Thursday, January 19, 2012

Review: Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Title: Cinder (Lunar Chronicles #1)
Author: Marissa Meyer
Publisher: Feiwel and Friends
Genre: Young Adult, Sci-Fi, Fairy Tales
Rating: 5/5

Synopsis: 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.

Review: For me, fairy tale re-tellings are kind of hit or miss. As with any re-telling, you kind of have to assume you already know what's going to happen. That was not the case with "Cinder." Although it definitely has elements of the classic Cinderella story, there were really enough new additions that I was kept guessing! Primarily, the setting was so...quirky and new that it totally pulled me in! Seriously. About 10 pages in and I hooked!

Generally, I'm not a big sci-fi fan. I don't like to read books that feature robots and spaceships and stuff, yet Cinder's world somehow didn't come off as cold, metallic, and unfeeling - even though the main character is a cyborg. And man, I never thought I could actually be rooting for a cyborg! I found Cinder to be really well-written. She was smart, independent, and every bit the tomboy. She just came off as real and down-to-earth, which really helped highlight the nastiness of her step-mother and sister. My absolute favorite was the side character of Iko - an android and Cinder's best friend. She's the perfect support to Cinder's otherwise lonesome life. I wish I could get my hands on her personality chip.

The world that Meyer writes is also really well-developed. New Beijing is a fully realized place which merges technology with elements of the traditional. I never thought I could appreciate an environment that featured both hover-crafts AND cherry blossoms. The conflicts and cultures that are portrayed in the book feel deeply rooted in the story - and never rushed or forced. Even the race of Lunars have depth and so much thought behind them.

If you like your story packaged into one neat story, beginning to end, you won't get that here. The book is built on there being a sequel. With that being said, I completely and utterly LOVED "Cinder," and feel it's absolutely worth it to read this book and wait for the sequel!

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