06 December 2012

Cinder - Marianne Meyer

Oh, dystopian re-telling of a fairy tale, how I was prepared to snub my nose in the air at you! How prepared I was to skim your pages, picking out parts of the Cinderella story, identifying characters as this or that archetype, and then pan you in the end as Yet Another Dystopian Re-telling of a Fairytale,

And at first, you didn't (or did?) disappoint. Here was that same weird use of sentence fragments, the hating of which makes me a huge hypocrite because it's okay in my published-only-on-the-internet writing but not in a BOOK. With PAGES (or maybe e-pages - and hopefully a COPY-EDITOR who is trained to spot sentence fragments posing as stream-of-consciousness writing.) In fact, when I came across the Sentence Fragments of Potential DNF, I flipped immediately to the dust jacket to see if... yep, a first novel.

First time authors, STOP DOING THIS. And the rest of you, too, unless it is for emphasis and please only once per chapter at a maximum.

And then the story got rolling and it was fun and I stopped muppet-flailing over grammar (which is how you know I actually liked it). Cyborgs, an evil stepmother (natch), one good stepsister a la Ever After, and a prince-sometimes-in-disguise! People who actually die of the scary disease!

Meyer doesn't just walk the fine line between re-telling and re-packaging; she dances along it like a tightrope walker  from Cirque du Soliel. Not every character is recognizable from the original (or Disney) story, and the world-building is done with plausible elegance. The biggest quibble I had - once the sentences started having a proper structure as sentences should - was that it's set in Future Shanghai, but there was very little actual Chinese culture folded into the story; I would have liked to read more about how Meyer envisions Chinese culture adapting (or NOT adapting) to the future she has created.

As an added bonus, it's book #1. If there's one thing I like, it's seeing "Book 1" on the cover of a book I thoroughly enjoyed.

8.5 of 11 Creepy Moon Queens