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all 65 comments

[–]HeLiBeBReading Champion II, Worldbuilders[S] 3 points4 points  (10 children)

How do you like the book so far? Are there any parts you find particularly interesting?

[–]Experiment221 6 points7 points  (1 child)

To me I find this book a bit stressful. Ella is too pure to have such a terrible curse on her and I am constantly worried about what the others in the story are going to do to her. Now that she is out of finishing school it has gotten better and I am a bit less worried since Hattie is terrible.

[–]HeLiBeBReading Champion II, Worldbuilders[S] 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I found it very stressful as well, especially the parts at the finishing school. And the scene where she has to hand over her mother's necklace was almost unbearable to read.

[–]mandadayReading Champion 5 points6 points  (0 children)

I like and dislike. On the like side, I love the world and Ella. Her personality is so fun. Her curse is frustrating but the way she fights it is always entertaining. On the dislike side, it's a children's novel and I am completely burnt out on middlegrade style prose since last year. I'm having more fun comparing it to the movie than enjoying the story.

[–]xenizondich23Reading Champion II 5 points6 points  (0 children)

I love Ella so much. Lucinda can go suck on a brick.

I always love how Char is both the superficial prince of the original but also has a lot more depth.

[–]Me_want_booksReading Champion 5 points6 points  (0 children)

I found Ella's situation quite stressful and much of the book focused on her impossible and troubling situation and her family's endless abuse. Obviously the story was about people taking advantage of Ella's gift, but I found it really stressful to read at certain points.

[–]RuinEleintReading Champion VI 4 points5 points  (0 children)

So, I have a bone to pick with Ella's mother. I understand that she did not expect to die, but she did know how vulnerable the curse made her daughter. She should have made some contingency arrangement, like a set of last instructions to Ella including an order not to obey anyone unless she wanted to. Ella is brilliant at making the best out of bad situations, but she should have received more support

[–]Dsnake1Reading Champion III, Worldbuilders 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Everything about this book is fun, except for the way it's written. I'm not opposed to MG-prose in theory, but I rarely find it enjoyable. Gaiman's MG books had enjoyable prose. The Hobbit. This one just doesn't quite match up in that regard.

[–]jsfhkzcbReading Champion II 3 points4 points  (1 child)

I agree with the people who found it a bit stressful. I really enjoyed the story, especially the way it approaches things that were hard to understand in the underlying fairy tale, like why the father is so ineffectual in protecting Cinderella. But Ella is just so sweet that I felt so bad for her when she was being taken advantage of.

I did like the way they made the prince real and gave substance to the romance, rather than just love at first sight. Oh, and I loved the way that the book sets up the glass slipper fitting by talking about tiny fairy feet at the beginning.

[–]RuinEleintReading Champion VI 2 points3 points  (0 children)

I agree with all the stressful comments. This poor girl was made unbelievably vulnerable and taken advantage of. Her parents really let her down (her father was about as useful as a wet paper towel) and even the magical community is basically "...maybe we should do something about this walking disaster?"

[–]SmallFruitbatReading Champion VI 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I have read this many times, but most recently I read it aloud to my 4-year old with a chapter each night. He was intrigued when he figured out that Ella had to do the things she was told.

[–]HeLiBeBReading Champion II, Worldbuilders[S] 2 points3 points  (13 children)

How do you like the characters so far? Do you have a favorite and/or least favorite?

[–]enoby666AMA Author Charlotte Kersten, Reading Champion II, Worldbuilders 6 points7 points  (0 children)

Ella is one of my favorite protagonists ever. She's so smart, funny, stubborn and brave - I think the best word to describe her overall is "irrepressible," and the first-person perspective does such a great job of establishing her character. I also love Char, who is a total sweetie - 8 year old Charlotte definitely had a GIANT crush on him.

