Before I get to the point, I feel that I need to put out a few disclaimers, to level the ground - I don't want to come out as unfair.
* I am not, and have never been, very much into fairy tales. Except those of Hans Christian Andersen, but this is a completely different topic. Even as a kid, fairy tales were not something that I gave a lot of thought. I read them, heard about them, adults read them to me, I went to see them in theatre (on one memorable occasion even in opera - and coincidentally, that was also an interpretation of Cinderella) and so on; I didn't dislike them, but they didn't really affect my life in any way - once the direct connection with the tale was over, it was pretty much gone from my head. Later on, I remember thinking how both the curse and blessing lie in the simplicity of fairy tales - on the one hand, they are promising, hopeful and in a very generic level, relatable for everyone; on the other, they are totally unrealistic and for me personally, also boring (due to lack of any kind of depth). I won't deny the importance of fairy tales as such in our culture, though; they are definitely influential and a good match for many people.
* So far my experiences with YA lit have been underwhelming (I've read around 10 more recent YA books, or so). I try to keep an open mind when approaching each new one, but I have begun thinking that YA probably just ain't my thing.
* I didn't read this book for the pure reason of possibly being able to bash it, though (:p), it's one of the five YA books I left into my science fiction reading list back in November.
* I feel uncomfortable when it comes to the whole concept of "retelling" stuff, which seems to be trending right now. I know that hardly anything in the world is completely new, unique and original, but somehow I feel strange about the whole thing of putting it this ... well, blatantly.
That being out of the way, I think I can say that I didn't enjoy Cinder a whole lot. I was hopeful at first though because more than once in my life I had discovered myself from thinking - what if you had a fairy tale, but someone took it and turned all those flat characters into more multi-dimensional ones, added a little bit of spice and personality to the setting and overall, turned it into a quite decent story? I still think that the idea has quite an appeal.
So in Cinder (which of course is a retelling *smirk* of the fairy tale Cinderella), the action has been brought to future, Cinder(ella) is a cyborg, and there is life on the Moon. Sounds fantastic! Only, did I get more fleshed out characters and rich setting? I felt like I didn't. Characters are still pretty much only two kinds - the really bad ones, and the really good (albeit at times a bit confused) ones. There is a case of instalove, which, I guess, this book can get away with, being based on fairy tales, which are like the mother of all mothers of instalove. The most disappointing was the setting and the world, though. I was quite excited about the prospect of New Beijing, I mean, all the opportunities! But did I learn anything about New Beijing? Nothing springs to mind when I try to envision it based on how it was in the book. It was just the setting, I can't remember even a single description about the place.
Overall, for me, this was the textbook example of a book of missed opportunities. The idea of cyborg Cinderella, Moon Queen and New Beijing - fantastic! And then, nothing happened. I almost felt like I was reading that same old Cinderella fairy tale, only it was about 300 pages longer. Also, the blessing and the curse of this particular book - basically you can see all the "plot twists" from three miles away. Which is okay, because it is a fairy tale, but it doesn't really make a chair-gripping read.
So it was 2/5 for me, but most people it seems have enjoyed the book (and its sequels), so don't let that discourage you. If you have no problem with fairy tales, YA, and the concept of retelling, it's possible you'll like this book.