Thursday, May 01, 2014

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

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.

This is a fantastic and imaginative retelling of Cinderella. I'm not always fond of retellings because they are sometimes rote and predictable. It's their nature because the basic plot is well-known. But a good author can make the reader invest in the story even if we know where it's heading. I was invested in Cinder.

Cinder is a cyborg because of a horrible accident that almost killed her when she was a child. In her society, cyborgs are considered second-class citizens. Actually, more property than citizens, which brings about some serious discrimination issues. Meyer handles them well. Cinder does as much as she can to hide the mechanical aspects of her body, but she can only do so much: one of her legs is mechanical and her foot is much too small (it's left over from when she was a child), making it near impossible to disguise. The change in attitudes from people she encounters is spot on and heartbreaking.

This theme is further illustrated in Iko, the android that lives with Cinder's stepfamily. Iko has a human personality, but she's not human. She *is* property, and her wishes, dreams, and feelings are never considered by the stepmother. It doesn't even occur to her. In fact, it will never occur to her because she sees Iko as far beneath her. Not unlike slavery.

Cinder herself is a fantastic character. She's a brilliant mechanic, feisty and strong, and smart about how she stands up for herself. She's also practical about her interactions with Prince Kai, but still loyal and selfless. She made the story interesting. Well, that and the pages and pages of action-packed tension. :) The romance develops slowly and on the more realistic side, and I liked how the two came together.

If you haven't read this, you should. It's great fun, and very entertaining. Definitely recommended.

2 comments:

Jenni Enzor said...

I recently read this! I was very impressed with how creative Meyer is--it was such a unique take on Cinderella, especially since it's been retold so many times. I think Iko was one of my favorite characters. :)

Tabitha Olson said...

I loved Iko! She only gets better in later books. I'll be reviewing the rest of the series in the coming weeks. :)