THE STEPSISTER SCHEME
Hines' strength in his brilliantly plotted, cleverly imaginative book is character concepts and interactions. The action never stops, and the characters are painstakingly real. Readers will laugh and find the tale is over before they're ready to finish reading.
Danielle de Glas waited a long time for her happily ever after, but a few months after her honeymoon, she discovers life never ends at those three words. Her husband, Armand, is kidnapped by her vengeful stepsister, and Danielle winds up in the company of two other princesses -- one a witch and the other a deadly martial artist -- in the effort to bring him home safely. A romp through Fairy Town (and an amusingly designed bar called the Tipsy Oak) begins the dangerous and uncertain quest of Danielle, Snow and Talia. (DAW, Jan., 344 pp., $7.99)