Written by: Marissa Meyer
Published by: Feiwel & Friends
Release date: January 3rd 2012
Genres: Retelling, Sci-Fi
Buy: B&N, Amazon, Book Depository
Add on: Goodreads
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.
I actually just re-read it for the third time. Yes, it is that good.
I’m not going to turn this into a very long review, since I’m sure 90% of you have already read and loved this first installment in The Lunar Chronicles. To the other 10% of you, I say either, a) alright, you tried it, you didn’t love it, fair enough, just move it right along… or b) WHO ARE YOU WHAT ARE YOU DOING WITH YOUR LIFE WHY HAVEN’T YOU READ THIS BOOK/SERIES YET?!
It’s no secret that I am a huge fan of retellings. I’m also a huge fan of sci-fi. Also romance. And dashing princes. And robots with the greatest personalities ever… wait, what? 😆 Cinder has all that and more. And re-reading this book has been (and always will be) a joy.
As a retelling, I honestly think Cinder works flawlessly. There are so many elements of the original Cinderella fairy tale worked into the characters and plot of this book. Cinder is the ward of her stepmother, has two step-sisters, works to support them, meets the dashing prince who doesn’t know she’s cyborg (cyborgs are basically seen as sub-human by many), he takes a linking to her, there’s a ball, etc, etc. But none of the amazing nods to the original fairy-tale feel like they shouldn’t be part of Cinder’s story, as well. Everything is worked in so wonderfully — just enough so you know the basic structure, but the story still feels shiny and new and exciting. I think that’s part of the reason it works so well to re-read it — it was already familiar the first time I read it, and even now that I know the different details, it’s still just as fun as my first time through the story.
But it’s not just the story and the retelling aspects that are so wonderful. As with any book, if I don’t fall for the characters, I won’t fall for the book — and Cinder‘s characters are so fantastic. There’s Cinder herself, obviously — the renowned cyborg mechanic who dreams of someday escaping her awful step-mother. There’s Prince Kai, the heir to his country’s throne, who’s thrust into a position of power much too soon for his liking but weathers it with dignity and honor. Then there’s the powerful Queen Levana of Luna (aka the MOON), who says she wants an alliance with Earth… (Spoiler (not really a spoiler): View Spoiler »this “alliance” isn’t all its cracked up to be. « Hide Spoiler) 😧 Kai comes to Cinder with a broken android which may or may not hold information that’s of paramount importance to the future of Earth (spoiler (not really a spoiler): View Spoiler »it’s totally important to the future of Earth, « Hide Spoiler), and things sort of… escalate from there.
But those are just the main human players. And then there’s Iko. 😍 Iko is Cinder’s android, and she is basically my favorite thing (?!) ever. Iko has the personality of the most loveable fangirl and over-excitable teenager — mooning over Kai, wearing pearl necklaces, trying on lipstick, and basically being the most adorable little android you ever did see. …Errr, read about. She is. The best.
Aaaaand… crap, I’m getting wordy! WRAP IT UP, NIKKI.
Familiar story, fun new setting and twists, check. Super lovable characters, including swoony prince and lovable android, check. What else, what else… oh! Two things.
First of all, as The Lunar Chronicles continues, you can see that it’s definitely a series of straight-up sequels, but they also function as companion novels, following new characters each time, until their paths cross with the original group. As a book, Cinder does a lot of work on the “setup” side of things — gearing up for the rest of the series and establishing key players and plot threads to be explored in later books — which I adore. It’s so much fun, especially on a re-read, to see all the little hints that are dropped along the way, for things and people that we meet later.
Lastly, I have a question for you: Do you listen to audiobooks? Ever? Sometimes? Never? Do you want to give them a try?! (Something, anything, give me SOMETHING!) Because seriously, the Lunar Chronicles audiobooks are some of my absolute favorites, ever. The narrator who does this series is so awesome. She breathes so much life and emotion into these characters, and makes the audiobook experience one that is seriously engaging. When I listen to these books on audio, I literally do not want to read anything else. Which is hard, because my excuse in re-reading via audiobooks is that they do not infringe on my paper-book (aka review books and TBR pile) reading. But what can I say, these audios are just unputdownable.
. . . unturndownable?
Okay, I’ll work on that one.
Moral of this story: Just read this series. In any way you can. And then definitely re-read it on audio. 😉