“She was a cyborg, and she would never go to a ball.”
My first ever retelling! I’m not usually one for fairy tales, but the idea of a cyborg Cinderella seemed just too bizarre to pass up.
Cinder lives in New Beijing, a part human, part robot teenage girl who lives as a servant to her late adopted father’s wife and two daughters. Her futuristic world is ravaged by a plague, but undeterred by the possibility of rubbing potentially infected shoulders with the city’s nobles; Prince Kai is throwing a ball in the hope of finding himself a bride. But after his father, the Emperor, becomes infected with the deadly illness, Kai is under political pressure from the omnipresent Lunars, a colony of mysterious and powerful Earthlings who left out lowly planet to live on the moon, led by the fearsome Queen Levana who hopes to steal away the young empowers rule and wage war upon his people.
Well I thought this was incredibly cleverly done. The story is familiar enough, being a retelling and all, but even at its most obvious Cinderella-ish parts I found myself surprised by the turns of events, which meant I couldn’t take the fact that it’s a retelling for granted. Meyer changes enough of the story and completely rewrites the characters, making fresh and surprising. Cinder is a really well written character and I hadn’t expected to like her as much as I did. Entirely self reliant she’s never a damsel in distress, every crappy situation or shocking revelation that she experiences, she intends to deal with by herself, and it’s so refreshing to me to read a female leading character that isn’t just dressed up in a vague cloak of feminism but never does anything to drive her own story. Cinder makes her own choices, mistakes and forges her own path through the tale, and the secondary characters are all equally as well adapted. They are less cartoonish and far much more developed than the Disney story had them written, including the Prince Charming, who I expected to hate, and yet couldn’t, even if he was a bit of a dud. But their romance seems to be nothing more than an incidental backdrop to the main story anyway and I much preferred their characters as separate entities. I lapped up the World that Meyer created and I can’t wait to read the next instalment. It’s so much more than I expected it would be.
If you guys have read any great retellings, I’d love to read your recommendations!