Title: Cinder (Lunar Chronicles #1)
Author: Marissa Meyer
Release Date: January 3rd, 2012
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Page Count: 490
Source: Borrowed from the New York Public Library
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...THE REVIEW
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.
[Summary Source: Goodreads]
Well this one was different. I'm still trying to work out all of my feels towards it, but I'm pretty sure no matter how long I sit on this review I'll still come out liking it as much as my four star rating suggests.
Let's break this down:
The setting Marissa Meyer constructs in Cinder is pretty freaking brilliant. Sometimes I read dystopian books and the world just doesn't feel dystopian, but this one, well, this one's the perfect setting for this genre. All the old world with the new technology overlaid on top really worked. I think the only negative thing I have to say about the world-building is how cliche some of the Chinese aspects of this book are. I like that it's not ALL Chinese, since the whole city was destroyed in WWIV and everything's been rebuilt and a lot of time has passed and all that, but I'd like something a little more subtle than wontons and chopsticks. I could have used a few lingering traditions to go with the palace architecture and then I would have been totally set.
Of course, as if to make up for the week cultural background, Marissa Meyer builds this world with her awesome writing style. Everything just flows. The writing is never choppy or off putting and nothing said or written ever strikes me as superfluous.
Granted, as happy as I am with Marissa Meyer's prose, I wasn't totally sure how I feel about all the foreshadowing at first. Fact: the book gets pretty predictable on page 50 or so. At first, knowing the ending really irked me. But then I thought about it and I realized that since Cinder is a retelling of Cinderella, I'm pretty sure we ALL knew where this was going. That's the thing about fairytale retellings. You have to (loosely) stick to the premise of the original, but you ALSO have to tell it in a new, interesting way. So, in the end, Marissa Meyer gets an A+ in the plot category, despite the whole foreshadowing issue I originally had. Also. Guys. Cyborgs. I didn't think I would like it, but I totally did.
And then there's my homegirl, Cinder. Man, I love her. She's the root of the social commentary in this book (I could actually go on a rant about how incredibly amazing the social commentary in Cinder is, but I won't, because you'll all just read the book and GET IT). But yeah, Cinder. Cinder is shy and strong and witty and really one of those people I would totally want to hang out with. Of course, there were a lot of times when I totally wanted Cinder to get off easy (Peony, the Prince, Adri...) but Marissa Meyer really stuck to her guns and made us suffer along with the protagonist, which was pretty stressful but totally realistic (AKA another reason I love the plot. And Marissa Meyer. And Cinder - the girl, that is).
Speaking of the Prince (which I wasn't really, but now I totally am): HOW CUTE IS KAI? He's all adorable and flirty and weight-of-the-world-on-his-shoulder-y. Ugh. I just want to hug him forever. So charming, so brave, so very fairytale - I think I could go on all day, but I'll stop now.
Anyway, I would say the only reason this book didn't get a five stars from me is because of Queen Levana. She just seems kinda flat. I mean, yeah, I get it, world domination, but WHY? I don't totally get her motivations, or any of her plans, for that matter. Other than that (and a couple cultural issues), I'm totally down with this re-telling and I CANNOT wait for Scarlet to come out in a month.
The long and short of it?
Plot: A wonderful re-telling of a fairytale that, to be honest, was never my favorite.
World Building: Disastrously dystopian.
Character Development: Everyone (except for Queen Levana) strikes me as totally believable. I can't wait for further development in future books.
Prose: Crisp and clear.
Would I Recommend This Book?: Yes, but just knowing going into it that this book is VERY DIFFERENT kind of book. It's unique in an unsettling way, but that doesn't mean it's not a good book, it's just asking you to see things a little differently.
Did you think Cinder was unique? Did you find flaw in Queen Levana or think she was a brilliant villain? What about Kai? How did he match up to the standard Prince Charming? Let me know in the comments below!