So yeah, I gave the Lunar Chronicles a wide berth. I don’t like giving negative reviews so it makes sense to steer clear of books I have a fairly good idea I won't like.
How wrong I was.
This book! This flippin’ book! Seriously, so far it’s in top spot for Claire’s Book of the Year. It was seriously that good. Because when a book starts with the following line, you know you’re on to a winner:
The screw through Cinder’s ankle had rusted, the engraved cross marks worn to a mangled circle.
Cinderella has a screw through her ankle. That doesn’t happen in the Disney film.
And the book just gets better from there. Marissa Meyer has crafted a cast of incredible characters, completely recognisable from the original story, but more fleshed-out and interesting and in most cases subverted. Cinder is still a second-class citizen, but it's because she's a cyborg. Her fairy godmother analogue is a slightly psychopathic research scientist. Her pumpkin coach is an antique orange car.
And that leads me on to my favourite thing about Cinder. I have a very special sort of hatred for the whole Disney Princess thing - Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty and Belle simper out from backpacks, lunch boxes, colouring books across the country, like a triumvirate of sappiness, representing everything that is bad about the patriarchal society we live in and of the three I consider Cinderella to be the worst. She’s a girl with a brain and a healthy body and yet sits around waiting for everyone else to save her and her ultimate redemption comes when she manages to snag a rich husband, as if this is the very best thing a girl can aspire to do. Cinderella has always been a drip and a bore and someone I’d happily slap.
Until now. Cinder is intelligent and resourceful and kind with a fun seam of snarkiness. She manages to crush on a boy without letting it define who she is. She turns the Disney Princess dumbcluckery on its head by being a mechanic and a cyborg (i.e. not traditionally beautiful). It comes to something when you sit there reading a book and every time something new is revealed about a character, you end up wanting to applaud.
And the plot! It doesn’t let up from the first meeting between Cinder and the prince in the very first chapter right up to the massive cliffhanger ending. Again, Marissa Meyer has taken a plot that everybody knows and has made it into something new and interesting. Let me say that again: everyone knows what happens in Cinderella, and yet I was still utterly hooked, reading this book with my eyes bugging out of my head, frantically thinking, ‘What’s going to happen NEXT?’
Christ, listen to me. I’m gushing.
So yeah. I left it a long time before reading this book. Do I regret it? Not a jot. I’ve already got Cress, Fairest and Scarlet lined up on my Kindle and Winter’s due out in November. Because if the rest of the series is as good as Cinder, I would’ve gone stark. Raving. Bonkers. If I’d have had to wait a year between books.
God, there’s just nothing wrong with this damn book. It’s gotta be a ten.