Series: Lunar Chronicles #1
Published by Feiwel and Friends on 2012 January 3
Buy on Amazon
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 interference 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.
Perhaps one of the biggest regrets I have in my life was not reading this book immediately. Cinder has just restored my faith on hyped books and on fairy tale retellings in general. You see, there’s just so many fairy tale retellings made over the years that it was already tiring to read them because they have nothing new to offer. Even the movies suffer the same fate. So when I decided to read this book, it was of great caution. I even encased my heart with steel bars just in case. It has been glued over and over again that I don’t think it could stand another disappointment. Thankfully, I must have done something right for the book gods to be pleased because this book delivered.
With Cinder, Marissa Meyer made a creative overhaul to one of the favourite fairy tales of all time, Cinderella. Set in futuristic Asia, Cinder is a renowned 16-year old mechanic in New Beijing. While her mechanical skills should have gained her popularity and respect, her being a cyborg and an orphan didn’t help her to become the darling of the crowd. Her stepmother and one of her stepsisters hated her. In all her life in New Beijing, there were only two people who’ve actually shown appreciation for her, her younger stepsister and the Prince of the Eastern Commonwealth. Excluding the maltreatment she’s getting from her wicked stepmother, Cinder’s life is pretty uneventful until it got tangled with the politics of the Palace and that of the Lunar kingdom.
One of the greatest attractions of this book is Cinder herself because she’s not your ordinary Cinderella. She’s a cyborg and a machinery genius. I love that Marissa didn’t mould her from the generic pattern of damsels-in-distress and gave Cinder her own brand of personality. She’s feisty, focused and knows how to stand up for herself. Yes, you read that right. Cinder is a fighter and she doesn’t take shit from her wicked stepmother or her stepsister or from the Lunar Queen Levana. And unlike Cinderella, her goals in life didn’t include going to balls or getting married to a handsome prince. Speaking of the handsome prince, Cinder’s love interest in this book is Kai, the Eastern Commonwealth Prince. IMO, I think he’s the perfect match for her. Aside from his good looks, his down-to-earth attitude is quite humbling for a commoner like me. My heart really swooned with what he did during the end…he remained protective and loyal to Cinder despite the awful circumstances. Others would have been blinded by their wrath but Kai reserved judgment even if it pained him a lot.
The other characters were also laudable. And the villain, pals…the villain is just awesome. Cinder is oozing with so much girl power that it was hard not to fall in love with it. Queen Levana is another antagonist that should be included in your watch list. She’s just so evil that she’ll put all Disney villains into shame. Bwahahahaha.
Cinder’s plot is also a thing of wonder. Yeah, I do admit that there are predictable bits but I can easily overlook them because the story is highly entertaining. The plague, the ball, Cinder’s mysterious past, and Queen Levana’s evil plans made every page worth reading. The romance was also beautifully done, never intrusive but you know that it’s an important part of the story. And it’s amazing how well Marissa Meyer meshed the sci-fi aspect into this fairy tale retelling. Everything about Cinder is screaming of ingenuity.
And that “ending” certainly made my heart stop. Argh. Why does it have to end? Why does it have it to be cliffhangery? I just want to read more. This new drug called Cinder certainly worked well in my system and I intend to overdose myself with it. It’s a good thing that I already have Scarlet in hand. Otherwise, the withdrawal would be really ugly.