I love fairy tales. Always did and most likely always will. So this more than modern retelling of Cinderella is just perfect for me and my expectations were maybe high. Luckily Marissa Meyer was up to it and wrote an intriguing, exciting and fascinatingly fantastic story.
The book is set in a dystopian future in what is now China and then will be the Eastern Commonwealth. Cinder is a only 17 but already a well-known talented mechanic. Maybe because she herself isn’t completely human, as parts of her had to be replaced with artificial pieces. That makes her first of all a second-class citizen and secondly she has a very low self-esteem as nobody is overlooking her artificial limbs to see the actual girl.
I love how the author re-creates the classic fairytale and gives it a new, futuristic life. All the classic elements are there: evil stepmother, hard but unpaid work, at least one self-centred stepsister and the beautiful and open-minded prince. Marissa Meyer creates this run-down world, which is dominated by a deadly disease and most people are fighting for themselves. Compassion seems to be an unknown virtue. Cinder has pretty much no influence on her future, as she is a minor and a cyborg. I was shocked about the discrimination and indifference she has to face. I felt immediately compassion and admiration for Cinder, who doesn’t give up. Whatever she has to face, she tries to get through it and stays true to herself at the same time. And in addition she embodies more humanity than any of her completely human fellow citizens.
The story is fast-paced and gripping. Though the plot elements of the ancient folk tale are present, they are interpreted in such a refreshing way that the story development is very unpredictable. It definitely kept me on edge as I was always hoping for the best for Cinder. And then there is Kai, the prince. He is charming, a real gentleman and seems to honestly like Cinder. Unfortunately the circumstances aren’t good for him and Cinder, but I hope he will be back in the next book. Apropos next book, somehow I completely missed out on the fact that Cinder is the first book in a Quartet and therefore I was majorly surprised when the book suddenly ended. Though the storyline is, obviously, not closed, the book itself finished at the right point and now I’m eager to read the next part.
*** ARC courtesy of Publisher via NetGalley ***