Cinder (ella, ella, ella, ay, ay, ay) by Marissa Meyer

January 28, 2013 Coming of Age, Dystopian, Fairy Tales, Fantasy, Young Adult Fiction 35

Hey Bookworms!

So you all remember that I’m doing the whole Project Fairy Tale thing in February right? Well. While I was out trolling the interwebs, I noticed that there’s a brand spanking new version of Little Red Riding Hood due on the scene February 5th. The only issue I had was that it was the second in a series… OBVIOUSLY, I needed to read the first book in the series, especially since I’ve seen a bunch of YA book bloggers fawning all over it. The first book in the series is a fractured version of Cinderella- Cinder by Marissa Meyer.

On her way to the ball, she really could have used Rhianna's Umbrella-ella-ella-ay-ay-ay.... Just saying.

On her way to the ball, Cinder really could have used Rhianna’s Umbrella-ella-ella-ay-ay-ay…. Just saying.

Meyer takes the traditional Cinderella story and short circuits it. Instead of being set long ago in a land far, far away, Cinder is set in the distant future. 126 years after the end of the 4th World War, to be precise. Funnily enough, aside from the technological advances, it’s not so different from medieval times. There’s a big fat ugly plague that looks and sounds awfully close to the Bubonic plague. Only this one wasn’t perpetuated by fleas on rats. (Also, in case you were curious, I’ve heard that Bubonic plague, at least the version that decimated a quarter of Europe’s population was caused by a bacterium that would easily lose in a battle against penicillin. Don’t be hating on mold, y’all.)

There’s also, um, robots. Lots of robots. Our heroine is bionic. She was in a terrible accident as a child and instead of spending her life in a wheelchair, surgeons made her part robot. Unfortunately, cyborgs are treated as second class citizens. I had a couple of issues with this bit. Like… The whole cyborg thing basically evolved from making really fancy prosthetic limbs and stuff. I can’t believe a culture that evolved from ours would have too big a bone to pick with advanced prostheses. The prejudice against cyborgs is universal, even if the person’s only got a robot foot. Cinder’s case is a little more complicated though. She’s nearly 40% manufactured and she’s got a computer all up in her brain. It wouldn’t be fair to, say, have her play chess against a normal human, but otherwise I have a hard time believing cyborgs would be so poorly treated. She still has FEELINGS!

Full on androids have no rights at all.

Full on androids have no rights at all. Their feelings are manufactured on personality chips.

Anyway. Cinder is a badass lady mechanic. She gets all greasy and fixes robots and hover cars (sweet right?) and the iPad’s great great great grandbaby. She’s super good at it because A. she’s got a computer in her brain and B. because she learned how to tweak her own mechanical bits and pieces. One day, the Chinese equivalent of Prince Harry shows up and is all “hey Cinder, wanna fix my robot?” And she’s all “ooooh hottie hot hot.” Here’s my other big objection to the book. Monarchy. Seriously? You’re telling me that a peaceful society was able to form based on a monarchy with no apparent checks and balances for 126 years? No uprisings from the unwashed masses? No spoiled royal black sheep in the family tree made a mess of things? I just don’t see it. But it IS Cinderella. I suppose we need a prince.

So anyway. Cinder’s got a pretty rotten stepmother, one mean stepsister, and one nice stepsister (kind of like in Drew Barrymore’s Ever After.) Cinder’s got to fix this robot, deal with plague, and find out all about her mysterious past because there are these evil moon people who want to cause trouble. Yes. You read that right. EVIL MOON PEOPLE. They’re called Lunars, but I can’t hear “Lunar” without hearing Christy Carlson Romano singing “We went to the moon in 1969, that’s when we made a landing that was luuuuuunar!” (Any Even Stevens fans out there? Anyone? Bueller? Yeah. I hear the crickets. I’ll shut up now.) The theory behind the Lunars is that they’ve evolved from a human colony that settled the moon hundreds of years before our story begins. Somehow, they’ve evolved an ability to manipulate people into doing their bidding. It’s sort of like a vampire’s glamour brainwashing. Only they’re from the moon. They’re another monarchy led by the most evil queen who has ever existed. The Lunars keep threatening to go to war with Earth (and despite the fact that the moon is way smaller than the earth, somehow the Lunars have superior technology and would probably decimate mankind.) Also, it’s suggested that the plague was advanced biological warfare sent to earth by the Lunars. Naturally, humans aren’t the biggest fans of the evil moon people.

Now I'm VERY suspicious of you, MOON!

Now I’m VERY suspicious of you, MOON!

