Cinder: Cyborg Cinderella

Cinder just wants to be a normal, accepted mechanic. And she would be, if she wasn’t a cyborg. Her robotic limbs, chips, and sensors keep her alive… and make her a social outcast. Sounds like Cinder needs a fairy godmother.

Marissa Meyer’s Lunar Chronicles drops stories like Cinderella and Rapunzel into a dystopian world. Cinder grapples with discrimination, identity, and self-sacrifice, and the twists and turns leave me surprised and delighted with each book.

The heroes are messier than their old fairy-tale counterparts. Imperfect. Grey. Captain Thorne is a smooth-talking criminal. Another character is a genetically-engineered soldier trying to be better than his programming. Winter can be thoughtless. Life as fugitives from an Evil Queen means stealing, hacking, brawling. (It’s really hard to be an upright citizen when space police are after you.

Even in futuristic fairy tales, nobody’s immune to physical plagues or sin. Cinder’s happiness seems out of reach, but she finds the strength to keep going and make heroic sacrifices.  She grows over the course of the books. Our cyborg Cinderella is an active, complex female character who makes mistakes but doesn’t despair or give up. She wants to be better than her enemies.

“Do you think it was destiny that brought us together?”
He squinted and, after a thoughtful moment, shook his head. “No. I’m pretty sure it was Cinder.”

No happy ending is guaranteed, but she decides things like peace and friendship are worth fighting for. Cinder might not intend to glorify God, but her courage and love can encourage us to live boldly for what we believe and stand up for the oppressed.

 

-Josie K.

 

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