Cinder: Book One of the Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer Read by Rebecca Soler
Marissa Meyer takes a classic standard like Cinderella and tricks it out, managing to merge nostalgia and a sci-fi spin, creating fairytale fusion with a high tech twist.
Cinder is the foremost authority of all things mechanical in New Bejing. Fitting since she’s part robot. But in the modernistic technologically advanced unhappily ever after of Cinder’s world the only thing more reviled than the decrepit state of her home life, is Cinder’s cyborg status. Being almost human carries a stigma akin to second class citizenry. Cinder’s no newbie to the less than stellar treatment but with a plague looming, and her household hit hard, things are definitely going to get worse before they get better.
A chance encounter with a prince has her fortunes turning though, and as Cinder’s journey to help her sister and the young heir progresses, Cinder will learn some startling revelations about herself as well as uncovering a conspiracy that could destroy New Bejing. Irony must be an android, since the world’s salvation hinges on Cinder, a socially dejected semi-human grease monkey with a secret past.
I must admit the cover intrigued me and while Cinder wasn’t my most anticipated new release of the year, it soon became my new favorite series. In this inventive retelling Cinderella gets some serious upgrades introducing a futuristic fun world and exceptional characters that will enchant you. Meyer manages to reduce readers to pediatric puddles bringing out the little girl within, while appealing to the more grown up palettes of adult and adolescent audiences.
My only pet peeve is the perpetuation of the story line with secrets and non communication. It’s frustrating as a reader when a plot’s structure is bound by an unsaid wall, it’s imminent unraveling poised upon more patient lips, and it’s not always apparent why the character is remaining silent. I find this device a flimsy way of building a foundation to a story line. But while a few key points were planted in this way, it wasn’t the sole driving factor in the main thread, which saved Cinder from being just another typical lazily constructed YA novel.
Narrator Rebecca Soler provided a stellar performance. She had a great voice for the youthful cast. Soler was energetic, enthusiastic, and spot on when it came to conveying the characters moods. While anyone can be loud and boisterous, a good narrator can express the subtle nuances so you can hear the quirk, snark, or cluelessness in the moment or character, and Solar was excellent at those inflective cues. Cinder is yet another example of a quality reader paired with a quality recording and makes me enthusiastic that publishers are taking the audiobook industry seriously.
Don’t let the classic framework deter you. While inspired by the fairy tale, Cinder’s on trend with entertainment now. With the next installment Scarlett to be based on Little Red Riding Hood, fans of shows like Grimm and Once Upon A Time will find The Lunar Chronicles an infusion of new life to old fiction. Fresh and invigorating, yet different enough to surprise and make anyone feel like a kid again, Cinder and Meyer are exciting new additions to the YA field.