2014 is shaping up nicely! I’ve read 7 books this January with Cinder by Marissa Meyer stealing the show.
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
If I were a zombie then Marissa Meyer’s brain would be my Michelin-starred meal of choice. I love fairy-tale retellings and this is easily one of the most original takes on a childhood classic that I have ever read. Cinder is a futuristic, dystopian spin on our beloved Cinderella that renders it at once new and yet reassuringly familiar. Playing Spot The Prop with the ‘glass slipper’ and ‘pumpkin coach’ was very entertaining and it shows how deeply ingrained fairy tales are in our psyche that, even in their new guises, these ingredients are so recognizable.
Cinder is a strong, likable heroin riddled with self-loathing for the cyborg parts which saved her life while seemingly ruining it at the same time. She is an outcast to those who know what she really is and a servant in her own home. Despite the injustices heaped against her, however, her sarcasm keeps her from feeling like a victim. In fact she only really seems vulnerable when tugging nervously at her glove to hide her cyborg hand from Prince Kai, and when she makes a certain dramatic entrance.
The supporting characters in Cinder are vivid without much prose being spent on them and Prince Kai is every bit as charming as he should be – though perhaps a little too at home around our oil-stained mechanic than his upbringing should allow. The connection between him and Cinder is obvious without being overplayed. In fact I could have done with a couple more scenes between them but since this is a relationship set to carry across over all four book of the Lunar Chronicles, I respect Meyers choice to pace things and keep us wanting more.
The world building is extremely strong. Small details like Cinder’s lack of tear ducts and her inability to blush all added something and there’s a real sense that Marissa Meyer has tried to put herself in Cinder’s shoes and imagine herself into a re-engineered body. While still not shoving unnecessary details down our throats, the technological aspects of this world are extremely well-imagined and integrated into the way our protagonist views everything through a computer interface, allowing her to detect lies and link-up with other machinery.
Her retina display informed her that she was now connected to RATIO DETECTOR 2.3. SCANNING…2%…7%…16%…
And yet Cinder IS mostly human, so this process stirs in her thoughts that the reader can understand rather than be alienated by.
She didn’t want to think about the two metal prongs being inserted into her control panel – her brain – but it was impossible not to think about it as she heard them being maneuvered into place.
I loved this book soooooo much. Any frustration or impatience I felt while reading it was a product of my eagerness to know what would happen next and I kind of wish this was a trilogy rather than a quadrilogy because I want Kai to knowalready. I want Cinder to make peace with all that she is and use it to do something only she can do. I want that kick-ass scene of vindication! I’m not sure I’ll get it since this series is clearly not going to pull punches or spoon feed justice. There’s no guarantee we’ll even get our Happy Ever After but Cinder definitely deserves one and I’ll follow her to the end to find out.
I’m sure I could find a few faults if I tried but I don’t want to. Cinder took me on an amazing adventure I won’t soon forget and I am SO EXCITED about this series that I’ve pre-ordered Cress, book 3, which means I’ll be reading book 2, Scarlet, ASAP. Stay tuned for that review!
P.S. Watch my review of Cinder on Youtube!