Saturday, April 27, 2013

Review: Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Cinder (Lunar Chronicles, #1)Cinder by Marissa Meyer
Steph's Rating: 4 stars
Overall: 4 stars

Format: Hardcover
Publication Date: January 3rd, 2012
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Pages: 387

Goodreads 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.

Steph's Review: 
Cinder is a wonderful read that follows retelling pattern of the fairy tale, Cinderella (hence Cinder). We get a robotic twist in this one, where our protagonist, Cinder, is a cyborg. Caught in a terrible fire as a child, Cinder was injured so horribly to the point where surgeons had to replace parts of skin, limbs, and bones with metal parts in order for her to survive. It's great having her life back, but the downside is losing privileges that a "normal human" would have. She's basically treated like dirt, just like the beginning of the tale of Cinderella, and she even lives with two step-sisters and an wicked stepmother. The plus is being a great mechanic--something that's hard not to be good at especially when parts of your body are chunks of metal. Weighed down with the job of being the only source of income for her "family", Cinder really has nothing great to say about her life.

When one of Cinder's sisters contracts the cure-less, ravaging plague "letumosis", the blame is put on Cinder by Adri, none other than Cinder's evil stepmother. Looking for any chance to get rid of a burden, Adri hands Cinder over to the New Beijing government to be a guinea pig for letumosis cure testing, in exchange for money. While being prodded at though, scientists find a special secret about Cinder, one she did not know about herself. She is a double-edged sword. She may be the savior to humankind, but if the Lunars (the enemies in disguise) get their hands on her, it could all be over.

I am a really big fan of the Cinderella story amongst fairytales, so of course I would enjoy any revamp of it. Meyer makes Cinder a witty and sarcastic heroine, and throws her into the most awkward situations (I love reading awkward situations, have you noticed? :D). These situations include our lovely prince, Kai. I didn't feel Kai was a super hot guy, but I liked him, just like in the real Cinderella story. He is a complex character; he is a prince who basically wishes he wasn't one, but must stand strong to his country who lives in fear of the Lunars and the plague. The poor guy can't really catch a break, especially with his father having contracted the plague as well. Cinder automatically grows on him because she's one of the few people who doesn't treat him like a prince, and she actually bothers to joke with him. Some of Cinder's lines really made me LOL during the book, especially this one (No not with Kai unfortunately, with the docs. Probably one of my favorites in the whole book!):

“I don't know. I don't actually remember anything from before the surgery."

His eyebrows rose, his blue eyes sucking in all the light of the room. "The cybernetic operation?"

"No, the sex change."

The doctor's smile faltered.

"I'm joking.”

Besides the plague, New Beijing has the Lunars to worry about--people of the moon hence their name. With their magic of brainwashing and compulsion, they could bend any human to their will and take over the world. The only thing stopping them is the tense peace treaty signed between Earth and Lunars. It's fragile, and deteriorating. I detest these Lunars with all of my heart, and it was a wonderful twist on top of the normal Cinderella story. I think the conflict with the Lunars is what makes this story stand out, because if it was only the fairy tail it'd be pretty mediocre. Without warning, Cinder is thrown into the heart of the Lunar/Earthen problem, where keeping her secret is the utmost priority. 

The only problem with this book is that since it is a retelling, it is very predictable. I could sense the plot twists and the ending from miles away, so I never felt especially giddy at any point in the book. It is a great read, no doubt, but it isn't particularly suspenseful. I love the world and characters though, and they make up for the so-so plot. I am definitely going to be reading Scarlet, book 2 of the Lunar Chronicles, which is the story of Red Riding Hood told Marissa Meyer style!

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