For a retelling of Cinderella, there were a lot of things that were pretty obvious early on in the book, that the author left to the end to reveal. Despite knowing a lot of the ‘who is who’ by the major hints she dropped and other things just as obvious based off the Cinderella reference I really enjoyed the book.
The author did spend quite a bit of time on things that didn’t seem to be important (might come to be in the next books), and slowed the story down quite a bit.
The world she created was rich and one I could see existing. The author did a great job of describing the environment as if you were a resident and not a visitor, unless you were a visitor. She assumes the characters (and thus her readers) are familiar with their settings, and didn’t feel the need to have them explain to each other things they were familiar with. While this leaves a lot of the scenery to the imagination of the reader (think Venice), the characters she filled the world with although mostly a backwash for the major characters were filled out just enough to give the reader a sense of walking down the canals or streets of Venecia (Venice) or walking into the ballroom, dining room.
I feel that at a certain point, she strayed from the fundamental of the characters to force her story into the desired direction, where she could have had them stay true to their fundamental character and with a little more work still direct the story the way she wished. (Instead of Aiden lashing out, she could have made him the caring, gentle guy we came to love through the book, and then have Aiden & Evie assaulted with Aiden kidnapped and Evie left in an unfamiliar place in need of help or guidance choosing the same path to find help) to achieve the same ends while being true to the characters. This also gives us a happier ending than the I’ll think about it, now lets move to a completely different POV for book 2 and leave characters from book 1 on hold, making the story have a resolution, but still giving the second book POV an option and want to read. (Still just into book 2).
I feel the author left too much unresolved and compromised the characters to give the story 5 stars. Still a great read, and teen friendly. Earns 4 stars from me.