I loved this book! What a charming, engaging, and funny read!
Originally I'd seen the movie, and it wasn't only my sister that often quipped that the book was much better than the movie version (a rule that I live by regardless) but my best friend too supported my sister's words, telling me she'd really enjoyed the book herself. When my sister took this one out of the library, I eventually lifted it from her pile to check it out, and I am not disappointed.
This is a book that basically slaps the movie version in the face and sends it to the dark side of the moon where no one should look for it, or even give a second thought to it. How much more would I have enjoyed this book if the movie's bullcrap didn't keep popping into my head! Thankfully I was able to shove aside the movie in general and read without trying to assume anything.
And man was this a good read! Let me talk about Ella for a second, our main character. She is strong, passionate, intelligent, and quirky! She has such a quick wit and half the time I'm either smirking because of the inventive ways she gets back at people for the situations they put her into, or I'm laughing and smiling because she's confidant and bold, but considerate! I don't think I've ever been more amazed at the number of times that a character has looked at their own curse and thought of how it would affect other people. Ella, time and time again, saw the way her curse would affect those she cared about and made heart-wrenching sacrifices in order to protect both friends and loved ones from the horrors that could have been dealt had her curse been used against those she found dear. There were moments that had me close to tears because the things she willingly gave up were the deepest and most innocent desires of her heart. Yet she did it of her own free will, to legitimately protect these people. And not in the way that some girls do when they say they're doing it for someone else's benefit and they're actually just twisting people's arms and making their lives difficult so they'll have to pay attention to them. -_- ...ANYWAY~!
Char's wonderful as well! Towards one part at the near end of the book he authentically made me fall for him, and yet just like in one of his letters, I loved the fact that he had faults, and that he was upset about things, just like normal people. He was a great character, but he wasn't even trying to be anything close to a perfect guy. I love that quality in any potential love interests a book or story might have. Mandy was also fantastic, and for the short time that she was alive, Ella's mother and namesake Eleanor was also wonderful. There's an entire cast of loveable characters here, and you've got the bad ones that do nothing but wreck vengeance on others through their own selfish desires. However this mix makes it all an exciting read in the end.
If you want a fun, exciting, enjoyable story to read, this is definitely one you should pick up. It's got plenty of delights and a lot reasonable antagonists to supply the chaotic element that makes all the good parts really come to light. It's a quick and easy read, and it's one you'll love to go back to for seconds. I actually recommend buying this book right off if you enjoy fantasy, and fairytale stories. And for those who are particular fans of Cinderella and retellings, this is definitely a buy for you.