“Even in the Future the Story begins with Once Upon a Time.” – Marissa Meyer (Cinder)
This post may contain spoilers.
“Cinder” is a wonderful twist on the familiar Cinderella fairy tale. The title character is Linh Cinder, a cyborg, a second-class citizen, living in the futuristic New Beijing where humans and androids alike try to survive both a deadly plague and an ambitious lunar colony from destroying their planet.
Cinder is rife with unique characters, such as Cinder herself, Prince Kai, and the Lunar Queen Levana. Each have their own agendas, their own worries, and they blended together wonderfully. With Queen Levana doing her best to implement herself into New Beijing’s empire by taking advantage of the plague that ravages the population, Prince Kai is preparing to take over the empire in his dying father’s place, fighting against his grief with his mounting frustration concerning Queen Levana.
Then there’s Cinder, who was a simple mechanic living with her stepmother and stepsisters. Her path becomes entangled with Prince Kai’s, both with her job and with the plague. While she’s immune, her stepsister is not, and Cinder gets involved in helping to find a cure while attempting to figure out her past. It becomes apparent that her past is entwined with Queen Levana’s, putting her in danger and forcing Cinder to choose between her own freedom and the safety of the empire.
I greatly enjoyed this story, especially with the futuristic settings and the characters themselves. While there was an obvious attraction between Kai and Cinder, both characters were also focused on the world outside of their romance. They were responsible for the empire and their families, both pushing their own way forward in a dangerous world. I found myself rooting for Kai just as much as Cinder.
My only true complaint about the book is the ending. It was one of the biggest cliffhangers I’ve read in a long time, and while I’m planning on purchasing the rest of the series, I felt cheated. I expected somewhat of an end to Cinder’s story rather than the realization that I had just gotten the beginning. There was plenty of build-up, but not satisfying conclusion to go with it.
“Cinder” gets a 4 out of 5 stars.