Thursday, January 19, 2017

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Author:  Marissa Meyer
Publisher:  Feiwel & Friends
Pages: 395
Release Date: January 3rd, 2012
Source: Audio book from Audible, Purchased
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.

While I love twisted fairy tales, I will be the first to admit Cinderella is one I am highly critical of. One of the most well known stories, the mistreated maiden who gets whisked away to a ball and marries a prince always seems to be the most popular. What is unique about Cinder, however, is it takes a fresh, futuristic take on a somewhat burnt out story. With cyborgs and sci-fi, this novel has given life to a story I quite frankly thought I was bored with. 

Cinder falls in a dystopian world, where war has left behind a somewhat different society: a united globe with a new threat, the Lunars. As you can expect, this race lives on the moon, and their unique abilities make them a dangerous force to resist. Prejudice is still prominent though, as evidence by the treatment of our protagonist, Cinder. Cinder is a cyborg, gifted with metal limbs and a sophisticated computer lodged in her brain. While she lives under the rule of her step-mother, she personifies a defiance and spunk that I have always found likable. 

One of the strengths of this story is it takes on the fairy tale in a somewhat loose manner. Often, twisted tales seem to have a way of approaching the old stories with a check-list. Glass slippers: check. Carriage: check. Fairy godmother: check. Cinder manages to have a more flexible method of hinting at the old story though. There is a ball, there is a wicked step-mother, and a few other notable elements. Yet there is still new, fresh material to be found. A deadly decease, a struggling prince, a sense of purpose beyond romance. These are elements that I've come to enjoy in this book. 

While I have plenty of praise for the story, from the progression of romance to the lead up to the rest of the series, I have always found some elements to be a bit...stretched. As powerful as lunars are, I always found their slow and somewhat manipulative method of invading earth to be questionable. I also had problems with the way Cinder seamlessly pulls up information with her cyborg brain. Yes, it's far into the future, but no one else with net connectivity seems to conduct searches as fast as she does. I just find it hard to believe she has the planets best super computer installed in her mind. Overall, this is one of my favorite books, and the start of a great series. A few points of for believably, but that's nothing to keep you from enjoying this novel. 

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