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Welcome to Fiction Friday! I’m taking a short break from my SCBWI conference series to try to increase your TBR pile because this next book is a definite must-read for anyone who enjoys YA fantasy or dystopian.

Months ago I made a pledge to read all the books on the YALSA top ten books of 2012 list. It’s taking me a long time to get through them all because I keep getting distracted by other books, but I finally read “Cinder” by Marissa Meyer, which clocks in at #7.

“Cinder” is the first book in the Lunar Chronicles, and it takes the fairy tale of “Cinderella” and turns it on its head. I listened to the audio version of this one, narrated by Rebecca Soler, and I was highly impressed. I don’t always like the way female narrators portray the heroine – I know that sounds kind of strange, but often I feel like they sound too angsty and it annoys me as I listen, but I thought Soler did a great job portraying Cinder’s personality.

Cinder herself is an awesome character. Unlike the Cinderella in that classic tale we all know so well, Cinder is not about to sit around and let some fairy godmother take care of things for her. Set in a future world where cyborgs are second-class citizens, a hostile civilization lives on the moon, and a terrible plague is running rampant through the streets of Earth, Cinder is a mechanic. She’s also a cyborg, so her “stepmother” actually legally owns her…

This book has solid world-building, likable, believable characters, and an intriguing premise. There were a couple of plot twists that I could see coming a mile away, and I felt like Prince Kai develops romantic feelings for Cinder a little bit too quickly, considering he’s a prince and she’s a mechanic…it didn’t feel 100% real to me, but I was able to forgive it because I liked the way their relationship progressed after that, and I liked their characters so much.

There are some great side characters as well. An android with a malfunctioning personality chip, a nice stepsister, a strange and possibly creepy doctor, and a super evil queen. I always like truly evil villainesses, and Cinder does not disappoint in that category. So, definitely a must-read (or listen), and I’m really looking forward to checking out the sequel, “Scarlet.”

How about you? What is your favorite fairy tale adaptation?