Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Goodreads: Cinder
Series: Lunar Chronicles #1

Goodreads Summary: Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, the 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.

Review:  I was not excited about this novel at all before its release.  I love fairy tale retellings, but I was immensely skeptical of a cyborg “Cinderella.”  Frankly, it sounded creepy and difficult to relate to.  Meyer dispelled all my worries from the very first pages.  Cinder is an immensely capable, likeable, and relatable character, and I was thrilled to see that the humanity of cyborgs is one of the main issues at stake in this universe.  Cyborgs face all kinds of discrimination, and by getting to know Cinder, readers are able to see how wrong this is.  The exploration of what it means to be human is one of the themes of a great science fiction, in my opinion, and Meyer has completely nailed the topic.

The story itself is intensely original, even based as is it on a well-known tale.  The evil stepsisters, the prince, the ball—everything is here, but it truly seems new.  And, perfectly, Meyer exploits the opportunity to develop a true relationship between Prince Kai and Cinder.  No meeting and falling in love at first sight!  Kai and Cinder actually run into each other numerous times before the ball, and the status of their relationship is always a bit in question.  Can a prince love a cyborg?  Can a cyborg and mechanic allow herself to love a prince?

There are elements in Cinder that are entirely of Meyer’s invention, as well.  Ironically, some of these are the most obvious.  A few of the twists took me by surprise, but definitely not all.  Nonetheless, this is a story that does not suffer from predictability in the least.  It is the telling and the characters that make it magical, not the suspense. Cinder is really a fantastic read and a remarkable contribution to retold fairy tales.

Published: 2012


Are you interested in the Cinder audiobook?  Listen to an excerpt here, generously provided by Macmillan!  Rebecca Soler offers an emotive reading that will have you hooked!

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