Written by Marissa Meyer
Published by Feiwel & Friends, Macmillan
Publication Date: January 3rd 2012
Genres: Dystopian, Fairy Tale Retelling, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Find on Goodreads
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.
This is a story about a cyborg named Cinder who lives with her “stepmother” and two “stepsisters. They are not technically her step anything since she was adopted. View Spoiler »Now, this cyborg is a mechanic and lives in a Dystopian earth in a city called New Beijing. She meets Prince Kai when he seeks her out to fix his old android. There is also a plague going on called letumosis and I assume that it is like the Bubonic Plague that hit the world back in the middle ages. The story pretty much revolves around the ball that everyone is invited. This ball becomes Prince Kai’s coronation ball due to the passing of the current Emperor due to letumosis. Cinder also becomes a “test subject” when her stepmother/guardian volunteers her against her will to submit to the letumosis research when her sister Peony gets the disease. During the testing, it is then discovered that she is in fact not a human but a Lunar (or someone who is from the moon) and that she is immune to the disease as all Lunars are. The scientist also discovers that she is the long lost princess and heir to the throne of Luna. Once the king dies, the current Lunar Queen, Lavena comes to Earth in the guise of paying her respects when in fact she is bent on war and is interested in becoming the Empress of New Beijing by marrying Kai. At the palace, she spots Cinder and discovers that she is a Luna and is threatening war unless Kai looks for her. Cinder crashes the ball (even though she was invited) to let Kai know that Queen Levana has plans for war and plans to become Empress so she can start the war. This doesn’t go as smoothly as she hopes because Cinder is discovered and is also exposed as a Lunar and a cyborg, both of which Kai does not know. The story ends with a cliffhanger, with Cinder locked in jail. « Hide Spoiler
I have mixed feelings about this book. Although I enjoyed it, I had problems with most of the plot. This was a pretty quick read for me, but I expected more from reading the blurb.
I’ll start with the cons first.
- Dystopian theme – The story takes place in a dystopian Earth after World War IV in a place called New Beijing. Supposedly, this country arose in the same location of Beijing, China.
However, there was a lack of references to the Chinese culture. True, the name Kai sounded Asian but his whole name Kaito didn’t sound Chinese but Japanese. There was a mention of chopsticks used, but that was it! I thought the author lacked in the aspect of incorporating the Chinese culture in the story. Also, I thought the character Kai was not Asian, based on the description of the character.
- Lunar People – There was also a mention of Lunar people. However, I feel that the author lacked description about the race e.g. how did they get there, why do they have powers, etc. After reading the whole book, I am still looking for the answer to this.
- Descriptions – Another thing that I thought was lacking was the descriptions of the places. I didn’t get the feel of New Beijing. I wasn’t transported to New Beijing. Since this is a futuristic/dystopian theme, I would have expected the author to take us to the city/country. I expected there to be vivid descriptions that can aid my imagination to build my own New Beijing in my mind, but this never happened. I picture New Beijing as a dump, overcrowded city, akin to the middle ages. Now with my thoughts of the middle ages, I cannot picture having hovercrafts and other highly advanced machinery in the city.
- Cyborg – With the heroine a cyborg, I would have expected more from her. I mean, she was a cyborg. Don’t cyborgs have increased strength or something? In this case, I see her as a teen with disabilities. I guess this was what the author wanted the cyborg to be portrayed as but still, I felt it was unbelievable. Cinder also did not meet any other cyborgs in the story. I would have assumed that with the advancement in technology, there would have been others at least mentioned. I get that the cyborgs were discriminated in that world but still…
- Romance – I thought the romance between Cinder and Kai was very underdeveloped. I did not see how Cinder could fall in love with Kai and vice versa. I thought the romance was pretty shallow. Granting that Cinder was only 16, I would think that a love that can change the course of their world would have to be developed further in the story. As it was, it just felt shallow and reminiscent to tween attraction. Even the kissing was meh.
Now, on the pros.
I have to tell you that the premise of the whole thing is freaking awesome. I give props to the author for thinking about it. I mean, a cyborg Cinderella? An alien race living on the moon out to start a war on earth? A Bubonic-like plague in a dystopian world? Come on, don’t tell me that wasn’t an amazing idea?! I had an “I wish I thought about this” moment. I thought the android Iko, was funny and was an awesome minor character, although a bit of an airhead.
I enjoyed reading about this futuristic tale of Cinderella and hated the cliffhanger in the end. I am going to be reading the next book Scarlet to see what would happen next.