Sixteen-year-old Cinder is considered a technological mistake by most of society and a burden by her stepmother. Being cyborg does have its benefits, though: Cinder’s brain interference has given her an uncanny ability to fix things (robots, hovers, her own malfunctioning parts), making her the best mechanic in New Beijing. This reputation brings Prince Kai himself to her weekly market booth, needing her to repair a broken android before the annual ball. He jokingly calls it “a matter of national security,” but Cinder suspects it’s more serious than he’s letting on.
Although eager to impress the prince, Cinder’s intentions are derailed when her younger stepsister, and only human friend, is infected with the fatal plague that’s been devastating Earth for a decade. Blaming Cinder for her daughter’s illness, Cinder’s stepmother volunteers her body for plague research, an “honor” that no one has survived.
But it doesn’t take long for the scientists to discover something unusual about their new guinea pig. Something others would kill for.
It’s a pretty famous series, and I know I should have read it waaay earlier, but OH. MY. GOD. I haven’t read a book this brilliant in ages (by my timeline a few months).
Well, it was on my reading list for the longest time, and I decided to prioritize it. When I read the synopsis on goodreads, I thought it seemed kinda, you know, meh. Aren’t I glad I decided to read it!
The tetralogy consists of books that are, again, loosely based on fairy tales. Cinder is about Cinderella (who would’ve guessed), Scarlet is about Little Red Riding Hood, Cress is about Rapunzel (more like Disney’s Tangled than the Brothers Grimm version), and Winter is about Snow White. And you really need to know that this is the most innovative version of these fairy tales that you’ll find.
There’s plenty of action, suspense, and softness, and the hidden themes of angst, dominance, insecurity, and insanity add an astonishing amount of depth to the books. Even during the slower parts, the books just gripped me – and I’m not even the biggest fan of futuristic science fiction. The four stories are intricately woven into each other in a way that just blows your mind. I actually think Marissa could have left out the fairy tale bits, because this world has more than enough in it to exist on its own. Either way, you’re definitely going to regret not reading it.