three-and-half-stars
Bookmarks Issue: 
57-Mar-Apr-2012
user_rating: 
0

Book One in the Lunar Chronicles

A-CinderCinder, Marissa Meyer's debut novel and the first in a planned series, reimagines Cinderella as a teenage cyborg in a distant future.

The Story: Sixteen-year-old Cinder, the best mechanic in New Beijing after World War IV, isn't your average would-be princess. Instead, she's a cyborg with a small, outdated robotic foot and a mysterious past when a young man in disguise, the handsome Prince Kai, enters her workshop with a broken android. The prince is soon to marry, and Cinder's cruel stepmother, instead of using her stepdaughter's income to upgrade her foot, dons her own biological daughters in fine gowns for the prince's upcoming ball. But despite all odds, Cinder soon finds her fate intertwined with that of Prince Kai--and at the center of an intergalactic struggle that could destroy the world she knows.
Feiwel & Friends. 400 pages. $17.99. ISBN: 9780312641894

Los Angeles Times 4 of 5 Stars"There's a lot of detail paid to Cinder's internal wiring, which was done with great care for reasons that become apparent as the book nears its close. ... Whether Cinder is headed for a happy ending like her fairy-tale inspiration is far from clear when she shows up at the prince's palace in a grease-stained ball gown teetering on her undersized robotic foot, but readers will be cheering for this extremely likable cyborg and eagerly awaiting Cinder's sequel." Susan Carpenter

Walking Brain Cells 3.5 of 5 Stars"This is a glorious melding of science fiction and fairy tale where androids and Cinderella mash up. ... While the reader knows Cinder's secret past before Cinder does, that knowledge contributes to the slowing of the novel." Tasha Saecker

Tor.com 3 of 5 Stars"There's some pretty severe predictability laced into the storyline; I can't even mention it without giving away a major plot point. However, the second a certain piece of background information was mentioned, I knew exactly how it would all come together by the end. But hey, it wouldn't be a fairy tale without certain things happening." Michael M. Jones

Critical Summary

Cinder starts with a familiar framework, but Marissa Meyer has boiled the classic fairy tale down to its basic elements and constructed something wholly new, with a science fiction twist. She has also tweaked the characters: Cinder is a feminist, a tomboy, and a skilled mechanic more interested in conversation than in looks (or a glass slipper, for that matter). One of the novel's great strengths lies in its setting, although one critic noted that the culture of the Lunar Colony and Earth's new government structures is not as anchored as it could be. A few reviewers also noted some slow spots, pacing issues, and predictable points. Still, Cinder offers up a dynamic, strong new heroine, and readers who enjoy Meyer's debut will surely anticipate the next three installments in the series, featuring Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel, and Snow White.