The Lunar Chronicles
These books were recommended by a dear friend, who actually bought me a copy of "Cinder" for my birthday. And of course, I was hooked. Warning, there are two more books slated to be published in this series, "Winter" and "Fairest." I believe they're not scheduled for release until 2015. So if you hate starting a new series before all the books are out, keep this one on the back burner until late next year.
I think the best way to describe The Lunar Chronicles is fairy tales marry sci-fi. Cinder, for example, is a cyborg, her body comprised of synthetic tissues and wiring and artificial limbs and appendages. As a result of her upscale hard-wiring, she's a gifted mechanic. Because she's a cyborg, she's the 'property' of the Linh family, a woman and her two daughters (one of which is actually sweet and friendly with Cinder). The story takes place a few hundred years in the future, after World War 4, in New Beijing.
All of the nations on the planet are unified in the Earthen Union (EU). The moon is populated with people called Lunars, who have evolved the capacity to alter their bioelectric energy to mess with the minds of others, making them see what they want them to see, or to even control their actions. Lunars are not permitted to live on Earth, and are highly distrusted by Earthen citizens.
There is a plague, letumosis, that has killed hundreds of thousands of people across the planet. Even the emperor of the Eastern Commonwealth has died from it, leaving his young son Kaito to rule the Eastern Commonwealth from the palace in New Beijing.
So, since you know the story of Cinderella, you'll enjoy the sci-fi twists Meyer weaves into the story of the cyborg Cinder.
"Scarlet" is the next installment in The Lunar Chronicles. Scarlet lives with her grandmother on her farm in France and delivers the produce grown on the farm to local buyers in the village. Her grandmother disappears suddenly, and Scarlet encounters a mysterious stranger, dubbed Wolf, who volunteers to help Scarlet find her. Meanwhile, Cinder has become the most wanted criminal on Earth. Cinder's and Scarlet's stories gradually intertwine at the end of the story. And just so you know, I have a lit-crush on Wolf.
"Cress" is a spin-off of Rapunzel. Instead of a tower, she's lived the last seven years of her life imprisoned in a satellite orbiting Earth, forced by a Lunar official to hack networks and spy on the Earthen leaders. She encounters Cinder, Scarlet, and other characters who have gained significance in the story.
I really can't give you more details than that, because I want you to enjoy the stories for yourself!!! No spoilers here!
The magical way Meyer modernizes fairy-tales, thrusting them into the future, is deeply compelling and clever. We all know these stories, but Meyer's version modernizes and twists them into something new and riveting.
While the stories themselves are refreshing and addictive, I must confess Meyer's writing style often falls short of what her story deserves. Sometimes it's just plain choppy with poor transitions. Some ideas are rushed into and not as developed as they ought to be. Sometimes I had to reread passages because I wasn't sure what was going on or who was involved. I wish she'd had an editor with higher expectations to make the story more whole and more smoothly polished.
But aside from all that, I highly recommend this book. On the SOP (Scale of Prudishness) these books rank very high for appropriateness. I'm even letting my 10-year-old read "Cinder" right now and she's simply devouring it. I of course encourage parents to become familiar with the materials their children read, so don't just take my word for it that it's child appropriate. You have to determine what's right for your own young readers.