Reading Levels: Grades 6+
In a complicated post-WWIV world ravaged by a fatal, incurable disease, Earth is separated into independently ruled Commonwealths, completely separated from the Lunars, a somewhat new species spawned from previous moon colonization.
Cinder is a second-class citizen at best. She's indentured to her step-mother, and a gifted mechanic, but a cyborg. Over 36% robotic, Cinder relies on a robotic hand, foot, nervous system, and more - to stay alive. Despite this supposed (and mostly unknown) handicap, however, Cinder is the best mechanic in New Bejing, a reputation that brings the Royal Prince himself to her door with a broken android in need of quick - and quiet - repair.
When Cinder's younger step-sister Peony catches letumosis, the fatal disease that killed Cinder's father and ravaged Earth, everything changes. Furious, Cinder's step-mother sells her cyborg ward into voluntary testing for a letumosis cure - a grim fate, until Cinder's body rejects letumosis and it is discovered that she has a natural immunity. Dr. Erland, letumosis researcher in the royal palace, begins working with Cinder to develop a cure, but their testing reveals dangerous secrets about Cinder's past. In the meantime, Cinder's repairs on the Prince's android cause it to divulge another secret - relating to the relations between the Earth and the Lunars.
When the Emperor himself succumbs to letumosis, the Lunar Queen declares that she will visit the Earth herself to comfort the Prince during his time of mourning - but with recent information Cinder has learned from the Prince's android... it is clear the Queen's motives are anything but comforting.
In a creative, complex sci-fi retelling of the classic Cinderella story with a hint of Anastasia, Meyer creates memorable characters while simultaneously posing difficult questions - what does it mean to be human? What is the ultimate sacrifice for the greater good? When is the sequel coming out?
Three more books are planned in the series.