Cinder is a re-telling of Cinderella, but in this version, Cinderella is a cyborg mechanic in a dystopian futuristic society. Earthlings are dying of a plague called letumosis, for which there is no cure or vaccine. In addition to thousands dying from letumosis, Earth is in a precarious truce with its neighbors on the moon, the Lunars. Upon hearing that the Emperor of Earth contracted letumosis, the Lunar queen contacts the young prince, eager to get him to agree to her terms for a peace treaty. Lunars are reported to have unusual abilities to manipulate or control others’ perceptions and thoughts so Earthlings are suspicious and afraid of Lunars.
Cinder suffered from a car accident in which her parents were killed when she was young. This explains her cyborg leg and other parts. She goes to live with a guardian who contracts letumosis shortly afterwards. Her guardian is taken into isolation so she is left with his wife as her new guardian. This new guardian plays the role of the wicked stepmother, not wanting Cinder around and treating her as a freak for having cyborg parts. Cyborgs, in general, are treated as second class citizens in this society so Cinder has a double whammy, being both an orphan and a cyborg.
I think just about everyone knows the Cinderella story, but the story is predictable beyond that, too. Even though the “cliffhanger” ending didn’t reveal any surprises, it was still a fun read because readers can’t help but to root for the skillful and mistreated mechanic.
This book is geared towards teens and is part of a 5-book series called the Lunar Chronicles. The other books in the series are: Scarlet, Cress, Fairest, and Winter.