Cinder, Scarlet, and Cress, by Marissa Meyer

Three stars, read in February 2014.

This series isn’t the most elegantly written, to be honest; I actually speed-read large sections of Cinder and didn’t feel like I was missing anything. But I love the idea of a sci-fi fairy tale adaptation, as well as the fact that the series features so many girl action heroes.

Each of them is based on a fairy tale princess, in case you’ve been living under a YA rock (don’t worry, it’s okay to live under a YA rock). Cinder is a cyborg mechanic with an unfriendly stepmother; Scarlet is a farmer whose grandmother has gone missing; and Cress is a brilliant hacker who’s been imprisoned on a satellite for most of her life. As you can tell from the covers, Cinder is Cinderella, Scarlet is Little Red Riding Hood, Cress is Rapunzel.

The second book was better than the first, despite distracting typos (“vice” being used instead of “vise” sticks out in my memory) and the cliche of the Scarlet/Wolf relationship. Wolf’s resemblance to certain Twilight characters is even more irritating in the third book. I found Cress’s daydreaminess and swooniness annoying as well, but it felt like Meyer was going to go somewhere better with it. The references to the fairy tales were a little too blatant at this point, and I started to lose patience with them a bit.

I was really looking forward to Winter, but it’s been out for a while now and I find myself lacking motivation to pick it up. I haven’t read any of the in-between books/prequels, of which there are more than there are books in the actual main series (I think I counted six?). There’s a chance I still will, Winter in particular, but I decided not to worry about it for now. Too much else on the list!

If you know any teenagers who’d like a series with strong female protagonists, this is a good one to try.

Read-alikes:

Rapunzel’s Revenge, by Shannon Hale
The Goose Girl, by Shannon Hale
(I didn’t even mean for these to be by the same author; only realized it after the fact!)

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