If fairy tales are your forte, then Marrisa Meyer’s Cinder may be for you, but be aware, there is more to this fairy tale than you’ll expect. The first in the Lunar Chronicles, Cinder introduces us to a future Earth, 126 years after World War IV. Despite the peace they have experienced since then, members of Earth are dealing with two major threats to their lives: the evil Queen Levana, ruler of a group who live on the moon, and a deadly plague that seems to leave no family untouched. As a young cyborg in New Beijing, Cinder is considered a second class citizen under the care of her guardian, who is neglectful at best. She has watched as her sisters are given everything while Cinder works as a mechanic to make the family money, the threat of being sold off always hanging over her head. As she dreams of a day when she can buy her freedom, the prince of the Eastern Commonwealth visits her booth with an important request. From there Cinder’s life becomes complicated as she tries to keep her true identity from the prince while only just discovering the truth herself.
I was worried that this futuristic retelling would just be the same old story with nothing more than a few changes in setting and the necessary details to match, but am pleased to see that it is much more than that.
While her step-mother feels like more of a nuisance than a true villain, the evil step sister is barely a name, only causing problems right before the ball. These two characters seem inconsequential in relation to the major conflicts Cinder faces. In contrast, Cinder’s character is full and interesting, with much more in her than even she realizes. She is still evolving as the book comes to a close. The prince however is annoying and naïve (a descriptor that is used a few times throughout the novel). How does he not notice that she is a cyborg or question why she wears gloves all the time is beyond me. I also question Cinder’s interest in the prince as she seems like a smart enough girl.
There is much more going on here than just Cinder’s story, though. There are layers of conflict that build and twist around one another to further complicate Cinder’s life, but it isn't just her life that will change; it’s all of Earth’s life that is threatened. The second book in this series is entitled Scarlet, bringing in another fairy tale character: Little Red Riding Hood. I have not yet read this, but I am hoping that Cinder’s story is intertwined with Scarlet’s. I want to find out more about Cinder because at the end, I am dissatisfied. Although I understand the desire to keep readers wanting more so they will read the following book, I would like to feel some sense of closure at the end of the first book. Meyers has left us hanging with Cinder right smack in the middle of a major threat, unsure of how she will make it out alive.
Marissa Meyers has left me hanging at the end of Cinder so I will be reading Scarlet next. Look out for a review of the next novel in The Lunar Chronicles soon!