Today’s Bookbag title is the first book in the Lunar Chronicles series: Cinder by Marissa Meyer.
I know, I cheated a little. But C was taken so here we are.
The premise of Cinder is brilliant in its simplicity: Take the Cinderella story, put it in futuristic Beijing, and make Cinderella a cyborg.
And add in a robot sidekick and a deadly virus. Oh, and there are people living on the moon that want to stir things up.
I guess it’s not so simple. But it’s still brilliant.
Linh Cinder is a mechanic who works on androids, and her status as a cyborg makes her a second-class citizen. She hides her mechanical hand under a glove even though it’s uncomfortable, and the book opens with her replacing her own mechanical foot with one that’s a better fit (this is important later–think glass slipper).
When a handsome young man brings her an outdated android to repair, her retina display tells her immediately that he is who she recognizes from the news: Prince Kaito of the Eastern Commonwealth. Thus begins an unlikely relationship that brings lowly cyborg Cinder to the palace on more than one occasion.
What captured Cinder’s eye was not modern technology but a cobblestoned road lined with cherry blossom trees. Bamboo screens framing the garden entrances. Through a peep window, a steadily trickling stream.
The hover did not stop at the main entrance with its crimson pergolas. Instead, it rounded to the northern side of the palace, nearest the research wing. Though this part of the palace was more modern, less nostalgic, Cinder still noticed a squat Buddha sculpture with a cheery face off the pathway. As she paid for the hover and walked toward the automatic glass door, a subtle pulse tugged at her ankle–Buddha scanning visitors for weapons. To her relief, the steel in her leg did not set off any alarms.
As in the classic tale, Cinder lives with a wicked stepmother and stepsisters. After the kinder sister dies from the virus, Cinder decides she’s going to run away with her android sidekick, but another problem arises–Prince Kai asks her to the royal ball, which is to take place the same night as her planned escape.
While there are other parallels to the original story, a major difference between the classic story and this one is the amount of agency Cinder shows. There is no fairly godmother. If Cinder wants to get to the ball (or escape the city), she has to decide that for herself and figure out how to do it. And once she’s there, she learns much more about herself than she had ever imagined.
What L books are in your Bookbag?