Another fairy tale pastiche, Cinder is the Cinderella story cast in the distant future. The quirky spin on this YA novel: Cinder is a cyborg.
There is a selfish, avaricious stepmother, one good and one egotistical stepsister, an evil queen, and a handsome prince.
Of course, Cinder and the prince are immediately attracted to one another. This is a retelling of a fairy tale, after all. It is easy to understand on Cinder's part-- I mean, what teenage girl would not fall into fandom with a handsome prince who seems down t0 earth and unassuming. Not that Cinder doesn't try to deny her insta-liking; of course, she does. She is fully aware that if poor and socially unsuitable isn't enough to put off any male (much less the PRINCE), the cyborg factor would be a game changer.
The cyborg device makes for an interesting twist to the familiar tale, an ill-fitting prosthetic leg instead of a glass slipper. However, several things bothered me, and some areas felt either repetitious or unnecessary. The plague aspect didn't work for me; it felt unreal and glossed over, used as a convenient plot device, but never generating the fear and panic such a deadly plague would create.
A lot of potential, but everything felt very surface, which is, indeed, a characteristic of fairy tales.
Cinder is the first novel in The Lunar Chronicles. Young readers who want a fast read and enjoy a fairy tale romance will enjoy this novel. In fact, it seems to have been extremely popular and most reviews are very positive. It isn't that I disliked it, but it didn't have the "je nais se quoi" that Megan Whalen Turner, Jane Yolen, Robin McKinley, and Donna Jo Napoli have in their books.