By Jenniffer Wardell
Jolly Fish Press, 2013
Kate works for an evil corporation, but then, don’t most people? In Kate’s case, this means arranging tidy happily-ever-afters for the inconvenient children of wealthy families, with the help of a mind-altering drug called True Love when necessary. When she’s assigned her biggest case yet, the ditzy, sweet, and utterly disinterested Cinderella, and finds herself working closely with Prince Jon of the kingdom of Somewhere in the process, she starts to question what she’s willing to do for a paycheck.
As can be expected of a new take on the already often-mocked story of Cinderella, Fairy Godmothers, INC. has a joke or two that might be a tad on the predictable side or run just a little too far into the ground.
The jokes are nonstop enough that there’s always a good one right around the corner (“Who could possibly confuse fur with glass?” “This is why we only use fresh pumpkins!”), to make up for the few groaners. The story’s also more than an excuse to string together a lot of digs at the brothers Grimm. If you like Terry Pratchett, Pixar movies, or any manner of fractured or re-imagined fairytales, I guarantee you’re going to love this one. It’s both hilarious and full of heart.
Kate strikes that elusive balance of toughness and vulnerability, Cinderella has the even rarer adorable (as opposed to irritating) daftness, and Prince Jon is genuinely charming, far from the typical princely nonentity. They don’t get away with a low-stakes adventure just because of the humor element either. When first introduced, True Love and the general evils of Fairy Godmothers, INC. seem like the usual lighthearted jabs at corporate culture and fanciful magical fiction, but when the drug’s effects threaten the main characters, the very sinister edge to the situation comes to the surface.
The serious side of Fairy Godmothers, INC. never stops the laughs. It does exactly what it should do: make it absolutely necessary, for reasons other than the promise of more jokes about banana-shaped carriages, to turn the page.