Author: Kayla Bain-Vrba
Publisher: Less Than Three Press
Pip is a hopeless romantic living in a small town with his cobbler father and stepmother. His stepmother’s greatest wish is to move to court, but his father insists they find Pip a husband first. Not willing to wait any longer, his evil stepmother spreads a rumor that Pip can turn pebbles into jewels, and make those precious gems into slippers.
When the Aelfin king hears of this, he has Pip captured and thrown in the dungeon. Pip has one night to make the king a pair of gemstone slippers, or his life is forfeit. Luckily for Pip, who has never worked with a single gemstone much less an entire slipper’s worth, the king’s son has magical powers that can make bejeweled slippers—and he wants revenge on the king for casting him out.
The two strike a bargain, but one pair of jeweled slippers leads to more and more demands, and Pip swiftly runs out of things to trade, until all that remains is his heart…
This short retelling of Rumpelstiltskin follows a cobbler’s apprentice, Pip, whose stepmother resents that his father won’t move to the castle and a life of supposed luxury until Pip has been married. To get him out of her way, she lies and makes a deal with the Aelfin king saying the Pip can turn pebbles into jewels. The king kidnaps Pip and throws him into a dungeon until Pip can produce slippers made of fine gems. In the dungeon Pip meets a glamour witch and makes a surprising reconnection with someone from his past.
This little story was a straightforward retelling of the classic fairytale. Pip was a sweet and talented boy weighed down by his stepmother’s aspirations and greed. I enjoyed the magical elements of this book and the subtle difference from the original tale. I also enjoyed the twist at the end which, while predictable, was fun and different. All in all, though, I felt the characters could have been better developed and even though this was a short story more time could have been spent on the end. I would have liked there to have been more consequences for defying the king, too, and I would have liked to know more about Pip’s mom.
Fairytale lovers and people looking for a quick read would be interested in this book, but it wouldn’t be the first book I’d recommend.