Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl.
Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.
I’ve known about the popularity of The Lunar Chronicles series for a long time. Frankly, I’d have to live under a rock not to know at least something about it. To my surprise, I actually had no idea that Marissa Meyer used to write Sailor Moon fanfiction, and that the entire premise behind The Lunar Chronicles, was a similar storyline to that of Sailor Moon. It was a good friend of mine who was exchanging book recommendations with me – She needed something to read when she went on mat leave, and when The Lunar Chronicles was mentioned (by her, her husband owns them as they’re both huge Sailor Moon fans), my interest was piqued.
Honestly I’m glad I picked this series up. Cinder started a bit slow for my liking, and it took a while to fully submerge myself into the world. The biggest issue I’m finding with series style books currently, is that there is a lot of world building in the first book. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it seems to detract a lot of people from wanting to read a series – Especially when you have to toss “you just need to get past the first 100 pages” into a conversation.
With that in mind, the book finds an easy pace as you do crest that 100 page mark. Cinder is a cyborg (half human, half robot/android) who was adopted by Linh Garan and brought back to New Beijing. She has an android partner named Iko who works with in the marketplace, where Cinder is known for being the best mechanic in New Beijing. When Prince Kai comes searching for help to have his personal android fixed, it thrusts Cinder on a strange path where she must contend with the fact that she is a second class citizen, due to her being part cyborg.
While Cinder tries to help to find a cure for the plague to give to her dying sister, Prince Kai must deal with the fallout of his father’s untimely death, and unyielding threats from Queen Levana of Luna, the moon colony. Cinder stumbles upon strange messages embedded in Prince Kai’s android, talking about the Lunar Princess – Princess Selene, who is believed to have died in a tragic fire when she was a child. The messages imply that the fire was a ruse, and Selene has been hiding on earth, waiting for the right moment to claim what is her birthright – the title of Queen of Luna.
Along the way, Cinder encounters Dr. Erland who opens her eyes to the lies that Levana has been feeding to not only the people of Luna, but to the people of Earth as well. His presence stirs strange feelings for Cinder as she comes to grip with the idea that her half-cyborg status, might not be the strangest thing she’s faced with.
The novel presents interesting discussion points on race and status, while weaving a complex world of intrigue and distrust. The characters are flawed, and you often find yourself questioning on which side of the impending war would they find themselves on. The writing is spectacular and you fall into the book quickly, demanding more once you turn the last page. A solid 4 out of 5 star rating.