The Lunar Chronicles: Cinder
By: Marissa Meyer
Summary: 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. (via Goodreads)
I’d gone back and forth about picking up this book for a few weeks before it finally found it’s way into my Kindle library. I’ve always loved fairy tales, but science fiction is not typically a genre I gravitate toward when hunting the shelves for something new.
Or at least, it didn’t used to be.
Cinder didn’t completely change my perspective of all types of sci-fi, but it did broaden my knowledge about the genre. Prior to reading The Lunar Chronicles, I thought anything with sci-fi in it’s mix automatically meant aliens or heavy time travel. The Missing, by Margaret Peterson Haddix, was the only exception I’d made to my “no sci-fi” rule since high school, which I quickly learned made me a highly uneducated author.
So, what was it about this book that peaked my interest and in turn broadened my horizons? The bare bones can be broken down into two essential lists, but for the full story, you’ll just have to pick up a copy yourself.
- World-Building: Marissa Meyer must have put a ton of work into the technicalities of her world before she started writing. Everything was flushed out, from the government systems, to the caste systems, to the environment. Though some parts were confusing for me due to not being a regular reader of science-fiction, which I will get into later, I really felt like her Earth could exist.
- Voice: Each character has his or her own distinct voice. While some exchanges are, in my opinion, quite reminiscent of the original airiness and wistfulness that accompanies the Disney tale, the added spunk, defiance, and determination in Cinder is what really makes her leap off of the page.
- Originality: I have read many fairytale retellings; for the most part, I read any interpretation I can I can get my hands on. Cinderella, in my experience, is one of, if not the most, popular fairytale to retell. I have a hunch that it’s popularity is also one of the reasons why I hesitated to pick up this book. As a writer, of course I’ve read the older versions, including the original Brother’s Grimm version, but as a 90’s kid, Disney will forever more be the first thing that pops in my head. Therefore, when I read the synopsis and discovered that this Cinderella was a cyborg… Well, I couldn’t even fathom how in the world that little change could make the story so interesting as to have an entire community of BookTubers raving about it. Oh, how wrong I was. Cinder is so much more than the typical rags-to-riches story. Elements of a ball and handsome prince are, of course, included, but that is not what spurs the plot along. I can’t say anything more without spoiling it, but Meyer’s unique spin on a tale that I would argue is the epitome of classic fairytales is what makes this story (and series) my current number one favorite in retellings.
In my opinion, there is only one big, noticeable con to this story.
- Detail: Disclaimer first: I am a writer who loves detail. Sometimes a little too much. I constantly find myself looking over old chapters or short stories that I thought were complete, only to delete words. phrases, even entire paragraphs that seemed essential during the drafting process, but could later be discarded without losing the essence of the story. That being said, I felt like while 90% of the aspects of Meyer’s world were described in just the right amount, some of the smaller elements, such as the technology used, were a bit lacking. I still don’t know the difference between a port-screen and a net-screen, (Though I think it might be cell phone vs TV.) and I only learned what T.E. stood for because I Googled it. Most of these issues are minor, and did not distract from my enjoyment of the story, but it irked me that they happened at all. A simple glossary at the back of the book could have alleviated a lot of my confusion.
Overall Rating 5/5 Stars A must read for all fairytale lovers!
Recommendation: Legend by Marie Lu.
Summary: What was once the western United States is now home to the Republic, a nation perpetually at war with its neighbors. Born into an elite family in one of the Republic’s wealthiest districts, fifteen-year-old June is a prodigy being groomed for success in the Republic’s highest military circles. Born into the slums, fifteen-year-old Day is the country’s most wanted criminal. But his motives may not be as malicious as they seem.
From very different worlds, June and Day have no reason to cross paths—until the day June’s brother, Metias, is murdered and Day becomes the prime suspect. Caught in the ultimate game of cat and mouse, Day is in a race for his family’s survival, while June seeks to avenge Metias’s death. But in a shocking turn of events, the two uncover the truth of what has really brought them together, and the sinister lengths their country will go to keep its secrets. (via goodreads.com)
Challenge of the Month: Pick one book outside of your normal genre to read. Leave me a comment on the blog, Facebook, Tumblr, or Twitter telling me what is and how you like it!