Cinder by Marissa Meyer
Cinder is everything you could ever want from a post-war apocalyptic/dystopian futuristic sci-fi fairytale retelling.
I have to admit, I fell in love with this book from the instant I heard about the premise. I love fairy tales and their rewrites, so that was already a selling point. But when I found out that this Cinderella is a cyborg, and her best friend is an android? I’m pretty sure I had to be pulled off of the ceiling.
How on earth can all these different “genres” mesh together smoothly? Therein lies the true masterpiece of Cinder. All the elements of the historic story are updated to match the futuristic setting while still retaining the essential nature of the tale.
The characters were easily the best part of Cinder. Each one had a life of his or her own and was truly fascinating. Cinder was far from her Disney counterpart: rather than cleaning around the house, Cinder is a genius mechanic. And, not to knock the Disney version (even if not my favorite, I still squealed like a little girl when I got to take my picture with Cinderella at Disney World), but Cinder doesn’t need a fairy godmother to help her kick ass!
It can be tough to find a balance between being tough and still keeping one’s femininity – just ask Lady Macbeth! – but Cinder treads this line perfectly. Actually, she kind of reminds me of Kaylee from Firefly in that, while she is perfectly comfortable covered in grease and knows the ins and outs of mechanical devices, she also enjoys being a girl and can appreciate pretty dresses at the same time.
The supporting characters have just as much life as Cinder. I want an Iko (the android best friend), possibly the girliest, most enthusiastic android to ever “live.” Even the “evil” stepmother and stepsisters have their own stories – and one of them isn’t even evil! The “evil queen,” on the other hand, is good and truly evil – something that may seem two-dimensional in other stories, but works perfectly here; after all, every fairy tale needs a good villain.
As for the prince…well let’s just say that I want a Kai even more than I want an Iko. He’s a truly swoon-worthy prince, and not just for his looks. We get to learn his true personality, both through the sections of the book focused on him and through his interactions with Cinder. Cinder’s life intertwines with Kai’s far more than just a dance at the ball, and she doesn’t just leap right into his arms. In fact, she resists him at every turn, becoming friends with him but perpetually afraid that he’ll discover her secret. It’s far from love at first sight!
Honestly, I don’t have any big criticisms of Cinder. Even though the plot is somewhat predictable – hey, it’s based on a fairy tale, after all – it doesn’t mean that you don’t love every minute of getting there. Plus, there are a few twists to the story along the way, and it’s far from resolved at the end. Cinder made me cry, made me laugh, made me fall in love, and even made my heart race – all the things a good book, and fairy tale, should do. I tore through it in a day, and you will too!
Cinder is available in your local bookstore now! (And on Amazon too, I suppose, but support your local Indie bookstores! I promise, if you love a good fairy tale, you will love it.) Cinder is the first in a four-book series, each interconnected but each centering around a different “traditional” fairy tale. Up next is Scarlet, expected to be released early 2013.