This is no fairy tale. Cinder, the debut young adult novel by Marissa Meyer and the first in her Lunar Chronicles series, is a clever, futuristic retelling of Cinderella….except I like this one better. This Cinder doesn’t need a prince to save her, although one is making his intentions clear. She has a plan of her own that is interrupted when she has to save Earth.
Many elements of the fairy tale give the story a familiar feel. Cinder has an evil stepmother who puts Cinder to work and prohibits her from attending the ball. She has two stepsisters, although one of them is heartbreakingly charming. Cinder is dirty, not from cleaning the ashes from the fireplace, but because she is a mechanic and working with grease. Then there is the ball, and a twist to the lost shoe I saw coming, but loved all the same.
What is different is this story takes place in the future, when gasoline cars are ancient relics. Cinder isn’t entirely human, but a cyborg. I am not a frequent reader of science fiction or fantasy, so I wasn’t sure if I should know what that is. As far as I could tell with Cinder’s focus on her gloves and boots, she has some metal parts.
The story is predictable at times, which is fitting for a fairy tale retelling. We all know how the story goes. Yet there are surprises in every chapter that make this a light and enjoyable read.