Cinders and Sparks: Magic at Midnight by Lindsey Kelk – Book Review

Title: Magic at Midnight

Series: Cinders and Sparks #1

Author: Lindsey Kelk

Genre/Themes: Children’s Fiction, Adventure, Fantasy, Fairytale Reimagining

Blurb from Goodreads

A funked up, funny and fabulous twist on the Cinderella story for every reader of 7+ who loves Frozen and Shrek, by bestselling queen of comedy Lindsey Kelk.

She will go to the ball. But nothing will go to plan…

Cinders lives a boring life with her selfish stepsisters and grumpy stepmother. So when her wishes start magically coming true, and her dog Sparks starts to talk, it’s a surprise to say the least.

Then Cinders meets her fairy godmother: she’s magic, she can fly, and she’s called… Brian. (Apparently it’s a perfectly sensible name for a fairy.)

But Brian is NOT very reliable and Cinders is NOT very good at magic. Soon, Cinders finds herself living a life that is not boring at all – it’s total chaos!

My Review

I’m a big fan of Lindsey Kelk and have read all of her adult books over the years. Cinders and Sparks: Magic at Midnight is her first foray into children’s books and when I saw it on my library’s eCatalogue system I knew I had to check it out.

And what a charming and utterly delightful little book it is!

It reimagines the story of Cinderella by giving us a fabulously feisty lead in Cinders, a talking canine companion named Sparks and a fairy godmother named Brian.

The traditional fairytale is turned on its head by having Cinders be the one who is in charge of her own destiny; her fairy godmother is merely a guide. Cinders is the one who magics her own way to the ball and when she gets there it turns out she’s not all that impressed… Except by the food!

I really loved this modern interpretation of the classic fairytale. It’s such a witty little book filled with funny characters but most importantly the lead character Cinders is not some damsel in distress. She is an independent thinker and very much marches to her own drumbeat. And can I just say Prince Joderick Jorenson Picklebottom…best name ever!!

I very much enjoyed the aftermath of the ball and how the story completely diverted from the traditional tale to instead give more adventure and perfectly explores the theme of following whatever it is that makes you happy and not societal expectations in a way that children will understand.

All in all the story is wonderfully magical and is quite smart too as there are lots of little nods to other popular fairytales that children will recognise e.g. Hansel and Gretel, Beauty and the Beast, The Magic Porridge Pot as well as referencing more modern day to day activities and items that children will be familiar with.

The book is also delightfully illustrated with images that are very playful in tone and perfectly complement the narrative.

The ending is somewhat of a cliffhanger / open ended style… It shows Cinders starting a new adventure and therefore it might be advisable to have book 2 to hand if at all possible.

I think this book is absolutely perfect for its target age group: children approx 7 and above depending on reading skill or perfect for younger ones as a book to read before bed with an adult or older sibling.

Other Works by Lindsay Kelk I’ve Reviewed:

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