Cinder – by Marissa Meyer
Cinder is the first book in The Lunar Chronicles quartet by Marissa Meyer, retelling and reimagining fairy tales beginning with that of Cinderella. It’s an intriguing concept, and this title had been on my radar for a while. Here’s how I found Meyer’s modern-day, grim tale:
In a lot of ways, Cinder’s just a normal girl. In a lot of ways, she’s not at all. For starters, she’s a cyborg – part human, part machine. This means she’s technically the property of her stepmother, who never fails to remind Cinder of the fact. She’s also an extremely talented mechanic, with a knack for fixing things deemed irreparable.
Cinder had no idea how far her reputation had spread, until the day Prince Kai comes to her for a delicate fix he can’t trust to anyone but the best. Cinder is drawn not only to Kai’s secretive quest and political concerns, but also to his magnetic personality. For his part, Kai seems just as fascinated by Cinder. But how could anyone, much less a Prince, love the part human Cinder, with secrets even she doesn’t know she keeps?
Cinder started out slowly, taking a while to build its world before moving into the action. The society is detailed and enticing: an Asian style community with futuristic advancements, the like of which I’d never seen in YA Fantasy/Sci Fi. The little details were excellent, such as the new communication methods and the physical rules that governed the powers of the Lunar people.
Cinder’s a great female lead, with a fiery personality that doesn’t overlook her frustrating position as something owned by her stepmother. Prince Kai was an excellent leading-man-mix of hopeful and jaded, in over his head and determined not to give in under the weight of political maneuvers he’s being hemmed in by. The supporting cast were also solid with a few very memorable characters, and, happily, these were more than simply the repackaged population of the original versions of the tale.
I wasn’t hooked by Cinder to the extent I often am by YA fantasy. I do tend to favour fantasy as opposed to sci fi: older societies than new, which may have been part of it. I enjoyed the story, but found myself only casually interested in Cinder’s plight – except when her true back story was revealed. I picked the central twist early on (and suspect most people will), but the implications of this were far more satisfying than I’d anticipated.
I’ll be checking in with Cinder in the second instalment of Meyer’s series – because I’d like to see how they get themselves out of this mess!
Have you read Cinder? Where do you stand on ye olde vs futuristic fantasy?