Title: Cinder (Book One in the Lunar Chronicles)
Author: Marissa Meyer
Pub: 2012; Macmillian Children's
Genre: Young Adult; Science Fiction; Retelling; Series
Etc.: Props up to NetGalley. Huzzah.
Sokay, the world is filled with fairy tale retellings, right? Right. And it seems as though there's just nowhere else authors can take us, so why even bother. Another right? [. . . ] WRONG. Marrisa Meyer just might get the award for Most Creative Retelling.
Cinder, obvs from the title, is a retelling of Cinderella but THIS Cinderella is a CYBORG. Pretty darn fetching idea for a plot huh? And folks, I LIKED it. Moi! Missus I-don't-read-science-fiction-because-I-find-it-droll truly enjoyed Book One of the Lunar Chronicles. And against my desire to get attached to another series/trilogy, I'm hooked.
Here's the break down - Cinder is a cyborg living in this post-World War IV world where there's a disease (like bubonic plague) attacking the Commonwealth and the Earth is on constant guard against its enemy, the Lunars (from the moon).
Cinder is the town mechanic and lives with her evil step mother who has "custody" of her since her adopted father passed away. She also has two step sisters, Peony and Pearl. In many ways Cinder stays true to the tale Cinderella. There's an upcoming ball that she isn't allowed to attend and a dreamy prince, Kai, who she's quite smitten with. Oh and the lost glass slipper? You're gonna love the twist on that part of the tale.
The plot is quick. Even though it's pretty massive for a YA title, I read it in less than a weekend. I even found my heart racing during some portions of the story. Sure, there's this Big Secret that was easy to figure out right away but it didn't deter from the enjoyment or anticipation of how the other characters were going to figure it out.
The relationship between Cinder and Kai also moseys along. It's not this moment at the ball where everything slows down, their eyes meet, music hums in their ears, and so forth. Rather, they sorta become friends first. Kai slips into the market place because his trusted android needs repairs; Cinder ends up being the mechanic. Then, thru the nasty diseased plague, they come acquainted once again.
Now let me talk science fiction. In this story there's a certain pariah-vibe to cyborgs. This is portrayed in both how the stepmom treats Cinder, but also in the Commonwealth society. In attempts to find a cure for the plague, there's a cyborg draft. and a cyborg should feel honored to essentially donate their life to finding a cure for humans. Of course, my ignorance had to double check that cyborgs ARE humans, but with mechanical- or robotic-sensored parts. So, of course, there's the obvs comparison to our current society and judgments toward people that are viewed less than- (racism, sexism, homophobia - heh, I wanted to say homophobism). In fact, my brain immediately flashed to the history of the Tuskegee experiments.
BUT even more interesting...here I am thinking to myself how cool it would be to have this computer chip like thing in my head that alerts me when I have to much adrenaline going on in my system and to calm down. OR EVEN BETTER...if I needed information about ANYTHING I could just zap up an inside-my-brain-screen that answers my questions. (Sure, right now I can use my Siri on my IPhone 4S, but I can be stealth about it). I'm hoping that if this were to ever be a part of our society that we would treat it as the cool super hero strength that it is. Plug me in baby.
Now back to the story, Cinder ends on a perfect note. We get the Big Secret revealed partially and we know where book two will kinda take us. It closes in this nice partially end-all-be-all tale where sure there's going to be a continuation but I'm not going to be frustrated for the next x-amount of months to find out what happens next. I know I'm going to pick up Book Two and the plot will be a merit within its own right.
Cinder will be published in January of 2012. I highly encourage you to pre-order it or put it on your library's request list. Creative fast-paced good times to be had.