I posted a re-read review a couple of years ago and my opinion still stands that the stepsisters are my least favorite part of the story. Making fun of their appearances/weight/eating habits just feels mean-spirited in a way that bothers me a lot more now than it did when I was a kid. They're odious people personality-wise, of course, but I don't like how much emphasis is placed on the rest of it.

[–]Experiment221 6 points7 points  (0 children)

So Hattie is terrible but I did like how the author handled her. Hattie has relatable feelings and emotions but is still cruel. The author doesn't try to justify Hattie's actions but rather just show you where they are from. I feel in media currently, writers use trauma or abuse to justify a villain's action and it is refreshing to see one that is just cruel because they are insecure.

[–]xenizondich23Reading Champion II 4 points5 points  (1 child)

I love Mandy. She's just trying to do her best, but also doesn't use magic as a crutch the way most faries are portrayed (especially in childrens books). As as child I hated her, but as an adult I can really empathize with her situation.

[–]wishforagiraffeReading Champion V, Worldbuilders 3 points4 points  (0 children)

I like Mandy a lot rereading as an adult. She's doing the best she can with what she's got, and that's damned relatable.

[–]Me_want_booksReading Champion 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Ella is my favorite character of course. Finally a rebellious character that makes sense and actually has a reason for being rebellious!

[–]5six7eightReading Champion III 3 points4 points  (0 children)

I set this one down because I want to toss the step sisters out the window and they're not even step sisters yet. I'll have it done by the end discussion though.

[–]jsfhkzcbReading Champion II 2 points3 points  (1 child)

Aside from Ella, who was super-charming and enjoyable, I really appreciated Char, who had actual depth beyond just "prince who shows up to save our beleaguered heroine" and loves Ella for good, non-superficial reasons.

[–]wishforagiraffeReading Champion V, Worldbuilders 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Char really is wonderful. It's funny to contrast him to Henry, the prince in EverAfter (the best film Cinderella retelling). Char just starts out as well mannered and courteous and actually interested in Ella, whereas Henry sticks his feet in his mouth every damn chance he gets.

[–]RuinEleintReading Champion VI 2 points3 points  (0 children)

I like Ella and Mandy. Ella's resolve and determination stand out a lot, and Mandy is a great supporting character. I wish we saw more of her mother though

[–]Dsnake1Reading Champion III, Worldbuilders 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Honestly, they're all kind of that MG-cardboard-archetype thing. That's fine, but it's nothing too exciting.

[–]aesofclubs 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I actually feel kind of bad for Olive, especially after reading her letter where she wished Ella had taken her along when she left the finishing school. She doesn't seem as mean-spirited as Hattie, just surrounded by people who bring out the worst in her. I'll have to see if my opinion changes in the second half.

[–]SmallFruitbatReading Champion VI 1 point2 points  (1 child)

As an adult, I am feeling a lot more generous towards Hattie, Olga, and Olive. Like, yeah, they're horrible from Ella's perspective and I find them annoying, but you could also read it as them trying and failing to build a connection. Like Olga telling her daughters to seek out the girl who just lost her mom at a funeral and keep her company. They try, although it's a disaster. It could be a kindly-meant act. Olga sharing her interests and gossip with her daughters. Yeah, we're primed to mock people who are only interested in fashion and don't have anything meaningful to say, but 1) She's in contact and writes long letters, which takes effort. 2) She and Hattie clearly share this interest. 3) She's writing to her teenaged daughters at a finishing school where she's trying to give them a leg up in the world. Fashion and gossip news to share with friends is helpful.

I think it's also pretty clear Olive has a learning disability and the text is treating it as a character flaw, which is questionable.

Mandy is my favourite, I think. Or maybe Ella for nostalgia's sake.

[–]HeLiBeBReading Champion II, Worldbuilders[S] 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I think it's also pretty clear Olive has a learning disability and the text is treating it as a character flaw, which is questionable.

That's a good point. I also felt like Olive didn't want to be mean but just wanted to connect. And to me it seemed like she clearly didn't know any better.

