Author: Marissa Meyer
Publication Date: January 2012
Two Sentence Synopsis: As a highly gifted mechanic and a cyborg, Cinder is both respected and treated as a second-class citizen by most, and worse by her stepmother. When her stepsister falls ill with the deadly illness plaguing the world, Cinder is sent to become a test subject to find a cure and learns some unexpected things about her past.
Review: It took me six years to finally read this book and I can honestly say that the wait was definitely worth it. Marissa Meyer’s interpretation of the future is fascinating and her world is quite detailed, right down to class structure. The whole world has different national borders, but not too different that the readers won’t recognize the world as they know it. At some point, humanity colonized the moon and the people living there, known as Lunars, have been affected by their new habitat, allowing them to manipulate bioelectric energy. Lunars fleeing their tyrannical queens have also caused the spread of a disease called Letumosis, or “Blue Fever”. There’s so much here that it seems overwhelming, but the way that Meyer weaves her story allows the reader to take in information at a pace that makes things easy to understand.
I really enjoyed Cinder’s character. She’s a cyborg, a well-known skilled mechanic, has believable feelings of self-consciousness and anger that occasionally causes her to snap back at her stepmother. Even better is how being covered in grease and oil all the time doesn’t stop her from wanting to dress up and look nice for the ball, even if she tries to convince herself otherwise.
My favourite character, however, is Cinder’s android friend, Iko. I love sassy, silly, sarcastic, full of personality androids and robots. They make potentially boring background characters into something much more interesting. Think R2-D2, C-3PO, BB-8, or K-2SO. They all have distinct personalities that make them instantly recognizable and easier to connect with. Iko is the total girly-girl who encourages Cinder to let loose a little bit. The android knows that her cyborg friend likes the idea of wearing nicer clothing and not being covered in grease and oil all the time.
This is definitely more of a unique take on the Cinderella fairy tale, there’s no denying that. The changes, however, aside from the obvious difference in setting, are quite nice and some are quite clever. One of the nice differences between the original fairytale and this novel is that one of Cinder’s stepsisters actually likes her and is kind to her. Cinder’s own personality is changed from the perfectly sweet, kind, and demure girl that Charles Perrault wrote of in the late seventeenth century, to a kind but fiercely intelligent teenaged girl who can sometimes be defiant but cares deeply about those who are important to her. A really creative difference between the original story and Cinder, is the heroine’s outfit for the ball. Cinderella is dressed by a fairy godmother who gives her glass slippers – one of which she loses as she runs off at midnight – and makes her so beautiful that her wicked stepmother and stepsisters don’t recognize her. Cinder wears her dying sister’s dress, her other sister’s fancy boots, and comes in drenched from having to walk in a rainstorm after she crashes her vehicle. Her stepmother and stepsister definitely recognize her, and instead of losing a slipper, she loses her cyborg foot. Plus, the prince already knows Cinder from having requisitioned mechanic work from her recently and asked her to the ball as his personal guest.
I can’t wait to read the next book to see how Meyer continues to develop her characters and the world that they live in. I currently have the ebook on hold through my library, so hopefully I don’t have to wait too long to continue reading about Cinder.
I recommend this book to people who enjoy new twists on old stories.