Cinder is the first book in a new series, the Lunar Chronicles. It’s a fast-paced young adult novel, mostly aimed at girls, loosely based on the fairy tale of Cinderella. Except, Cinderella (Cinder) is a Cyborg, part human (or so she thinks) and part robot. And the story is set in New Bejing.
Cinder is a mechanic who excels at fixing pretty much everything. That’s why Prince Kai comes to her to ask for help with his robot. Cinder and Kai hit it off, but disaster is about to strike. The plague is killing people by the dozens and Kai’s father is next. And that’s just the beginning, there’s an intergalactic war about to start with the evil Lunar Queen at the very core. And Cinder and Kai find themselves fighting powers they can’t oversee.
This is one of the most entertaining young adult books I’ve read in years. It’s fast paced, it’s funny, it’s romantic and there’s a lot happening. Cinder is a fascinating character with enough smarts and spunk to carry the story. The affection between her and Kai is real, even amidst secrets and betrayal. Personally, I couldn’t wait to read the next books in the series, which are just as good by the way.
There’s some violence in this book, but the second and third installments in the series (Scarlet and Cress respectively, the fourth book hasn’t been released yet) have more fights and violence. It’s completely clean in language though, with some mild sexual undertones (kissing, desire, but nothing explicit).
Cinder also offers some interesting storylines and concepts to discuss with your teens. Cinder lives in a society that looks down on cyborgs, sees them as second-class citizens. That’s something many girls who do not fit the supermodel look can relate to. Other talking points could be hiding secrets from friends, being yourself, acceptance, sacrifice and duty. The dilemma Cinder faces in later books of having a gift but feeling guilty when she uses it, is also a great starting point to talk about conscience and doing the right thing.
I can recommend these books to teens, I loved them!