by Marissa Meyer
Series: Lunar Chronicles #1
Genres: Fantasy, Science Fiction
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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.
Cinder is Marissa Meyer’s debut novel, and in this readers opinion, she knocked the ball out of the park for a Grand Slam home run. Cinder offers a futuristic, fantasy, re-telling of the fairytale Cinderella. The world-building is magical with amazing characters and a plot that has endless possibilities. Meyer’s writing style is lovely and the tale was beautifully written. While some of the tale is very predictable Meyer’s creates a storyline and world that are both unique and fascinating.
Cinder takes place in the Eastern Commonwealth capital of New Beijing sometime after WW IV. After the war, the people elected a king to govern them. While this is a peaceful time on earth, it is not without problems. A plague called Letumosis is infecting people throughout the world. I found the way in which they handled the ill, deplorable. However, I had to keep in mind the size of the city and the rapidness with which spread. As if this crisis isn’t enough they are dealing with another enemy. The moon is inhabited by aliens known as Lunar. They are ruled by Queen Levana who is constantly threatening war with Earth. The king has been trying to negotiate a treaty for years but the Queen wants something he has been unwilling to give. The Queen wishes to form an alliance through marriage thus ensuring her rise to power. She wants to marry, Prince Kai the king’s successor. This modern world is filled with futuristic hover crafts, communications, and embedded identification sensors used for trade and tracking. The people have robots to perform duties and have healed the injured with cyborg technologies; thus created human cyborgs. Sadly, they are considered second class citizens and they are even being drafted by the government as test subjects for research on finding a cure for the plague.
The characters in this novel are delightful. Let me begin with Cinder. She is part cyborg. Her hand and part of her leg below the knee are completely mechanical. She has built-in sensors, programs and a plate in the back of her head. She was in a horrific hover accident that killed her parents. When she was eleven she was adopted by a man and moved to New Beijing. Shortly after her arrival, the man died, leaving her with a step-mother and two step-sisters. The mother doesn’t like cyborgs and treats her like a servant. She is unable to accept that Cinder has any human feelings. Cinder is the type of protagonist you can easily connect to. She is bright, honest, strong, snarky and independent. I quickly became invested in her story. Cinder’s only true companion is a bot called Iko. I adored Iko. Her programming, considered defective, makes her sarcastic and I laughed at the interactions between them. Prince Kai is a delightful, sensitive and caring young man. He shows wisdom beyond his years, and yet can still act like a smitten teen. A character you will love to hate is Queen Levana and she oozes evil. She is selfish, childish, intolerant and greedy. She demands complete power and respect. I will spend this series waiting for her to get her just desserts.
The romance between Cinder and Prince Kai is sweet and for once we do not have a YA-novel serving up insta-love. Kudos to Meyer for letting the relationship build the old-fashion way. The relationship faces numerous complications which only makes it all the more delightful. I look forward to seeing their relationship develop.
Cinder is fast-paced, and I finished it the same day I started. I became completely immersed in the tale and the outside world melted away. I highly recommend this to fans of science-fiction and fantasy. I am looking forward to the next novel in the Lunar Chronicles series entitled, Scarlett, with an anticipated release date of 2013. I have added Meyer’s to my list of must-read authors. If you want to learn more about Cinder, on January 18, 2012, Meyer’s is releasing Lunar Chronicles 0.5 entitled Glitches. Cinder is currently available in paper, audio and eBook formats.