This book is part of the Lunar Chronicles series. You can find my reviews for the rest of the series below:
Cinder (Lunar Chronicles #1)
Scarlet (Lunar Chronicles #2)
Cress (Lunar Chronicles #3)
Fairest (Lunar Chronicles #3.5)
Winter (Lunar Chronicles #4)
Stars Above (Lunar Chronicles #4.5)
(summary from Goodreads)
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.
This book has been on my bookshelf for nearly two whole years and it’s always been ‘the next book’ on my list, and yet 2 years passed by and I never actually got round to reading it. And then a few weeks ago I finally picked it up and started reading it and within a day I had finished it and had book 2 in my hands. If there was ever a book I regretted waiting so long to read, it was this one!
The whole concept behind this book is just incredible. We’ve had re-tellings before, but not like this. At one point whilst reading my boyfriend asked me about the book, to which I replied that it was a Cinderella re-telling with a cyborg Cinderella set in a futuristic Beijing. After that I couldn’t stop him asking me questions about it. This is my 28 year old PhD Psychology boyfriend who only reads smart books about smart psychology type things, and he was asking me about my YA Dystopian Re-telling because it is just so fascinating and a story that you can’t help but want to immerse yourself in.
“Even in the Future the Story Begins with Once Upon a Time.”
Cinder was perfect. She was kind but kick ass, vulnerable but strong. Meyer takes the best bits of the classic Cinderella character and then twist them to give us this totally unique character. Cinder has been through a lot in her short life including a nearly fatal accident which resulted in significant surgery and a new robot hand and leg and internal wiring. She is looked at by people with disgust and has to put up with a lot of abuse from both her stepmother and community. But far from letting it hold her down Cinder is not a damsel in distress, in fact she is pretty smart and an incredible engineer, and you know for a fact that she is not going to be sat waiting for someone to come and save her. She is the type of girl who saves herself and with cool cyborg like gadgets!
“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.”
I really liked Kai in this book, and felt that he came across really well. On the cusp of becoming Emperor he is worried about his strength as a leader whilst all the while unknowing doing all the things that a great leader would do. He is kind and thoughtful and respects and protects those of a lower standing then himself. He has a lot of big responsibilities thrust upon him in this book, and although constantly doubting himself he acts superbly and is definitely a character who I want to read more of and see how much he develops through the series.
“Prince Kai! Check my fan, I think I’m overheating.”
I have to mention the interactions between Kai and Cinder right now, because they were just so good. In the traditional story Cinderella hides her servant status from the Prince but Cinder has no problem with the Prince seeing her as a lower class engineer (although she does freak a little bit when she discovers that she had oil on her forehead!) and instead it is her cyborg status that she is trying to keep hidden. She becomes a sort of listening ear for the Prince and her honesty and kindness gains his respect and friendship.
Kai shrugged and turned to Cinder. His eyes softened a little with a polite bow of his head.
“I hope our paths will cross again.”
“Really? In that case, I guess I’ll keep following you.”
New Beijing has to be one of my favourite futuristic type worlds! Flying cars, robots and portscreens (which are basically like futuristic phones) are just some of the sci-fi additions to this world. There is also a very contagious plague that one contracted can kill people within a few days and as there is no cure it is a very big fear in this world. On top of all that there is also a queen from the moon (yes, you heard me right, FROM THE MOON!) with paranormal abilities who is trying her best to gain control over New Beijing and Earth, whether by seducing Kai or by war. There is so much going on in this world that I felt like I had to slow down so I could take everything in. It’s just so fascinating and I can’t wait to see more of the world as the series unfolds.
“She was a cyborg, and she would never go to a ball.”
I can’t talk about a Cinderella re-telling without talking about the wicked Stepmother and Ugly Stepsisters, which again were slightly altered. Cinder, it turns out was adopted and when the man who raised her died she was left to his wife, therefore the wicked Stepmother. Another nice difference is that not both of the sisters are horrible, and Cinder’s relationship with one in particular is strong, which makes things even harder when the virus strikes.
I am so glad I finally got round to read this book because it is everything I was promised and more. The way Meyer twists the traditional fairytale into a futuristic world complete with cyborgs and a queen from the moon shows just how amazing her talent is and I can’t wait to see where else she takes this world and our characters.
Re-Readability: Yes! Yes! Yes!
I would recommend this book to fans of: Retellings, futuristic worlds, YA dystopians