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Review: Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Title: Cinder
Author: Marissa Meyer
Year Published: 2012

Genre: YA science fiction
Pages: 387
Rating: 5 out of 5

Challenges: 2014 Winter Olympics (China)
Geography Connection (my Google Reading map): China

FTC Disclosure: I borrowed this book from my school library

Summary (from the inside flap of the book): Sixteen-year-old Cinder is considered a technological mistake by most of society and a burden to 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 is letting on.

Although eager to impress the prince, Cinder's intentions are derailed when her younger stepsister, 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.

Review: Cinder. Cinderella. Get it? That's as much as I knew going in. A re-write of the age-old classic. And right up front, before the title page, we're told that there are three more books coming in the series: Scarlet; Cress; and Winter. So I knew there would be a cliff hanger, but still! Now I want the next book and I have to wait until next year. I love that feeling, don't you?

While Cinder is a re-telling of Cinderella, it is so much more than that. The connection really is a loose one (slave girl, nasty step-mother and step-sisters, an evil Queen, there's a ball, and oh yeah, a foot/shoe is relevant). However, the rest of it is so different that it really worked for me. So many students enjoyed this book that I thought it was going to be a dystopian novel (these students and I had been discussing dystopian books and giving one another recommendations throughout the school year), but it isn't. It is science fiction and I liked it, which is a bit of a surprise for me.

I was immediately drawn into Cinder's world even though it took me a little bit to get used to the words being used. Cinder is a cyborg (part human, part machine) so there is vocabulary to which my brain needed to adjust. But, that's a good thing, getting the old brain working. Cinder is definitely an underdog that the reader roots for, but she is more than capable. She is smart, has good common sense, and she has a plan to better her life; she is no push-over.

While the direction the plot is going isn't too difficult to figure out, I didn't care. It is, after all, a retelling of a well-known fairy tale so the good guys and bad guys aren't surprises. That didn't matter to me, there are enough twists and turns that this was a real page turner for me and I eagerly await the next installment to see if Queen Levana destroys Earth, if Cinder escapes from jail, is the doctor really a good guy, and what does happen to Prince Kai? Is he bright enough to make things turn out alright?

1 comment

Jen at Introverted Reader said...

I've been kind of avoiding this one. I'm not a fan of dystopia or scifi. Your review has me looking at it again. It can't hurt to try, right?