Author: J.A. Kazimer
Series: F***ed-Up Fairytales (Book 1)
Publication Date: March 1, 2012
Format: Paperback, 320 Pages
ISBN-10: 0758269129 (Kensington Books)
ISBN-13: 978-0758269126 (Kensington Books)
Reviewed by: Sheila
Definitely not for baby’s bedtime reading, this hilarious and irreverent take on classic fairytales—think Shrek for grownups—combines humor, mystery, and characters only a fairy godmother could love…
When Cinderella is run over by a New Never City bus, her not-so-ugly stepsister, Asia, suspects murder. So she hires RJ, a private eye, to investigate. Little does she know RJ is actually a villain on mental health leave from the Villain’s Union. Cursed with an inability to say no to damsels in distress, RJ travels to the Kingdom of Maldetto, meets the rest of Cinderella’s family—including her fiancé, the flamboyant Prince Charming, Cinderella’s crazy stepmother, and a seriously twisted version of Hansel and Gretel—and dodges bullets, explosions, fires, and his own ex-wife to slip his own version of glass handcuffs on the wrists that fit. All while falling for Asia, who has a curse of her own to deal with…
Quick & Dirty: A raunchy mix of childhood fairy tales with very adult language and content.
Opening Sentence: A delivery kid stood in front of me in the pastel hallway of my four-story walk-up on the edge of the Easter Village.
Finally, a book that lives up to its title. F***ed-up doesn’t even begin to adequately describe all of the high jinks in this book of fairy tale fallacies. It turns all the things we think we know about our beloved fairy tale characters and puts them on their heads. I don’t think that I have laughed this hard reading a book in a while.
RJ, and you can guess his real name, is in a funk. The Villain Union has put him on mandatory health leave and cursed him to do (shutter) only good things. What an outrage! So when the (not so) ugly step-sister of Cinderella, Asia, comes to him for help in solving her step-sister’s murder, he does. Damn union. This plunges him head first into a f***ed-up case full of curses, crisis’s, and catastrophes that make him want to cry wee wee wee all the way home.
RJ is a wonderfully devious character. He lies, cheats, and steals his way through life. So now that he is cursed to do… nice… things, what has he got to live for? One very sexy step-sister for starters. Asia is hot, and needs his help. Well, she needs the help of the famous Inspector Holmes of Fairy Yard; maybe she should have asked RJ for ID before making any assumptions about his identity. Normally, RJ would only “help” himself into her pants but this time he is compelled to follow her home to the Kingdom of Maldetto in search of Cinderella’s killer. Damn that union curse! RJ uses his knowledge of villainous tactics to piece together the clues that point him in the right direction. After falling hip-first in love with Princess Asia, RJ swears to help her with her curse as well. Will the man never learn to shut his mouth already? At this rate, all the other villains are going to call him names and then not let him play in any of their villain games. Maybe Asia can help him pass the time instead.
Princess Asia is, to coin the phrase from Shrek, like an onion; she has many layers and not all of them make her come up smelling like roses. Her curse makes her gain an unnatural amount of weight if she eats within the borders of her home kingdom. How can anyone love her when she has the potential to crush them under her massive girth? Is there no man out there that can see past all the bulbous fat to find the beauty hidden within? But perhaps the whole “damsel-in-distress” act that she gives RJ is not the real her either. Maybe she is not all sugar and spice and everything nice after all. Will RJ and Asia find their Happily Ever After when each one has something to hide?
Lots of other things happen while RJ is in the Kingdom of Maldetto. When several local villains turn up murdered, RJ becomes the authorities’ number one suspect. Not that he would be above such things normally, but it is not possible in his current impotent state. Yet, how can a known villain prove his innocence while still maintaining his evil status? And why is Prince Charming marrying one of the King’s daughters when it is clear to everyone else that he’s gay? How can RJ help out the other step-sister, Dru, find a prince of her own when she has clearly been beaten with the ugly stick? Most importantly to RJ; why is it that no villain has claimed the murder of Cinderella? Shouldn’t they be boasting about it? If a villain is not responsible, who had the motive to off the seemingly beloved Cinderella mere weeks before her wedding?
The whole book riffs off of countless fairy tales and nursery rhymes. I absolutely LOVE the uses and references of childhood stories that are turned into something completely inappropriate for my children to read. Hats off to Kazimer for making me see these beloved stories through the eyes of my not-so-pure adult mind. I can’t wait to see what the author comes up with next.
“My, what big feet you have.” Her eyebrows rose.
“Yeah. Ummm… look, kid,” I began and then took off running. I’d read the New Never News articles about a little red-hooded serial killer too many times to be her eighth victim.
I barreled my way through the forest, leaping over downed logs and ducking dive-bombing bluebirds. High-pitched, insane laughter followed me no matter how fast I ran.
“My, my, what big ears you have!”
I doubled my speed.
“My, my, what big eyes you have!”
Terror gave me added strength to run even faster.
“My, my, what short legs you have!”
I pulled to a stop. “Hey, my legs are not short. They’re average for a man of my size.”
“Average for a short man maybe.” The crazy red-hooded bitch laughed. An ax flew over my head, missing my scalp by inches. It planted itself in a tree. Another burst of laughter followed.
Fuck it. Now wasn’t the time to discuss the relativity of stature and the evils of the metric system. I took off running again, ducking and weaving through the Enchanted Forest like a big, not-so-nice wolf with a basket of freshly baked goodies on his way to visit his nana.
No matter how fast I ran, the red-hooded chick stayed right on my heels. I had to find a place to hide, somewhere that the crazy bitch would never find me. Ah, there, on the right. The pond where I’d first met Dru.
Lungs bursting, I dove into the slime-coated pond with a splash. The water rippled and then settled, hiding me from my would-be ax murderer not yet tall enough to ride the Tea Toddler at Feyland. Above me, her apple-cheeked reflection danced across the water, the shine of her ax glowing like a beacon.
Trust me, the irony wasn’t lost on me. There I was, a world-famous villain, hiding from a little girl in red tights. Pathetic. No wonder the union gave me the boot.
The F***ed-Up Fairytales Series:
FTC Advisory: The author provided me with a copy of Curses! A F***ed-Up Fairy Tale. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review. The only payment received came in the form of hugs and kisses from my little boys.
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