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Cinder and Ella by Melissa Lemon

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I've got a very neat YA book to review today, Cinder and Ella by Melissa Lemon, published by Cedar Fort Pub. The book is based on the fairy tale Cinderella, but really, besides the name, that's all that is similar. It's basically 209 pages of an all new tale.

The Story-  A mom and dad live in Willow Top with their four daughters: Katrina, Cinder, Ella and Beatrice. They were all very happy until a Prince came by, spewing hate about the King. His words were poison, in more ways then one. They ate up the soul of the father until he left his family.
Alone with her daughters, the mother becomes a recluse, sitting in a corner spinning yarn all day. The daughters have their own problems; Katrina becomes a vain, selfish girl, Beatrice, the youngest, gets spoiled rotten, Cinder tries to make everyone happy, and Ella just shakes her head at her messed up family.
When Cinder gets a job at the castle, things turn horrible. Ella is forgotten by their mother, who only recalls Katrina, Beatrice, and Cinderella (a mix of sisters 2 and 3). So, Ella leaves and finds herself a new home.
Cinder becomes worried about her sister and a kindly knight takes on a quest to find her. Unfortunately the evil Prince also hears about missing Ella, and for some devious reason wants her for himself.
The story then follows Ella's battle to destroy the prince and save the kingdom from his evil. There's also a subplot of a love story between Ella and the kind knight.
My Thoughts- I was prepared for something like Cinderella, it was nothing like it. There is no handsome prince, or glass slipper or fairy godmother. So, I had to look at the story from a whole other angle, an original tale. The story works. The character of Ella is the most fleshed out. In the beginning she feels she has nothing to contribute, but by the end she is filled with love, bravery and kindness. Her romance with the kind knight is very simple and true. I really enjoyed the part where the knight fights day and night to save Ella by pulling out twisted weeds that keep growing around her soul tree. It was a good way to show the love he felt for her instead of just telling the reader. Even though this book is YA, I'd say it was perfect for ages 10 and up.
For Parents- There is a little violence, a sword fight and mentions of killings. Also, one of the Prince's flunky's gets drunk a lot and hits on Ella. I think it shows a good reason not to drink! In the end, the moral of the story shines through, Light beats Darkness.

Release date- Nov. 8,  2011.
#1 - July 29, 2011, 11:20 AM


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