Julie Witt's Reviews > Cinder and Ella

Cinder and Ella by Melissa Lemon
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's review
Sep 24, 2011

it was amazing
bookshelves: reviewed
Read from September 22 to 23, 2011

I received this book free of charge from NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion.

From Goodreads: "After their father’s disappearance, Cinder leaves home for a servant job at the castle. But it isn’t long before her sister Ella is brought to the castle herself—the most dangerous place in all the kingdom for both her and Cinder. Cinder and Ella is a Cinderella story like no other and one you'll never forget."

If you are looking for a retelling of the classic Cinderella story in this book, stop right here! You may be disappointed. If you are looking for a totally new fairy tale that just happens to have two girls with the names of Cinder and Ella, a prince, two bratty sisters, and an absent father, then please, continue reading! If you go into the reading of this story knowing the above, then I imagine you, like I, will totally enjoy Cinder and Ella!

The story begins with a happy family, with a father, a mother, and 4 sisters. But things begin to change when the Prince, with malicious intent, visits the father while on a mission to turn the people of the kingdom against his father, the King, so he can take over. The father becomes obsessed with this "mission" and one day disappears, leaving the mother to try to raise the 4 girls all by herself. When the story starts, the four girls are Katrina, the eldest daughter, Cinder, the second oldest, Ella, the third daughter, and Beatrice, the youngest by 5 years. Their mother spins yarn day and night, and withdraws almost completely from the world around her. Katrina is too selfish to take over the care of her sisters - this task falls on Cinder's shoulders, as she is the most caring of the girls. Ella can be kind, but she has absolutely no patience with her older sister or the youngest, who is a bit slow and very, very needy. When Cinder gets a job at the castle, Ella tries to take over her role as helper, but she can't do it and instead leaves the house in search of work for herself.

One of the reasons I loved this story is that each character is so well developed that you never mistake one for the other. The story is told in the third person, and goes from one POV to the next in such a smooth manner that you never get confused as to which person is speaking at any given time. The way in which each person speaks and acts makes it easy to go from one to the other without taking you out of the story. There are no jarring interruptions in the story, in other words.

This may not be your typical Cinderella story, but it still smacks of a fairy tale! The reason that Cinder and Ella end up being Cinderella is when their mother, who is so out of it that she has trouble dealing with reality, calls for "Cinder-n-Ella" to take care of their sisters, which then turns into "Cinderella". I really love how the author draws you this picture, which you will better understand when you read the book.

In summary, I really liked this book! It was a very quick read (I read it in under 24 hours) because it smoothly transitions between POVs, and it's just a really fun story! I am absolutely looking forward to hearing more about Melissa Lemon's books, and I will gladly read more of her books in the future :D
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