Title: Cinder: The Lunar Chronicles
Author: Marissa Meyer
I read this back in February, and though I raced through it, and even stayed up late to finish it (which I don’t do half as often as I used to, having reached the greatly advanced stage of life that is the mid-twenties), I’m still not sure if I really enjoyed it. Part of what I promised myself when I started the blog was that I would read more broadly, and Cinderella with cyborgs is definitely rather out of my comfort zone. I am not a great fan of fairytale retellings, and am fairly new to sci-fi. I think I’m glad that I gave it a try, but I haven’t rushed to read the other books in the series and I probably won’t do so.
Because Meyer is trying so hard to communicate that this isn’t a normal Cinderella retelling, I felt that the point about Cinder being a cyborg was hammered home unnecessarily hard in the first couple of chapters. I found it difficult to immerse myself in the world because I was constantly being reminded of the fact that it was a construct, bombarded with what seemed to me like unnecessary and incessant detail. This faded to a certain extent as the story progressed, and somewhere around my introduction to the rest of Cinder’s family I began to enjoy the book, but I was never really engrossed, and I think it was down to that sense of artificiality.
I appreciated the little nods towards the original source material (at one point, a vehicle is described as being ‘like a rotting pumpkin’, for example), but by the end of the story that plot is completely derailed and has become entirely its own thing. So much the better. In this rendering of the Cinderella tale, romance very much takes a back seat and the plot is much more action-driven. I don’t want to give away spoilers, but if you haven’t guessed that Cinder’s got some kind of special secret identity beyond being the protagonist you clearly aren’t very familiar with fairytales. I’m also a fan of plague stories–however, as a person who works in a hospital, I didn’t feel that the telling of the plague aspect was particularly convincing. I suppose I am particularly picky about diseases and the portrayal of healthcare, so I’ll just leave it at that.
The romance, such as it is, is a little cloying (which is par for the course with any fairytale retelling, and part of why I tend to avoid them). Since it’s the first part of a series, I presume it will be further developed in later books. I just don’t think that I will be reading them.