by Marissa Meyer (2012)
Recommended for fans of:
* Fast-paced, accessible science fiction
* Fairy tale retellings translated into the future
* Mild romance with a long, slow courtship and believable development
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 is a gifted mechanic and a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with Prince Kai’s, she finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover the secrets of her past to protect her world’s future.
My result: Recommended
I resisted reading Cinder because it’s already pretty well known and doesn’t need me to bring it to the attention of others. But with the science fiction twist, lots of glowing recommendations, and this year’s fairy tale kick, I could only resist for so long. I’m keeping the review short since I’m about three years behind the hype.
The science fiction side of Cinder is extensive and well thought out. Cinder’s cyborg status meshes beautifully with the Cinderella tale. It explains her indebted status in society, as well as her stepmother’s distaste. Lunar society is intriguing, and interstellar intrigue allows room for the series to work in other fairy tales in future volumes.
Cinderella’s princes rarely hold much appeal, and Prince Kai breaks that trend decisively. He’s an interesting character in his own right, and their relationship progresses naturally and believably. Their slow-building courtship kept me up late reading, and I’m eager to see where the story takes these two characters next. (It reminds me a lot of the courtship of Vin and Elend, one of my favorite fictional couples, in Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn Trilogy.)
Overall, I enjoyed Cinder. Creative interpretation and a compelling plot make Cinder a solid recommendation for most readers. However, the plot twists were telegraphed too heavily for me to give five stars. (Not the fairy tale elements, because of course, but other elements.) That didn’t keep me from enjoying Cinder though, and I will be continuing the series. Recommended.
If you like Cinder
You might also enjoy:
- Of Beast and Beauty – A vaguely science fiction retelling of Beauty and the Beast, with role reversals and a good exploration of inner beauty vs outer beauty.
- Stitching Snow – A science fiction retelling of Snow White as a mechanic heroine enmeshed in interplanetary conflict.
- Wildwood Dancing – A fantasy retelling of Twelve Dancing Princesses, with fairies, vampires, and a feminist-friendly heroine, plus a strong female friendship.
- Fables – If you love fairy tales, join the Buddy Read of the Fables graphic novels, as fairy tale figures take on modern New York.