Legally tied to a stepmother who despises her, Cinder spends her days fixing machines at her stall and dreaming of escape. Those lofty plans are dashed when her stepsister falls suddenly and hopelessly ill. Cinder is the first person her guardian blames and the only one to be punished. Instead of the death sentence she expected, Cinder finds an unlikely source of knowledge about her murky past not to mention the improbable attentions of New Beijing’s handsome prince.
Soon Cinder finds herself in the middle of an intergalactic power struggle that could have dire consequences–especially for Cinder. The more she learns about her past, the less she understands. If Cinder can confront the truth, she might be able to do something. She just isn’t sure if it will already be too late in Cinder (2012) by Marissa Meyer.
Cinder is Meyer’s first novel. It is also the first book in the four-book Lunar Chronicles.
There are a lot of retellings of Cinderella in the world. Meyer brings a fresh eye to this popular fairy tale adding an utterly original spin to a familiar story. Filled with nods to the original story (most notably Cinder’s mechanical foot), Meyer also excellently evokes the hectic, crowded city of New Beijing.
With its futuristic, sci-fi slant, this story could have easily gotten carried away explaining the world or simply laying on too many nuances to be believed. Meyer avoids these pitfalls both creating a well-realized setting and presenting it without overwhelming readers.
Despite its obviously futuristic execution, Cinder is firmly grounded in fairy tale lore. As a result the predictability of the narrative might have been unavoidable. As it is, several things are very obvious within the first few chapters of the story. However, it is not until the last chapter than any early predictions are confirmed (or nullified as the case may be). While the story is clever and immensely entertaining, I would have loved to see Cinder come into her own earlier in the novel instead of having to wait to see much of that transformation in book two.
Cinder is ultimately a unique interpretation of a story that has already been told many times. Filled with twists and new details all its own, Cinder takes a familiar story and makes it refreshingly exciting and gripping. I can’t wait to see what happens next.
Possible Pairings: Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare, Incarceron by Catherine Fisher, Ash by Malinda Lo, Legend by Marie Lu, Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi, Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi, Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor