Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, the ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl. . . .
Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future. -Plot summary borrowed from Goodreads
Now that is a hard premise to resist. Also, there are so many fairy tale retreads that I really appreciate when an author makes it worth my while. Why choose Cinderella? Why not write about a cyborg Snow White, or one of any other dozens of characters? Because Cinderella's lowly status in the traditional version segues perfectly into a look at the social status of cyborgs, that's why. Hurrah, a reason for a retelling!
I was hoping for a smidge more in the way of world-building, and some of the plot points were fairly predictable (then again, how could they not be in a story with such a familiar framework?), but those are pretty much my only quibbles. This was an interesting story with enough brains, heart, and originality to keep me interested. There was plenty going on- politics, a plague, romance, subterfuge, medical experiments, social tensions, endearing robots, and more. Also, her "pumpkin" is pretty amazing. You'll see.