Cinderella: Ninja Warrior by Maureen McGowen is a young adult novel that holds the elements of the classic fairy tale, choose your own adventure and the feel of the classic mash ups that have been coming onto the scene. The story line is familiar, poor Cinderella has an evil stepmother and wants to get away to live happily ever after. In this version there is magic, the evil stepmother is a wizard and magic is a rather normal thing in the world. Cinderella is under spells that keep her confined to the house and doing the evil stepmother’s bidding. Somehow after all her work for the relentless trio Cinderella manages to spend time studying how to be a ninja from a book, under the watchful eye of a persistent cat. Oddly enough, the various aspects come together well in a simple but entertaining read.
Cinderella is a strong girl character, although she is said to be in her late teens, she is relatable to younger and older readers. She has determination and a strong desire to do what is right. In the story it is inner strength and belief in oneself that are truly important and life changing. This is a lesson that many young girls, and parents, can stand to be reminded of on occasion. The prince is really on the fringes, and not the end goal that Cinderella works toward. She really wants freedom and the ability to choose love, rather than being told what she can do, and who she can love.
However, one must not forget about the choose your own adventure aspect of Cinderella: Ninja Warrior. I grew up readying those books, and this brought back some fond memories. There are a total of eight different paths readers can take to reach the end of the story. All of the choices seemed to flow together smoothly, with no inconsistencies that were noticeable when everything came together at the end. I read this book as an electronic galley from Netgalley, so the skipping around was hard for me, but a paper copy would go much easier on the reader.
I recommend Cinderella: Ninja Warrior for children around ten and older. The story is easy to read, and might interest the more reluctant girl readers to get into reading. There are a couple moments of kissing, but nothing more than a quick brush of the lips, so there are no moments that I would worry about younger readers encountering. There are a couple tense moments of conflict, but again, no violence or graphic fighting. Parents and older readers can enjoy the comparisons to the original choose your own adventure books and other versions of the fairy tales that they might know.