Book Review: Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Book Review: Cinder by Marissa MeyerCinder by Marissa Meyer
Series: The Lunar Chronicles #1
Also in this series: Scarlet, Cress, Winter
Genres: Dystopian, Fantasy, Romance, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Pages: 390
Published by Fiewel and Friends on January 3, 2012
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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.
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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.

My initial reaction to reading the back cover of Cinder:

I mean, cyborgs are cool. And Cinderella is always a sweet story, full of triumph, self-discovery and getting revenge on horrible step-relatives.

But a cyborg Cinderella?

Hence my skepticism.

Ok, so Cinder is a Cyborg; she lives with her evil stepmother and stepsisters in New Beijing, working as a mechanic. Cyborgs are pretty much inferior citizens. One day, Prince Kai, the heir to the Empire, comes by her booth, asking her to fix an android for him that he claims merely has sentimental value. But he hints that it could be a risk to national safety if the android isn’t fixed. In the meantime, Cinder’s sister (the nice one she loves) is stricken by the plague that is killing many in the Commonwealth. There is no antidote. And then Cinder finds out she is immune. But that isn’t the end to her problems. The Queen of Luna (the country established on the moon) wants to force Prince Kai to marry her so that she can strengthen her own rule (as a merciless and manipulative dictator). And now Kai seems to have taken a special interest in Cinder…and won’t stop asking her to the ball. But he doesn’t know that she’s a cyborg, and Cinder is certain that he would be horrified if he found out. Cinder works to figure out what exactly the tyrannical Queen wants and how Luna might be connected to the plague, all while falling in love with Kai.

So, it all sounds kind of silly; a cyborg Cinderella? And I agree with other reviews, it could have definitely stood on its own without being a retelling of Cinderella. But the Cinderella elements didn’t bother me, they just weren’t exactly necessary, in my opinion. Cinder was cool; I liked that she was a mechanic; it was fun to read about her working to fix things all the time. There were moments when I absolutely wanted to murder Adri, her evil stepmother, because she was awful. Kai was adorable, and it was nice to see their relationship go from one of friendly teasing and bantering to Kai coming to see her as a balm for his desperate and difficult situation. Their relationship evolved really naturally and it was very fun to read.

Not as silly as it sounds.

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