by Marissa Meyer
Rating: 3 wine glasses
At the spot where the world of fantasy and science fiction collide is where the story of Cinder begins. Cinder is a unique spin on the classic fairy tale of Cinderella. The story unfolds in New Beijing 120 years after World War IV. The world has changed quite a bit over the years. The moon has been colonized by humans and over the centuries the lunar human race has evolved and developed special abilities which allows them to alter a person’s thoughts or the way they appear to others.
“People said Lunars could alter a person’s brain – make you see things you shouldn’t see, feel things you shouldn’t feel, do thing you didn’t want to do. Their unnatural power had made them a greedy and violent race, and Queen Levana was the worst of the worst of all of them.”
Queen Levana is suspected of murdering her older sister, husband and niece in order to inherit and secure her position on the Lunar throne. She will stop at nothing to maintain control and increase her power.
The story follows the life of Cinder, a cyborg mechanic. If Cinder didn’t already feel like a second class citizen living as ward under her step-mother’s care, it is about to get worse as Cinder’s mysterious pre-cyborg past is about to be unraveled.
Like Cinder’s character, this book is more than meets the eye. Marissa Meyer has crafted a unique and at times peculiar retelling of the fairy tale favorite, Cinderella. Her distinct attention to detail has created a world that is just as much science fiction as it is fantasy. At times, the mechanic scenes got a little too technology savvy for my personal taste, but some sci-fic readers might find it an enhancing quality to Meyer’s unique skill to drop a fairy tale in a scientifically futuristic world.
I appreciated that the story is set in China where the story of Cinderella was originally believed to have been first recorded. I also enjoyed Cinder’s character, but even more so at times I liked her cyborg abilities such as how an orange light will appear in her vision to indicate when she is being lied to. I adored Iko, an android with a programming glitch that leaves her with smart mouth, a nose for fashion and a mad crush on the young prince, Kaito.
I was surprised by Meyer’s willingness to kill off characters this early in the series. It is rarity in the young adult genre to see authors kill off characters in the first book of a series. I found this refreshing in the aspect that some events didn’t occur exactly how I predicted, however, the big shocker at the end of the book was something I foresaw about 20% of the way into the book.
In all, it was an interesting read and was unlike any other fairy tale retelling I have encountered. I definitely think this a great pick if you like science-fiction as much as fantasy. And if you prefer fantasy and romance like me than it is worth giving it a shot because if nothing else it will challenge your concept of fairy tales, being human and love.