January 3, 2012; Feiwel & Friends
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. (courtesy of Goodreads)
I shouldn't have liked Cinder. I don't like sci fi. I don't really like fairy tale re-tellings (rather I'm not passionate about them). Yet I loved Cinder. It is one of my favorite books of 2012 thus far. What does Cinder have going for it?
1. Strong Female Character: Cinder is a fabulous leading lady. As a cyborg, she is an outcast in society. Not only that, she's an outcast in her own family. Her adopted father is dead, her stepmother and one of her stepsisters hate her, and she works for them as a virtual slave. Cinder does occasionally bemoan her lot in life, but mostly she accepts it and does as best she can. She is sarcastic, witty, and smart. She's an mechanic (Girl power!) whose ability is so respected that Prince Kai seeks her out. Cinder takes risks to protect those she loves, especially her stepsister Peony (the nice one). She has a nice balance between being aggressive and unsure.
2. Great Guy: I loved Prince Kai. Part of the story is told from his viewpoint since his father's illness and the possible war/treaty/marriage with the Lunar society takes place is crucial to the plot. He's kind, funny, and easy going. He is immediately drawn to Cinder not only because she's pretty, but because she is smart and doesn't grovel. Kai has the weight of the world on his shoulders but he accepts his fate and seeks to do the best for his kingdom. He's the type of guy that Cinder deserves, and I can't wait to see what happens to their relationship in future books.
3. Cinderella Legend: While I don't really like fairy tale re-tellings that much, Cinderella is one of my favorite stories (Who doesn't love singing, sewing mice? And pumpkins!). Marissa Meyer has an entirely original take on the Cinderella story, which has been told a million times in a million ways. I particularly liked the fact that she didn't feel the need to stick too close to the traditional story. For example, Cinder only has one evil stepsister. The other stepsister is sweet and loves Cinder. Also, the Cinderella plot is only part of a much bigger story line that encompasses a potential multi-world, multi-species war.
4. World Building: For the most part, the world building in Cinder is excellent. It's set far in the future, post-Apocalyptic, but it doesn't have the dystopian feel to it. My one criticism is that cyborgs should have been defined earlier on in the book. I had a good idea of what a cyborg was, but not being a sci fi reader, I wasn't entirely clear. It didn't affect my ability to follow the plot, but it was occasionally jarring. The fantasy world becomes much more complicated with the introduction of the Lunar society, a clan of humans who live on the moon and have evolved into a different species. There is much about their Lunar world that is not explored in this book, but we are told just enough to dispel confusion and create excitement for future books.
5. Writing: The book flows by so quickly that you finish it before you realize. Partly it's because the writing is so smooth and partly it's because you can't put it down once you start it. Marissa Meyer mostly does a good job of spacing out back stories, character development, and action (with the exception of the cyborg definition mentioned above). There are plenty of twists and turns to keep you interested and surprised. Obviously there are aspects of the plot that you know are going to happen since we all know the story of Cinderella. Plus the major plot twist was really easy to guess. But the journey to get there was unexpected and a roller coaster ride of fun.
I can't recommend Cinder enough. It is accessible for the non-sci fi or fantasy fan. It features a strong girl who may like having a handsome prince but definitely doesn't need one. Plus it goes far beyond the traditional Cinderalla story. A great debut.
Oh Allison!! That is such a lovely review, so exciting!!!! I still have to hear a bad thing about this book! Initiatlly I wanted to shy away from it because of I'm also not a big fan of retellings. But It seems like I have to read this one! I loved your break down what you loved and why you think this book is so great! Going to to get the audio now! THANKS!ReplyDelete
I felt the exact same way when I read this! I ended up reading straight through it in like 5 hours because it was just that compelling and that good! Glad you enjoyed it too!ReplyDelete
I loved this book so, so much. If only the sequel could hurry up! Great review!ReplyDelete
Great review Alison! I thought CINDER was great too, but I'm a sci fi reader normally. It's nice to know that it's still a great, accessible read for people who don't usually venture into this genre! Also, I admit I swooned over Prince Kai ;). Who wouldn't?ReplyDelete
I'm really glad you enjoyed this book - it's been one of my favourites so far this year. I felt exactly the same as you did on approaching the book - I normally avoid sci-fi, but this is awesome!ReplyDelete
Tara @ Hey, Tara
Great review! I love cyborgs, so this sounds perfect for me. I suppose the writer assumed you'd know what one basically is. But, it's good to see that you, not being a sci-fi fan, took to this one really well. I can't wait to read my copy!ReplyDelete
I have got to read this book! At first I thought it sounded ridiculous, but so many people seem to love it, and your review has got me that much more anxious to read it!ReplyDelete
Another book I still haven't read yet. Darn. Lovely review though Alison.ReplyDelete
Sweet! It was nice getting a review of this from someone who was outside of her comfort zone. Personally, I love sci fi and fairy tale retellings. Combining them is like the best idea ever in my opinion.ReplyDelete
CANNOT wait for Scarlet.
