Series: The Lunar Chronicles #1
Author: Marissa Meyer
Publication date: January 2012
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl.
Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.
*Synopsis from Goodreads*
I've seen this book all over review blogs and Goodreads and I have wanted it sooo bad. The cover is so gorgeous and I just love, love, love fairytale retellings, and I've never read one quite like this before.
This is basically a dystopian, steam-punk re-imagining of Cinderella, set in a technological and highly urbanised New Beijing: where overpopulation aids the spread of a deadly plague. Cinder though seems to be immune, and that's where it all kicks off.
The technological spin on this was probably my favourite aspect of the story, Cinder being a cyborg was the best thing ever and the Cyborg draft is really believable. Don't get me started on the robots, Iko was adorable in all aspects.
If you know the original Cinderella, which let's face it you probably do, you know that her home life isn't great. Adri, Cinder's guardian, is as horrible as she was in the original (though there is more to her in this re-telling), but Peony one of the 'ugly stepsisters' is actually lovely, if not living in a proverbial bubble. I loved that Cinder and her got along.
The plague is obviously a horrendous part of the story, and Marissa Meyer doesn't shy away from it at all. It has devastating consequences and makes the whole world desperate for a cure. And of course Cyborgs, as 'second class citizens' are the agreed forced guinea pigs of a creepy research team, with the guardians of Cyborgs being able to literally sell them to the cause. Dr Erland, the head researcher, is definitely a bit morally ambiguous: knowingly leading cyborgs to their death but also being a bit of a good guy in the end.
Queen Levana definitely fits into the scary witch-queen role most fairytales have. She's a fearsome creature, swathed in mystery and magic. She's credited with controlling her own people and killing her own family members, those that rival her right to the crown. And now it seems she wants to do the same with Earth, or else wage a war that Earth is doomed to lose.
And where does Prince Kai fit into all of this? Well to quote Iko: "Prince Kai! Check my fan, I think I'm overheating."
I was really interested in how they were going to do the whole 'getting to the ball' thing in the story, and I was pleasantly surprised, though I'm going to give nothing away!
Overall I really enjoyed this book, it was a fantastic retelling of Cinderella and I'm for sure going to read the next books.
Favourite quote: "I'm sure I'll feel much more grateful when I find a guy who thinks complex wiring in a girl is a turn-on."