Cinderella's current life is one of adjustment, fear, longing for a past she is only just beginning to remember, and for a future where love exists outside the spell of a fairy godmother giving Cinderella what you thought you wanted.
Michelle effortlessly creates a world ouside the Disney-fied (nope, not a word, but I'm using it) imagery so closely associated, and a bit beyond the Brothers Grimm's intentions, with the classic fairy tale. From a palace filled with darkness and shadows, blood on the floors, to burnt out villages, to 'dark maroon ground' that 'spreads itself straight to the edge', and a 'watery horizon in the distance churned', and . . . so very much more.
Gone, and not in a bad way, are the glittering visions painted forth in the Disney version of Cinderella. Here is a realistic world where both light and darkness exists, and where the darker depths of humanity shine forth as those in power play out their games of power, oppressing those they fear, and embracing the past so fiercely they cannot set their feet on a path toward a different future.
You must control your future now. It is a choice.
The above words are spoken by Eolande, Cinderella's fairy godmother, and define the journey Cinderella takes throughout the pages of Cinders.
Life is about choices - good, bad, or indifferent. Cinderella makes all of these, some with devastating consequences. In the end, magic aside, a spell broken . . . or not . . . Cinderella must face her doubts, her indecision, and forge a life that is enough . . . for her.
I loved this book. Okay, there were parts I didn't love. I love the fact that Michelle created a compelling, entirely fallible woman. I loved Cinderella (the character). I hated her. I empathized with her.
Cinderella doubts herself. She struggles with who she wants to be, who she has become, and who she might become.
In the end, Cinderella must face all the decisions she made, the reasons she made them, and decide what the future holds for her. Whatever she might have wished for, whatever her fairy godmother granted her, the next steps in her life are entirely up to Cinderella: You must control your future now.