Author: Marissa Meyer
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fairytale Retelling
Our dear Cinderella trades in the glass slipper for a shiny new cyborg foot.
Who doesn’t love fairytales? People without souls, that’s who. And if you love fairytales, you should be interested in Cinder, primarily because it is a fairytale retelling. It’s the first installment in a quartet of fairytale retellings called The Lunar Chronicles.
As you can probably tell from the cover, there is a sci-fi twist where Linh Cinder is a cyborg, meaning she is part-android and part-human. Following the sci-fi pattern, rather than dusting floors, Cinder is a mechanic and has to tend to all her step-mother’s technological needs. The backstory is more or less the same but with one outstanding difference because somewhere in her past, Cinder went from being completely human to having metal body parts. Her two step-sisters, Peony and Pearl, are both human but they are not both vicious to Cinder. Peony is actually pretty nice and they get along great. Whereas Cinderella has mice to keep her company, Cinder has an android named Iko who is a bundle of joy. There is way more personality in her than a lot people I know and she doesn’t even have a heart. The prince is Prince Kai, soon to be Emperor. He’s alright.
What I liked about this book was that it was based off of the first version (or the first to be written down) which originated in China. Cinder lives in the Eastern Commenwealth, which seems to be futuristic China. It’s authentic while also providing a new perspective because we’ve all come to know the Westernized story of Cinderella. A lot of the times when people envision or create a futuristic world, everyone is the same. It’s like they all made the final conformation to literally become one collective humankind. Marissa Meyer, however, created a futuristic world and maintained all the cultural aspects. Doing so made for a very diverse, quality world that was lovely to read. Also, in this time period, the black plague is prevalent with its first sign as a spot or rash on the person’s skin and in a few days, they are dead. That aspect generated a lot of fear and suspense.
On top of that, while all the people of earth are suffering from this plague, there are people up in space acting as yet another silent threat. Lunars, who, by their name you can probably infer, live on the moon, Luna. They’re great antagonists that contributed to the success of this book. Because of the consistent possibility that they will attack, throughout the novel readers are on the edge of their seats wondering, at each moment, whether the Lunars are about to do something big. If you’re not already convinced of their awesome-ness, note that they also have powers.
Cinderella is the foundation for the plot of Cinder but it certainly is not the whole plot. Cinder takes on a completely unique angle with a lot more dimension that the simple girl meets prince, girl marries prince, they live happily ever after. The relationship between Cinder and Kai is not the main focus. There are other rather intriguing characters and plot lines that sustain the story when Kai isn’t in the picture. The beginning was a little slow but when I finally got into the story, I had to read until the end. Cinder is also very sarcastic which made me like her more than I probably would have had she not been.
If you like sarcastic main characters, intriguing sci-fi worlds with a hint of mystery and questionable characters, then Cinder will be a great fit. Just read past the first couple of pages and then you will become compelled to finish it.