Cyborg Cinderella…post-apocalyptic world…Earth and Lunar peoples at odds…strange plague ravaging the planet…handsome prince…evil queen. This is the world of Cinder and it is a fun, fast-paced adventure-filled world.
Cinder is a cyborg mechanic living with her adopted family in New Being after WWIV. As a cyborg she is not considered human but property of her family. Her stepmother hates her because she believes Cinder caused the death of her husband. Cinder meets Prince Kai when he brings her an android to fix. Soon after Cinder’s stepsister Peony falls ill with the plague and her stepmother volunteers Cinder for medical research. At the medical facility Cinder learns things about herself; who she is and where she came from. All of this is set against the political backdrop of Earthen/Lunar politics that Kai is dealing with. The moon is ruled by an evil queen who uses magic (or bioelectricity) to control people. She wants to marry Prince Kai and through that union rule Earth.
First of all I loved the character of Cinder. She is kickass and awesome. Who wouldn’t love a cyborg Cinderella who is also a mechanic. The image of her coming to the ball all wrinkled and stained and in a crashed car just made me smile. I like that she solves her own problems, she doesn’t depend on anyone else, she doesn’t whine about her situation, she just does what needs to be done. I also like some of the other characters like the evil Queen Levana. She is just so nasty and exactly what an evil queen should be like. Prince Kai reminded me of the Disney princes a bit…he was kind of bland and more like a placeholder than a real character. Didn’t leave that much of an impression on me. I didn’t really buy the romance between Kai and Cinder. I didn’t think they actually had time or motivation to develop feelings for each other more than just a simple crush or thinking the other was “hot”.
I thought the Cinderella plot was well done; however, since we knew it was there it is a bit obvious throughout the story. You know who she is and the big revealing twist of her identity is not a surprise at all if you have been paying attention. I liked the modern twists though. The foot falling off at the ball (because it is her cyborg foot), the chariot is her old car she fixed up, the dress is her stepsisters castoff and wrinkled and greasy. I thought these were charming ways to tell the Cinderella part of the story.
I did think the world building was a little generic. The story is supposed to be set in New Beijing but we really don’t get any Asian influences. However, I really did like the Lunar stuff. I liked what Meyer did with a lunar colony…they developed abilities, the way they are ruled through glamour and manipulation, they cause a plague on earth, they want to take over earth, etc.
This is a series that I think has a lot of potential. It sounds like the next book in the series is about Little Red Riding Hood so I am interested to see how Meyer ties it all together. Definitely worth the read.