Friday, June 27, 2014

CINDER, by Marissa Meyer

Meyer, Marissa. (2013). Second ed. Cinder: Book One of the Lunar Chronicles. Square Fish.

Cinder is a mechanic cyborg, a second-class citizen in New Beijing.  A deadly plague is killing people all over the world, but not the Lunars, the formerly human-but-now-psychically-gifted race that lives on the moon.  Cinder’s job leads the prince to her in an effort solve a mystery with his robot, one that involves secret information that could change the future of their world.  The prince and Cinder begin to care for each other, but the Queen of the Lunars wishes to marry him.  Otherwise, she might just go to war with earth. With enough similarities to the fairy tale to make readers smile, this story is a tale all its own.

SUPER clever premise.  I love, love, love having a “Cinderella’ who is A) a cyborg and B) a mechanic.  I mean, wow, where was THIS Cinderella when I was a kid?  It’s a lot of fun to see all the ties to the original fairy tale, done in such a unique way.  The replacement for the pumpkin is great, as is the “new” version of the glass slipper that gets left behind.  The only complaint I have, which isn’t really a complaint, is that I figured out the Big Reveal/Big Twist that shows up at the very end…when I was 1/3 of the way through.  So it was a bit more predictable than a pure five star review would merit, BUT it’s a YA book that is also appropriate for upper middle grade, so it might be that the intended audience wouldn’t be able to guess so soon.  I’m actually going to have my 10 year old read it, because she wants to read Twilight and the Hunger Games now that she’s chewed through Percy Jackson and Harry Potter, and Cinder is far better than Twilight or the Hunger Games for her age, I think, with minimal romance, no bad language and hardly any violence.  There is a plague, but even that isn’t very gory.  

I see why these books are checked out all the time at the middle school and high school library.  It’s an easy read-I read it in one sitting—and I gave it 4 stars on Goodreads.  I almost gave it 5 stars, but I really reserve the five stars for books that truly WOW me on multiple levels.  It’s hard to get five stars from me, but this one is like a 4.5 out of 5.  A solid, fun read that I would recommend to students and friends in a heartbeat.

  • "Debut author Meyer ingeniously incorporates key elements of the fairy tale into this first series entry." --Horn Book Magazine 
  • "First in the Lunar Chronicles series, this futuristic twist on Cinderella retains just enough of the original that readers will enjoy spotting the subtle similarities. But debut author Meyer’s brilliance is in sending the story into an entirely new, utterly thrilling dimension. –Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
  • “There’s a lot of moving parts in this fresh spin on “Cinderella,” the first in a four-book series.” –Booklist
  • “Fairy tales are becoming all the rage, with the TV shows Once Upon a Time and Grimm spinning them through a modern filter. The 26-year-old Meyer's debut novel Cinder, though, combines a classic folk tale with hints ofThe Terminator and Star Wars in the first book of The Lunar Chronicles young-adult series due out Jan. 3.”
If you like Cinder, you might also enjoy The Selection, by Kiera Cass, or The Scorpio Races, by Maggie Stiefvater (links to my review of that book).  And actually, dare I say, you might enjoy my book, Fairy Keeper, when it comes out in 2015. :) 

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