Cinder is the first novel of the Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer and is a futuristic retelling of the Cinderella story. What really intrigued me the most to pick up this book was the cover; how do you ignore a new black cover with a single red stiletto heel and the hint of a mechanical leg? You just really don’t.
Cinder tells the story of Linh Cinder, a cyborg mechanic living in New Beijing over a hundred years after World War IV. As a cyborg, she is a second class citizen despite her impressive skill at mechanics. One day the Crown Prince Kaito wanders into her market booth (in disguise of course) to ask Cinder to repair his personal android that seems to have stopped working. Cinder agrees to the work and promises to have the repairs done before the peace festival ball in a couple of weeks.
As one might imagine being an incarnation of the character Cinderella, Cinder is not treated well by her adoptive mother, Adri, nor by one of her adoptive sisters, Pearl. Her other adoptive sister, Peony, loves her nearly unconditional and is Cinder’s one singular human friend (her other friend is an android named Iko). Tragedy strikes with Peony contracts letumosis, the deadly plague that is spread across the planet. Blaming Cinder for Peony’s disease even though it was clearly not her doing, Adri volunteers Cinder for the cyborg draft where cyborgs are called in to be guinea pigs as the royal scientists try to find a cure.
At the palace, Cinder meets Dr. Erland, a kind scientists who discovers that Cinder is immune to letumosis – among other things. Soon, Cinder learns that she is not only immune but a Lunar, a being originally from Luna (the moon) and who possess the ability to alter another person’s bioelectricity, allowing them to think or believe whatever the Lunar want.
Another tragedy strikes when Emperor Rican, Kai’s father, dies due to letumosis, prompting Kai’s coronation. This also means that he must now deal with Queen Levana, the Lunar queen who wishes to marry Kai and ultimately rule the earth. The only thing that can stop Queen Levana is Princess Selena, her niece thought to have died in a fire at infancy…or has she?
While brilliant in its concept and creation, I find Cinder to be a bit lacking in details. I am finding that this seems to be trend with first novels in a series with such important details revealing themselves later on. I realize these details are kept for later stories where their revelation is much more vital and necessary. But – and this is just my personal feelings – it makes for a somewhat lackluster first novel. I would have liked more insight into Kai’s feelings at the end of the novel; the story switches between Cinder and Kai’s perspectives, but at the end after certain events have occurred we have no notion as to how Kai is affected. Again, this will likely be revealed later but it was something I would have liked to have seen with the details so fresh.
The story has intrigued me enough to continue, especially with the introduction of the Lunar hacker Cinder has contact with towards the end of the story. (If you’ve read the series, yes I did figure out who she is, but this is a spoiler free blog.) I am interested in how everything resolves itself so I will be picking up this series again once I’ve finished my long list of TBR books for the Bookmarks Festival and YALL Fest.
My rating: 3.5/5