Book Review

Cinder

This book kicks off a new series that offers a completely new take on the Cinderella story.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Cinder

Author: Marissa Meyer

Genre: Sci-Fi, YA

Publication Date: 2012

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Series: The Lunar Chronicles #1

TRIGGER WARNING: plague

Sixteen-year-old Cinder is considered a technological mistake by most of society and a burden by her stepmother. Being cyborg does have its benefits, though: Cinder’s brain interface has given her an uncanny ability to fix things (robots, hovers, her own malfunctioning parts), making her the best mechanic in New Beijing. This reputation brings Prince Kai himself to her weekly market booth, needing her to repair a broken android before the annual ball. He jokingly calls it “a matter of national security,” but Cinder suspects it’s more serious than he’s letting on.

Although eager to impress the prince, Cinder’s intentions are derailed when her younger stepsister, and only human friend, is infected with the fatal plague that’s been devastating Earth for a decade. Blaming Cinder for her daughter’s illness, Cinder’s stepmother volunteers her body for plague research, an “honor” that no one has survived.

But it doesn’t take long for the scientists to discover something unusual about their new guinea pig. Something others would kill for.

I adore fairy tale retellings, and this was definitely one of the more creative retellings that I’ve ever seen. The basic elements of Cinderella were retained while the story gained an entirely new level of complexity that made it a lot more interesting. While the story has been redone to death, Cinder is a fresh take and felt anything but boring.

The story takes place in a futuristic setting, and Cinder has a marketable skill — she’s a talented and well-known mechanic. I like that the Prince is drawn to her skill rather than her appearance, and that she’s actually smart. Society isn’t kind to cyborgs, so she’s learned to be tough and self-reliant as well. She’s the kind of character I wanted to see succeed, even as the obstacles piled up.

The story is fast-paced, and I couldn’t put the book down. I kept telling myself I’d read just one more chapter to find out what happened next. Before I knew it, I had finished the book. I enjoyed how things were revealed slowly over the course of the book, although I took off half a point because I figured out the major plot twist before it was revealed. I wasn’t disappointed though, because I was happy to be right. The ending tied up just enough of the loose ends to keep me satisfied but still dying to get my paws on the next book.

People who have sat around with me while I’m reading, especially when there’s a surprising reveal, a shocking plot twist, or an unexpected event often look up in alarm when I gasp audibly. The gasp factor is directly related to the number of times I audibly gasp during a reading, and there isn’t an upper limit.

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