Cinder by Marissa Meyer


This retelling of Cinderella takes place in a future version of China, where a plague threatens the population, there are political tensions with Luna, the powerful moon civilization, and the cyborg minority is discriminated against and drafted into plague research. Cinder is a young cyborg mechanic, with an artificial foot and hand, as well as internal wiring and a brain interface that tracks her internal systems and vital signs. Her stepmother mistreats her and steals her earnings; she has one nice stepsister and one mean one. She meets the prince when he brings his android into her shop to be fixed.

This is only the first of a series, but so far the book didn’t do anything revolutionary with the fairy tale source material, besides the unusual setting. There is no fairy godmother substitute, which means Cinder has more agency in getting to the ball on her own and making her choices. A good part of the glamour of the ball and the dress is tarnished, probably a positive change. Giving Cinder a skilled job instead of housemaid’s work also seems a step in the right direction. There is a fairly obvious case of mistaken identity for a long-lost princess. The most interesting part of this retelling is not the way it’s engaging with the source material, but the future setting, the political intrigue, and the characters of the prince and Cinder.

The ending is quite a cliffhanger, with Cinder making her escape and the prince engaged to the villain. I finished this one just in time, because the sequel, Scarlet, comes out next month. I put it on hold at the library and hope to get it soon after the release!


5 thoughts on “Cinder

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