Yes, this is another retelling of a fairytale, but it's clever and scifi, with cyborgs and gritty future urban fantasy (let's just pretend, for the sake of this review, that is a thing.) In fact, Cinder herself is a cyborg and a mechanic...
Stop right there. A Cinderella story about a cyborg-mechanic? Say no more. I'm in.
The book begins in the middle of a marketplace. A terrible plague, Letumosis, is ravaging future Beijing, and Cinder watches as two people are struck down in front of her. Enter Prince Kai, the future emperor, with a job for a mechanic. Cinder is the one he chooses.
I'm going to stop here and say Prince Kai is awesome. He's natural, brave, and dedicated to his father and his job. He's confused, too; he doesn't see why Cinder won't accept his invitations or talk to him. For her part, she is strong and smart - and she has to hide her attraction to the prince since he doesn't actually realize she's a cyborg.
There's a beautiful antagonist in the shape of the lovely Lunar Queen, Levana. I'm a sucker for a gorgeous villainess, so I'm all about her and her glamour. Naturally she wants to suck Kai into her evil trap, so her character sets up a great deal of exciting tension.
Meanwhile, Cinder has problems of her own. Her wicked stepmother wants her to earn money for her daughters (and in a nice twist, one of the stepsisters is actually nice.) She only has a robot, Iko, to turn to for help. Plus she has to get that job done for the Prince without her stepmother finding out.
|Image courtesy of Flickr|
Yes, there is a ball. Yes there is dancing. Yes, there is a flight of stairs and something falling off - but not a shoe. None of it is boring, however, in a Yet Another Sunday Night TV Show About Fairytales way. Meyers has created real characters and a compelling world as their showcase.
I have to repeat the warning this is the first book in a series. The writer leaves the ending very open, but luckily I waited to read it and have my mitts on that second book now, so Ha.
My rating for Cinder is a solid four stars, with a half added on for the car Cinder turns into her magic coach.