Marissa Meyer’s debut, Cinder
, is not your typical young adult novel. Yes, it is science fiction. Yes, it is based on a fairy tale. Yes, it is dystopian. It is indeed typical to see all of those genres hitting libraries and bookshelves lately. What is not
typical is for the mash-up of all three genres to work well together – and it does.
The heroine, Cinder, is a cyborg who is just trying to make a living in post-apocalyptic New Beijing. Cyborgs are second-class citizens that have no rights and live at the mercy of their owners/guardians. She is owned by and lives with her adoptive mother and two “stepsisters” (only one of them being nasty), doing all of their work. The difference from the original story is that instead of doing actual household chores, she is one of the country’s best android mechanics and all of her income supports her family. Cinder is able to mask her cyborg nature from common knowledge by wearing gloves on her refurbished hands and covering her other metal parts, but things complicate when Prince Kaito comes to her booth in need of her service and develops an interest in her.
There are quite a few similarities between Cinder
and the versions of the Cinderella fairy tale with which most people are familiar. However, do not expect it to be a mirror image (no mirrors at all if Queen Levana can help it!) of the original tale. There are quite a few interesting variances, not least a plague sweeping through the kingdom, and the happily ever after you’re looking for may not be waiting for you at the end. There are three more projected books in Meyer’s Lunar Chronicles
, so it may be quite some time before things head down the path to happiness for Cinder.
I’ve been lucky to read quite a few amazing books lately, but this is the first one that I stayed up all night to read and put down all of my other books for (I usually read 2-3 at a time) since The Hunger Games
. It was funny, enchanting, and magical. Scarlet
– book two in the Lunar Chronicles
– cannot come quickly enough.*To satisfy FTC guidelines, I am disclosing that I received the book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. It has in no way affected the outcome.