January 3, 2014

Cinder (Lunar Chronicles #1) by Marissa Meyer

Most of her customers couldn’t fathom how a teenage girl could be the best mechanic in the city, and she never broadcast the reason for her talent. The fewer people who knew she was cyborg, the better. She was sure she’d go mad if all the market shop keepers looked at her with the same disdain as Chang Sacha did.
-from Cinder by Marissa Meyer

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What took me so long to read this book? With my love for retold classics, especially fairy tales, I really have no excuse for putting this colorful fractured fairy tale off for so long. And if you've done the same, I hope this review encourages you to pick this series up now!

The Lunar Chronicles series by Marissa Meyer takes place on Earth in the future where all remaining countries are working carefully to maintain their tenuous relationship with Queen Levana of the Lunar people who live on the moon. Along with the political problems, the leaders of Earth are also working to find a cure for the letumosis virus that has been killing people for many years. In the first installment of this series, Cinder is a cyborg mechanic in New Beijing who is asked by Prince Kai to help repair one of his androids. When her step-sister, Peony, is infected with the letumosis virus, Cinder focuses on finding a cure; however, she quickly finds herself capable of helping more than just Peony as she becomes wrapped up in Prince Kai's world of politics against Queen Levana.

Cinder is the perfect mix of a classic base story reshaped to create a fairy tale for a new generation. I was especially impressed by how strong and intelligent Cinder is as a protagonist. Obviously her cyborg parts help, but Meyer still does an excellent job of crafting a teenager with teen feelings and values. And while Cinder doesn't need Prince Charming, errr, Prince Kai to rescue her from her nasty step-mother, the romantic elements incorporated into the story are just right in keeping balance with Cinder's independent spirit.

Another aspect I enjoyed about this as a re-telling is how much excitement is infused into the story. There is a constant sense of anticipation while reading because of so many things that need to be resolved. Will a cure be found for letumosis in time to save the Emperor? To save Peony? Will New Beijing be able to appease Queen Levana? Will Cinder be able to go to the ball? These questions and more push the story forward at a faster pace than you might anticipate a classic fairy tale transforming it into its own action-packed series. Most of what I've mentioned reminds the reader that this is definitely not your simple Cinderella story. Nonetheless, I was still impressed by the allusions to the original tale and happily surprised whenever I noticed something recognizable.

Without the attachment to Cinderella, Cinder is still its own incredible story with themes of identity, freedom and duty. Meyer has a striking talent of character dialogue that packs a personality punch unparalleled by action alone. This especially shines through her supporting characters, like Iko and Peony, giving the reader more attachment to them without as much page time as Cinder. I really appreciated this aspect of Meyer's writing and don't think the story would be the same without the life she has given to these characters.

Bottom Line: A must-read for any lover of fairy tales and/or futuristic fantasy! 4.5/5 stars

1 comment:

  1. Yay, I'm glad you liked this one! The characters are really great! And I liked that she didn't need Prince Charming, too! It would definitely be an interesting world without the Cinderella story, but it is awesome with the story, too! Such a great review!


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