I was drawn to read Cinder, by Marissa Meyer, because I loved the concept of reimagining the classic Cinderella fairy tale in a science fiction/fantasy realm. It’s the first book in the four volume Lunar Chronicles series.
From the publisher:
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.
With high-stakes action and a smart, resourceful heroine, Cinder is a Cinderella retelling that is at once classic and strikingly original.
Cinder has most of the basic elements of Cinderella. Cinder herself is part girl, part cyborg. There’s a wicked stepmother, and two stepsisters (one wicked, one not), and Charming Prince and a ball that Cinder isn’t allowed to attend.
There are also androids, spaceships, a colony of mutated humans living on the moon and a plague that is killing hundreds of thousands of people on Earth.
It was fun trying to figure out where Cinder would intersect with the familiar tale and where it would diverge. Although this bestseller was released in 2013, it was new to me, and I’m glad to have found it.
Incidentally, author Marissa Meyer recently appeared on the 88 Cups of Tea Podcast and discussed the start of her writing career (Cinder was her debut) and how the idea for Cinder came to her as a fun writing prompt. It was a very interesting episode and I recommend the 88 Cups of Tea Podcast in general, and this conversation specifically.
I’m excited to read Scarlet, book #2 of the Lunar Chronicles series. It’s based loosely upon the story of Red Riding Hood, and is set in the same universe as Cinder.