Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

“Even in the Future the Story Begins with Once Upon a Time.” 

Cinder is the retelling of the classic fairytale Cinderella with a twist. Set in a dystopian future where the world has been ravaged by four world wars, a plague called leutomis kills within a matter of days and has no known cure. Cinder is a cyborg, living in New Beijing with her two stepsisters and her 'evil' stepmother she works as a street mechanic fixing androids and other mechanical items. Being a cyborg means Cinder is treated as a second class citizen, she is content on living her life as best as she can until one day she meets Prince Kai and her sister falls ill to the plague and then Cinder's whole world starts to fall in around her and she is left questioning who she really is.

I really enjoyed reading this book, it was a fast and easy read but full of action and suspense. It was a never ending roller-coaster with plenty of twists and turns in the plot. Cinder is written in third person mainly from the perspective of Cinder but occasionally from Kai. The writing although not poetic or overly descriptive still manages to have a distinct voice between Cinder and Kai meaning you know instantly who the voice of the chapter is.

I really liked the character of Cinder, she was funny and sweet and the relationships between her and her sister Peony and Iko the android are charming and show a vulnerable side to Cinder. I loved how self-concious she was about her cyborg parts, always making sure they were covered up, she hated how people judged her because of them and again it showed a vulnerable side to her that we rarely see in female leads. Don't be fooled into thinking that she is weak because she isn't, Cinder shows many times how brave and strong she can be, but I liked how Meyer made her a normal girl.

However Prince Kai I wasn't in love with, he is a great male YA character, he is sweet and kind and doesn't look down on Cinder for being a mechanic (he isn't aware of her cyborg nature) but I don't feel like he was a fully fleshed out character. Maybe he will grow on me in future books. I did however like how he had concerns and problems that didn't involve Cinder. Both him and Cinder had their own lives and own issues, their worlds didn't revolve around each other. I did like the relationship between him and Cinder, it wasn't instant love but it was instant attraction. There flirtation was cute and real and as both their worlds are crumbling around them it was nice to see a little light romance at times.

I love the Cinderella arc in this book, I grew up reading fairy-tales and so it was nice to see it refreshed and in a whole new light. Cinder's stepmother isn't as evil as she first comes across, she has had a lot of heartache in her life, her husband adopted Cinder behind her back but before he could return from Europe with her, he contracted the illness and died and so Cinder's arrival in the family came at a very hard time for her. Apart from the whole Cinderella aspect of the book, the other major arc would be the Lunars, these are a race that live on the Moon and are able to use bio-electricity to glamour people into believing and seeing things that aren't there and so they are deemed by the people of earth to be very evil people. The most evil of them to be their Queen, who is the most powerful of the lot. Queen Levana is pure evil, she enjoys playing political games with Kai and the other rulers of Earth, she wants power and will do anything to get it. She feels like a real villain that won't be easily overcome, you can tell just from the first few pages of meeting her that she will do anything to get what she wants. (The Lunars play a major role in this series but I don't want to say too much about them or their history otherwise I will end up spoiling the entire story for you.)

The one flaw I have with this book is the lack of world building, so much back history behind the Lunars and why the world is the way it is, is left out. I don't know whether this was intentional or not but I just wish we knew WHY?

Overall I really enjoyed this book, it was engaging and exciting from start to finish. I would definitely recommend if you like sci-fi or dystopian fiction or are just looking for a little something different. The romance is plausible and Cinder is a great kick-ass lead. This is more than a fairy tale retelling and would be a excellent story without it, the ending left me turning the page and needing more, I can't wait to get my hands on Scarlet.

My rating: 4

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