Loosely based on the classic Cinderella fairytale, the first book of the Lunar Chronicles series, ‘Cinder’ is set in a futuristic New Beijing where the various countries have been rebuilt to form new empires with the moon being colonised.
The protagonist is sixteen-year old Cinder living under the guardianship of her brutal step-mother (Linh Adri) who exploits Cinder’s talents as a mechanic to support the family with Adri treating Cinder as a liability left behind by her deceased husband. Cinder is half cyborg and has been since the age of eleven after being in an accident with her parents. Early in the book, her life becomes intertwined with Prince Kai’s when he leaves his android for repair at her stall.
With a deadly plague rampant around the city and the market where Cinder works, she instantly gets blamed when her step-sister falls ill. She then comes under the wrath of Adri when she ‘volunteers’ Cinder for a cyborg plague research. However, when injected with the plague Cinder shows immunity towards it. This becomes vital as the book unfolds. During this time Prince Kai’s father passes resulting in Kai becoming Emperor. There is pressure to create an alliance between the Earth and Moon led by the manipulating Queen Levana, the only plausible way for this to happen is for Kai to unwillingly marry Levana.
The book ends with an annual ball where secrets between Prince Kai, Queen Levana and Cinder are revealed and connected leaving all featured characters to make serious decisions based on the future of their lives and those of the Earth countries.
It’s quite different to the books I’ve read in recent times but extremely captivating. I don’t believe you have to be a massive fan of Sci-Fi novels to enjoy this but it would help. I do, however, feel this series is slightly underrated and would hope to see it reach a level of following similar to that of the Hunger Games, it’s certainly capable.
There are four books in The Lunar Chronicles series in which Cinder continues her story whilst also picking up on new and existing characters throughout. Scarlet is second in the series and I can’t wait to get stuck into it.