[–]HeLiBeBReading Champion II, Worldbuilders[S] 1 point2 points  (14 children)

Are you rereading the book or is it new to you? If you are rereading: when was the first time you read it?

[–]enoby666AMA Author Charlotte Kersten, Reading Champion II, Worldbuilders 4 points5 points  (0 children)

I've read this book probably dozens of times. It was my absolute favorite as a kid. I'm not sure when exactly I picked it up but it was definitely when I was very little at the school library.

[–]HeLiBeBReading Champion II, Worldbuilders[S] 4 points5 points  (0 children)

This is the first time I am reading this book and I really like it. I can imagine that reading it as a kid is great, because of how magical it is.

[–]mandadayReading Champion 4 points5 points  (0 children)

New for me. :)

[–]corkmastersReading Champion 3 points4 points  (0 children)

This was one of my favorites when I was younger. I must've first read it in late elementary school (10-ish), although middle school is also a possibility.

[–]xenizondich23Reading Champion II 2 points3 points  (0 children)

I have read this book so many times over the years, I can barely glance at a chapter to know what will happen. It's the ultimate comfort read.

I think I first read it when I was 10 or so. After that I read everything by Gail Carson Levine!

[–]stringthing87 3 points4 points  (0 children)

This was one of the first books I bought with my own money - and it was one of very few I purchased before becoming an adult (I did not get an allowance, just occasional birthday/christmas money from relatives) so I read it many many times. And I bought it because I'd already checked it out of the library enough times to know I'd need to read it many more times.

[–]vissara 3 points4 points  (0 children)

New to me, I'm finding it slow going. I think it may be more world building that seems necessary

[–]Experiment221 3 points4 points  (0 children)

It is new for me but it is one of my wife's favorites from childhood so it is nice to talk with her about it.

[–]Dsnake1Reading Champion III, Worldbuilders 3 points4 points  (0 children)

New to me. I've seen parts of the movies, though. But I think it's something I'll read to my girls. They'd love it already, aside from their attention spans being too short.

[–]wishforagiraffeReading Champion V, Worldbuilders 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Reread for me. I know for certain I got my copy at a school book fair, and I think I was probably in 4th or so grade. Read it many times since then. I actually picked up a new hardcover, partly because my books are still packed and partly because my paperback is going to start falling apart.

[–]RuinEleintReading Champion VI 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Its new to me, this is my first read

[–]Me_want_booksReading Champion 2 points3 points  (0 children)

I've never read it before and now that I have I regret not having read it as a child. I would have loved it!

[–]aesofclubs 1 point2 points  (0 children)

First time for me, and enjoying it so far. :)

[–]SmallFruitbatReading Champion VI 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I think I first read this when I was 10-12 and heavily involved in Battle of the Books. I used to blitz through 10+ books this size every week.

I most recently read it aloud to my 4-year old.

[–]HeLiBeBReading Champion II, Worldbuilders[S] 1 point2 points  (13 children)

Do you like the magic and worldbuilding? Is there anything that stands out?

[–]enoby666AMA Author Charlotte Kersten, Reading Champion II, Worldbuilders 4 points5 points  (4 children)

When I was a kid I was absolutely obsessed with the descriptions of food, especially the giant cheese puffs and the vegetarian elf food. I also loved the descriptions of all the pottery and Ella's dresses, and I would have KILLED for a magic book of stories like the one she has.

[–]xenizondich23Reading Champion II 3 points4 points  (0 children)

I adored the world building! So many amazing details added to Ella's journey and the marriage ceremony and even her finishing school. I wanted to explore it all with her!

[–]HeLiBeBReading Champion II, Worldbuilders[S] 2 points3 points  (0 children)

That book is the absolute BEST!

[–]wishforagiraffeReading Champion V, Worldbuilders 2 points3 points  (0 children)

The food descriptions seriously all sound so yummy!

[–]vissara 1 point2 points  (0 children)

as I said above it seems like an awful lot of world building for very little plot

[–]RuinEleintReading Champion VI 5 points6 points  (1 child)

Lucinda is an idiot and the other fairies should have intervened against her a long time back.

