This is not a retelling of Cinderella that I was expecting. Because I love fairy tale retellings as much as the next person (probably more), I was drawn into this futuristic dystopian version just as much as any other version set in a distant past. Set in New Beijing, over a hundred years after World War IV, this story has all the elements of any other Cinderella retelling, complete with wicked stepmother and stepsister (only one of the two sisters is nasty), pumpkin carriage (which is a broken-down car brought back to life), and a handsome prince.
The biggest difference? Our heroine is a cyborg this time around.
Cinder is the best mechanic in New Beijing – which is why Prince Kai seeks her out to fix his busted android, jokingly saying it was a “matter of national security.” As she works on the android more and more, she realizes that it was not far from the truth. He needs her help to uncover a mystery that has been covered up for many years. Kai and Cinder instantly hit it off, beginning a friendship that leads to a romance.
That’s not all Cinder has on her mind. The plague, letumosis, has been spreading on earth for the past decade, claiming the lives of millions. When it affects Cinder’s family, her stepmother volunteers her to be used for research to find a cure. The scientists who begin working on Cinder learn things about her that nobody else knows – including herself.
As Cinder struggles with the new knowledge of who and what she is, Kai has struggles of his own. Levana, the usurper queen of the lunars, has been waiting to wage her war on earth for many years. Only a marriage alliance with Prince Kai will secure a peace treaty with the lunars, the people who dwell on the moon, and the earthens. But everyone knows Levana is not trustworthy, and only wants power on earth. Kai is desperate to find a way of protecting his people, without having to marry a monster.
I enjoyed this high-tech retelling of Cinderella, and I am excited to read Scarlet, the next book in The Lunar Chronicles, where we will see what becomes of our cyborg Cinderella.
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