Friday, January 27, 2012

Cinder by Marissa Meyer — 400 pgs

Linh Cinder is a teenage girl living in the city of New Beijing and working as a mechanic to pay the debts of her awful stepmother Adri. But Cinder is more than your typical teenager living among the masses of the city, because she is, in fact, a cyborg. After a terrible accident when she was just a child left her body irreparably broken, Cinder has been rebuilt into the ultimate mix of human and machine. With the help of her android partner, Cinder runs a fix-it shop in a hut located in the city’s crowded marketplace. When Prince Kai unexpectedly visits her shop in order to have her repair his tutor android, he’s instantly smitten with the her, not realizing that she’s half machine. But Cinder’s love life is only half the story, for a powerful plague is sweeping the planet and there seems to be no cure. With Prince Kai next in line for the throne and an evil contingent of malicious outsiders visiting the palace eager to secure a marriage alliance with the prince, New Beijing isn’t the safest place to be at the moment. As Cinder endlessly toils at the behest of her cruel stepmother, she unwittingly exposes one of her step-sisters to a danger that alters the landscape of her world. Now Cinder is in a world of trouble, and though she feels an attraction to the prince, everything changes for her when the authorities take her into custody and they begin to find out the real secrets of this cyborg. In this fast paced and highly original retelling of the Cinderella story, the shape of the fable is altered dramatically into a dystopian love story unlike any you have ever seen.

I’ve been really excited about reading this book from the moment I saw its cover. Cinderella as a cyborg, you say? Why, yes, I think I will! I haven’t read very many fairytale retellings, but there was just so much of interest to me about this book, and the buzz has been pretty good too. When I read Jill’s review, I knew I needed to move this book up on the stack and give it a go, and what I found was not only original but full of the kind of intrigue and conspiracy that is easy to relish. It was a fun book to say the least, and my only real complaint is that I have to wait so long to find out where this series is headed.

Though this story keeps the bones of the fairytale intact, its innards and skin are of a very different construction. There are several elements going on throughout the novel, and even the less urgent story lines are worked with fluidity and a cohesiveness that I can see will set the stage for books to come. The main difference between this tale and the original is that the love story, as it were, isn’t the main plot element vying for the reader’s attention. In Cinder, the love story takes a back seat to political and social intrigue, guaranteeing that readers are kept dancing to Meyer’s delicious tune of discord, disease and redemption. There’s no page space wasted in this tale, and though the book is long, it blows by in a whirlwind of secrets, intrigue and plot twists. I also liked that the writing was fast paced and graceful without being overly embellished, which worked well for this type of story.

Some of the twists were not all that hard to figure out and I deciphered one of them very early on, but such was the creativity and ingenuity of this book that I wasn’t displeased by this at all. In fact, as I raced through the pages, I was waiting for the big reveal in order to see how it would be shaped and twisted to fit the narrative. The worldbuilding was done on a small scale, and I’m eager to see how this is amplified in the next installment and the repercussions it will have on all the major players. The idea that this series will be a quartet doesn’t really bother me because there’s a lot about Cinder and her cohorts that remains shrouded and unclear to me, and I would relish the chance to see a more advanced look into the world they populate. With each thread of this story, I can see infinite possibilities for drama and pathos on a large scale, and it’s plain to see that several interesting developments are in the process of being uncovered.

I also liked the cleverness and insatiable evilness of the antagonists in this tale. As outsiders to the planet, they are focused on total domination, and their particular brand of magic is not only enticing, but devious. Queen Levana, the leader of this nefarious race called the Lunars, has the ability to wield superior mind control skills and can keep even her own subjects from seeing her true appearance, which she masks with a powerful glamour that none can deny. She also has the ability to make people do whatever she wills them to do, which in this situation is a rather terrifying prospect. It’s not only these character embellishments that make for intriguing reading, but her total lack of compassion or decency that make her the baddest of the bad. Cinder certainly has her work cut out for her with this evil witch! As the story closes, Queen Levana has yet to be fully dealt with but there are signs that this problem will be solved in future installments, though there is slight closure to this book in terms of a few plot lines.

If you’re looking for a fairytale retelling that’s markedly different from anything that has yet been published, this is the one to go for. It’s perfect for teens and adults alike and has the added benefit of packing a powerful punch of a main character who is spunky, clever and has a lot of heart. It was a great read for me and I'm eager to discover what’s in store for this cyber-Cinderella. Recommended!


