Cinder is an interesting take on the classic Cinderella. The added sci-fi elements give it another dimension and a bit of “whoa!” to a traditional fairy tale. Cinder as a character is someone I could really relate to. I never liked the fairy tale Cinderella. Cinderella never had enough personality for me to really enjoy the story. In other words, the Disney version of Cinderella was too nice. I like to read about a character with a bit more spunk. Cinder does not suffer from that same defect. She is vibrant and filled with snark and indignation for her station in her life and for others like her. She is willing to go to great lengths what she wants. She takes responsibility for her actions and in the first installment her guilt is palpable throughout the text about her younger stepsister.
My chief complaint with the novel is that it is easy to guess the ending. As soon as you read about Princess Selene, you realise that Cinder is the long lost princess. Whilst I understand that this is the first in a series and out of necessity there needs to be alot of set up and creating of the world and characters for the next books, it would have been nice to have another option for who the Princess Selene could have been. It would have presented the reader with a bit of mystery.
Although fairy tale retellings aren’t really my go-to genre, I really enjoyed Marissa Meyer’s take on Cinderella. The science fiction elements of the story complimented the basic structure of the classic fairy tale and allowed me at times to forget that I knew parts of the story. Reading about the society of New Beijing, the technological development, the environmental crises and epidemias was really fascinating, and I also appreciated how Meyer didn’t shy away from the questions of status between human and cyborgs. Cinder presented an interesting main character and the other characters also had their charm, but in the end, I wished that Cinder had been a completely original work. The failing of fairy tale retellings in my opinion is that they have to follow a certain script. which restrain a promising idea from developing and fleshing out further. Nevertheless, Marissa Meyer’s writing is engaging and the book reminded me what it’s like not to be able to stop reading, but to keep going. I got immersed in the world of Cinder, and after finishing the book, I instantly craved for more.
This book would be useful to use in a classroom as a comparison to the traditional tale. It could be used as an introduction to having students write their own versions of a fairy tale. I think it would be great to give to a student who likes traditional tales and could be a nice introduction into the science fiction genre.