“Even in the future, the story begins with Once Upon a Time.”
Author: Marissa Meyer
Series: Lunar Chronicles #1
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Romance
Publisher: Feiwel and Friends
Release Date: January 3, 2012
Source: Barnes and Noble
Rating: 3.5 Stars
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.
I've been sitting on this review for quite some time, mainly because I was so conflicted about Cinder. I had heard so much hype surrounding this book, so I had to see for myself what everyone else was raving over. While I think it was a solid beginning to a series, I just didn't love it as much as I had hoped I would.
Firstly, I give props to Meyers for the innovative twist on a widely known classic. For the most part, the plot stayed within the general realm of the fairytale. In a genre where it seems everything has been done, and then done again, Cinder managed to be completely original.
The world of New Beijing was promising, but not used to its full potential. The basic foundation was there, but certain areas of the plot could've been explained better. How exactly did the World War start? How did the Lunar people come to be, and why are they feuding with the Earth?
Also, the setting was so intriguing! A melting pot of people living in a New Beijing! I wanted to see more Eastern influence hinted at other than honorifics, but sadly, I was left disappointed. It seems like Meyers really missed a great opportunity to take these ideas and run with them. It would've only added that much more to the story.
The main characters, Cinder and Kai, were wonderfully developed. As far as protagonists go, Meyers truly hit a home run with these two. Cinder was strong and determined, without sacrificing emotion; I felt like I could really connect with her, as a reader. I also enjoyed that Kai, while recognizing his attraction to Cinder, did not let it effect his role as the Prince. The best part about him is his ability to remain rational and levelheaded, which seems to be severely lacking in YA literature recently...
The pacing of the romance was realistic and believable. They do not fall in love after one week of knowing each other. Cinder does not constantly fawn over his stunningly good looks (even if she does trip over herself occasionally). And best of all? Kai does not show his interest by being creepy, pushy, or "I will show up everywhere and be annoyingly persistent until you give in". Refreshing, right?
Iko, the household robot, was a great addition to the cast of characters. She deserves her own mention, just because she is that hilarious! There wasn't a scene with her involved where I wasn't smiling to myself. It's a good thing I never read this book in public!
Despite some minor world-building flaws, I genuinely enjoyed this book and would recommend it to anyone who enjoys YA fairytale retellings. I've heard even better things about Scarlet, and I'm hoping some of my issues with Cinder will be resolved, so I will most definitely be reading the second book in the series.