Cinder is also available on audio from Macmillan Audio, and I've heard that the audio production is outstanding. To check out a sample, click below.

29 comments:

Jenny said...

I dont think I've read anything not good about this book. I must add this to my list!!

rhapsodyinbooks said...

I'm so glad you liked it! I just loved it. Apparently book 2 is more about Cinder with not much Kai...

Mrs Q Book Addict said...

I'm really glad you enjoyed this one. I loved it as well! Great review.

Andi said...

All the good reviews I'm seeing of this one are killing me!! Can't wait to read it. I'm always on the lookout for a truly unique retelling because I read SO MANY of them when working on my Masters thesis.

Darlene said...

I have gone back and forth on this book for a while now but was never sure I'd like it. With you liking it so much I think I'll give it a try. My library has it in an eBook or audio - not sure which. I'm glad it was such a good read for you.

Sandy Nawrot said...

Y'all are working on me. I would not have chosen this for myself, but I don't think too many more trusted friends have to say they loved this before I cave.

Brooke said...

Oh yes, this is most definitely on the list. Has anyone had anything bad to say about it? I particularly appreciate wonderfully evil antagonists and can't wait to get started!

Ti said...

I'm surprised to see you reviewing this. Doesn't seem to be a book you'd read. You are always surprising me with your variety of books.

This sounds like a fun read but it's so rare that I am ever looking for a fun book.

Suko said...

Zibilee, as usual you've written a wonderful review, and I'm tempted greatly by Cinder, with its "whirlwind of secrets, intrigue and plot twists". Enjoy your weekend.

bermudaonion said...

This book is so far from my usual reads, but all the positive reviews make me want to give it a try.

Harvee said...

wasn't this a fun read?

Heather @ Book Addiction said...

I'm with Sandy - I would not have been interested in this book at ALL had it not been for so many of you raving about it. Perhaps I will give it a try.

Jenners said...

This is quickly becoming a must read for me!!!

Belle Wong said...

A cyber-Cinderella - I love the idea! Will have to add to my to-read list.

Marg said...

This is a book that does seem to be getting universally good reviews!

Lisa said...

Ah, yes - this sounds perfect for me! Thanks for the great, thorough review. You've really given me a complete picture of what to expect from this one.

trish said...

You make this book sound so good! I think I'll pick it up the next time I'm at the bookstore.

Aths said...

So glad that you liked this one! It's been on my to-read list too, since I first saw it some time last year. Love how the author added cyborgs and world issues to the mix. I will definitely be looking for this one.

Stacy at A Novel Source said...

Wow - I love your review! I have read so many wonderful reviews of this book and omg who does not love a great fairy tale re-telling. I'm going to have to get me a copy of this one...a cyborg Cinderella? how much fun!

Bookfool said...

I'm so glad you enjoyed this one! I'm reading it -- have just started -- and so far, so good. Probably wouldn't have picked it up, if not for so many positive reviews.

kay - Infinite Shelf said...

I'm so happy to hear how much you enjoyed this one! This is one of the most original idea I have seen for a retelling in a while, I'm really looking forward to reading it too - especially after your review!

Nymeth said...

First Jill, now you :P I definitely need to read this.

Beth F said...

I do like fairy tale retellings. I've been trying not to buy more books, but I feel myself caving.

Dawn @ sheIsTooFondOfBooks said...

Heather, do you think it would appeal to a young male who's interested in the world issues you mention? I'm thinking of a teen who's very creative and would appreciate the clever retelling and insertion of somewhat current events ... but that high heel on the cover makes me think not .... could I put it in a plain brown wrapper for him? You've definitely got my attention with this one!

Amy said...

I really like the sound of a new and different take on a fairy tale where the love story isn't the main point... but noooooo not another series! ;)

TheBookGirl said...

I have yet to read a fairy tale re-telling, but it sounds like this might be a good one for me to start with.

Buried In Print said...

*scribbling on TBR list*

Holly (2 Kids and Tired) said...

This is not my usual genre, but all these great reviews are really starting to get to me and I think I need to find a copy!

2 Kids and Tired Books

Swapna said...

Wow, what a review! You've convinced me I need to pick this book up.

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