Author: Marissa Meyer
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Publication Date: January 2012
Series: The Lunar Chronicles (#1)
Audio or Book: Book
Reason for Discovery: the Internet
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 step-sister’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 is a fun retelling of Cinderella. In this story, Cinder is a mechanic, 30% machine, and despised by her step-mother. Cyborgs are treated like second-class citizens including Cinder who is more human than machine. When Cinder's step-sister develops the symptoms of a horrible disease that is spreading across the land, Cinder's step-mother blames Cinder and signs her up as a volunteer to test vaccines for the illness.
I read this book in less than 24 hours. It was wonderful. I loved the way that Meyer brought in important details to the classic Cinderella story (e.g., losing a slipper and riding in a pumpkin carriage) in such fun and clever ways. Cinderella is not my favorite fairy tale; however, Meyer breathed life into this potentially tired tale. Meyer did a great job of balancing the classic story and bringing in new material for the story and the series as a whole. For example, a huge focus of this story is that there is a mysterious illness that is killing people. I guess I am a sucker for mysterious illnesses, so this plot point kept me interested and glued to the book. Every so often there would be a classic Cinderella plot detail interspersed that would remind me that I was reading a Cinderella retelling, but then we would be back to a mysterious disease and cyborgs.
I thought that Cinder was a really interesting character. She was strong and smart, but she had some weaknesses too. She jumped to conclusions sometimes, and she didn't always come up with the best plans. I also liked her interactions with Prince Kai. They were pretty adorable together. Kai hasn't sold me on being good enough for Cinder though. There was a particular moment in which I just shook my head in his general direction. I look forward to seeing him step it up in the future books.
I had only one gripe with this book. There was one plot point that was so painfully obvious that it hurt my head. Granted, Cinder didn't know how obvious it was, but it is really obvious to the reader. I wish that Meyer had written in a few red herrings into the book, so this particular detail had been a bit surprising.
Overall, this was a great book. I was quite pleased with how much I enjoyed this book. I am looking forward to continuing with this series and discover what happens to Cinder.
I give this book a 4 out of 5.