Cinder, The Lunar Chronicles
Genre: Cyberpunk, Science Fiction & Fantasy
Story contains: violence, action, plague.
When I first found out that Cinder was a retelling of Cinderella, and a futuristic cyborg version at that, I knew I had to get my hands on this! After hearing from fellow bookworms about how much they loved this book, I came into it with high hopes this would be a great read, and…IT WAS!
While I wouldn’t say that the writing style is my favorite, I was still transported into an amazing futuristic New Beijing, within a world of robots, humans, cyborgs, and Lunar people. I immediately grew attached to CInder, the main character. She’s a cyborg who used to be fully human as a child, but because of a tragic accident certain parts of her body had to be replaced. But as if that wasn’t a bad enough thing to have happen to her, she’s then adopted into a family with a step-mother who hates having another mouth to feed, and a step-sister who is the snootiest thing on the planet. Thankfully, her other step-sister is sweet as can be, and instantly befriends Cinder.
That she’s adopted isn’t the only, or main, reason that her step-mother and most others dislike her, though. As you come to learn more about this world Cinder lives in, you discover that, here, cyborgs are hated, disliked, abused, and seen as lower than human (it doesn’t even matter that they were once human!). This hate is what Cinder has to grow up in, and it has taught her to hide her cyborg secret as best she can.
The story begins with Cinder as a teenager, and a working mechanic, with bits of flashbacks later on to show hints of her past. Cinder is smart, witty, and not all-powerful. She has flaws and insecurities, which were intriguing to follow throughout the book. I especially liked her interactions with Iko the robot (who is fun and just simply adorable) and with her sweet step-sister as they chatted about girly crushes. Their biggest crush being Prince Kai, of course (who Cinder continues to deny that she has a crush on). I enjoyed those fun, slice of life moments.
As for Prince Kai himself, I felt that he came across well for a teenager with the weight of the kingdom on his shoulders, especially when he’s forced suddenly from the role of “prince” and into the role of “king.” Yes, he makes some mistakes, doesn’t always have self-control, and really struggles at the whole “ruling a kingdom” business, but it’s understandable as he’s young and should have had more years of training before taking on such a heavy role.
I found many of Cinder and Kai’s interactions to be funny, with an added touch of snark. Their relationship is an awkward one at first, but as times goes on you can see them getting closer and closer. There wasn’t “instant fairytale love” which I was glad of. And things take a surprising twist near the end, which had me on the edge of my seat! I won’t share any spoilers though. 😉
The world-building had me hooked, especially New Beijing which is like a mixture of different cultures all in one place. The many different types of robots was cool, and Marissa Meyer had a great grasp of mechanics and enigeering knowledge that made Cinder’s character role as a mechanic feel very real. But besides the hate and cruelty towards cyborgs, there is another darkness lurking in this world: and that is an unstoppable plague, ravaging the lands. There is no cure, but Cinder hopes to find one, and this goal of hers is what drives much of the story.
I should also mention there are Lunar people, who live on the moon (hence the name), and they do not get along well with Earth, especially their cold, unfeeling Lunar queen. What do they have to do with Cinder? How do they fit into the story’s plot? You’ll have to read the book to find out! It’s worth it. But prepare yourself for a very unexpected end that will leave you wanting to jump right into the sequel, Scarlet! 😉
I give Cinder 5/5 stars
Coming soon: This Monday, the final 5 nominees for Best Fantasy Weapon in the Silmarillion Awards will be announced! This Tuesday, there won’t be Madnes Solver (I’m sad to say), because it’s July 4th weekend and life is crazy. However, there will be something else special in its place! So drop in this Monday & Tuesday! 🙂 Don’t forget to click the “Follow” button to be notified of future blog posts.