Cinder by Marrisa Meyer (Lunar Chronicles #1)
Published in 2012 by Feiwel And Friends
Genre| YA, Science Fiction, Fairy Tale, Romance
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 (Courtesy of Goodreads).
Review | ★ ★ ★ ★
The characters in Cinder were definitely one of my favorite parts of this book. I absolutely adore Cinder for being such a strong-willed and determined protagonist. She’s a character that doesn’t expect things to be handed to her and works hard even in the worst conditions. No matter what life throws at her Cinder is a fighter to the end and that is what makes me love her so much.
Next to Cinder, Prince Kai is definitely a second favorite. He has all the charm a Prince Charming should have, but also very playful and childish in his own way–in my opinion,he’s an absolute cutie. Other than being just charming, it is clear in that Prince Kai bordering on adolescence and adulthood. He shows signs of still being that playful young prince, but because of circumstances he is in a position where he really has not choice but to mature.
Queen Levana. Seriously, she is the epitome of evil queen and a character I just love to hate. The concept of Lunar people itself really is interesting to me. Moon people that can use magic, a.k.a manipulating bioelectricity, to brainwash people and glamour themselves to look like whatever they want? That’s really cool. When you add this sort of “magic” to the Lunar Queen she really becomes that classic fairy-tale villian.
While I only mentioned the 3 main characters, Cinder has an amazing cast of characters with their own unique personalities that I really enjoyed reading about.
Despite being a Cinderella retelling, this book adds such a unique and fresh twist on the classic fairy-tale. I like how the focus of the story is not on fairy-tale retelling, but on the actual plot itself. Of course there classic Cinderella elements sprinkled throughout the story–we have a Prince Charming, the ball and the not-so-nice step-mother–but Cinder is not so concerned about going to the ball, but instead dreams of ending her servitude lifestyle while having to deal with the Letumosis plague and threat of a Lunar invasion.
As enjoyable as the story was, I do feel that it was predictable in some respects. After reading the blurb that the author liked Sailor Moon on the inside cover, it was really obvious on where the story would turn. So most of the shocking moments in this book didn’t leave me the least bit surprised.
The futuristic society of New Beijing is definitely not where I would imagine Cinderella living, but for Cinder it works. The Sci-Fi elements really make this book standout–there’s androids, netscreens and hovers–making it unlike any other fairy-tale retelling I’ve ever read. I’m converted now, Sci-Fi and fairy-tales are one of the best genre combinations ever! Despite being primarily set in New Beijing in this futuristic Asian empire, I like how there was some mentioning to other nations as well giving us a glimpse of what’s become of Earth after the devastating end of World War IV; in fact there was a festival held in celebration of it.
In terms of of politics, the biggest political strife is between Earth and the Lunar Queen. Mainly it’s between Prince Kai and Queen Levana. Queen Levana rather using her invincible power and army to take over Earth, she wants to marry the prince in order to become Empress of the Common Wealth Empire and then take over the Earth. With the incurable Letumosis plague running about and the threat of a Lunar takeover, Prince Kai and the rest of the Earth nations really have something to worry about.
One thing I really wished to see was more cultural influences in the book. Other than the mention of a pagoda-like palace in New Beijing, some Asian sounding names and the use of Chinese suffixes there really isn’t much point in setting the story in a placed called New Beijing. The story could have been set anywhere else and still would’ve made sense. In fact, I kind of just assume the Commonwealth Empire was all of Asian combined because of the use of different Asian ethnic names (e.g. Linh being a Vietnamese surname and Kaito being a Japanese name).
Would I recommend it?
I would definitely recommend Cinder by Marrisa Meyer to young adult Sci-Fi readers and fairy-tale retelling lovers. The book does have some flaws, but the characters and unique plot really makes this book stand out and enjoyable. I look forward to reading the second book in the Lunar Chronicles series.