Reading level: Young Adult
Genre: Science Fiction/Steampunk
Size: 400 pages
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Release Date: January 3rd, 2012
Stand Alone or Series: 1st book in the Lunar Chronicles
Source: eGalley from NetGalley.com
Rating: 5/5 stars
I got an eGalley of this book to review through NetGalley(dot)com. It was an excellent read, incredibly creative yet it still remained true to the feel of the original Cinderalla fairy tale. It was a fairy tale with so much more added to the mix.
Cinder is a cyborg who works as a mechanic and has been adopted into a family; she has a foster mother and two sisters as well as a faithful android companion. All Cinder wants to do is fix things and build up enough money to leave at some point. When the Prince stops by to have his android fixed, things start to change for Cinder. Then when Cinder’s youngest sister comes down with the plague, Cinder is blamed and sold off to research. There Cinder finds out many things about her past and ends up embroiled in politics and facing off with the evil Lunar Queen.
This story is part fairy tale, part steampunk, and part science fiction. Cinder was a wonderful character she is capable and technically saavy and is constantly chaffing at the restrictions placed on her by her foster mother. Prince Kai is also an intriguing character; despite his life of privilege he confronts things with an honesty that is refreshing and is non-judgmental until he knows the facts.
The world created is an interesting and intriguing one. This is a future Earth, the story itself takes place in New Bejing. Humanity is facing a horrible plague that has been going on for years and can’t be stopped. In addition to this the Lunars, an alien race living on the moon, are ruled by a persuasive and evil Queen. This Queen wants Earth for her own and seeks to gain entry into Earth politics by marrying Prince Kai.
There are just a lot of very interesting elements here. Cinder is a second tier citizen because of her cyborg status; so there is a lot of discussion around second class citizens and what it means to be human. There is the plague; which is allowing questionable research to be carried out as well as forcing society to live under a veil of fear. Then there are the Lunars who can take over people’s minds and are constantly trying to take over Earth.
There is just a lot going on and all of it is very interesting. The writing is well done and the story is paced well. In general it follows the original fairy tale pretty well; you have the wicked foster mother, the sisters, the missing slipper (in this case foot), and the Prince who needs a wife. Unlike the fairy tale Cinder and Kai actually build a solid relationship and their falling in love is gradual and sweet. They are alike in many ways and it is heartbreaking when any hope of a relationship between them is in jeopardy because of the Lunar Queen.
There are a lot of surprises throughout the book, the story flows nicely but is hard to predict. Things were wrapped up nicely in this book, but there is a lot that still needs to be resolved in the larger story.
Overall I really enjoyed this story. It is a fairy tale retelling unlike any I have ever read before. The characters are easy to relate to and engaging. The world is creative and interesting. The story blends together a lot of elements: steampunk, science-fiction, fairy tale, romance, alien invasion, and the question of the humanity of machines. If you are a fan of fairy tale retellings definitely check this out. If you are a fan of steampunk, fantasy, or science fiction I recommend checking this out as well. It was just such an interesting story, I can’t wait to see what the next book in the series brings.