Cinder (Lunar Chronicles, #1) by Marissa Meyer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Cinder is a sci-fi retelling of Cinderella. Sort of. What always bothered me about Cinderella's story, and also apparently many of the people who created their own versions of it; was that she doesn't meet him until the ball, doesn't even talk two sentences with him during it, and marries a complete stranger in the end because he's the handsome prince. So this version does correct that as well. It still has the wicked stepmother, and sister. It's also not unheard of that the younger sister is nice to Cinderella. The author also kept some of the elements of the story, like the chores, the sleeping where she works, the leaving of the shoe on the steps. However, this Cinderella doesn't just take it all and hope that her kindness will free her from her sad life. In fact, she doesn't expect it to. She knows that only she can save herself, and she's no pushover. She is her own fairy godmother.
Of course, she still falls in love with the Prince. However, this prince is not the pretty shell we have in the fairy tale. He's a real person with responsibilities and problems. We see the story from both perspectives, and this helps take the story out of just being about a girl in love. Which, by the way, is not a very dominant part of the story. No long, long gazes into each others' eyes page after page, no romantic sappiness. People who have read my reviews before know that I'm not a romantic person, so this was a big plus for me.
Another obvious influence is Sailor Moon. That is incidentally one of my all time favourite anime, so I immediately noticed the parallels between having a kingdom on the Moon, and people with "magic" inhabiting it. Also searching for Princess Serena - sorry, Selena. The story also takes place in New Beiging, so the feel of Asia is everywhere. Evil queens are also very common in the 200 episodes of Sailor Moon.
What is different from both of these stories is the ever-lurking threat of the plague. Without giving too much away, the disease is used well, as something to advance a plot, make a plot, or to just influence people in the background.
The sci-fi elements are not so overwhelming so that only hardcore fans can read it. It's sort of there in the ID chips and hover crafts, Cinder's wiring and limbs, but we don't get long Physics lessons that you need a degree for. It happens in the future, with people who live in the future. Most of them probably know as much about how their android works as we know about our coffee machine.
Overall, it's an interesting and exciting story. I wanted to know what was going to happen to Cinder and the rest of the people in it. I'm also eager to continue. The reason why it gets only 4 stars is because it didn't excite me to the degree that 5 stars would. It wasn't Harry Potter, or something like it. I don't want to read it again, or find fanfiction in the world. However, it was a good story, well written, even though I found one word mistake. The pacing was good, and I am going to read on.