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
Despite this being a fairytale retelling, Marissa Meyer succeeded in making Cinder a refreshing read. There were some familiar elements included throughout, such as the ball, but Meyer kept her story moving forward with sci-fi technology, a plague-ridden New Beijing (and world), an evil Lunar queen, and some political intrigue. I was hooked from the first page and this is a series I will eagerly look forward to with each installment.
We’re all familiar with the original fairytale so it should be to no one’s surprise that our main character, Cinder, lives and works under the control of her stepmother. The difference here, however, is that Cinder is a cyborg, which only adds to the many reasons Adri dislikes her. Instead of being super depressed and mopey, though, Cinder is very much an individual with her own hopes and aspirations. Even as things fall apart around her — and they really do — she keeps herself collected and motivated. I can easily appreciate the kickass ways from other YA heroines, but what I loved about Cinder is that her fierceness was a lot more subtle.
The side characters were great, too, and elicited strong reactions from me. Iko, Cinder’s android friend, was hilarious and I loved each of her scenes. Cinder’s relationship with Peony, her younger stepsister, was one that definitely tugged at my heart strings. Adri, the stepmother, was a character I disliked for mistreating Cinder, but her reasons felt very real to me. In a weird, twisted way, I could maybe understand where she was coming from. As for the Lunar queen, Levana…YIKES. Creepy, creepy and I can’t wait to uncover more details about her and the Lunar people.
Then, of course, there’s the love interest in the form of one Prince Kai. The book is light on the kissing and other romance-ish stuff, but that didn’t stop me from growing attached to the scenes between him and Cinder. I loved the development between the two, how sweet it was, and how their friendship only continued to grow based on mutual respect. I also — surprisingly — enjoyed the shift to Kai’s POV. I’m usually one to scrunch my nose when these changes happen in other books, but the third person narration, as well as the further insight into his character, definitely helped in this case. Kai carries a lot of responsibility on his shoulders and it was tough having to see him deal with very difficult situations. Above everything, though, he’s a good leader and, even when I found myself screaming “Nooooo!!!!” at him, I had to admire his actions and how dedicated he was to his people. Welcome to the fictional boyfriend list, Kai.
The upcoming books in the Lunar Chronicles will introduce other fairytale characters: Red Riding Hood, Snow White, and Rapunzel. They, along with Cinder, will come together to fight against Levana. Sounds cool, right? Meyer wove a unique, creative story here and I’m looking forward to seeing how she continues to spin these familiar stories and characters into something new and exciting. This is definitely a new favorite series for me and I urge you to pick up Cinder when it is released on January 3rd!
Cinder is also available on audiobook through Macmillian Audio. Check out the clip below!
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