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March 09, 2020

Once Upon a Fairytale Retelling

Once Upon a Fairytale Retelling

By: Missy Flanagin

I recently got the pleasure of introducing a good friend of mine to a young adult series, The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer. I was truly at a loss for words, trying to describe the awesomeness of Cinder. I stuttered and squealed with excitement talking about how much I loved this series and how well written it was. I will admit I may have shed a tear or two as I grabbed the book and handed it to her.

After I convinced my friend to purchase Cinder I decided that I had to reread the series myself and dissect every page, seeking out the subtle clues that would help things come to light later on in the series. Why did I love this series so much? Why it is so high on my recommends list? I felt the sudden urge to dive back into the fantastical world of humanoids and aliens with a tiny bit of fairytale flair and several tough heroines.

Even in the future, the story begins with Once Upon a Time…..

Cinder is set in a futuristic fairytale world where a 16 year old lower class citizen has to find a way to save Earthens from the Lunars, a different species from outer space. The Lunars may also hold the only hope for the cure for the letumosis, a plague that has been taking the lives of many Earthens. Cinder is a mechanic and cyborg. She knows nothing about her past before she was adopted by Garan and Adri, who have 2 daughters of their own Pearl and Peony. After Garan dies from letumosis, her only friendly company is her stepmothers android Iko and her younger stepsister Peony. Unfortunately Peony catches letumosis and Cinder’s stepmother blames her for contracting and enlists Cinder in the volunteer program that tests humans and cyborgs in search of an antidote. Soon Cinders life intertwines with the handsome Prince Kai. Recently appointed Emperor of New Beijing, Prince Kai finds himself attracted to Cinder and hopes to unfold the mysteries that lie in her past. Kai hopes to take Cinder to his coronation and the yearly moon festival,  but of course like every fairytale out there we have a villian. Levana is the tyrant ruler of the Lunar people that she controls with her glamour magic. Levana is determined to win Prince Kai and become Empress of the New Commonwealth.  Cinder learns secrets about Levana and the Lunar world and has to try and figure a way to protect Kai and Earth from a war while trying to figure out her own past and keep what she already knows from the people around her.

Now I remember why I suggest this book to so many avid teen readers. Cinder is fast paced and a perfect introduction into young adult fantasy adventure stories. Cinder has a cliffhanger that will have your jaw dropping and you running to your library to grab book two to devour and cry over.

I love fairytale retellings. I’m pretty sure they are my favorite books to read, especially the more obscure ones like Cinder or the retellings of classics that don’t get as much attention as Cinderella such as Nutcracker (Winterspell by Claire Legrand) or Pinocchio (Strings by David Estes). There are so many modern takes on classics for anyone to try.  I believe fairytale retellings are a great choice to give newly teen readers because they are essentially nostalgic for us. It reminds us why we love to read because they are based on some our most loved stories. If you are looking for more recommendations there are many lists here at Goodreads.

I am not sure if my friend has started Cinder yet, but I have my fingers crossed that she will love it just as much as I do.