Rise of the Cinder Fae: Whitney Dean *Review*

Cover image of Rise of the Cinder Fae by Whitney Dean is in the centre of an image of sparks and flames. Added text: Will an enchantment demand the ultimate sacrifice from Elora?

Genres: Dark Fantasy, Fantasy Romance, Dark Fairytale | Release Date: 26 February 2024 | Series: Dark Hearts Fairytale Retellings | Series Book: #1 | Pages: 713 | Indie Author | Review

“I am torturing him enough by marrying the woman he loves.”

Whitney Dean


A huge thank you goes to indie author Whitney Dean, for letting me read an e-ARC of Rise of the Cinder Fae! This delightfully sizeable read is a dark fantasy romance, and can best be described as a dark fairytale retelling of Cinderella… So how could anyone go past such a story?! Now let’s give you an overview, shall we?

Elora has long detested the royals who dwell in Pumpkin Hollow, particularly the king who brought about the downfall of her beloved home kingdom of Ashbury. With no way of crossing the glass bridge that spans the two kingdoms without King Jasper’s consent, the populace is left to starve. In fact, the Cinder Fae are actually the only reason their kingdom survives at all… For while the Cinder Fae work in the mountains, the king won’t completely wipe Ashbury from the map. But Elora and the Cinder Fae now have a plan, and time is of the essence. By drinking from an enchanted spring, Elora plans to ensnare the heart of the prince of Pumpkin Hollow. But what happens if the magic takes more than it gives? Is everything as it seems in King Jasper’s decadent realm? Can Elora and Finnian find a way to bring hope to the downtrodden?

Cover image of Rise of the Cinder Fae by Whitney Dean is to the bottom left of a fiery background. Added text: Elora needs the prince of Pumpkin Hollow to fall in love with her. If he doesn't, everything could turn to ash...
Fae, spicy goodness and terrible nightmares? Yes, please!

Happiness Boost:

Glitterbugs, Rise of the Cinder Fae is a *chonk* of a dark fantasy. But I honestly wouldn’t have it any other way! This glorious story completely immerses a reader in Elora’s harrowing life, as well as her journey to better the lives of her people. And heads up, this FMC does not know the word ‘defeat’. Instead, Whitney gives us a resilient heroine who’ll keep fighting until her very last breath, because she knows no other way. We could all do with someone like that in our corner, right? Ashbury is incredibly lucky to have her!

Yes, there’s a small miscommunication thread running through Elora and Finnian’s story. But Rise of the Cinder Fae makes this an important and necessary experience, and I think we get a richer fantasy for it! And after all, if you’ve been told (or experienced) certain things over your lifetime, you’d be a little wary too, right? I’m telling you, Whitney doesn’t add things into this fairytale retelling without it being an integral part of the story’s magical elixir. Of course that’s a happiness boost!

Okay, I need to add this into my review, because it simultaneously filled my heart and made me cry. At one point, Elora is told that ‘Memories do not live in things’. This gentle reminder for the grieving is a nod to the fact that items, even if they hold priceless sentimental value, are actually only conduits for love. Our real connection is through the memories which reside in our hearts and minds. As someone who still has days when she aches for her Mum, I felt for Elora. And that’s the biggest happiness boost I could give: that I see part of myself in this heroine. Whitney creates such relatable characters, it’s been a joy to read Rise of the Cinder Fae.


There’s no downside for me! I’ve loved every moment of this dark Cinderella retelling.

Final Thoughts:

Rise of the Cinder Fae by indie author Whitney Dean is a gloriously harrowing dark fantasy romance, featuring fae, nightmares and spice. And the best news? This is only book one! We’re going to get more from these characters and I cannot wait. I mean, obviously I’ll have to… But I’m eager for more! If you love the sound of this beautiful book from my review? Just click any of the links below to get your own copy! Happy reading, glitterbugs!

You can order Rise of the Cinder Fae via these links:

Amazon | Blackwell’s | Booktopia | Fishpond

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