Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Cinder - Marissa Meyer

Summary:  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 interface 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 step-sister, 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.  (Summary from book - Image from www.penguin.com.au)

My Review:  I love my children.  I love my children.  I love my children.  I just thought I should make that perfectly clear before you read my next sentence.  This week I wanted to lock them in their bedrooms.  Why?  Because they would not let me finish this book.  I swear, every single time I sat down to read their highly attuned mommy-is-reading-a-book-she-really-wants-to-finish radar would kick on and in no time I'd have kids crawling all over me.  Although I wasn't able to read Cinder cover to cover in a day, I definitely wanted to and could have if my kids had decided to let me.  God and I need to have a serious chat about that radar thing...but, I digress.

Cinder is a retelling of Cinderella from an entirely new perspective.  You see, Cinder isn't your typical fairytale princess; she's a cyborg.  Initially, I was skeptical of this departure from the norm (robots don't strike me as particularly romantic figures), but it didn't take long before I was in love with Meyer's version, that combined science fiction, romance, and political intrigue, in a way that was both well-written and thoroughly entertaining.    

Aside from the whole part-robot thing, Cinder's also an expert mechanic with a stubborn streak.  I loved her personality and how she interacted with the other characters in the book.  Kai was every inch the charming prince, but genuinely honorable and not stuffy about it.  Adri and Pearl, Cinder's step mother and step sister, were perfectly horrid but I liked that the author chose to deviate from the standard format with the youngest stepsister, Peony.  All these characters, and the addition of certain plot elements, like an incurable plague that is sweeping the kingdom and a marriage-hungry foreigner with evil intentions, brought a compelling depth to the book that I just don't get from Disney.  Meyer's version was better.  *Gasp!*  I know.  Good ole' Walt is spinning in his grave.

The only downside to this book is that it is the first book in the Lunar Chronicles series, with subsequent books Scarlet, Cress, and Winter, releasing in 2013, 2014, and 2015, respectively.  Obviously, Marissa Meyer is trying to make me have a mental breakdown.  With an ending like that (think moderate cliffhanger) there can be no other explanation.

Author's have to walk a fine line when retelling fairy tales; they must stay close enough to the storyline that it can be recognized as a retelling, but not so close that everything seems redundant.  Marissa Meyer walks that line with creativity and style.  I thoroughly enjoyed her fresh, futuristic interpretation of this much loved classic. 

My Rating: 4.25 Stars

For the sensitive reader:  Read away.  Nothing, that I can think of anyway, to offend.  Unless you are offended by cyborgs.

Sum it up:  A fresh, futuristic twist on a classic fairytale.

1 comment:

Book Flame said...

Cinder was such a unique retelling I loved it. I can't believe I almost passed up on it because the idea of cyborgs didn't really appeal to me but that changed after reading this. And I agree I was waiting to read about the two evil step sisters but was surprised in a good way to see that Peony was actually kind. Great review!

Also I totally get the kids situation I ended up giving mine a movie day and everyone was happy :)


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