by Marissa Meyer
Synopsis: (from Goodreads)
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.
Why I Picked This Book: I always love retellings of old stories. When I saw this robotic, futuristic tale was based off of good old Cinderella, I had to give it a try.
Long story short: I loved this book.
Cinder is a cyborg. She is looked down upon for not being fully human. Her own stepmother and sisters use her pretty much as slave labor. This is just her life. Working at her repair booth, keeping the family afloat, and digging around for replacement feet once she outgrows her old ones. Then one day she gets a new client. A handsome young man who needs his android repaired, fast. The man just so happens to be Prince Kai, and the android has important information that could potentially save his father's life.
The story takes place in China after World War 4, after a plague has started to rampage the earth. While scientists scramble to find a cure for this seemingly incurable disease, life struggles to go on. People who have cyborg parts are looked down on. The upper class rules, even though the world is seemingly united in peace.
Oh, and there are aliens. Did I mention that?
Yup. Lunars. People who moved to the moon long ago, and evolved. Now separate from the human race, and barely accepted, they live on their own. Except that isn't good enough. They want Earth back, and Queen Levana has plans to take control.
Cinder is an awesome character. She is tough. Smart. And always dreaming that she could just be a normal girl. I instantly bonded with her and couldn't wait to see what step she took next. Her bond to her younger stepsister and her personal android helps to pull the story along. Including heart-breaking moments that almost make you hate Meyer for creating them. (Which is a good thing, I promise!)
Prince Kai had me swooning at times, pining at others, and a few times had me wondering what it was that made me swoon and pine in the first place. His love for his family, and his dedication to the throne pulls him through the story as a guy I wouldn't mind going to the Ball to meet. Though I still am not sure I would fight for the crown.
Then there is Queen Levana. Man, that is one creepy Queen. Everything about her oozes "woman from the moon who I would never want to cross paths with" and I loved every moment of having her as the antagonist.
Yes, some aspects of the plot were guessed from early on. Honestly though, I didn't mind. It was fun watching the characters discover what I already knew. And yes, the ending is a cliff-hanger. There, I said it. But we all know this is book one of a series. (If you didn't, now you do!) Knowing that, I accepted the complete hanger. Even if I did grumble. A little.
I loved the overall package. It had science fiction. It had sickness and death. It had love, fighting, and true family. In the end, it was a fairy tale, twisted for our modern day reading and filled with so much more.
Meyer does a great job of creating this new world, full of history, struggles, and life while still weaving in aspects of the classic fairy tale. If this was just a debut novel, I cannot wait to see what Meyer has up her sleeve next.
(5 out of 5 stars)