I am an absolute fan of classic fairy tale retellings – I always have been and I think I always will. A part of me will always and forever love those charming stories of damsels in distress, evil witches, handsome knights, and the strange…yet admirable supporting characters that always manage to put a smile on my face each and every time I see or read about them. And though the general shell of the story may be predictable, I love it when authors can take that tiny kernel of Disney or the Brothers Grimm, and turn it into something even more magical. Folklores and fairy tales offer just enough to get our imagination going, but when someone like Marissa Meyer or Sarah J. Maas wills them into something of their own, it’s absolutely amazing — especially if it’s genius at all levels. I’ve read and probably seen a number of Cinderella retellings in my lifetime – with my favorite being that of Queen of Glass (now Throne of Glass) by Sarah J. Maas. However, I love it when I find a retelling that’s completely out of this world, as in…I would have never expected something so different and so unique to be so damn good. And trust me when I say this – that Cinder by Marissa Meyer was out of this world and very very good.
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.
Imagine R2-D2 and C-3PO combing the streets of a Chinese bazaar. Imagine that handsome and charming prince you so often dreamt of as a child. And imagine Cinderella as a girl with a metal hand and foot…because she’s simply a cyborg living as a mechanic in New Beijing. Cinder was so ridiculously odd that it was…well… ridiculously awesome. Never would have I ever imagined a Cinderella cyborg with an Asian prince – I absolutely loved that concept! Loved.
This Cinderella retelling is simply charming. It’s very lighthearted and fun – very magical and very fairy tale-ish. Cinder is a great character…level-headed, independent and smart. She’s got a tomboyish feature to her, which is something I found very suitable for the role she played. She’s a very serious gal and surprisingly it worked for this storyline without being a bore. This paired with her adorable crush on the prince, and Cinder’s got to be one of the cutest characters ever when in the presence of royalty. I really liked her as our heroine but I also loved Prince Kai as our prince charming. He was simply sweet and gallant in every way. Usually, I’m not the biggest fan of love interests or male counterparts that are too perfect or too nice. But somehow…Marissa Meyer’s brilliancy managed to make those two traits extremely sexy on Prince Kai. I was practically fanning myself during the elevator scene between him and Cinder. Propped up against the elevator, asking her to the ball…whew! No wonder he’s a heartthrob in New Beijing. I can assure you, Prince Kai is one of the few love interests from a YA fantasy novel that will make you swoon while still maintaining proper etiquette – him and Jem Carstairs of course. Though I’m a fan of Prince Kai and I loved reading from his perspective, I’m kind of glad that we never really get an insight on how he felt for Cinder. All the more agonizing once you reach the end of this book!
I felt the world building was very unique. I loved the oriental elements that were included, though I can’t be sure if they were all Chinese. Nevertheless, I felt readers were given enough information to understand how Meyer’s world functioned. Honestly, as much as I might be a stickler for realistic plots, I don’t need a whole history lesson to understand how the world got to where it was. Questioning everything seems to ruin the fun for me at times – so honestly, I don’t need to know every political change or detail that happened before Cinder’s story began. I just need to know the basics to understand that somehow the world ended up the way that Meyer created it (with the exception that the plot makes sense and isn’t too ridiculously out there – see Waterfall review). That said, I felt the world building behind Cinder was appropriate for the writing style that was conveyed.
The only thing I did question in Cinder was the pacing – in respect to the romance and timeline of events. We lost a few characters in this book, but no one really took the time to mourn their loss, which I felt really took away from the emotional aspect of the story. The big reveal was also pretty obvious from the start – from the moment it was first mentioned I knew… Regardless, I thought Meyer did an excellent job overall and I’m eager to find out what happens to Cinder in her next book of the series. My biggest fear with the Lunar Chronicles series, is the introduction of new main characters for the remaining books. I am absolutely obsessed with Cinder’s story, so I’ll admit that I hate change and will probably be very stubborn with the change of cast – regardless of whether or not Cinder makes minor appearances. I am, however, confident that Marissa Meyer will surprise me in the end. I just might actually enjoy the direction she takes with the Lunar Chronicles. Hopefully that’s what will happen…hopefully.
The theme music for Cinder is In Reverence by David Tolk. Typically, I summarize books in my head with a music video, and so I thought this music went well with the images that I envisioned. Cinder staring out at New Beijing from the palace, Cinder repairing androids in the storage room, Cinder sad…you get the picture. Definitely check out Cinder – it’s a delightful book to add to your bookshelf!
Theme Music: In Reverence by David Tolk
Audiobook: Click below to hear an excerpt from the Cinder audiobook:
Photo Credit: Photo credit to Lara Jade as seen on http://vi.sualize.us/view/87fb2a874dc3a1e2e59d736d86fa5b2d/
Click here to read my review for Scarlet (Lunar Chronicles #2) by Marissa Meyer