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Cinder by Marissa Meyer: Cinderella in Space

By: Hamnah Shazli

Fairy Tales: they’re cute, funny, and they often bring back nostalgia of our toddler years. However, they’re not just for kids anymore. Marissa Meyer brings a futuristic twist to the classic tale of Cinderella with cyborgs, space, and– of course– a handsome prince and an evil queen.

Cinder, the first book in The Lunar Chronicles Series, is about a gifted cyborg mechanic named Linh Cinder, who lives in the city of New Beijing. The city is currently plagued with a deadly disease known as letumosis. The disease is contagious and doctors cannot find a cure for it. However, when Cinder goes to a royal doctor she finds she’s immune to it.

As Prince Kai decides to pay a visit to Cinder’s shop to fix his personal robot, their stories intertwine, and Cinder’s world is never the same. He is trying to find Selene, the secret princess of the moon, which is known as Luna throughout the novel. Kai wants to dethrone the current ruler, Queen Levana, and put Selene on the throne.  

As Cinder grows closer to Prince Kai, she discovers secrets about her past that could change the world as she knows it. She must make a choice about herself, while the fate of the Earth lies on her shoulders.

Initially, the plot of the novel sounds complex and fast-paced. However, when I finally decided to pick this book up, I found that the plot moves at the perfect tempo. It goes fast enough that I was left wondering what was going to happen next, yet slow enough that the reader could grasp what was happening.

Many fairy tale retellings, such as the novel, As Old as Time by Elizabeth Braswell, stick close to the original plot line. Braswell’s novel was about the tale of Beauty and the Beast, except it was slightly more modern. This can sometimes make for a very dry novel. Cinder, however, took a completely different turn, and it was more loosely based off of Disney’s Cinderella, with the same concept of malicious stepmothers, the unwanted daughter, and the handsome prince. Other than that, the story takes many twists and turns and the author essentially creates a world of her own.

I loved how the all characters in the novel were all so unique with distinct personalities. I found Queen Levana particularly interesting because Meyer decided to make her character strikingly beautiful, instead of the stereotypical ugly villain. She has a sickly sweet exterior, but a cold, dark interior. Cinder herself was a refreshing character, witty, sharp tongued, and always a little bit unsure of herself. I really liked that Meyer decided to write her as a cyborg. Prince Kai was one of my favorite characters. He was often times naive, but he also had a sense of regalness that a prince should have, as well as loyalty to his country.

Overall, this novel was a great first book to introduce the series, and I personally enjoyed it so much more than I thought I would. I would definitely recommend it to anyone who enjoys some futuristic reading and amazing fairytale retellings.

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