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Bending the Spine

Monday, May 30, 2011

Early Review: Cinder and Ella by Melissa Lemon

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. (Goodreads)

Paperback, 208 pages
Expected publication: November 8th 2011 by Bonneville Books
ISBN13: 9781599559063

I studied different versions of Cinderella in one of many lit classes I took while in college.  I had no idea so  many cultures had similar tales of a rags-and-ashes to riches story.  Melissa Lemon’s story is nothing like these.  It has all the makings of a great drama, and dare I say it, a great movie (hint! hint! directors everywhere).

I became fascinated with Cinder and Ella from the very beginning of the prologue, through the last page of the epilogue.  Lemon’s writing is poignant, beautiful, artistic.  She paints a picture with every sentence.  The characters have depth and continue to grow through the end of the tale.  Ella’s snarky and sarcastic, while Cinder is kind and gentle.  Tanner is idealistic and clumsy, and above all, valiant.

The Prince is the shakiest of all the characters.  He is shallow, and I don’t mean conceited.  He has no depth.  His motives are weak.  ***SPOILER ALERT*** He tortured the family of Willow Top simply because of a defiant child, because a very young Ella could already see through this motives.  Really?  That’s the whole reason he’s putting Cinder and Ella through this?  I just really did not understand why Lemon did not create some greater purpose for all the tragedy.

Cinder and Ella does not have the typical charming Prince, evil stepsister, or wicked stepmother.  It does have adventure, sorrow, and a bit of magic.  And, yes, there is romance.  It is heartwarming and sad, victorious and unsuccessful.  But adds up to completely wonderful story!
So one question remains, the question that Tanner, the good knight, asks of the prince’s low advisor, begs to be answered by those who want to read this book: “Will you please investigate the two girls who are dependent upon us to help them? Something is not right.  It involves a servant girl in the kingdom castle, with hair as the ashes in the fire circle when the fire is long out.  It involves her sister, a virtuous and fair maiden who deserves nothing but goodness.  And it involves a prince, one that we are both unfortunately acquainted with, and whose evil knows no bounds.” (page 84)

5 Stars: Exciting and wonderful! 

Many Adventures,

*This pre-release was provided to me by the publishers through netGalley*

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