Cinder by Marissa Meyer.
Lunar Chronicles #1.
Published January 3rd, 2012.
Published by Feiwel & Friends.
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.
Everyone was saying I just had to read Cinder. Everyone was loving it. Everyone thought I would, too.
Everyone was right.
What a rich, imaginative story. It's a retelling of Cinderella but still manages to be highly unique. I absolutely love how it's clear where the parallels are between Cinder's story and the Cinderella fairy tale, but this is still a very distinct and original story in itself. Meyer has woven the fairy tale deftly into her own incredible imagined world that was constantly coming alive in my mind. The setting completely drew me in. It wasn't always easy to picture everything in it, but I was so engrossed in the futuristic, mechanical/high-tech version of Beijing that I couldn't stop myself from imagining it all right in front of me. I am so excited that there are three more books set in this world because I'm not ready to let go!
Cinder herself is a character I found so easy to love and sympathize with. As much as there were times I wanted to shake her and tell her to get over something, I could always see her reasons for worrying or hiding things. She was a well developed character; strong, intelligent, and determined, but very self-conscious of being a cyborg and feeling like she doesn't quite fit in. This all helped shape her into a real person instead of just a character on a page. I also have to say that I loved her emotional capacity being completely unhindered by her cyborg status (much as her legal guardian, the "step-mother", likes to pretend is non-existent) as well as the sass that came out of her sometimes. She was so much more than just a Cinderella figure, or a misfit, or any one trait.
Cinder's relationships were also fantastically presented in a way that I grew very attached and felt truly invested in where they were going. Her friendship with her android, Iko, was a comfort amid a family that, for the most part, completely rejected her. Only her younger sister, Peony, truly treats Cinder like family, and watching their relationship change and be revealed as the story developed was at times heart-warming, at others absolutely heartbreaking. Finally, her banter and growing friendship/attraction with Prince Kai was so much fun to follow. I do wish Cinder hadn't been quite so meek around him for so long, but I really can't fault her for it because she is still a teenage girl. Kai himself was so persistent and adorable, I couldn't help but love him. I was definitely happy to get a few chapters from his perspective because not only did it mean he was around more in the story, it also gave a wonderful insight into his side... his messy, stressful, difficult side of the story. I'm so glad I got to know him better and I'm definitely excited to see all these characters again in the rest of the Lunar Chronicles books! But no more villain Queen Levana, please. I despise her. She is so easy to hate and I would like someone to go ahead and rip her head off now, please. She is definitely an interesting villain though, I'll give Marissa Meyer that much. I'm curious to see what happens. Hopefully Levana is disposed of quickly, though somehow I feel she has a lot more trouble to cause.
For a fairy-tale retelling, this was so much more than I could have expected. A smart plot that had similarities to the tale but was an amazing story in its own right. Characters that you can't help but love (or hate with a burning passion). Extremely well thought out plot points and set up for the next three books. Some secrets, some hints, some shocking revelations. Cinder has it all. I'm so excited to see how everything ties together throughout the whole series.
A loving 4.5 stars!
Special note: Are you someone who loves audiobooks? Considering reading Cinder as an audiobook? Check out this special clip preview of the audiobook from Macmillan:
and then head over to the Macmillan website for more info and a way to purchase the audiobook!