Author- Marissa Meyer
Publisher- Feiwel and Friends
Genre(s): Fantasy, Science Fiction, Fairytale
Interest Age: 12 and up
Reader’s Annotation: In this modern twist on an old classic, readers are able to view the classic story Cinderella in a new time with cyborgs and creatures from other planets.
Cinder begins by introducing us to the character Cinder, who is a cyborg who lives with her evil stepmother. At this time, a horrible disease named Letumosis is ravaging New Beijing, where Cinder lives. She has a shop at the market, and is asked to fix an android by none other than Prince Kai. She hides that she is cyborg from him so as to not face any prejudice, and she wants him to like her. Cinder is very close to her step-sister Peony, and cares for her very much. Peony contracts Letumosis and is taken away. The King is also sick with the disease and is dying. Cinder’s stepmother blames her for Peony contracting the disease and volunteers Cinder for Letumosis testing. A doctor at the palace discovers that Cinder is immune to the disease and asks about her childhood. Cinder explains that she was in a crash when she was young, which killed her parents, and left her with a metal hand and foot. She was taken in by a man named Linh Garan.
At this time, discussions are happening between the Prince and Queen Levana of the Moon. She intends to marry him and then kill him so that she may rule. Queen Levana is not a nice person. The Prince is looking for Princess Selene, the princess of Lunar who is thought to be dead. She is the only heir to the throne. Only her hand and foot were found, so conspiracy theories had been made that said she was still alive hiding on Earth. The King dies, and Queen Levana automatically contacts the Prince to create an alliance. Peony dies, and Cinder plans to escape New Beijing. Cinder is asked to the ball by the Prince and declines, afraid he will see that she is cyborg. Cinder finds out about Queen Levana’s plan and goes to warn Kai. She shows up and dances with Kai, but Queen Levana shows up. Cinder runs to escape but loses her foot and is arrested. Kai finds out that she is cyborg. The Doctor comes to visit her in jail, and tells her that she is Princess Selene and will be hunted by the Queen.
Marissa Meyer comes up with a perfect twist on a conventional fairytale in Cinder. The cyborg element adds enough suspense that the fantasy lovers will rejoice. Meyer wrote the character of Cinder very well, and the details kept me interested and not confused. The twist on the original fairytale makes it feel as if you are reading an entirely new idea. The stepmother and stepsister characters fit perfectly well with the expectations. The scenes with the Lunars added even more fantasy to the story, and kept me on the edge of my seat. Prince Kai is a character that left me rooting for New Beijing. Cinder has the characters deal with real life issues in a fantastic setting, which connects the audience and the characters and lead to an all-together great story line. I can’t wait to get my hands on the next book in the series. I wanted to include this in my collection because it is incredibly popular at the moment, and it allows teens to get a fresh new take on an older fairy tale.
Author Bio/ Information:
“One of my first spoken words was “story” (right along with “bath” and “cookie”), my favorite toy as an infant was a soft, squishable book, and I’ve wanted to be a writer since I first realized such a job existed.
When I was fourteen my best friend introduced me to anime and fanfiction—over the years I would complete over forty Sailor Moon fanfics under the penname Alicia Blade. Those so inclined can still find my first stories at fanfiction.net. Writing fanfic turned out to be awesome fun and brought me in contact with an amazing group of fanfiction readers and writers. As Alicia Blade, I also had a novelette, “The Phantom of Linkshire Manor,” published in the gothic romance anthology Bound in Skin (CatsCurious Press, 2007).
When I was sixteen I worked at The Old Spaghetti Factory in Tacoma, Washington, affectionately termed “The Spag.” (Random factoid: This is also the restaurant where my parents met some 25 years before.) I attended Pacific Lutheran University where I sorted mail that came to the dorm, carted tables and chairs around campus, and took writing classes, eventually earning a Bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing and Children’s Literature. Knowing I wanted a career in books, I would also go on to receive a Master’s degree in Publishing from Pace University (which you can learn more about here). After graduation, I worked as an editor in Seattle for a while before becoming a freelance typesetter and proofreader.
Then, day of days, someone thought it would be a good idea to give me a book deal, so I became a full-time writer. CINDER is my first novel, though I have an adorable collection of unfinished ones lying around too.
I now live with my husband and our three cats (Calexandria Josephine, Stormus Enormous, and Blackland Rockwell III), who go in and out, in and out, about eight hundred times a day. My favorite non-bookish things include Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, re-watching episodes of Firefly, and playing all manners of dress-up” (ID, n.d.).
Ties to Curriculum Units: Social problems, family relationships, diversity
How does Cinder handle being a self-proclaimed “outsider?”
How does the treatment from Cinder’s step-mother affect where Cinder ends up at the end of the novel?
While looking through Common Sense Media, I found that reviews were generally positive with regards to Cinder. I saw some problems with the violence in Cinder, but I would be prepared to explain that the violence (there’s not much) is important to the overall story line and that Cinder is fighting against the evil powers that are present. I would also explain the educational value that Cinder brings to the table with the original fairy tale and the political issues Cinder deals with.
ID. (n.d.). Marissa Meyer. Retrieved from http://www.marissameyer.com/id/