Full review at http://fireandicephoto.blogspot.com/2011/06/cinder-and-ella-blog-tour.html
I'll have to be honest, normally I am not a sucker for fairy tales or re-tellings of princess stories. However, Cinder and Ella kept me interested. In this version, Cinder and Ella are sisters in a family of six. Their father has disappeared since a mysterious visit from the Prince who plants seeds of discontent and darkness in the home,and their mother is a shadow of a woman who spends her days at the spinning wheel--isolated and mostly mute.
The sisters are left to fend for themselves, Cinder taking a motherly codependent role, Ella strong and silent. Ella's identity gets somehow merged into Cinder's and the two become simply known simply as Cinderella. Their mother forgets Ella all together and turns entirely to Cinder to care for her remaining two daughters, a vain self-centered one and a spoiled young child whiteout proper attention.
As Cinder and Ella grow weary of their daily routine, Cinder turns to the palace where she retains a job as a servant and Ella runs away. Soon Cinder is swept up into the beguiling trap of the sinister Prince and praise of the court, and eventually Ella is found,captured and brought to the castle.
Cinder must learn to discern good from evil. Ella must uncover the secret that awaits in the Prince's secret chamber. Melissa Lemon uses the legend of the trees, a twisted fairy tale and a knight in shining armor to spin a completely new take on an age old story. While some of the characters seemed a bit undeveloped and the ending was abrupt I must say I enjoyed Cinder and Ella much more than anything else I've read recently. I think it would be suited for middle grade readers ages 12 and up as the content is clean. There is one small swear word and only vague references to ungentlemanly behavior by some of the antagonists. I'll be curious to hear what moral other readers pull from this story. And, I can't help but to wonder where the Prince is lurking...will he be back?
Thanks so much to Cedar Fort and NetGalley for the early peek plus the thoughtful discussion questions at the end of the book.