When I write it all down with a wee bit of snark, it sounds like the most ridiculous premise ever. I won’t go so far as to say that this was my FAVORITE BOOK EVER ZOMG,  but I was totally drawn in. I embraced the sci fi and found myself hating the evil moon people. I really wanted Cinder and the prince to hook up and live happily ever after! Unfortunately, this is the first book in a series, so I was stuck with a cliffhanger. Luckily, Scarlet comes out in less than a week, so I don’t have long to wait!

Science Fiction at this level of robot-itude is a little out of my reading comfort zone. Do you bookworms like to dabble in different genres, or do you prefer to stick to reading what you’re sure to like?

35 Responses to “Cinder (ella, ella, ella, ay, ay, ay) by Marissa Meyer”

  1. didibooksenglish

    Like different genre but YA makes cautious. I’m reading Warm Bodies at the moment and so far so good, but I’m not finished. There were loads of good reviews on You Tube about Cinder, but I suspect it’s not my thing and most likely won’t be reading it. Love the cover of Scarlet! Very pretty! Happy reading…

    • Words for Worms

      YA gets kind of a bad rep sometimes, but lately the YA I’ve read I’ve enjoyed a lot. I understand your reticence though. If it weren’t for Project Fairy Tale, I probably wouldn’t have picked up Cinder… But now I’m glad I did. Variety. ‘Tis the spice of life. Also? Cinnamon.

  2. therelentlessreader

    Yea, this sort of sci-fi is way out of my comfort zone. I’ve sorta fallen in love with the cover of this one though 😉

    • Words for Worms

      LOL yeah, I don’t think I’ll be seeking out more robot books in the near future, but I’m glad I gave this a shot. The cover art totally helped. 🙂

  3. Charleen

    I definitely dabble. But, YA is one I don’t dabble in often. I think mainly I’m bitter because it seems like the most imaginative novels are YA, and I wish more adult novels were like that. The fantasy/SF that we get is a lot more cut and dry, it seems. And there are SO many YA books that sound fascinating, but personally I could do without the YA-ness of it. Like, I’ll be really into the story, and then the characters will start acting all angsty and hormonal, and while I’m sure teen readers love it (and obviously so do lots of adults), that side of it really pulls me out of the stories. So, I’ll take a chance on them now and then, but I don’t read them often.

    • Words for Worms

      I hear that. There were a couple of places in Cinder where I was like “Are you kidding me? With all that’s going on, you’re worried about a BOY?!” But I’m old and jaded.

  4. Cindy

    I occasionally read outside of my comfort zone. Since Twilight, I’ve read more YA and have enjoyed them for the most part – like Hunger Games and Divergent. I will have to add this one to my list. I like SF/Fantasy, even if I don’t read it much, and this sounds interesting. And I definitely judge a book by its cover!

  5. Ashley F

    OMG I need more teen fiction on my “to read” list like a hole in the head. I looked at this a few times in store because I loved the cover but disliked the Sci-fi angle. May check it out one day.

  6. June

    This book sounds kind of bizarre and out of my comfort zone. Not that I wouldn’t read it, but it probably wouldn’t be at the top of my list. I have a hard time getting into the sci-fi genre because I feel like it’s always a risk. You can get some awesome future dystopias (those are sort of sci-fi, right?) or you can get completely crazy plots that don’t make any sense. Do you know what I mean?

    Also, I totally remember Ren singing that song on Even Stevens! Mark this day – you made a reference from your childhood that wasn’t before my time! 🙂

  7. Darlene

    I’m with Charleen on the YA genre.

    I love Even Stevens!! (and I’m old- watched it with my kids). My favorite episode is when Louis throws a party in the janitor’s closet at school. I think that’ s where it was.

    • Words for Worms

      I was too old to be watching Even Stevens when it was on, but whatever. I loved that show. I really liked the episode where they had lumberjack appreciation day and they all just ate a crap ton of pancakes. Good times.

  8. Lyssapants

    Sometimes I like to branch out a bit….but it’s tough. If I am not in the right mood, it can flop. I’m a very moody reader. *pout*

  9. Natalie

    Oooh! This sounds great! I love series books. This sounds like a perfect read for my trip down the coast. Thanks for the recommendation!

  10. H. Stern

    I LOVE sci fi and fantasy….. but for some reason, I just can’t get behind this premise. I think because there were SO many directions this could go, and I even respect an attempt at the fairy tales bit…. but together, it just feels like it falls flat for me. I might hit up B&N and see if maybe reading a bit myself would change my opinion…. but meh.

  11. H. Stern

    Well, I’m tempted to pick it up to see how similar/dissimilar our tastes are.

    …have you, by any chance, read The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Universe?

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