Gilded Ashes takes place in the Cruel Beauty universe and continues some of the themes began in Cruel Beauty. The Gentle Lord, demons and struggling populace are all present in this tale. I did enjoy Hodge's use of the world she created in Cruel Beauty here, but overall I did not enjoy it quite as much as the main novel. The characters of Maia and Anax are likable, but I did not become terribly attached to them. I did like the twist that the Stepmother and sisters were not necessarily evil but made a deal with the Gentle Lord and were paying the consequences. I was not quite as thrilled with Maia's mother also having done so and being the driving force behind Maia's odd behaviors. I could not help but continually ask "Why can't you just stay away from the house Maia??," whenever issues arose. Overall I really feel as though Maia could have benefited by a bit more selfishness. Cinderella in general is not one of my preferred tales but this was an interesting twist on it and I did enjoy the read.