When you first pick up and read the hard cover sleeve summary of Marissa Meyer’s book, Cinder, a certain idea gets caught in your head: a cyborg-Cinderella story retelling with a fun android companion and the inevitability of going to ball. And it’s all true.
Our half robotic protagonist, Cinder, is a mechanic in a post-nuclear world where technology rules lives, androids are real (treated as second class citizens), cyborgs like her are discriminated against and a new race of people live on the moon, controlled by a tyrant queen who practically killed her entire family in order to achieve totalitarianism.
I have to confess: I haven’t read a lot of science fiction growing up. But Cinder and the other Meyer books had been catching my eyes every time I went to the Teen section at my local library.
This last time, I had been inspired to check out the book after listening to an interview on NPR’s 1A* with Meyer and N.K. Jemisin, who wrote The Broken Earth, a series I’ve tried to get into so many times, but had struggled with. It wasn’t because it wasn’t the science fiction aspect that I had issues with; it was an auidobook and I had a hard time visualizing. Lesson learned: for me, sci-fi requires some type of text format.
As an avid reader of young adult fiction, I was driven more toward fantasy and modern retellings of stories have been my favorites. First, there was there was the Beauty and the Beast retelling where Beast had hooks for hands. Then, Jane Eyre was nanny to a rockstar in another life.
I’d been wanting to read The Lunar Chronicles series for some time and I was not disappointed with this first book. I was shocked by the mixed elements of fantasy and science fiction used, but it was helpful in making descriptors, thoughts and actions powerful on page. I’m confident the use of glamour in the books is going to become significant in the other books going forward in the series.
I didn’t expect there to be a twist at the end–though I had caught on what it could have been early on–and the politics that begun to affect our character so quickly. The themes all weave together to create the perfect cliffhanger that makes you want to pick up the book first thing in the morning (which I plan to do).
I recommend this book for anyone who is unsure of how they’ll feel about science fiction, but don’t want to dive into sensations that are Star Wars and Star Trek. Cinder is the type of scifi novel that will help you stick your toe into the genre without the worry of overstimulation.
*I could not find the interview I listened to on their website, but I know for a fact it was NPR because I distinctly remeber this segment
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