Recently, I embarked on the reading journey of the Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer. I’d had a friend recommend them after seeing my Facebook posts about how much I loved the interesting ways that The Witcher video games worked in retellings of beloved tales. Also, I’ve always been a sucker for fairy tale retellings in general. However, I was very unsure about these particular retellings, given that I tend to stay away from sci-fi that involves cyborgs. For some reason, they just don’t typically appeal to me. If you sense a “but…” coming, you are definitely correct.
Maybe I’m getting ahead of myself with the cyborg bit. Let’s try again. Cinder is a retelling of Cinderella, set in a future where humans can be made into cyborgs rather than dying, and are looked on as a lower class of citizen. It’s set in the world of the Eastern Commonwealth, kind of a huge Asian empire, reminiscent of Firefly in its melding of cultures. Cinder herself is a cyborg. So, as someone who has reservations about cyborgs generally, it took me awhile to decide to read this, since it had a cyborg main character. However, I ended up reading it in one sitting and LOVING it. There’s romance, there’s action, there’s a very lovable android sidekick, there’s intrigue, there’s an alien race! The book was super engaging, exciting, and fun to read. There is a twist that I saw coming a mile away, but it was still exciting when it was revealed. The characters were mainly well-rounded, with more depth than I expected. The world building was also well done in that it added to the story, enough information was given for the story to be enjoyed, and it still left me some curiosity to keep me invested in reading the next books in the series.
Since I was obviously invested at this point, I hurriedly requested Scarlet from the library as well. Scarlet is volume 2, and not only continues Cinder’s story, but beautifully enhances it by the addition of some new characters to follow: Scarlet & Wolf. The sequel did not go where I expected to, and that was just fine. In this mash-up, we continue to follow Cinder as she searches for her destiny, but also are granted a retelling of Little Red Riding Hood & Beauty and the Beast all rolled into one. We also get to see another part of the world built in Cinder, traveling to Europe. Following Scarlet as she searches for her missing grandmother, and figuring out how her story ties into Cinder’s, was action-packed, romantic, and introduced another strong heroine. Cinder likewise gets herself a sidekick, and her story is steadily building throughout the book. Once again, I read this book in 1 sitting, loved the characters, and could not have been more excited than when the separate storylines began to collide. I’m looking forward to reading the rest of the series, involving a Rapunzel and a Snow White retelling (I think).
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Recommend: Yes, especially for fans of YA dystopia, fairy tale retellings, YA sci-fi/fantasy, and Firefly fans may enjoy as well.