Just when you think that every possible approach to fairy-tale retellings has been heavily trod, along comes Marissa Meyer, who boldly sends her retelling of Cinderella into a futuristic new realm.
Meyer’s Cinder is a cyborg, only 64 percent human, her other 36 percent reconstructed from robotic parts after a horrible childhood accident. She was adopted soon after, but her beloved stepfather has died from the plague that is ravaging New Beijing, and her stepmother is nowhere near as sympathetic. Now, on the eve of the ball sponsored by Prince Kai, Cinder’s beloved stepsister Peony has succumbed to the deadly disease, and Cinder herself has been conscripted as one of the cyborg guinea pigs for the scientists trying to find a cure. But Cinder’s artificial parts might be hiding a secret from her past—and perhaps also the key to her future.
Meyer cleverly includes enough elements of the original Cinderella story to keep fans of fairy tales happy, but she simultaneously makes the story entirely her own, constructing a futuristic, dystopian world that is complex enough to stand on its own. The good news is that Cinder is just the first in a projected Lunar Chronicles quartet, with futuristic takes on the tales of Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel and Snow White still to come.