Enjoy this Monday with Mildred!
My sister-in-law has done it again, given me a book for Christmas that she knows I’ll love, AND that is part of a series that I will be forced to buy, much like last year’s The Magicians. It’s been sitting around unread for two months because I knew it would cost me money if I picked it up. Cinder is part of the Lunar Chronicles, this one based on the Cinderella story with a few minor changes. Author Marissa Meyer immediately grounds the reader in Cinder’s sf world. She is a poor, cyborg mechanic in New Beijing, wearing a foot so old she can hardly remove it because the screws are so stripped. I’ve felt that pain, you know, when the screwdriver slips and you wrack your knuckle on a greasy part? Ugh. It really drew me in quickly because I could relate to that, if not to actually being a poor cyborg.
For a more Y leaning YA novel than I’m accustomed to, it’s a fairly complicated story of an evil Lunar kingdom, a deadly plague, and palace intrigue. The evil stepmother is truly horrible, and all the nasty things you might fear would happen to our hero does happen, and then some because the author has a bit of a mean streak. She broke my heart a couple of times before getting to the end, which is annoyingly To Be Continued.
I found the most interesting science fictional element to be the magic of the Lunars. Using, supposedly, a bioelectrical zap from their brain they can make everyone do anything they want. Since they’re evil overlords (literally, over us because they live on the Moon – ha!) they make a worthy opponent to the people of Earth.
This is a book I hope they don’t try to make a movie or series out of, because I can’t imagine anyone getting the feel of dirty desperation under the rule of a hot and sympathetic young emperor. It’s a very quick read, making me fairly impressed with the depth of plot Meyer conveyed in an actually rather frothy confection of story. Frothy in the sense of lightweight, not lighthearted, because there are some harsh realities in this world and Cinder remains in a state of constant danger, between being poor, susceptible to catching the always fatal plague, enduring peoples hatred of cyborgs, and the always awful treatment of the stepmother.
As YA sf goes, this is top notch. It’s for a slightly younger audience than The Hunger Games or Divergent, but be aware that there are some pretty mean things going on and might be too much for some kids. I recommend this book for anyone who likes their science fiction and their ancient fairy tales to be mashed together, with a sympathetic heroine to root for and a cute as a button android sidekick.