Admit it. There are books on your bookcase that had sat since the dawn of dinosaurs and not until you hauled them out of obscurity did you notice how damn wrong you were in not picking it up eons ago. For me, this is Cinder.
I guess it fits to say Cinder (or the Lunar Chronicles in its entirety) belongs to the hype spectrum. There’s a humongous hesitant monster dwelling in me fighting the urge to try this because well, you know how raves can be deceitful. But when you put your faith into the author rather than the hype, it will pay off. (Now someone’s becoming overly melodramatic!).
Marissa Meyer adapted her story from a renowned fairy tale about a girl and a glass slipper and a happily ever after in a way that detonated with so much spectacular elements . The fusion of fairy tale and dystopia brought forth an incredibly wonderful refreshing story. The elements weren’t exactly a photocopy of Cinderella but an adaptation. The twists in these – cyborg, benevolent stepsister, spunky main character, etc. -, knickknacks that they were, added originality to the overall world-building.
It wasn’t easy to get into it at the prime (at least for me, that’s the case) although that’s just for a fleeting moment. Well, all fantasies are like that I believe. It takes a pre-conditioning phase before one is completely submerged in it. One thing that contributed to my sky-high rating on this book is the writing. It’s easy to get into that either a ten-year old or a thirty-year old could have sufficient reasons to cling to.
The setting of Cinder is anchored in New Beijing. I’ve never set foot in China but I know enough about it like how you would a next-door neighbor. In terms of representation, the novel had slight to moderate offenses and failures. Not that it skewed the culture or anything but it missed the opportunity to epitomize. Apart from the names and the monarchy, there’s not much of a hint it is of Chinese pedigree. However, it can be argued that it turned out to be such a picture because of its fantasy nature in a dystopian setting which could have altered the entire scene. I was hoping for some Asian heritage though.
This book took me in an expedition that’s gripping and action-packed enough to keep me flipping through the pages constantly. I love how everything – cyborg, lunars, letumosis, etc. – was woven beautifully to churn out a good story. There was a plot twist though if you’re not a noob in the YA genre, this won’t knock your socks off. There’s no way to miss it across the hint-strewn pages of this novel. Normally, I would take this against the book (…and might even allot a paragraph of tirade on it) but in the face of such, for some reasons, there’s none for me to despise.
There’s a good mixture of characters with personalities complementing and clashing with each other smartly. Cinder is very Cinderella except she’s feisty and badass. Unlike the ever submissive royal princess that we grew up knowing, Cinder had rebuttals on her stepmother’s tongue lashing. Prince Kai, described as the prime suspect to Iko’s fan overheating, was as usual, extremely handsome. Why am I not surprised?
“He was the fantasy of every girl in the country. He was so far out of realm, her world, that she should have stopped thinking about him the second the door had closed. Should stop thinking about him immediately. Should never think about him again, except maybe as a client–and her prince.
And yet, the memory of his fingers against her skin refused to fade.”
Queen Levana reminds me of Cersei Lannister from A Song of Ice and Fire, cunning enough to use her fair feature so people will do shit for her. And of course, the main character’s got to have a cool adviser, someone who’ll tell our hero/heroine to keep things together. I don’t know, the existence of such is just so trendy. In this story, that’s Dr. Erlan.
With all these things being said, the reason for me to pick up Scarlet, the next installment, is more than enough. I recommend this book to you if you’re up for fairy tales tainted with dystopian and fantasy elements. If you’re after the happily-ever-after ending, there’s nothing for me to conclude it will guarantee or rob you off with such. Better find it out yourself.