Cinder: Book One of the Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer

The books I choose to review are generally chosen one of two ways; either I see the book on the shelf and the blurb on the cover interests me or the book is by an author I am familiar with. This week’s book however was chosen because of some fanart. One of the many boards I follow on Pinterest had pinned some fanart from one of the later books in this series and I found it interesting. Not wanting to start a series at the end, I tracked down the first book at my library and here we are.

In Cinder, humans and androids crowd together in the streets of New Beijing as a mysterious and deadly plague ravages the population leaving families torn apart. Among those affected is Cinder, a cyborg mechanic, renowned for her brilliance with machinery yet reviled for being not wholly human. When her young step-sister comes down with the disease, Cinder finds herself becoming a volunteer for research in to a cure. Meeting the handsome crown Prince Kai only complicates matters, for as their stories become intertwined, it isn’t only Cinder’s fate in the balance – but the fate of the people on Earth as well.

Cinder is a very interesting re-working of the original Cinderella fairy tale. The main character, Cinder, while having a good deal in common with Cinderella – step-mother not liking her, father passed away, etc. – she has just as many differences. She’s a very smart young woman and works to find her own way out of her situation with her step-mother. She works hard despite the setbacks to achieve her own happy ending.

The city of New Beijing itself plays a decent part of the story. Those familiar with Joss Whedon’s series Firefly will feel right at home in this world that combines new and old, Asian and European. Even the way characters talk is much the same with the occasional Mandarin word or phrase thrown in. This just adds to the realism of the individuals and their world.

I think my only complaint would be that a few characters weren’t as fleshed out as I would have liked them to be. I found myself very curious about Cinder’s step-mother and the doctor who later helps her in particular. We only get a basic glimpse of their stories, I would have loved to have been given more. Perhaps we will learn more in later books, but I have my doubts.

Otherwise, this was a very good read. Fans of Firefly and those looking for a new twist on an old tale should definitely give this one a try.