A review by Maria.
I would like to thank author A.W Exley for allowing me to read her book: Ella, The Slayer in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Ella’s father is the master of their house, and her deceased mother was a servant; but Ella still lived an elegant life. Several years back her father re-married. Her stepmother and two stepsisters forced her to live the life as a servant and not a lady. When her father came back from the war brain-damaged and disabled, 17-year-old Ella was left to care for the estate and the whims of her ambitious stepmother. Then the dead started to rise up and started attacking the living. When Ella kills one of the undead she’s deemed hell-bound and acts as the official slayer for her town since she’s already doomed. Then she meets Seth deMage, the new Duke of Leithfield, by nearly decapitating him thinking he was one of the undead. A partnership born of attraction and respect is formed. But Ella’s stepmother and stepsister will stop at nothing to gain Seth’s hand in marriage.
Ella is a braver version of Cinderella; one who is capable of saving herself and those around her. She’s kind, witty, stubborn, and courageous. She’s prepared herself to kill the undead even though the church says it is at the cost of her soul. But better one soul lost in the killing of the undead rather than many. Ella proves resourceful both in her slaying but also in thinking of ways to spend time with Seth. She knows the attraction can’t go anywhere because he’s nobility and she’s a servant but she enjoys their time together. She worries that one day he’ll learn her secret or worse, her step-family will.
Seth was a very pleasant substitute for Prince Charming in the story. Instead of hiding behind his noble birth, Seth went and fought in the war and continues to fight now against the un-dead back at home. He’s fascinated with the capable katana wielding Ella; and wants to get to know her more.
Also worth mentioning were the wonderful characters in the servants quarters both in Ella’s home and Seth’s. Through Ella, the book offers glimpses at how hard the life of a servant still was in 1918 and what little rights they had.
The only complaint I had about this novel was that I wished the author had delved more into the multiple character’s lives during their time in the war and a little more about how the undead zombies came into existence. But the theory on what motivates the undead and comparing them to a beehive was a fantastic new take on the zombie lore.
Fans of Cinderella, Downton Abbey, and The Walking Dead would enjoy this book as it’s a terrific blend of all three. I recommend this book to young-adults and adults alike. Even though the legend of Cinderella factors into this story I wouldn’t recommend it to younger readers as there’s plenty of gore and zombies in it.
My rating: 4.5/5 stars.
We may receive a commission if you purchase through links in this post. Read our full disclosure here.
Welcome to my tour stop for Ella, the Slayer by A.W. Exley. Ella, the Slayer is an Edwardian retelling of Cinderella with an undead problem. It is an upper young adult novel.
The tour runs August 10-21 with reviews only. Check out the tour page for more information.
The flu pandemic of 1918 took millions of souls within a few short weeks.
Except it wasn’t flu and death gave them back.
Seventeen-year-old Ella copes the best she can; caring for her war-injured father, scrubbing the floors, and slaying the undead that attack the locals. ‘Vermin’ they’re called, like rats they spread pestilence with their bite. Ella’s world collides with another when she nearly decapitates a handsome stranger, who is very much alive.
Seth deMage, the new Duke of Leithfield, has returned to his ancestral home with a mission from the War Office — to control the plague of vermin in rural Somerset. He needs help; he just didn’t expect to find it in a katana-wielding scullery maid.
She survived school by hiding out in the library, with several thousand fictional characters for company. At university, she overcame the boredom of studying accountancy by squeezing in Egyptology papers and learning to read hieroglyphics.
Today, Anita writes steampunk novels with a sexy edge and an Egyptian twist. She lives in rural New Zealand surrounded by an assortment of weird and wonderful equines, felines, canine and homicidal chickens.