Tuesday, January 29, 2013
Cinder, by Marissa Meyer- Review
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 held out on this book for a long time. Cyborg Cinderella in Beijing just wasn't selling it for me. Yet the cyber highway was awash in people singing it's praises, so time and time again I would find myself in Chapters picking up Cinder and thinking, should I? But I had a strong feeling this was going to be one of those books where everyone was all EEEEEEEEE! and I would be all Ugh?! Really? Like, say, Shatter Me, or Hush Hush. Sometimes me and everyone just don't see these things the same way at all. However since Cinder was being released in paperback and Meyer had announced a tour date stop in the T-dot, I decided to give everyone the benefit of the doubt and finally take a chance on this book.
I am a big enough person to admit when I am wrong, and as soon as I stop screeching EEEEEEEEEE CINDER! all over the interwebs, I will get right on that.
Much like Jackson Pearce's fairytale retellings, Meyer has taken a beloved and well known story and reshaped it in such an unusual way that when the famous key points happen it's a surprise all over again. The blend of new and old is refreshing but it also doesn't bog the story down into a dedicated retelling where everything takes place in pre-ordered steps. Instead Cinder reads as a very unusual sci-fi/dystopian story with a distinct Cinderella overtones.
All this being said, I was impressed when Meyer attacked scenes straight out of the original, she was able to imbue them with as much emotion and frustration as I remember having the first time I watched Cinderella a la Disney (probably somewhere around circa Rhiannon 5yrs old). Let's just say Peony tearing Cinder down verbally was every bit as infuriating as when the step sisters tear apart Cinderella's lovely dress, laboriously slave-labored over by all those cute little mice and birds (poor under-appreciated little buggers). On a side note, it occurs to me that maybe Disney has something to do with my unhealthy affinity with animals. They should have to pony up for the vet bills, its seems only reasonable to me.
But I digress.
How this four part series will unroll, especially in regards to Cinder and Kai, has infinite appeal to me, but what I was most excited to hear was how each book was going to be it's own Fairytale retelling focusing on another set of characters but tying into the over all plot introduced in the first book. Scarlet, book two of the Lunar Chronicles (due out on the 5th of Feb) will follow Scarlet (little red riding hood) and Wolf (a street fighter) on a quest to find Scarlet's missing grandmother. Cress (2014) will be about Rapunzel, and Winter (2015) will be about Snow White. Settings are based on research Meyer has done about the original fairy tales and their origins: China for Cinderella, France for Red Riding Hood, North Africa for Rapunzel and then Lunar for Snow White (because of plot, and thus the only one with more creative liberty). The research and planning being hinted behind all of this make me giddy with excitement, if Meyer blew my socks off with her debut I can just imagine how strong the following three books will be. One way or another, I have been won over to the hard core fandom and am counting the days down between now and February 5th.
You are too you say? Well have a little taste of things to come! Chapters 1-5 of Scarlet is up over on Goodreads, and Tor.com has two Meyer short stories that tie into the story arc, Glitches and The Queens Army. So dole them out to last, 7 more days to go!
Cinder, by Marissa Meyer
Published by Feiwel and Friends, January 2012
Buy Cinder on Amazon