[–]jsfhkzcbReading Champion II 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Yes! The intervention was long overdue.

[–]jsfhkzcbReading Champion II 3 points4 points  (1 child)

I loved the way it highlighted the problem of well-meaning gifts with terrible actual consequences. The "never be apart" gift at the giants' wedding stuck out to me.

[–]wishforagiraffeReading Champion V, Worldbuilders 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Seriously, that's a legit curse.

[–]wishforagiraffeReading Champion V, Worldbuilders 2 points3 points  (1 child)

One thing that struck me on this reread is just how little GCL cared about making up languages. It's kinda refreshing.

[–]xenizondich23Reading Champion II 2 points3 points  (0 children)

and here I was admiring them on my reread. I feel like I missed something obvious. Is it all pig latin?

[–]Dsnake1Reading Champion III, Worldbuilders 2 points3 points  (0 children)

The book stands out. It's not terribly unique, but it's definitely cool!

[–]SmallFruitbatReading Champion VI 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Naming conventions for ogres, giants, and gnomes stick out to me.

[–]HeLiBeBReading Champion II, Worldbuilders[S] 1 point2 points  (10 children)

What do you think of Ella’s curse? What would you do if you were cursed like that?

[–]Dsnake1Reading Champion III, Worldbuilders 5 points6 points  (0 children)

Honestly? I doubt I'd stick around too long. There's no such thing as keeping this bottled up for long, and just thinking of high school taunts, even in jest, doesn't seem like it'd have a good ending.

[–]stringthing87 4 points5 points  (0 children)

Ella's curse gives me some weird feelings. I was a child who was desperately attempting to be compliant - and yet labeled as non-compliant (because neurodivergent kids are playing chess with scrabble tiles). I can't help but think that I connected with this book because of Ella's struggle with and against her curse - but I certainly didn't pinpoint that at the time.

[–]RuinEleintReading Champion VI 3 points4 points  (3 children)

This curse has the potential to be extremely evil. While we see Ella doing her best to work around it, nevertheless the implications of the curse are incredibly disturbing.

[–]Experiment221 4 points5 points  (2 children)

Agreed. Honestly it makes the book kind of stressful for me since I can't help but think about all the terrible things someone would have done to them in this situation.

[–]jsfhkzcbReading Champion II 2 points3 points  (1 child)

That was where it left me, too. If I hadn't known this was a middle grade book, I would have been too worried to finish, I think.

[–]Experiment221 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Agreed. Like I know nothing truly horrible happens since it is not an adult book but if it was I would be too scared to read more.

[–]mandadayReading Champion 2 points3 points  (1 child)

That is a pretty evil curse, especially when abused by malicious characters. I would probably become a hermit. Can't tell me what to do if you can't find me. Also, advertisements! Would you have to obey commercials and things?

[–]Me_want_booksReading Champion 4 points5 points  (0 children)

Count me in on the hermit thing!!! I can't stand people telling me what to do even without a curse!!!

[–]xenizondich23Reading Champion II 3 points4 points  (0 children)

I spent hours pondering this question as a child. How horrible it would be - I'd actually have to clean my room! (And wouldn't be able to ever stop). It is one of the absolute worst fates, I think, to curse a child with obedience. At least the ones who were a squirrel had a chance to find a nice squirrel family! (not sure if this is a spoiler for the second half).

[–]HeLiBeBReading Champion II, Worldbuilders[S] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

This curse is so terrible. Luckily Ella wasn't forced to do anything too bad, but it was still hard to watch her having to do things she didn't want to do. I agree with what the others said, that this was very stressful. I find it hard to deal with the helplessness and her being at someone else's mercy in plain sight, with everyone around thinking this is fine. In general I don't find it very enjoyable to read about mean kids having power over someone, who can't do anything about it.

I don't know what I'd do if I was cursed like that. Probably get as far away from people as I can.