Reading/Interest Level: Young Adult
Author: Marissa Meyer
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
As the best mechanic in New Beijing, Cinder knows how to build and fix almost everything—except how to stop more people from finding out that she is actually a cyborg and has very few rights and privileges under the law. When Prince Kai comes to ask for her help in repairing an android who has secret information that could solve earth’s political problems with the Lunars, she is thrown into a world where she is trying to help solve a diplomatic crisis, prevent the prince from finding out that she is a cyborg, and is used as an experiment to find the cure to the mysterious plague that has threatened the life of the king and Cinder’s stepsister. In her efforts to protect herself, her stepsister, and Prince Kai, she uncovers secrets about her own mysterious past and learns she might be more important ant to the survival of earth than she had expected. In the end, she escapes from the evil queen of Luna and begins her own revolt against the queen’s plans to control both earth and Kai.
The major twist is obvious from the beginning, and many elements of the plot can be easily guessed as the reader is expecting the tale of Cinderella, but the unique twists set it apart in both futuristic stories and fairy tale retellings even though the predictability can be a little distracting at times. The characters are fun, particularly the android packed with so much personality that you forget she’s not quite human. Cinder doesn’t always make the right choices, but she learns from her mistakes and tries to do what is right even when she has made errors. Some questions aren’t quite answered (like how much of Cinder is programmed or real), and it would have been nice to have more of a Chinese setting for New Beijing or an explanation why it isn’t as much of a Chinese culture as you might expect. In spite of the weaknesses, for anyone who loves fairy tale retellings and is looking for a new approach, Cinder and the rest of the Lunar Chronicles will be a delightful read.
*Contains mild swearing and suggestive content