I’m a pretty big fan of fairy tale retellings and of sci-fi in general, so the idea of a sci-fi retelling of Cinderella seemed like it would be right up my alley. The result in actuality? It was okay.
Cinder (Marissa Meyer, 2012) is the first book of The Lunar Chronicles and follows a teenaged cyborg, left to an unjust guardian and her two daughters, amidst a pandemic that threatens to leave Earth in the hands of evil Queen Levana and the Lunars. While some of the story is expectedly predictable – the evil stepmother, a grand ball to find the prince a suitable bride, Cinder being the one on whom he centers his affections – it was, as a whole, disappointingly predictable. Of course Cinder is the one immune to the plague, of course Cinder has a secret she must hide from the prince, of course she feels she must keep herself from falling love with him, and of course she is the mysterious Lunar princess who can save all of Earth and the moon. For a story that takes such liberties with the source material, it is unfortunately tied down by adherence to cliches so prevalent in young adult literature today.
That isn’t to say I didn’t entirely enjoy it. It was easy to read, a decent palate cleanser, and left me wondering how the story fits together with the other stories in the Chronicles. I’ll probably read them one day…when I’m looking for something easy on the brain. And that’s Cinder’s greatest downfall – it requires little thought and takes no chances in straying from comfortable YA plots. It’s not a story that challenges its readers, nor does it have the potential to grow as its audience does, but there is something to said for a quick, easy, generally fun read. If nothing else, it has that going for it.