I remember reading the synopsis to Cinder way back when it was first released and not being interested in reading it at all. The idea of a sci-fi futuristic retelling of my least favourite fairy tale didn’t really attract to me. The only reason I read it now was because I’ve read blogger after blogger rave about this series and the couples in it. So I decided to read it just to see what the hype was about and I TOTALLY GET IT.
Can I count this book as a sci-fi? Can I finally say I love a sci-fi book? The world Cinder is written in is mind-blowingly creative. Gas cars, which drive on the ground are amazing blasts from the past. You know when you’re in a museum and you see a Printing Press and you’re like ‘Wow, it’s so crazy that a machine the size of a room, that required hard labour to use, was actually necessary to copy something onto paper a couple 100 years ago while we just require pressing a bottom on a small machine’ well that is there reaction to a gas car. I loved that the book was set that far in the future. World War IV was like 120something years ago, androids have been used for so long that they have types that are referred to as ‘ancient’ in the book, The Commonweath is united under a single kingdom, people have been living on the moon for generations and generations, and serious injuries can be fixed by making a human into a cyborg.
I did not expect to like Cinder being a cyborg but I really, really, really did! Cinder is 36.28% not human, there are wires connecting her machinery limbs to her brain, she has cambers of her heart that are silicon, she really is a medical and science miracle by our times standards but that far in the future, to be even a little bit machine means to be a cyborg and therefore to become property the way androids are. Cinder is a witty, intelligent, compassionate and just like the fairy tale she’s revamping EXTREMLY resilient – doesn’t matter how many times society and her step-mother get her down she always keeps going on.
Cinder totally takes the core ideas and themes of Cinderella and revamps them. Apart from some really obvious storylines from the original fairy tale, like the Ball and her evil step mother as well as some others, Cinder deviates from the story we all know. One of the new storylines that makes Cinder so unique is the plague that’s been killing people for the last decade and a half. I love that Cinder has a core involvement with the plague that’s going to continue in the coming books in the series. I also love that Cinder has a job that she loves doing, she is the best mechanic in the city.
In this very far future world people have colonised the moon. The only catch is that after some time the people on the moon started to develop extra abilities. These abilities are along the lines of glamoring others and being able to control people. These people no longer associate themselves as being humans but now call themselves Lunars. The Lunars royal hierarchy can only be described as evil and sadistic. The introduction of them in Cinder was very intriguing and I can’t wait to continue reading how Cinder ties into the world of Lunars.
Now it couldn’t be a Cinderella story without a charming prince. Prince Kai and Cinder’s romance is subtle and realistic. There’s no over the top, romantically aggressive chase, there’s just this slowly building comradeship that has an underlining of the ability to be something more. Cinder being a low-class cyborg refuses to let herself think of the Prince in such a way and Kai although is very intrigued and enchanted with Cinder has duties to he has to uphold. The way the book ended is very disheartening and I’m keen to read more about these two. I just want them to be able to ride off into the sunset together!!
The side characters in Cinder are so perfect for this futurist world. Iko, Cinder’s best friend, is an old version android that has more heart than a lot of the characters in this book with actual hearts. I loved that Meyer created Cinder’s step sisters, Pearl and Peony, to be so different. Pearl is the classic evil step sister who wishes Cinder harm and humiliation and treats her as an object to be owned. Whereas, Peony is sweet and kind towards Cinder and loves her as a sister. Adri has the evil step mother thing down to a T, she truly is horrible and has you wishing she’d just magically disappear from the story. Dr. Erland, the leading scientist in the rush to cure the plague is one of my favourite characters. He is caring and protective of Cinder and is really the reason Cinder is enlightened a lot about herself and her past. I hadn’t thought about it till now but maybe Dr. Erland is meant to be the Fairy Godmother type character. I’m sure Dr. Erland will have a big role in the coming novels.
What was with that ending? I thought the Lunar Chronicles were companion novels and that each one had a resolved happily ever after, apparently I’m wrong and The Lunar Chronicles live in the world of HORRIBLE CLIFF HANGERS. Let’s be honest right now, how many books am I going to have to read before Cinder and Kia are finally together? All of them? Am I going to read every other princess get her prince and Cinder will still be there all alone?
Overall, I was so surprised I loved this book so much. It really is very cleverly constructed and although does have a lot of Cinderella type themes is not strictly a retelling. I just went and brought my copy of Scarlett and I can’t wait to read it and find out all about Scarlet and her guy and what’s going on now with Cinder. I’m also eager to learn more about Lunar and its inhabitants and how that all ties into Cinder. I’m positive The Lunar Chronicles is going to be an amazing series.