Cinder (Lunar Chronicles)

Cinder  - Marissa Meyer This was a fast and fun read, and after finishing I immediately picked up the next book in the series, Scarlet. I love it when a book can put an interesting spin on old fairy tales. This one, as you might guess from the title, is based on Cinderella--and it had several surprises. For one, this isn't the usual pseudo European setting you see in high fantasy--in fact, it's not even fantasy. This is science fiction, set in a China centuries from now, and this Cinderella is a cyborg. In an interview in the backmatter, Meyer said she was inspired to set it in China because the earliest versions of the story are said to have come from there in the 9th century. And while this certainly fit the archetypical story, it rung enough changes to not feel predictable, but fresh, original, even subversive. I liked that this Cinderella was no beauty, and I loved, loved, loved how she showed up at the ball. Her Prince Kaito was appealing too, even if I did find it a bit jarring to have a prince and Emperor-to-be with a Japanese name ruling over a Pan-Asian Empire from a New Beijing. Having only recently read about the Japanese occupation of China during World War II, well, it was like reading of a Prince Adolf-Wilhelm whose father the Kaiser rules all of Europe from his capital in Paris. There were also some really odd word choices: "Earthen" for Earthling/Terran, "coronated" for "crowned" and "treatise" for "treaty." Given the futuristic setting, I suppose Meyer might have been hinting at linguistic changes, but it was just not used in a way that made me feel it was anything but careless editing rather than deliberate choice. That's a minor quibble though in such an entertaining story. And this trade paperback edition includes as a bonus a short story prequel, "Glitch."