Sunday, April 8, 2012

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Cinder is a cyborg, a second class citizen with no rights and in the eyes of the law she belongs to her stepmother.  She lives with her stepmother Adri and her two stepsisters Peony and Pearl, a miserable existence where the only bright spark is her friendship with Peony and the work she does in the local market that allows her to escape from the household.  Her only other friend is Iko the family droid who has a quirky personality due to a fault with her personality chip. Other people who know she is a cyborg treat her as trash, or even worse invisible.  Her life is a blur of work and more work as she slaves away to make money, money that goes to her guardian rather than Cinder, money that is spent on frivolities for her spoilt sister Pearl and for Peony.  Life is a day-to-day drag and Cinder secretly dreams of escaping her life - it doesn't matter where as long as it is away.

Her quiet life is interrupted one day when the prince visits her market stall to ask for her help to repair his old tutor android, joking that it has crown secrets hidden inside - a joke that is closer to the truth than he is letting on.  Taking on the job is not a problem, but before she can really get into the repair the dreaded Letumosis virus strikes a person at the market and Cinder makes a run for home with Iko and the faulty android in tow.  When she gets home she finds her family preparing for the annual ball, dreaming of meeting Prince Kai.  When her stepmother says she can go to the ball but must do all her chores and find a dress herself, it seems as though things may be going well - but in a very short space of time things go from bad to worse.

When Peony contracts the Letumosis virus Adri blames Cinder and donates her to the plague research, a death sentence for certain - but somehow Cinder is immune to the virus and becomes a subject of great interest.  When her path crosses with Prince Kai again it appears as though there is some kind fate working to Cinder's advantage, but the Prince is under a great deal of pressure to prevent a war with the Lunar's who live on the moon, especially Queen Levana.  Cinder is about to discover some dangerous truths about herself, the doctor who is running the plague research, and the Lunar queen - and she will have to make some difficult choices.

Cinder is the first installment in a new series based on the story of Cinderella - reimagined and updated for a new generation of readers.  There are elements of science fiction, drama, fantasy, and romance woven around the basic form of the story making the appeal much wider than your average retelling of a fairytale.  The future world has echoes of our world, and has some of the standard science fiction elements without being too cliched.  Cinder as a cyborg is a wonderful concept as it lends itself to several somewhat hysterical moments, as well as adding some interesting complications to her relationship with those around her.  The relationships between Cinder and those around her are also influenced by the fact she is a cyborg and that she can't remember much of her life before joining her new family. 

This series has great potential and I can't wait for Scarlet to be released in 2013 so we can all see what is next for Cinder, Prince Kai, and the rest of the cast.

If you like this book then try:
  • Legend by Marie Lu
  • Across the universe by Beth Revis
  • Wither by Lauren DeStefano
  • The selection by Kiera Cass
  • Partials by Dan Wells
  • Graceling by Kristin Cashore
  • The running dream by Wendelin Van Draanen
  • Princess of the midnight ball by Jessica Day George

Reviewed by Brilla

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