By: Marissa Meyer
Genre: YA Sci-fi/dystopian
Coffee Beans: 4/5
Spoilers: Some minor-ish ones
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. . . .
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.
I got this book as an ARC and was so entirely thrilled when it showed up in the mail. The cover was awesome and the premise was exciting. Cinder is an interesting dystopian/sci-fi telling of a classic fairytale. I must admit, I'm a sucker for books that do this, and do it well. Cinder is a book that came so close, but in the end, fell a little short. But that doesn't mean it didn't offer a lot between the front and back covers.
The world Cinder lives in is industrialized and cluttered. Technology abounds but not in a futuristic "everything is completely awesome" sort of way. China rules the globe (Cinder lives in New Beijing) ruled by an emperor with a handsome son. There's also a colony of Lunar people who are evil and bent on over-taking earth (the hardest part of the book for me to swallow), and there's that nasty disease that's spreading through the city.
Cinder is a cyborg, a thing to be shunned and spit on in the streets, and she has a gimpy foot. Her step mother and two step sisters treat her as if she's worthless and force her to slave every day in the market, where she has the reputation as being the best mechanic in all of New Beijing. You guessed it, one day the prince comes to her shop, disguised, and asks her to fix his robot. As she's working on it, she uncovers some secrets the prince has been trying to hide—he's looking up information and contacting people he's not supposed to.
When Cinder's youngest step sister contracts the disease, and she gets blamed, her stepmother sends her the palace to be experimented on (as what happens to a majority of the cyborgs). So much happens at the palace and in the labs, that if I tell you, I'll spoil a lot of secrets. Let's just say it's pretty intense and, surprisingly, pretty unpredictable. Lots of twists and turns in this story. Meyer did really well on interpreting the classic fairytale and then warping it into her own story. I loved finding the parallels and seeing how she filled in the holes.
Meyer did a fantastic job really building up the characters. All of them are round, like they've never missed a meal a day in their lives. I felt like I knew each and everyone. She did a great job setting up the world and the characters and the story in the beginning of the book. I knew it was going to be deep and rich and layered and just overall, amazing. But as the story went on, I felt that Meyer kind of broke her promise to me. I felt like the last part of the book was rushed and not as detailed and woven as the beginning. It was good, and answered a majority of my questions, but I felt it could have been so much better; like Meyer didn't live up to her or her book's potential.
What's my usual disclaimer, folks? Pick it up and read it for yourself and form your own thoughts. It was a good book and I'll for sure be recommending it to others. I'll even pick up the second one to see what happens because I like the characters enough to see what Meyer's going to put them through. Happy reading, my friends!