on January 3, 2012
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Also in this series: Scarlet, Cress
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.
Take the basic plot of “Cinderella,” throw in a touch of Snow White, mix liberally with science fiction (cyborgs, androids, a powerful lunar colony, and a post-World-War-IV world of six or seven nation-states) and fantasy (Lunars have “glamour,” an ability to influence the perceptions and thoughts of others), add plague and political intrigue, and top it off with an engaging but reluctant heroine, and you’ve got Cinder, the first book in Marissa Meyer’s Lunar Chronicles.
It seems that everyone who reads YA has been raving about Cinder since it first came out, and I can see why. I finally managed to get a copy from the library, after being on the waiting list for months, and I plowed through the book in a few hours. I probably can’t say anything about the book that hasn’t already been said, so I’ll keep this short. I loved it, despite the fact that—as my daughter points out—almost everything that happens is predictable if you know your fantasy tropes. It’s not the best-written book I’ve read in the last 12 months (that distinction goes to Patrick Rothfuss’s amazing The Name of the Wind), but the prose is solid and readable, Cinder is a wonderful protagonist, and the story is gripping and exciting and sometimes quite moving.
If you haven’t read Cinder yet, you’re in luck—Scarlet just came out, which means you’ll be able to go right from Cinder’s cliffhanger ending to the sequel. From what I can gather, Scarlet focuses on an entirely new heroine, at least initially, and draws on the Red Riding Hood story. Cinder shows up partway through the book. I’ve already put it on hold at the library, and this time I’m not quite so far down the waiting list—huzzah! I’ll review Scarlet as soon as I finish it. There will be two more books after Scarlet, which means we’ll have to wait until 2015 to finish the series.
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