Everyone knows the story of Cinderella.
There’s a wicked stepmother and a prince. During the royal ball, a glass slipper is lost, left behind by a mysterious girl who vanishes into the night.
Retellings galore have updated and twisted the tale. Hilary Duff turned it into a teen movie, with Chad Michael Murray as Prince Charming. Drew Barrymore made a version that mixed in Leonardo da Vinci.
Now Marissa Meyer has written a completely different Cinderella story, transporting her from a castle-filled past to the city of New Beijing, in an indefinite – and rather terrifying – future. There’s plague and the threat of war, but happily, her Cinderella will become a true heroine.
Meyer manages to weave in nearly all the elements of the familiar tale – wicked stepmother, pumpkin carriage, handsome prince – in her wild new world. Plus, Cinder leads neatly to a re-imagining of Little Red Riding Hood, and then Rapunzel.
Because they may be science fiction, but they’re still fairy tales.
Meyer’s world-building included choosing dozens of names – new names for the familiar fairytale figures, and names for new characters she created, too.
Just like Harry Potter and The Hunger Games, Divergent and The Mortal Instruments, the names of heroes and villains alike make for a fascinating glimpse of what could be, if our world were different – or will be in the future.
Adri – Cinder’s wicked stepmother, one of the few characters that remains almost completely unchanged from the original telling to Meyer’s reimagining
Cinder – Saved from a horrible accident as a child, Cinder is a part-cyborg mechanic – and thus considered less-than-human.
Fateen – A doctor in the royal labs of New Beijing.
Iko – Cinder’s loyal sidekick, an android with keen fashion sense.
Jina – A member of a desert caravan who discovers Cress when she falls to Earth.
Pearl – One of Cinder’s stepsisters, the wicked one.
Aimery – A Lunar official.
Alak – Another Lunar operative.
Annotel – A nobleman on Luna.
Carswell – A former member of the US Republic military, the dashing Carswell Thorne has promoted himself to captain of his stolen ship, the Rampion. He ends up a member of Cinder’s unlikely entourage.
Charleson – Another Lunar noble, son to Annotel.
Dmitiri – A doctor at the royal labs in New Beijing. His search for a plague cure connects him to Cinder – and sets the story in motion.
Garan – Cinder’s adoptive father, an inventor of considerable genius before his untimely death.
Gilles – A tavern keeper in Rieux.
Jacin – A Lunar soldier, madly in love with princess Winter.
Jael – Another Lunar official.
Jamal – Another member of the desert caravan, with Jina.
Kaito – Kai’s full name.
Kwende – Another member of the desert caravan.
Neils – Another member of the desert caravan.
Roland – Another resident of Rieux.
Sage – Cress’s long-lost father.
Ze’ev – Wolf’s real name.
What do you think of the names from The Lunar Chronicles? Can you see any of them catching on?