Poor Cinder. Not only is she Cinderella on warp speed—she slaves away as a mechanic for her step-family in a future world that has been through four World Wars—she’s also a cyborg who started out as human, but, after a hover car accident, received lots of replacement parts including a mechanical hand and foot. She lives in a world where cyborgs have few rights and are regarded as less than human. This creates an interesting view of prejudices for the reader.
So, no. She isn’t going to be able to make the ball, even after she meets the handsome Prince Kai at her market stall in New Beijing of the Eastern Commonwealth, a part of a new world order in which alliances have prevented more war. Prince Kai, who has no idea that Cinder is a cyborg, is there because he needs help with his android, and Cinder is the best mechanic there is. He’s cute, and soon to be Emperor, but Cinder has more important things on her mind. Like escaping from her dreaded stepmother, Audrey, and her wicked stepsister Pearl. (Her other stepsister, Peony, is actually nice and Cinder loves her.) Besides, rumor is that Queen Levana, ruler of the Lunars (yes, they live on the moon and have special powers) will have the poor Kai as her husband or she will attack the earth with her superior army. Add to that the fact that there is a terrible plague—lutumois—running through the population and the Emperor (Kai’s dad) is dying from it himself, and it’s pretty incredible that Kai has the time to keep asking Cinder to the ball.
Why is this sci-fi futuristic population so interested in a formal ball? I can’t say. But I’m asking you to go with it because it makes for a wacky, creative sort of story. From the beginning I thought Cinder would be running away from the ball at the stroke of midnight and drop her mechanical foot. And I wanted to find out—how could she hop away on one foot fast enough to escape? Well, that isn’t exactly what happens. But Cinder does escape more than one place and leaves clues to her identity.
The author also drops (heavy, heavy, heavy) hints about Cinder’s true identity—of which she is entirely unaware. You’ll figure out who she is right away, and you’ll know how important she is to the future of Prince Kai, the Eastern Commonwealth, and the entire planet. So you’ll cheer her as she fights prejudice, evil backstabbers, and mindless androids.
This is the first of four books in the Lunar Chronicles series. Get ready for an all-out galactic war.
Note: It seems a new trend in reading is in re-imagined fairytales. I thought I’d try some for summer reading, but got an early start with Cinder. Another trend I see, that may just be local—at COHS and CHS—is in war books. So, I plan on some of those for the summer a well. Odd combo, huh?