Author: Marissa Meyer
Publisher: Feiwel and Friends, 2012 (Hardcover)
Length: 387 pages
Genre: Young Adult; Dystopian Fiction, Science Fiction
Started: November 24, 2012
Finished: November 29, 2012
From the inside cover:
Sixteen-year-old Cinder is considered a technological mistake by most of society and a burden by her stepmother. Being cyborg does have its benefits, though: Cinder's brain interface has given her an uncanny ability to fix things (robots, hovers, her own malfunctioning parts), making her the best mechanic in New Beijing. This reputation brings Prince Kai himself to her weekly market booth, needing her to repair a broken android before the annual ball. He jokingly calls it a "matter of national security," but Cinder suspects it's more serious than he's letting on.
Although eager to impress the prince, Cinder's intentions are derailed when her younger stepsister, and only human friend, is infected with the fatal plague that's been devastating Earth for a decade. Blaming Cinder for her daughter's illness, Cinder's stepmother volunteers her body for plague research, an "honour" that no one has survived.
But it doesn't take long for the scientists to discover something unusual about their new guinea pig. Something others would kill for.
I had first picked this up shortly after its release, but didn't end up starting it due to the craziness of being a new mom. Now that I've reintegrated reading back into my daily life, I knew I had to give Cinder another shot, and I'm thankful that I did.
Cinder lives in New Beijing (part of the Commonwealth formed after the devastating fourth World War), and lives as a second class citizen due to her partially mechanic makeup. Earth is at constant tension with Luna (the civilization on the moon), and has been plagued by a deadly epidemic called letumosis. When Cinder is asked by Prince Kai to fix an android that she discovers has been hacked and subsequently leaked a huge political secret, Cinder becomes caught up in a mass of political intrigue, plus issues surrounding medical ethics, that makes for one seriously enjoyable and engrossing story.
On to the things I liked. First off, this is a Cinderella retelling, but definitely not your run-of-the-mill kind; in fact, the story and its characters could stand by itself without the Cinderella references (similar to Shadows on the Moon that I read earlier this year).
Secondly, this Cinderella is a cyborg mechanic...how cool is that? I loved that Cinder was mechanically inclined (more so referring to her being in a traditionally male job), and paired with being a cyborg rocked my socks, this is one archetype you don't see often in YA literature. Also, the author's bio described her as being fond of Sailor Moon and Firefly (two of my favourites), and fans of those shows will definitely see the geeky influences in the novel.
The writing was well-done, characters were wonderful, and the romance between Cinder and Kai was believable and gradual and didn't make me want to chuck things at a wall. Plus, this is the first book of a series of four, so there's lots more love to go around. If there's anything I didn't like (and it's very marginal dislike) it's that it was easy to figure out where the story was headed, almost like the author gave too many easy hints. But even though I knew where things were going, nevertheless I enjoyed the ride immensely.
Read it! Seriously pick this up, I guarantee this will be a much-adored new series, especially for geeky readers looking for a new series with a sci-fi edge. I will be eagerly awaiting the next installment coming early in the new year.
Thoughts on the cover:
I can't express how much love I have for this cover, it's just perfect, plus it's sexy...I know, it's so weird for me to use that word and 'book cover' in the same sentence, but it's true.