Publisher: Marissa Meyer
Readership: Young adult
Genres: science-fiction, dystopia
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.
I start a lot of reviews off with I finally read this book! But... it's true. I finally read this book! After hearing so much about it and hearing great things I thought I'd finally dig out my copy and read it. I absolutely LOVED it. I breezed right through it. Forgive me if, during this review, I break off and fan girl. It was just so, so, so good.
First of all, I absolutely love fairytales. I grew up with Grimm, Hans, Disney movies and any fairytale I could get my hands on. I've been iffy about fairytale retellings in the past, and have read some less than mediocre ones but I went into Cinder with an open mind. I was glad that I did.
Cinder is every part original as it is fairytale. It keeps the essentials, the bare bones, of Cinderella: There is a Prince charming, Cinderella's step-mother (and family) are deplorable and terrible human beings, and there is a grand ball. But there is so much more to the story than the fairytale. Cinder is unique all on it's own, only using the essence of Cinderella to propel it forward. The characters in Cinder obviously have much more dimension than the fairytale as it's a full length novel. But it's more than that. All of these characters - good or bad - are so very human. In such a science-fiction, fantastical world, there are very human characters. Even Cinder, who is over 36% machine. It was easy to forget that Cinder was part machine unless she was stating it. Adri and Pearl, Cinder's step mother and sister, can be called evil, rude and deplorable human beings but they're still so human that it's hard to hate them. Adri blames Cinder for her husband's death, all of her problems, and takes it out on her. Pearl is nothing but mean to her but they have their reasons.
Cinder is absolutely awesome as well. She is treated absolutely horribly by her so-called family except her youngest step-sister Peony. A life like that could make someone bitter, resentful and cold but Cinder is the opposite. Cinder is selfless, kind fo everyone but she does have her wits about her. She's fiesty, she's got a great heart - even if it's part silicon - and most of all she knows how to take care of herself because she's all she has.
Prince Kai is just so... there are no words. I loved him to pieces. He is seriously Prince Charming incarnate. He isn't what you think the only son of an Emperor would be. There is no arrogance in him, no rudeness to the regular, every day civilians. There is an air of arrogance to him but it's nothing like what you'd expect. He loves his people, he's sure of himself, he's charming, witty and feels as if he's one of the normal civilians. He is superb.
The plot is a little predictable at about the halfway mark, but that doesn't make the story any less entertaining and enjoyable. I quite like being able to pick up on things, figure things out and be able to go AH-HA! in the end. Meyer's world building was phenomenal. There was fantastic characterization, great wit, great relationships and a great ending. While it was a little bit of a cliffhanger, it didn't make me rip my hair out as other cliffhangers usually do. I cannot WAIT to read Scarlet. I am soooo looking forward to the rest of the series as well.