Cinder by Marissa Meyer
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Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl.
Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.
Cinder was one of those books that kept popping up on my radar, either on other blogs or just spotting the cover on shelves at bookstores. But I had never really thought to actually pick it up. I’m not really sure why. It just wasn’t on my radar that way. It wasn’t until Erin from That One Geek Girl asked me to read it, as a personal recommendation from her, for a contest, that I really took it seriously and read it.
And it took me a few days, being so wrapped up in NaNoWriMo and Catching Fire and Doctor Who that I was.
However, I just finished, not even twenty minutes ago, and I’m so glad I was finally able to get into it.
I’m not quite sure what I expected from this book, but it definitely defied my expectations. I’m not huge on fairy tale retellings, because I find that most of them just aren’t done very well at all but this is so definitely the case in Cinder. Cinder builds its own world, a beautiful, scary, calculating and thrilling world that sometimes, for a moment, you’ll forget you’re even reading a book that’s based off of Cinderella.
I love Cinder as a character. She’s a cyborg, part human and part machine, and forced to work and live under the rule of her guardian/stepmother. She’s a lower class citizen, not just because her stepmother makes it so but because she’s a cyborg. But I think the strength and intelligence that she possesses throughout the novel, the courage and determination, really makes her so much better than any other Cinderella character I’ve ever met. She both accepts who she is, but fights it at the same time. And she doesn’t wait for someone to come and save her, she does everything she can to save herself. She’s incredibly unique. I also love the twist that comes at the end of the book for. I think it sets up so much for her growth and for her future. I can’t wait to dive into the next book.
I also think the mix of science fiction and classic fairy tale is truly inspired. It helps to carry the story along. The mix of the plague and the cyborgs and the mysterious Lunars and the sort of dystopian world that Earth has become. It is an incredible example of world building. You recognize the world but its been tugged and pulled into something else. There’s sort of elements from the past and then brand new elements from a future. Its brilliant. I love that we get these sort of old school markets, where Cinder is a mechanic and fixes things, and we have the future feel of hovercrafts, and then she finds a gasoline car in a junkyard and is determined to fix it. So many familiar things and yet things that we’ve only dreamed of. I like the idea that there is still a Europe, and an Africa and all that, but wars and other things have also made it kind of unrecognizable.
Also, the characters! We see those familiar characters/archetypes of the familiar story: Cinderella, the prince, the stepmother, the stepsisters, and so forth, but they are so different too. They are super deep and rich characters and so much better than any other characters I’ve seen in a story like this. You really get a sense of all of them. You understand all of them, even the ones you aren’t supposed to root for.
I think Marissa creates a compelling familiar story in a mixed up world, and creates enough mystery and romance and action and tension to keep anyone reading. The conflict between Earth and the Lunars, the relationship Cinder begins to build with Prince Kai, and the mystery of Cinder herself is really what holds this book together, and I can’t wait to read more about all of it in the second book, Scarlet.
4 out of 5 stars
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