Author: Marissa Meyer
Genre: Sci-fi, futuristic, YA
Series? Yes, #1 in The Lunar Chronicles
Publisher: Square Fish ( January 2013)
Rating: 4/6 - I really liked it
Synopsis from cover: Even in the future, the story begins with Once Upon a Time.
Humans and androids crown 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. . . .
Sixteen-year-old Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past and is reviled by her stepmother. 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. Because there is something unusual about Cinder, something that others would kill for.
My Initial Thoughts/Rambling: Whyyy did I wait so long to start this one??? Stupid, stupid, stupid. While I’m not head over heels in love, I was seriously gripped by this one, and once I started reading it I was surprised at how much I read – before I realized it, I was halfway through the book! Possible Spoilers Ahead.
What did I think about the characters? In a word: refreshing. I’ll break it up between the two main characters this time:
Cinder – She had the courage that I love in a YA protagonist, but she wasn’t overly brash or arrogant in her abilities. She was self-conscious because of her cyborg parts, and didn’t try to make a spectacle of herself. She didn’t act entitled to anything, and was very humble and grateful for what she did receive. Plus, despite learning a few things about herself, she didn’t become immediately all-powerful and the savior-of-society. All in all, very well rounded, believable, and most of all – likeable!
Kai – Oh man. Kai is as equally well rounded and lovable as Cinder. He’s witty and sarcastic (and you know I love me a sarcastic male), but at the same time compassionate and thoughtful. Plus, he’s not arrogant, which would have been so easy to do with the whole raised as a Prince and is now Emperor at 19 schtick. He’s very unsure about his abilities in leadership, and ultimately wants to do what’s best for his country, no matter how little faith he has in himself.
And then their relationship – no insta-love here! I was a bit worried, after the synopsis, but the focus isn’t on the romantic love: it’s about the love of a family, and a desire to do the right thing. The romance was an afterthought, but not pushed aside. It was well balanced with everything else, and so, so believable it was incredible.
And the concept and plot? We-hell of COURSE Meyer’s getting an A+ for concept! A cyborg version of Cinderella? If you find a similar story I’ll give you ten bucks (not really – that ten dollars will buy me another book!). It was very original, and while I would have liked to see a bit more development as far as world building goes, I’ll hold off on judgement because there’s still three more books in this series.
As far as the plot, I don’t have any complaints at all. Because I’m familiar with Cinderella (at least the Disney version), I did catch a few allusions, and guessed a few of the plot points. But, it wasn’t cheesily done, predictable or not, so for that I’m glad. One part that made me laugh was an orange car that Cinder drove – say hello to the magic pumpkin!
What about the writing style? I only have one thing to complain about: I wish Meyer had used more descriptive terms, especially when it comes to characters. Most of all, their specific races. Now I’m about to get white girl on you, so I apologize in advance.
If I’m not specifically told their skin tone, facial structure, and overall appearance, I will immediately picture Caucasians. If I’m only told hair and eye color – white person. If I get nothing at all, I determine their imaginary appearance by their personality – still white. I guess that’s ethnocentrism in real life, folks. Go report that to your sociology professors.
Anyhoo, I felt really conflicted half the time when trying to picture these characters, because without the descriptions, I automatically went to my stock white people models. But they’re in New Beijing, and they mention Kimonos and other traditionally Eastern markers… so are they Asian? But it’s a post-WWIV world, so who knows how the lines of race and ethnicity were blurred after half the Earth was decimated. And then Meyer cites Joss Whedon’s Firefly as an inspiration for the East-meets-West concepts in Cinder, and that show has black, white, Asian – all kinds of races! So really I have no conclusive ideas as to what these people should fundamentally look like, and it kind of frustrates me because I want to be true to Meyer’s original concept!
Anything else you’d like to add? I wasn’t totally hooked by the character of Scarlet in the excerpt from Book Two, but I’m really attached to Cinder so I’m now anxiously waiting for Scarlet to be released in paperback. I’ve decided that I’ll get the first two books paperback, then the last two in hardback now that I’ve caught up. You’ve got to be balanced, people!
Find the book at:
Book Depository: http://www.bookdepository.com/Cinder-Marissa-Meyer/9781250007209