Here is the summary:
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.
The book opens with promises. Four sisters live in a small cottage. Katrina is a bossy one. Cinder is generally a people-pleaser. Ella, well, sad to say, no one in their village remembers Ella's name because everyone adores Cinder. The youngest is eleven years old and so spoiled that her family must dress and spoon feed her.
So, Cinder and Ella are the middle siblings in a happy home until one night the evil, nasty, yet charming prince comes in and destroys their family. Cinder and Ella are the only ones his evil power does not change. After years of decay that the evil has spread in the family,it is up to Cinder and Ella to take care of the household, as the rest of the family are not capable. Cinder enjoys taking care of others, but she allowed it to go to a point of people walking over her. When Cinder goes to work in the castle she is too gullible and good hearted to see the princes wickedness. At times I found myself wanting to shake Cinder as she let the prince turn her away from Ella. Even though it was necessary for the story as a whole.
Cinder as being the kind-hearted 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.
The morals and conflict of the story were interesting to me because they allow the reader to decide how to interpret them. The morals and conflict of the story could reflect religious undercurrents or not depending on the reader. I chose not to identify with the potential religious aspects of the story and I saw the character's conflicts and moral lessons as a reflection on choice. I thought it was a great comment on the idea that individuals have the power choose how they live their life no matter what circumstances befall them. Just as importantly bad choices don't have to lead to other bad choices. This book reminded me that every moment is an opportunity to make a better choice.
Apart from the fact that this book says about choices - the next important thing is that of family. Family is important. Whatever you do in life - if you don't have a family to support you - or much less you cannot survive the harsh world without somebody who cares for you. And don't forget the trees. Trees play a major role here and going out of my way I would say in her prose Miss Lemon wants us to protect them - trees are our oxygen givers and they provide the air that we need to live. So, GO GREEN and PROTECT THE TREES.
Cinder and Ella had a little bit of everything - romance, adventure and danger. Melissa Lemon has twisted the popular fairytale and weaved us an enjoyable new world that was both fresh and enchanting. We can only hope she'll put her creative spin on a few more popular fairytales.
The pace of the book kept me interested throughout and made me keep turning the pages. I had to know what happened to Cinder and Ella. There was enough action to keep me going, and enough internal dialogue to let me find out who the characters were and connect with them better.