In my junior year of college, I took a class on fairy tales that managed to open to me this whole new world of fantasy stories and adaptations. Since then, I’ve been hooked on every fairy tale spin-off I could find, from the paperback compilation My Mother She Killed Me, My Father He Ate Me to the Bartok opera Bluebeard’s Castle.
My best friend (whom you should follow here), who jumped on the Cinder bandwagon much earlier than I (the book was published in January of 2013), swears that she told me about her obsession with the series ages ago. On her account, she explained the plot – a Cinderella adaptation with a half human, half robot – to our other best friend and me, and the two of us laughed and dismissed the concept. I promise, I have no recollection of this occurrence.
In any event, this post World War IV (godda love the post-apocalyptic/dystopian government element) is equipped with humans, android handymen, and cyborgs, or crosses between humans and androids. Cinder is a teenage cyborg whose stepmother forced her to make the family money by laboring as New Beijing’s most capable mechanic. (Get it? Because she’s still dirty all the time, like Cinderella was, but this time it’s mechanic’s grease and dust doing the job instead of the mansion’s dust bunnies.) Because her services are so incomparable, she finds a worthy client in the handsome, young, kind, smiling prince who – let’s face it – is the very-perfect interest.
There’s also a power-hungry queen (whose story will be told in a prequel series coming in 2015), a corrupted kingdom, a missing heir to the throne, and the loss of Cinder’s…well, you get the idea.
I had few qualms, the most notable being the novel’s major twist. No matter how much I read, I can never predict these twists, with the notable exception of Fight Club, which no one saw coming, and I strangely predicted in the first five pages; but other books’ plots? I didn’t even have a clue as to what the first horcrux could be. (And don’t even get me started on the mysterious R.A.B.; I was more lost than Harry, and I didn’t have the stress of the whole pending-wizard-going-to-kill-you thing.) But, when it came to Cinder‘s twist, I called it. It didn’t ruin, not even spoil, the novel for me; but I saw it.
Amazon promises this novel is for grade level 7 and up. I don’t know if I’d go that far; it’s not too complex, but it’s a for-sure page turner, albeit wonderfully guilty pleasure. It’s certainly rated G; maybe that’s the basis of Amazon’s rankings? Nonetheless, Meyer does an excellent job on maintaining excitement throughout an already well-known tale. We know there’s a prince. We know there’s a ball. We know there’s a shoe. But she also adds her own exciting elements that create their own intrigue, and even unexpectedness; the fairy godmother-magic pumpkin adaptations were done exceptionally well.
I certainly cannot wait to start the second installment…which evidently introduces new fairy tale heroines???