unamilagra »

I like the premise of this book. It's too bad the execution was not carried out well. I hope the author heeds your advice and makes some improvements. Thanks for your honest review!
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Latest Review: The Wicked Sister by Virginia Barlow

Post by gen_g »

unamilagra wrote:
20 Mar 2020, 13:58
I like the premise of this book. It's too bad the execution was not carried out well. I hope the author heeds your advice and makes some improvements. Thanks for your honest review!
Thank you for the kind comments, unamilagra! I do hope so too, since I did enjoy reading it. (: (I hope you get the chance to read it too!)

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Post by kdstrack »

The retelling of fairy tales are always fun! You have the story in your head, so it it keeps you amazed to see how the author twists the story. I hope the author will rework the character development and correct the errors. I don't think they will disappear at midnight! Thanks for the intriguing recommendation.

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Post by Laurina_Olowo »

This sounds like a good fairy novel from your summary of it. What families go through when the bread winner is gone can never be emphasized, add a wicked family member and then it's a crazy situation. Thanks for a great review

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