I’ve been really excited about reading this book from the moment I saw its cover. Cinderella as a cyborg, you say? Why, yes, I think I will! I haven’t read very many fairytale retellings, but there was just so much of interest to me about this book, and the buzz has been pretty good too. When I read Jill’s review, I knew I needed to move this book up on the stack and give it a go, and what I found was not only original but full of the kind of intrigue and conspiracy that is easy to relish. It was a fun book to say the least, and my only real complaint is that I have to wait so long to find out where this series is headed.
Though this story keeps the bones of the fairytale intact, its innards and skin are of a very different construction. There are several elements going on throughout the novel, and even the less urgent story lines are worked with fluidity and a cohesiveness that I can see will set the stage for books to come. The main difference between this tale and the original is that the love story, as it were, isn’t the main plot element vying for the reader’s attention. In Cinder, the love story takes a back seat to political and social intrigue, guaranteeing that readers are kept dancing to Meyer’s delicious tune of discord, disease and redemption. There’s no page space wasted in this tale, and though the book is long, it blows by in a whirlwind of secrets, intrigue and plot twists. I also liked that the writing was fast paced and graceful without being overly embellished, which worked well for this type of story.
Some of the twists were not all that hard to figure out and I deciphered one of them very early on, but such was the creativity and ingenuity of this book that I wasn’t displeased by this at all. In fact, as I raced through the pages, I was waiting for the big reveal in order to see how it would be shaped and twisted to fit the narrative. The worldbuilding was done on a small scale, and I’m eager to see how this is amplified in the next installment and the repercussions it will have on all the major players. The idea that this series will be a quartet doesn’t really bother me because there’s a lot about Cinder and her cohorts that remains shrouded and unclear to me, and I would relish the chance to see a more advanced look into the world they populate. With each thread of this story, I can see infinite possibilities for drama and pathos on a large scale, and it’s plain to see that several interesting developments are in the process of being uncovered.
I also liked the cleverness and insatiable evilness of the antagonists in this tale. As outsiders to the planet, they are focused on total domination, and their particular brand of magic is not only enticing, but devious. Queen Levana, the leader of this nefarious race called the Lunars, has the ability to wield superior mind control skills and can keep even her own subjects from seeing her true appearance, which she masks with a powerful glamour that none can deny. She also has the ability to make people do whatever she wills them to do, which in this situation is a rather terrifying prospect. It’s not only these character embellishments that make for intriguing reading, but her total lack of compassion or decency that make her the baddest of the bad. Cinder certainly has her work cut out for her with this evil witch! As the story closes, Queen Levana has yet to be fully dealt with but there are signs that this problem will be solved in future installments, though there is slight closure to this book in terms of a few plot lines.
If you’re looking for a fairytale retelling that’s markedly different from anything that has yet been published, this is the one to go for. It’s perfect for teens and adults alike and has the added benefit of packing a powerful punch of a main character who is spunky, clever and has a lot of heart. It was a great read for me and I'm eager to discover what’s in store for this cyber-Cinderella. Recommended!
Cinder is also available on audio from Macmillan Audio, and I've heard that the audio production is outstanding. To check out a sample, click below.