Friday, April 20, 2012
Space Age Cinderella: Cinder by Marissa Meyer
I first came across this futuristic Cinderella retelling when I signed up for the 2012 Young Adult & Middle Grade Debut Authors Challenge and began browsing around the connected Goodreads list. The premise alone was enough to get me interested: Cinderella is a cyborg with a dark past in a future Chinese-influenced empire? Sign me up!
Generally, Cinder lives up to its fun premise. It combines popular sci-fi/futuristic fiction concepts (another world war, cyborgs, interplanetary/alien communication, unknown plagues, etc.) with the ever popular fairy or folk tale retelling. The result is a fresh and enjoyable novel with broad appeal to a variety of readers. The setting of New Beijing is unusual and absorbing, combining elements from different time periods and cultures in a way that fits into the version of the future Meyer has sketched out. The traditional fairytale royal family and special ball seem a little out of place in a world where cyborgs and robots exist and the government is negotiating with a civilization from another planet but somehow it works. Cinder is a lovely protagonist, determined and smart but also vulnerable and intensely aware of her subhuman status in society. The mystery of the plague and its connections to Cinder and the extraterrestrial Lunars are full of exciting, if occasional predictable, twists and turns. Overall, a delightful debut novel that will have all your fantasy, fairytale, and dystopian fans begging for the sequel!