Synopsis: Cinder’s life is far from a fairytale. Every day she works her fingers to the bone at the marketplace to keep her stepmother and stepsisters living in the luxury they’re accustomed too. If that weren’t hard enough, she happens to be a cyborg too – with one robotic hand and one robotic leg. Fate has dealt Cinder a bad hand, but is her luck about to change when a handsome, eerily familiar customer stops by her booth?

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Who doesn’t love a good fairytale retelling? I had to abandon any pretences I had about this book after the first page; this bears almost no resemblance to the classic Cinderella tale. Well, except there’s a Prince. But there’s also people living on the moon, androids with witty personalities, hovercraft and a killer virus that has reached pandemic status. Plenty to keep you on your toes.

The idea of a half robotic Cinderella did put me off initially, but somehow it works. Cinder herself is resourceful, sarcastic and, despite all hardships, extremely kind-hearted. What’s interesting about this retelling is that Cinder is no longer a damsel in distress. As events spiral out of her control she realises her potential to save herself. And girl empowerment certainly ticks all my boxes.

“I’m sure I’ll feel much more grateful when I find a guy who thinks complex wiring in a girl is a turn-on.” 

If you’re expecting romance (I certainly was) then this book isn’t going to light you on fire. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Prince Kai is a well defined character who manages to escape falling into too many cliché traps. His relationship with Cinder never feels as though it’s progressing too quickly. Still, personally I’d hoped for a few more interactions between the two of them.

“Steadying herself with both hands on the table, she managed an awkward bow.
‘Your Highness,’ she stammered, head lowered.
The prince flinched and cast a glance over his shoulder before hunching toward her. ‘Maybe, um…’ – he pulled his fingers across his lips – ‘on the Highness stuff?”

The one criticism I would have of this book is that there is a lot going on. Just as I was getting comfortable, another element would be thrown into the mix, leaving me slightly dazed. Though it is the start of a trilogy and therefore can justify an influx of plot threads, I did struggle, at times, to keep up as Cinder’s obstacles mounted. Still, I was left desperate to get my hands on the second book (Scarlet; a loose retelling of Red Riding Hood) which is always a good sign. I sense this trilogy may become a real favourite of mine.

I’d happily recommend Cinder to just about anyone right now. It’s chock full of adventure, intrigue and sci-fi jollies (and not a mouse in sight!). Cinder is revamped from a girl dreaming of a dress and a ball to a girl who longs for skin grafted robotic limbs. Practically unrecognisable from the tale that inspired it, Cinder is a read tailor made for any 21st century outcast.

(Sidenote: Thanks so much for all your great recommendations on my last post – just so you guys know I purchased a beautiful hardback cover of Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children and it’s on the top of my TBR list. Keep your tips coming!)