Cinder by Marissa Meyer
CinderFor centuries the story of Cinderella’s subjugation to her step mother and step sisters, then marrying and being subject to her husband has been standard fare. This new Cinderella finds her inner strength and empowers herself in Marissa Meyer’s cool new twist on an old story.
In the future, Cinder is a cyborg whose legal guardian owns her. She was in a bad accident and her crushed human parts were replaced with machinery. Moving from human to cyborg alienates her to be a second class citizen even though she’d had no choice. The man who adopted her died shortly after and she was sent to his wife. Adri hates Cinder but doesn’t hesitate to use her. The younger step sister accepts and loves Cinder. The older is disdainful and hateful.
Cinder supports the family as a robotics mechanic. Now she receives a surprising visit. Prince Kai comes quietly to her booth, hiding in a cloak so as to not be easily recognized. He wants her to fix his old tutor robot. He also starts flirting with her. Cinder tries to put him off. She’d hate for him to discover she is a cyborg.
There is a lethal plague loose on Earth. It is rapid acting. Victims usually die within in a week. It has been out in the country, but now is moving into the cities, including Bejing where Cinder lives. Plus, the Earth is under threat from the Lunars – the people who live on the Moon. The Lunars have a special talent for mind control and are forbidden on Earth. Now they are making their move and war is imminent.
Cinder finds herself tangled into world politics, a plague that is deadly to anyone who contracts it, and a step mother and step sister who hate her.
Marissa Meyer has brought an imaginative twist to a very old story. Most little girls dream of growing up into a princess (or like special person). The Cinderella story has brought hope to many of those girls. This is not a philosophical discussion on whether the story is good or bad for girls now to hope for the practically impossible.
Meyer revives the story with a futuristic basis that goes together well. Earth is at peace with itself. The threat comes from outside. Meyer’s world is consistent within itself. As farmers die of the plague, famine is possible. A young man chafes at his own exalted future, yet accepts it with dignity as well. He knows the politics involved in his life. A “second class” girl still dreams of escape.
Cinder is predictable in the overall scope. The surprises at the end aren’t really surprises to the reader. Meyer makes the story fresh in her handling. At times I found the book slow, but it soon picked up again. Also, the novel is quite self contained. And is left wide open for the next book in the series. Cinder is well done and leaves the reader wanting more.