Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles #1)
By Marissa Meyer
Release Date: January 3, 2012
Source: LibraryHumans 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: Ever since this book came out in 2012, I have been hearing nonstop praises. As a fan of fairytales, I was very intrigued by the whole sci-fi/fantasy take on Cinderella. Two years later, I finally picked up a copy to see what all of the hype was actually about.
In New Beijing, a deadly plague has broken out among the citizens. When Cinder, a mechanic who is also a cyborg, is personally affected by the plague, her life turns upside down. Cinder's stepsister contracts the disease and must go into quarantine, and Cinder's stepmother is livid and blames Cinder for her daughter's illness. Not only does Cinder find grief at home, but it seems that everywhere she goes, she finds herself tangled up with Prince Kai. As an attraction grows, Cinder knows it's impossible for a cyborg like her to ever be with royalty. Add in all the political upheaval brewing between different nations, and Cinder begins to uncover secrets about her past and the nation Prince Kai is leading.
To say I had high expectations going into this book is a huge understatement. I was expecting to be blown out of the water. And while I found the story very intriguing, I was missing the "have-to-read-this-now" element of the book. It took me almost a week to read through Cinder, which is a pretty long time to spend on one book for me. I thought the world they lived in was definitely unique and the mystery behind the political aspect of the nations was very interesting, but nothing really made me fall in love with the story.
Cinder is a cyborg who is used to living at the bottom of the totem pole in society. I love how she's a mechanic and has real value in society, as opposed to her wicked stepmother and stepsister who use her hard earned money to buy more dresses and shoes. It's always a struggle for retellings to still have uniqueness, but Cinder had no problem with doing that. Not only is Cinder part robot, but also one of her stepsisters is actually super adorable and one of my favorite characters, instead of snotty and annoying like the fairytale. And I loved how the androids had personalities of their own. Iko was my other favorite characters, and she's a robot! Each of the characters had their own quirky personalities, and they all fit really well into the story together.
Even though Cinder takes place in an entirely different world, Marissa Meyer did an excellent job introducing the world of New Beijing. I never got lost among the technology and political alliances, and I loved how much technology was a part of their lives. I think that the story was a bit slow at times, and some of the secrets revealed about Cinder were a bit predictable. I wish the author hadn't been so obvious about Cinder's possible past, and instead chose to shock the readers and really pull them into the story.
While the story was definitely unique and an interesting read, I wasn't as wowed as everyone else seems to have been. Maybe if I hadn't had such high expectations, I would have loved the story. But I have very high standards when it comes to hype over a specific book, and Cinder didn't quite make it. Now, though, people have been obsessing over the third book Cress. Will I keep reading the series? I think I'll try out Scarlet to see if Red Riding Hood gives me the inspiration and impression I expected in this one.