Cinder – Marissa Meyer
Pages: 372 (ARC)
Publisher: Puffin (Penguin)
Release Date: 6th January 2012
A forbidden romance.
A deadly plague.
Earth’s fate hinges on pe girl...
A gifted mechanic in New Beijing, is also a cyborg. She’s reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s sudden illness. But when her life becomes entwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the centre of a violent struggle between the desires of an evil queen – and a dangerous temptation.
Cinder is caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal. Now she must uncover secrets about her mysterious past in order to protect Earth’s future.
I wanted to read Cinder from the second I heard about it, but I didn’t expect to fall so completely in love with it. It’s really, really brilliant.
The idea of this novel alone – a re-telling of Cinderella complete with cyborgs – is absolutely genius. Set a few hundred years in the future, the world has merged into seven unions to keep peace across Earth. Cinder lives in New Beijing in the Eastern Commonwealth where cyborgs are slaves and looked upon with serious prejudice, androids are an everyday sight and a deadly plague is creeping across the earth. Then you have the mysterious and foreboding Lunars... Marissa Meyer has created a vivid and fascinating world that mixes our world and a new one rather intriguingly. There is also a hint of the media and technology of Scott Westerfeld’s dystopian Uglies quartet that I find really interesting; it always makes me wonder what’s in store for my descendents a few hundred years in the future.
Aside from the many things I could praise about the plot if Cinder, there are the fantastic characters. Cinder herself is spunky, strong and sarcastic in the face of her horrible stepmother and stepsister and the verbal abuse she receives from those who know her secret. She also has an unusual talent: a brilliant mechanic, which I thought was a really nice addition to her tomboy image. However, she was in no way one-dimensional. Cinder has serious insecurities and a lack of self-worth that relates to her being a cyborg and only seems to progress throughout the novel. I love her, I really do – she’s an amazing protagonist.
Cinder also has some fantastic supporting characters to have her back. Her android, Iko, who has a brilliant sense of humour and a rather unusual personality for an android; Peony, her younger stepsister who is her only friend; the mysterious Dr Erland and the gorgeous Prince Kai. I didn’t fall for Kai straight away, he grew on me slowly with his deep love for his country and people, his rebellious nature and strong sense of what is right and wrong, good and bad. He also has an extremely beautiful name.
With such a good cast of characters, I expected a brilliant antagonist from Marissa Meyer and that’s what I got in Queen Levena – she is genuinely terrifying. Her power and complete lack of a moral compass made her extremely dangerous and a massive threat to Cinder, Kai and the world in general. She’s the type of villain that makes you wonder if the hero and heroine are actually going to win in the end and I was constantly worrying about it. Levena is a brilliantly drawn character.
I expected The Lunar Chronicles to be four standalone books set in the same world that were loosely interlinked, but after the ending of Cinder, I’m no longer sure. But I’m very eager to find out. Now I’m going to leave you with three words: read it now! You won’t regret it, I promise.
A huge thank you to Puffin for sending me a copy for review.