To begin with, I'd like to apologize for a lack of book cover. Having lost internet at home for a few days, I'm writing this from my phone, which doesn't allow for easy formatting. That being said, on to the review.
I got an ebook copy of Cinder and Ella from Netgalley, a site I'd suggest to any current and aspiring book bloggers. As you may know, I have a fascination with any type of twisted or retold fairy tale, so I was excited for this book.
Cinder and Ella tells the story of two sisters of the same names. Cinder is good and sweet and kind, named for her cinder-silver colored hair. Ella is practical, refusing to give in to the whims of their narcisstic elder sister Katrina or their spoiled younger sibling, Beatrice. After their father vanishes, the two become the main caretakers of their home, because their mother never stops spinning to pay for the household expenses. Cinder goes to work in a castle to help pay, which is when Ella realizes that her mother no longer recognizes her. Her mother instead calls for Cinderella, not seeing Ella as her daughter anymore. While Cinder is wooed by an evil prince at the castle, Ella seeks to find her own happiness elsewhere and save the kingdim-and her father.
If you didn't see any of the original cinderella elements in that summary, you aren't the only one. Perhaps the most disappointing part of this entire novel is that, despite claiming to be a twisted retelling of cinderella, the only element from the original is the main characters names. There is no glass slipper, pumpkin carriage, or evil stepmother. There is no prince charming or fairy godmother or, hell, there isn't even a juniper tree or gorgeous gown from a dead mother, as in the true originals.
That isn't to say that Cinder and Ella is a bad book. Taken as a stand alone book, without hoping for cinderella, it wasn't bad. It was a little rushed, and it's not a higher level story with plot twists and subplots, but it's good for what it is. There's romance and action and a devious villian. But for all that, it's very obvious that Cinder and Ella is a children's book, and not one mature enough for me to find much enjoyment in.
If you're looking for a book that you won't be able to put down, well, this probably isn't a book you'll want. But if you're looking for a gift for a younger reader, or a short sweet read that you don't have to pay a lot of attention to, such as something to read at work or on a bus, you should consider picking up Cinder and Ella by Melissa Lemon when it comes out in November 2011.