Cinder by Marissa Meyer
Series: The Lunar Chronicles #1
Published by Feiwel & Friends
Published on: January 3 2012
Genres: Science Fiction, Young Adult
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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.
Let’s talk about fairy tales.
I was fortunate enough to stay with my grandmother, rather than going to daycare, when I was a little girl, and I was even more fortunate that my grandmother loved to read. She read to me constantly, and what did she read?
Anytime there was an occasion to give a gift, what did she give me?
Fairy tale books.
And I LOVED them.
My favorite was a hardback with Arthur Rackham illustrations, and it was not-your-ordinary book of fairy tales. It had translations of the original German versions of the stories I’d been listening to for years, but were so not the same.
Then there were the all NEW stories that I’d never heard before, like The Seven Ravens.
I haven’t read it in years, but basically it’s about a girl whose evil stepmother turns her seven brothers into, yes, ravens, and she (a little girl) has to go on a perilous journey to save them. A nice, old witch gives her a key along the way, but the girl loses it, so that when she gets to wherever it is that her brothers are, she has to cut off (CUT OFF) her pinkie finger to unlock some door.
And that is a for-real Grimms’ Fairy Tale, folks.
Anyway, I heart fairy tales and I always have. Also, I wanted to be an astronaut my entire childhood, until I had to get glasses in the fourth grade (destroying that dream), AND I was a fan of dystopian lit even before The Hunger Games.
THE POINT of telling you all this—Cinder by Marissa Meyer is a Sci-Fi/Dystopian retelling of . . . wait for it . . . C-I-N-D-E-R-E-L-L-A. Or Aschenputtel, if you wanna get German.
I’ll admit that I was leery at first. My previous experiences have lead me to conclude that, for the most part, retellings are just lazy writers standing on the shoulders of other peoples’ greatness.
No so, Cinder.
And to my surprise and delight, Cinder follows the more German tradition of fairy tales (vs the Disney version).
Cinder, not just the book title, but also the name of the MC, not only has a nasty stepmother and two stepsisters (kind of–it’s a guardianship, and one of the “sisters” isn’t bad at all), but she is a CYBORG.
*cackles with glee*
And not only is Cinder a CYBORG, but she lives in a plague-riddled, post-apocalyptic world.
New Beijing is the Capital of the Eastern Commonwealth and is governed by an Emperor, which is where we get our prince.
SIDE NOTE: for those of you that automatically checked the NOPE box at the mention of New Beijing, don’t be so hasty—there are no romanticized versions of geisha, or very noble, but exceedingly dull Samurai Warriors here. It’s merely a location, and an entirely fictional location at that. The continuing installments take place in France, the desert, and presumably on the moon (VERY diverse).
In addition to a prince, we also get an evil, A-L-I-E-N queen. An evil. A-L-I-E-N. Queen.
Well . . . A-L-I-E-N in that she’s from the Moon. Apparently Earth colonized the Moon centuries ago, and those colonists evolved. We’re talking GENETIC MUTATIONS people. Like X-Men. Only the queen is Magneto, not Xavier (thus the evil).
And even if you don’t ordinarily go for YA books, if you like fairy tales, science fiction, and/or dystopian novels, then I would definitely give Cinder a chance, b/c it doesn’t read like a typical YA book. Cinder’s not in high school, dealing with high school issues. She works full-time as a mechanic, and is reviled by society for being a CYBORG. The issues that Cinder is faced with are very adult issues—as far as I can tell, Cinder is only YA by virtue of having a sixteen year old MC, and no scenes-to-make-you-blush. Highly recommended.
The Lunar Chronicles:
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