I have a love for all things fairy-tale – especially fairy-tale re-tellings. I’ve never actually read a re-telling but I’ve watched plenty of films based of fairy-tales and I loved the first season of Once Upon A Time. So when I heard all the great things about this: a young adult, slightly sci-fi adaptation of Cinderella set in a futuristic alternate universe, I was hooked. I wasn’t sure whether I would like all the technological, android parts, but I was utterly wrong. I loved it. I adored it.
The plot follows Cinder, who is a mechanic and a cyborg living in the bustling, industrial city of New Beijing. Her only friend is her robotic android, Iko. Her step-mother resents her. She can never truly be friends with her step-sisters. She can tell no one about her cyborg life because she risks being shunned out of society. But when the Crown Prince, Kai, comes to her requesting her mechanic skills on his android, Cinder is forced into the world of political intrigue, lies and deception. She faces the wrath of an evil queen and learns more about her past than she ever wanted.
Firstly, I loved the characters. Cinder was sarcastic and determined and independent. In most of the scenes she is alone with her thoughts but Marissa Meyer can carry this off because Cinder is such a strong character. I really enjoyed learning about how the android parts of her worked and think that this was carried seamlessly into her character. I loved the character of Kai; he was strong and capable and had everyone’s best interests at heart. He had to make some hard decisions in some very troubling circumstances, but he didn’t loose all sense of logic and forget everything – he thought about all the options and which would be best for the country. As for the rest of the cast, I loved them all equally, despite their flawed personalities and personal motives.
I think that the world Marissa Meyer managed to create and show is extraordinary. In just one book, I feel as though I already know everything about the world but I’m positive that I don’t. This is the first book in a 4 part series, with each one following a different fairy-tale heroine. The writing and the detail that Meyer went into describing and constructing the world is truly commendable and I feel like this is a world I could live in considering how much detail and information has been woven into the plot and the story.
In terms of the plot, it was fast-paced and very exciting to read about. Everything was a bit mysterious at the beginning but as things began to be revealed, everything began to make sense an it all fit together perfectly. The dialogue was filled with Cinder’s sarcastic humour, and I could definitely relate to her on this front. The writing style was exciting and descriptive; everything was explained easily so that my mind wasn’t blown with all the technological jargon. This was one of my fears when I stared the book – that the plot would be completely centred around the androids and sci-fi elements. But it wasn’t. Everything was blended together to create a truly modern fairy-tale.
Overall, I loved this book. I’d give it 5 our of 5 stars and I’ll definitely be continuing on with the series. In fact I already have the second, Scarlet, waiting on my shelf. Side Note: Watch out for the ending, MAJOR cliff-hanger alert!