By: Cynthia Ayala
Cinder may be a gifted mechanic, but as a cyborg, she’s a second-class citizen with no memory of her life before she was taken in by her step-family. But events unfold, intertwining her life with the Prince of Commonwealth in New Beijing, Prince Kai. With secrets, plots and an intergalactic struggle, Cinder finds out her life could save everyone from the evil Queen of the Moon, Levena.
Published January 3, 2012 by Feiwel & Friends, Marissa Meyer has breathed new life in her retelling of Cinderella. One might look at this story and think “oh yay, another Cinderella story”, but it’s not just a Cinderella and it is certainly a story worth remembering.
Cinder takes place in the future in New Beijing, here Linh Cinder works as a mechanic, living under the iron thumb of her stepmother, constantly ostracized for being more than human: a cyborg. Isn’t that such a delightful twist. That moment is what captures the reader, creating an all-new feel to the story, making it incredibly unique.
While her identity is predictable, that doesn’t deter the reader from wanting to finish the book because a story is not just about the ending, it’s about how the ending exists. All the elements from characterization to the plot twists are what make the story enjoyable. Meyer brought the story to life in her own way. She took something old, something that has already been told a dozen times and made it her own. She made Cinder her own character and very different from other interpretations of her. The closest similarity would be the live action story Ever After starring Drew Barrymore, a character with spunk and strength. That’s exactly what Cinder is, a tom-boy with amazing strength and will, she doesn’t need a man to save her, she doesn’t need anyone but her friends. That right there already makes her different. Her personality, her tone, and her narrative are all full of life and bring this character to life.
This story is fresh and well told. Every chapter connects well with the previous and the story is able to unfold with such clarity, it’s amazing. Meyer captivates the reader by telling the story while showing it, creating a film for the viewer. Not a literal film, but the detail, the world, it has been created so well that there is no doubt that the imagination is going to run with detail and build a film as they read.
Visualization is always a key to a good story, any reader needs to be able to see the world as more than just words on a page, they need to be able to visualize these characters as they understand them and see them as people not just names on a page. Meyer has excelled at that with this novel. She had a wonderful concept and she executed perfectly. There are tons of fairy tale retellings and it’s not enough anymore for one to be good, they have to stand out amongst the competition, they have to shine and captivate the reader and they can’t just be another retelling, they have to be something unique, and that is exactly what Cinder is.
Cinder is truly a breath of fresh air amongst the fairy tale retelling novels. It’s imaginative, funny, spunky and truly addicting. (★★★★½ [out of 5 ☆‘s] | A)