Review:Cinder and Ella by Melissa Lemon
I received this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
After her 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. What Ella finds there starts a quest that will change her life and the entire kingdom. Cinder and Ella is a Cinderella story like no other, and one you’ll never forget.
What I will remember: Interesting premise but falls short
I initially wanted to like to this book because I love retelling of fairy tales. Lemon spilt Cinderella into two distinct persons: Cinder and Ella. There is an evil prince instead of a charming prince. That alone should make the story interesting. Lemon furthers add a mythology about trees being intertwined with the life of people which I found extremely intriguing. However, the book is a total flop for me but I will give credit where it is due.
One of the main reasons Cinder and Ella lost one black butterfly is the one-dimensional characters. None of the characters are ambivalent about their true nature. The Prince is evil period. Cinder is innocent and naïve in her thinking, Ella is strong-willed, Katrina is self centered, Beatrice is stuck in a childlike manner, and so on. All the characters fit very nicely into a category which is disappointing because that means none of the characters actually grow and we are not provided with a background as to why each character is the way they are. I am huge fan of villains and dark characters so I was very intrigue by the Prince’s inner darkness yet I never understood why he was so evil. Lemon makes it seem like he was born naturally evil which to me doesn’t make sense. There has to be a breaking point where a dark person becomes inherently evil.
The lack of background or world building is another element missing from the book. Most authors get lost in the world building but I felt that Lemon did not explained her world very well, especially the connection between trees and human lives. This is a dilemma for me because I love the concept of trees being intertwine with humans but I dislike the fact that I have no understanding off where it originated. This is central to the book, the trees are important to driving the story forward but at the same time hold the story back. That’s why I am divided when it comes to the trees. If Lemon had provided an origin story as to how the legend started or an origin story about the first tree and person unity, I think I would have liked the trees overall.
This is an okay book. The characters could use some character development, however, the premise of the book is intriguing and unique. It’s just not executed to the highest of its ability. I hope to read another one of her future books to see how much she grows.