Glad you liked the book too.... I am not normally a sci-fi fan, but this was awesome! I also like the extra stuff - the politics, for one! And I love the relationship between Kai and Cinder! Only 8 more months until the next one... *sigh*ReplyDelete
I loved the differences Meyer took with the Cinderella Legend - it was a nice surprise to see Cinder having a nice stepsister. And I agree, the writing flowed nicely :)ReplyDelete
"It features a strong girl who may like having a handsome prince but definitely doesn't need one."ReplyDelete
I think that's one of the things I loved most about this one! Cinder wanted Prince Kai but she wasn't ridiculous about it and she was more than capable of living without him. I can't wait to see how things progress in the next book! Fantastic review Alison:)
I understand what you mean - I thought this would be awful and thought it would be ANOTHER Cinderella re-telling too but it turned out pretty good.ReplyDelete
I just loved the way it was written...
Gosh, YES, YES, an unqualified yes to everything in your review. You are so right about everything, because the writing was fabulous, THE WORLD-BUILDING - geez, Cinder and Kai, the Cinderella twists. Meyer just totally amazed me and, like you, I wasn't expecting to love this book so much.ReplyDelete
I'm so glad to hear that you loved this one. So glad!!!ReplyDelete
The world building in this one is probably the best example I've read in a long time! I just loved it. And the characters? Oh heck , this whole book? *SWOON*
-Jac @ For Love and Books
I really enjoyed Cinder too..to touch on a few of your points I loved that Cinder was strong but I was disappointed toward the end when she backed down to her stepmom, that was contradictory to her previous behavior. Totally agree on the lack of detail on the cyborgs, I wish there was a more detailed description on them. Loved the new spin on the Cinderella theme...hated the ending just kind of stopped. Still an enjoyable read. Love the cover on this one!ReplyDelete
I've been very apprehensive about reading this one myself for the same reasons as you, I don't like sci fi and retellings really aren't my thing, but all the pluses you mentioned are ones that totally convince me that I'd love this book! Gonna see if my library has it.ReplyDelete
This was such a fun read. I was a bit worried that it would be too sci-fish but was glad that it didn't take over the story. I kinda figured out the plot twists ahead of time, but I did enjoy reading it and finished it quickly.ReplyDelete
I loved this one also. I can't want for the next installment.ReplyDelete
I like how you set up this review! Holy cow, I loved this story. The world-building caught my attention and the writing swept me away.ReplyDelete
This was an excellent read for me earlier this year! I am looking forward to the second in the Lunar Chronicles to be released next January, Scarlett.ReplyDelete
Lovely review! I just got this ARC from my local indie bookstore and I am excited to read it. I love re-taling of fairytales.ReplyDelete
Great review - Cinder is amazing and totally blows thru genre boundaries!!ReplyDelete
Wonderful review! I wonder if we have the same mind because i also wrote a review for cinder today. LOL. well, i wrote it last night and published it today anyways.ReplyDelete
I really enjoyed your review! i really liked how Meyer explained what a cyborg was well!
Oh, I read this book a couple of weeks ago and LOVED it. SO glad you did, too! I think that's an interesting point about what cyborgs are... it totally works off the assumption you know what one *IS* hmmm...ReplyDelete
I just started reading this book, to be honest, i was interested in this book when I first heard of it months ago, but after reading so many reviews on it, I decided to try it, so I requested it at my library (at the end of January), I just got it a few days ago, I hope I love it too.ReplyDelete
I meant "I wasn't interested," for the comment above.ReplyDelete
OMG I loved this book so so much. Thanks for the review.ReplyDelete
I haven't read this book yet, but it sounds really interesting. Cinderella is one of my favorite fairytales too, so I'm excited to see how the retelling turns out!ReplyDelete
Thanks for the review, I'm definitely moving this up on my reading list.
I've heard nothing but great things about this one. And the more I hear about it, the more I'm dying to read it.ReplyDelete
I don't like fairy tale retellings (the only one I loved was Beastly by Alex Flinn), but I love sci-fi. :)ReplyDelete
I already have Cinder (somewhere) on my tbr list, now I'll jump it up.
Thanks for the great review, Alison!
I've been wishing to read this as well. It sounds so fantastic and I really enjoy retellings and I like sci-fi from time to time. I'm really surprised that even though you're not really a fan of both genres, you still loved it. I could really tell that it worked for you. I can't wait to read this! Great review! :)ReplyDelete
Smitten over Books
Glad you liked it! I didn't enjoy it quite as much, but it was still a good read. Great review (:ReplyDelete