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.
You know how sometimes you simply put off reading a book because, well you don’t really know why? I can’t say that there was ever a reason why I didn’t download and read the first book in the Lunar Chronicles series, Cinder, by Marissa Meyer, but now that I have, I’m glad that whatever stopped me was removed. I really did enjoy Meyer’s writing style, very direct and authentic. She didn’t waste the readers’ time with overly dramatic teenager characters who act without reasoning, but impulse alone. The protagonist, Cinder, is a character that is both believable and worthy of our respect. She isn’t spiteful, woeful, or seeking attention or pity for her downgraded lot in life. She is reasonable when it comes to the affection that she feels towards, and seemingly reciprocated by the soon-to-be emperor, Kai. When I find a YA novels that I truly want to pass along to my students, and someday my own children, the common theme is a strong, globally aware female protagonist. This isn’t to say that I would not want to share novels centered around a male counterpart, but unlike some novels that I have read in the past where the only thing that seems to be worth fighting for is a boyfriend (Twilight or Awaken), this book seems to focus more on the growth of the characters, not their libido. I don’t think that this is a good message to pass along to either gender. While I don’t know that this was a thought that Meyer had while creating the characters of Cinder or Kai, I do appreciate the message that A.) being a strong and determined woman is something all girls should strive to be and boys should respect, B.) the legitimacy of an able-bodied female in the sciences (mechanics), and C.) putting the greater good of the group before your personal needs.
The general storyline was very entertaining, and while I definitely picked up the hints of Cinderella, it wasn’t a direct retelling of the classic story. The departuress from a young girl who relies on the help of her fairy godmother in order to escape her evil step family and take her rightful place at the side of her prince were not as few and far between as I would have liked, but I felt the creativity of pitting the Commonwealth against the Lunar queen, Levana, and her jedi mind tricks added a twist that made the story distinguishable.
I have already purchased the next two books in the series, Scarlet and Cress, loosely based upon the stories of Little Red Riding Hood and Rapunzel.
Cinder by Marissa Meyer
4 out of 5 Stars