Monday, October 29, 2012

What We're Reading: Re-told Fairy Tales

Cinder
by Marissa Meyer
390 pages
Fantasy / Science fiction
Yes, Book one of the Lunar Chronicles Quartet
8th grade up?
Reviewed by Melissa

Of all the retold fairy tales I have read, this one is the oddest and traveled farthest from its genesis as a traditional fairy tale. That doesn't mean I didn't like it (I did!) or that it didn't work (it does); I'm just saying this because if you are looking for a thinly veiled version of Cinderella, this isn't quite it.

First of all, Cinder is a cyborg--she has one articulated metal hand, a fake foot, and some other less obvious modifications, including an interface capability. She is also a mechanic by trade (thus, instead of sweeping up the ashes, she repairs the TV), and has an android/robot sidekick.

Some of the familiar elements are there, although a bit obscured: The prince is destined to be, not a king, but an emperor, and the action all takes place in New Beijing (China) in the future, post World War IV. (I guess there was a WW III in there somewhere...) The evil stepmother is Cinder's legal owner, one "stepsister" is nice and one is nasty, and there aren't any glass slippers, although there is a ball. There is also a nasty plague, an evil queen (from Luna, aka the Moon), and a big secret, the revelation of which will change Cinder's life forever.

Marissa Meyer has an awesome website, and you should explore it thoroughly, because there are lots of interesting tidbits (for readers, for writers, for techies) contained in the FAQs and on her blog--even some recommended reading lists (for the books of others--Cinder is Meyer's first book) and fan art. For instance, she learned the writing trade by writing fan fiction (40 manuscripts for Sailor Moon!), and she wrote the entire first draft of Cinder in two weeks!

There is a countdown function on her website, and according to that, the sequel (Scarlet) is due out in 98 days. I'm looking forward to it!

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