Read: July 2023
The series kicks off with Cinder – a cyborg reimagining of Cinderella! She lives in New Beijing, works as a mechanic and lives as the servant to her horrible adoptive step-mother, two sisters (only one is mean!).
I just love the creativity, its recognisably Cinderella but there are cute little sci-fi twists that also make it feel like a new story. I thought that Cinder is a great character – down trodden by her life of cold drudgery but she still has fight in her. She has a sensible pragmatism to her that I admire.
There is romance, obviously, and for the YA genre I actually thought it was remarkably well restrained. There is chemistry but neither Cinder nor Prince Kai lose their heads over it, and it is kept at a low simmer until later in the series.
The main negative with the series is that the world is not particularly well fleshed out, there are big gaps that don’t get filled in. In this world Cyborgs are treated like second class citizens, and there is a lot of discrimination but the reasons why are never explained. Cyborgs are just humans who (usually because of an accident) ended up with some cybernetic parts which is not that different to getting prosthetic limbs. In this book it never makes sense why the world is so hostile to Cinder just for being a cyborg (and honestly we still only get the thinnest explanation for this in later books).
I would also say that as fun as Queen Levana and the Lunars are (people who live on the moon and have mind control powers!) it makes little sense that they have not already taken over Earth. It would be so insanely easy for them to do so!
For me though, those are just mild annoying questions in the background of my reading what is a wildly entertaining book!