Title: Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles #1)
Author: Marissa Meyer
Genre: Sci-Fi, Fairy Tale, Dystopia
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends (an imprint of Macmillian)
Publication Date: January 2012
Rating: 5 stars
Synopsis (from goodreads):
Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, the 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’ve been told by a lot of people that Cinder was one of their favourite reads of 2012 and because of this I was nervous to read it. I tend to find that books that have people rave about almost never live up to my expectations. Luckily this was not the case with Cinder.
This is a retelling of the famous story of Cinderella but this version is set in a future where a race of people live on the moon and the people of Earth are celebrating the 126th anniversary of the end of World War IV. Lihn Cinder is one of the most gifted mechanics in New Beijing but she’s also a cyborg – a half human, half machine after suffering devastating injuries in a hovercraft accident when she was a child. As a cyborg, Cinder has no rights and must do all she is ordered to do by her stepmother and owner, Adri. True to her traditional counterpart, Adri forces Cinder to work all day long to finance her own lavish lifestyle and also forbids her ward to go to the ball. The ball where it’s rumoured the handsome Prince Kai will be finding a wife.
Cinder could care less about the ball and the Prince – all she’d be going to the ball for would be the food – until a chance encounter has her meeting the Prince. Finally the young cyborg understand what all the fuss surrounding him is about. But the Prince has more important things to worry about than a Ball and a wife – his father and his country is dying from a mystery disease which is spreading like the Plague and is fatal within a week of contracting it. The Queen of Lunar – the people of the moon – is also circling like a shark who smells blood. She wants to force Kai into marriage or she proposes war against the entire planet.
After an incident in a junk-yard, Cinder is forced to participate in a clinical trial to try to find a cure to the mystery virus that plagues the Earth when actions are set into motion that will change her whole life – and possibly everyone else’s too.
For me the strength of this novel is that as a retelling of an old classic it stands up well. But it also delivered so much in terms of being a fantastic story in its own right. Cinder has the wicked step mother and horrid step sister but I loved the change of having one of the sisters being Cinder’s best friend and one of her closest companions. I truly enjoyed finding the similarities between the story I’ve grown up with and Cinder, but also I loved the differences.
In terms of characters – I loved them all. Cinder is a strong and tough heroine who hasn’t had an easy life and has a delightful sarcastic streak running though her thoughts. Her android, Iko, was fantastic. I think it said a lot about Cinder’s character that what she loved most about her robotic friend was her defective personality chip. The Prince, Kai, was every bit the classic Disney prince to me. He was gorgeous, flirty and trying to do what was right for his people at the expense of his own happiness. And the Doctor? He made this story for me. I found myself looking forward to his scenes in the book.
There’s a lot going on in this story – Evil Alien Queens, deadly viruses, a mechanic who dreams of running away to Europe – but Marissa Meyer managed to weave everything together in away that I found the entire book a pleasure to read. The twist at the end was fairly obvious to me from the first few chapters but that didn’t bother me at all – in fact I thought that it made the fairy tale feeling to the story all the more real because of it.
I have no idea where the sequel is going to take me but I am eagerly anticipating its release.
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