Verdict: A futuristic take on Cinderella, Cinder is a fast paced and daring story. Despite it’s predictability, Meyer has created characters you care about and a setting that intrigues. As the first in The Lunar Chronicles series I’ll certainly be reading the next offering.
Review: The setting is New Beijing – an over-populated, warren-like city erected from the ashes of the Fourth World War. A new plague, Letumosis, is devouring the city’s citizens, while Earth is desperately trying to avoid the clutches of Lunar leader, Queen Levana. Cinder is the city’s premier mechanic, her custom sought even by royalty, yet her life is far from perfect. As a cyborg, Cinder is the lowest of the low. Beyond this, all the fairytale’s components are present; the wicked stepmother, the fairy godmother, the stepsisters, and of course, the Prince.
Meyer should be commended for this bold re-imagining. This Cinderella 4.0 isn’t merely a love story (in fact that takes quite the back seat), it’s an intergalactic, political thriller set in a harsh world. Frustratingly, however, it seems hard for the author to break from the plot developments of the original story and Cinder is all too often predictable.
Meyer’s excellent setting is one of the most fascinating elements of the story, yet the lack of background leaves us with the sense that it is little more than a philosophical plaything. Are Lunars our only connection with extra terrestial life? Why is cyborg technology so reviled? What does T.E even stand for? (NB If this is explained, apologies but I honestly looked for one!) If Meyer is simply discussing the human fear of difference, then the point is a little weak.
Despite all this – and the dreaded ‘cliff hanger’ ending – I really want to know how Cinder’s story will progress and resolve. Even further, I’m fascinated to see how this novel will connect with Meyer’s upcoming takes on Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel and Snow White. A debut to be proud of, I’d say!