Author: Marissa Meyer
Publisher: Feiwel and Friends
Genre: YA (sci-fi/retelling)
Why I read it/how I found it: Promoted on blogs, and decided to read for the 2012 Debut Author Challenge.
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.
As a character, I really enjoyed Cinder. She has a lot of struggles, she has insecurities, but feels she should be treated as anyone else. I loved the way she was portrayed. I loved Kai, and how he and Cinder didn't get into a huge sweeping romance in this first book. Hopefully this will unfold at a nice pace like it goes in this first book. Cinder's robot friend, Io, is a lot of fun and quirky. Meyer does a fair job with the world-building. I could sense the type of world they lived in, the conflict going on politically, the social constructs. I think she could have described New Beijing a bit more, but that was really the only downfall to it. Also, when the book started, I got a huge sense of a Star Wars-inspired layout with the robots and the market.
Now, one thing Meyer didn't do as well would be to put shocking plot twists along the way. Granted, this is inspired by Cinderella, so we all know general points in the arc of the story. However,it's easy to pick up on points that should shock you in the end. For example, we're told at the beginning that the Lunar Queen killed various members of her family to keep them from getting the throne, including her three-year-old niece, Princess Selene, but conspiracy theories suggested she had escaped the fire and came to earth. Bet you'll never guess what happens.
Also, I wonder how the arc of this story will go. It's Cinderella, but all of the plot points in Cinderella is hit (except for the happily-ever-after, seeing as this is a series). Will Meyer pull in more fairytales? Will she branch out? Also, personally, I found this book could have wrapped up in one, and I think I might have favored that more, mostly because of the Cinderella arc, and the fact that Cinder had a chance to finish it off in one book. But I haven't read any of the rest, so who knows? Maybe it's a good thing Meyer didn't finish off the story here. For right now, though, I wish she had.
Other information: The Lunar Chronicles will be a four book series. Cinder is the first. Mariss Meyer's blog is here.