Book Review: The Lunar Chronicles – Cinder, by Marissa Meyer

Cinder is the first book in The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer. Fairest is the prequel, but came out after the first four books – Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, Winter. Think Cinderella storyline meets Star Wars and Outbreak. Meyer also hints at other fairy tale characters in the storyline and future books, Rapunzel and the Little Mermaid.

Meyer retells the classic fairy tale of Cinderella with a futuristic twist. Cinder is a cyborg, part machine and part human. Her “father” is an inventor of a bio-electrical system that could be revolutionary in the cyborg industry. Cinder, who we find out barely survives a horrific fire in which she loses her foot and hand as a child, is saved by this man and his invention. However, he passes away and she is left to his wife, Adri, and two daughters, Pearl and Peony. Neither are happy to have her. As a cyborg, Cinder is looked down upon in society, is treated like a slave, and has to be owned by a human. One cannot help but see the irony in a futuristic society reverting to slavery. Cinder’s only pal is an android named Iko. Together, they run a repair business in town, where the handsome Prince Kai asks Cinder to repair his personal android. Iko admires Prince Kai from afar, which I see the Little Mermaid parallel there. Cinder doesn’t know that repairing his android and returning it to the palace will change her life forever.

Meanwhile, a devastating disease is ravaging Earth. I brings death within days of contracting it and there is no known antidote. Cyborgs are being drafted for medical research in the search for a cure. Adri “volunteers” Cinder for the medical research after one of the daughters dies of the disease. Cinder meets Dr. Erland at the palace lab, who discovers more about Cinder than she knows herself. His DNA tests of her prove that she is the only person that could dethrone Queen Levana. Can a cyborg mechanic really take on a queen who has the ability to brainwash people?

After being released from the lab, Cinder returns home. She receives a netscreen message in her basement “office” from a mysterious girl with A LOT of golden hair (a hint toward Rapunzel being in a future book). The girl warns Cinder of the Queen Levana’s sinister plan to become Empress of Luna and Earth. She has to warn Prince Kai, who is being coronated King. If she could get to the coronation ball, she could talk to him and tell him everything. Wearing her dead stepsister’s gown, Cinder manages to get into the ball and briefly talks to Prince Kai until she is confronted by Queen Levana. Will Cinder accept her fate as a cyborg under Queen Levana’s rule or will she do whatever it takes to stop the evil Queen and save Earth?

Can’t wait to find out in the next book, Scarlet.

Cinder is a well-written and addictive book. I found it hard to put down. Marissa Meyer does a great job retelling a classic fairy tale, Cinderella, with a sci-fi twist. There are many similar elements to the traditional fairy tale – the unwanted step-daughter without a father, the handsome prince, the chariot, the ball and gown, the left behind shoe/foot – and some elements that are new – the deadly disease, the spaceships and androids, a civilization on the Moon and new global structure on Earth.

I could not help but fall in love with Cinder because of her personality and her humanity. She cares for the fate of the people on Earth, does not want to be seen as non-human because of her cyborg parts, and sees more in androids than other people do. She can also rebuild a car, tell when someone is lying, and does not need a man to rescue her. My kind of girl!!!

This is a must read series for Young Adults and older this summer!

 

Conder and Kai

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