"CINDER," by Marissa Meyer, Feiwel and Friends, $17.99, 400 pages (12 and up) (f)
The new young adult book "Cinder" gives the story of Cinderella a postapocalyptic twist that is imaginative and fresh. Taking the popular fairy tale and converting its well-known elements into futuristic equivalents make this retelling stand out from the rest.
Living as a cyborg in New Beijing, Cinder struggles every day to gain acceptance from her adopted family, as well as the people around her. Cyborgs aren’t the only things troubling this future world. The plague, for which there is no cure, is popping up all over the city, and the mysterious Lunar queen is plotting her next move. Through a chance meeting with Prince Kai at her mechanic shop, Cinder learns about her own shadowed past and her role in Earth’s future.
Cinder is an exciting heroine who can look out for herself. And because of the cruelty of her stepmother, she has been doing just that. But, in spite of her stepmother's and stepsister’s disdain for her, Cinder finds friendship in her other stepsister, Peony, and android Iko. Add to that an old pumpkin-orange car, and an ill-fitting foot that falls off at a pivotal moment, and you have a redesigned Cinderella with plenty of endearing touches.
Among the many things that set this story apart from other retellings is the setting of New Beijing, China, after the fourth world war. Though more nods to the Chinese culture would have added to the depth of the setting, New Beijing is fast-paced and even feels slightly old world with the addition of the emperor and prince as heads of the kingdom.
Some readers may be disappointed by the lack of twists and the predictability of the plot. The strong points of the book most certainly lie in its characters and world building. With its ties to science fiction through the cyborg and lunar people element, as well as the base in a fairy-tale retelling, "Cinder" will appeal to many readers.
"Cinder" is suitable for readers 12 and up. There is no profanity or sexual content, and violence is kept to a minimum. "Cinder" is part of a quartet, so readers should prepare for an ending that will make them clamor for the next book.
IF YOU GO ...
What: Marissa Meyer book signing
When: Jan. 11, 7 p.m.
Where: The King's English, 1511 S. 1500 East, Salt Lake City
When: Jan. 12, 7 p.m.
Where: Provo City Library, 550 N. University Ave., Provo
Emily Ellsworth is a blogger at Emily's Reading Room, a blog dedicated to promoting a love of young adult fiction. For book reviews, author interviews, and more about the latest in young adult fiction, visit her blog at emilysreadingroom.com