Title: Cinder (Book 1 of the Lunar Chronicles)
Author: Marissa Meyer
Publication Date: January 3, 2012
Rating: 4 stars
Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl.
Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future. (Goodreads)
I hesitated to read this book for the longest time. I don’t know what it was about it, but for nearly a year I would pick it up in the store every time I went, but always changed my mind and set it back down. Finally a friend bought it for me back in August and I still haven’t taken the time to read it until now. I didn’t know what I was missing.
Cinder is a modern retelling of the classic Cinderella fairy tale, set far in the future with androids, cyborgs and a race that has evolved on the moon. This description is what originally made me unsure of the story, but once I started reading I couldn’t put it down. The setting and conflict of the story set it apart from the typical fairy tale retelling and make it just unpredictable enough that the story doesn’t get boring (even if, like me, you figure out the twists of the story in advance). I loved all the nods to the original tale, while being updated and changed to fit with the book’s plot and setting.
Cinder’s stepmother Adri is appropriately despicable and you really feel for the poor girl who does not seem to fit in anywhere – especially once she starts learning the truth of her background. I also really liked that instead of two evil stepsisters, one of Cinder’s sisters is actually the closest thing Cinder has to a human friend.
If you’re a fan of YA and fairy tales, then I definitely recommend this title. It’s a terrific blend of fairy tale and dystopia and it’s a very quick read. I’ve been struggling a little with the YA genre lately as I’ve been disappointed with the last few I read, but this has proven that I can still enjoy YA when it’s done well. I can’t wait to see how she weaves more fairy tales into the storyline with the rest of the series.