Meyer, Marissa. Cinder. New York: Feiwel and Friends, 2012.
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Cinderella as cyborg. Yep, I've read the book.
The first thing that drew me to this book was the cover. It is beautiful! The next thing that drew me to this book is I got to hear Marissa Meyer speak at two separate sessions at TLA this year. I became interested in reading The Lunar Chronicles. Thirdly, Meyer signed my book. Now, I must read it.
This is a Cinderella retelling, but it isn't. Yes, the main character's name is Cinder, and there is a handsome prince and a lovely ball to attend. There is also a wicked stepmother and stepsisters to contend with, but the story is more than this. The backdrop of the familiar story lends itself to a new story--one of a futuristic, empowered girl who is not all that she seems. There is the ever-present good versus evil story line that all fairy tales must explore.
"She kept her head high, even as her eyes stung, even as panic filled her vision with warnings and precautions.
It was not her fault he had liked her.
It was not her fault she was cyborg.
She would not apologize." (Meyer 338).
The Eastern Commonwealth is in negotiations with the Lunars. "Lunars were a society that had evolved from an Earthen moon colony centuries ago, but they weren't human anymore. People said Lunars could alter a person's brain--make you see things you shouldn't see, feel things you shouldn't feel, do things you didn't want to do. Their unnatural power had made them a greedy and violent race, and Queen Levana was the worst of all of them" (Meyer 43). Lunars have a problem with mirrors (explained in the story). This interaction between worlds provides a secondary story line to Cinder's story. The Lunars are the reason a plague has come to the Commonwealth, and it will be the Lunars who help find the cure. Of course, the evil queen's idea of a negotiation is to do what she wants--marry her.
Unlike the "usual" version of Cinderella, Cinder and the prince meet prior to the fancy ball. In fact, Prince Kai invites Cinder to be his "personal guest at the ball" (Meyer 164). Of course, Cinder doesn't plan to go, or rather, her wicked stepmother doesn't plan to allow her to go! Of course, our heroine prevails and does make it to the ball.
Even though this is a futuristic novel, there are qualities of "now" present in the book. For one, the story's setting takes on an Asian location. In the Q & A section of my book, Meyer explains that the earliest Cinderella story actually came from 9th century China. I didn't realize this. Each person, including cyborgs have in ID chip implanted in their wrists. This chip allows access to "money accounts, benefits, licenses" which made me think of Social Security card numbers (Meyer 169).
There were a few things I suspected to happen that did (of course, Cinder is the...oh, wait, don't want to spoil it here). I think Meyer gave too many obvious clues for me (but this might be perfect for a YA audience). It is fun to think something might happen, or how a story will all fall in place, and then it does. The ID chips did make me suspect that Cinder might be, well, I can't say. But I will state that I suspected at page 170 some of the outcome in the book. One of these outcomes is revealed on page 175 and another on page 240. Dr. Erland was exactly was I expected him to be.
I also kept thinking about Star Wars while reading this book. I'm not sure if it was the android connection (both stories main characters fix them) or just those common archetypes showing through.
Meyer sets up more stories with Queen Levana. Cinder knows something about her power "a perfect illustration overlaid the perfect woman--and they were not the same" (Meyer 361). I thought of Langston Hughes' poem, "We Wear the Mask."
There was no sex or language issues that I recall. There is a kissing scene at page 349.