Cinder by Marissa Meyer
Hardcover: 387 pages
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Release Date: 3 January 2012
Age Level: Young Adult
Source: Purchased for personal collection
Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository | IndieBound
Click HERE for an audiobook clip, courtesy of Macmillan Audio
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 is probably one of the most unique novels I have ever read. I have never been one for science fiction and cyborgs and spaceships, but I couldn't help getting swept up in the magic of this novel. It probably didn't hurt that this is also a retelling of the classic Cinderella. I'm a sucker for fairtytale retellings. Though it is a retelling, Cinder is also so much more.
I didn't know how I wanted to go about writing this review. There was so much going through my mind, I couldn't make it make sense when I started trying to write it out. With that said, here are some of my thoughts. Let's start with the characters, shall we?
Cinder is such a strong character, but she doesn't know it just yet. Cyborgs are seen as second-class citizens in this futuristic world, so Cinder doesn't believe anyone could (or should) truly care for her. She's strong, smart, caring and a gifted mechanic, but she definitely gets treated pretty horribly for being cyborg. In comes the charming Prince Kaito needing assistance with one of his androids. What a perfect meeting! He's charismatic, funny, and he cares deeply about the welfare of his country and its people. Really, Kai is everything a young prince should be. Cinder, much to her surprise, is taken by this prince charming immediately. He's an easy character to like, though. That's one more for the nice guy! Iko, Cinder's android pal, is definitely a bright spot in this otherwise dim world. She is so hilarious! It doesn't seem likely that something created out of metal parts and wires and whatnot could have such a personality, but she does. How cute is it that she has a crush on the Prince, too? Right? Right?! There's a part in the book when Iko just really steals my heart, but it's spoilery. Guess you'll just have to read it for yourself. I really liked Cinder's younger stepsister, Peony. She is pretty much just like any normal 14-year-old today. She loves sparkly things, dancing and daydreaming about meeting her favorite celebrity (surprise! She loves Prince Kai. So adorable). I really liked that the author made at least one of the stepsisters nice. Peony's older sister, Pearl, on the other hand... ooh, what a spoiled brat! I still hold out that there might be a heart somewhere hidden deep in there, but that hope may not last long if she continues on her current path. As for their mother, Adri, she is depicted in such a perfectly cold and cruel evil stepmother way. Well done, there. I couldn't believe how cruel and unfeeling she is towards Cinder. Cinder does everything for that family and she gets nothing in return. Unless you count being put down and tormented daily some kind of reward. I certainly know I don't. As if an evil stepmother isn't enough, there's the Lunar Queen, Levana. What a villain! She literally sends ripples of ice down my back with how manipulative and evil she is. She's ruling an entire nation (on the moon! what?!) by brainwashing them! She can't even look in a mirror or be filmed/photographed because she's put a glamour on herself to look beautiful. Knowing she has her sights set on the wonderful Prince Kai and his kingdom, her evil knows no bounds. Giving such a cruel and heartless being magic, well that's just wrong. So deliciously wrong! I love it. Marissa definitely did an excellent job writing some amazing, sweet, evil, rotten, strong, fantastic characters.
The writing was fantastic and the descriptions were to die for! Though the city is all futuristic and technologically advanced, it really felt kind of... dilapidated? You could tell that circumstances weren't all that great, just from looking around the city. I really enjoyed all the descriptions of celebratory finery, though. After all, what is a Cinderella story without a ball and all the sparkles that go with it? I could almost feel the fabrics under my fingers, it was that vivid. Well done! On the opposite side of the spectrum, the descriptions of the plague are... ugh. Talk about a total gross out. It sounds painful and miserable and absolutely disgusting. Marissa definitely doesn't shy away from showing exactly what's going on with the plague and those affected by it. I feel so sorry for all those who have to suffer through that. Fortunately, I suppose, they don't have to suffer for long. I suspected something nefarious going on with the plague immediately. By the way, there's another spoilery part that will simply break your heart. Actually, there are a few. So many emotions in this book!
Though I was able to guess a fair amount of what was going to happen, I didn't mind in the least. It was actually part of the fun waiting to see when the characters were going to figure it out for themselves. The journey was well worth the trip and I simply can't wait to jump back into this magical, terrifying world again! A definite must-read for anybody ready to get swept up in a perfect cross of fairytale and scifi. Bring on book two! Scarlet comes out TODAY, by the way! I see a trip to the bookstore in my future...
A Favorite Quote: "I'm sure I'll feel much more grateful when I find a guy who thinks complex wiring in a girl is a turn-on."