Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Title: Cinder
Author: Marissa Meyer
Publisher: Macmillan/Feiwel & Friends
Release Date: January 3, 2012
Pages: 387 pages (hardback)
How I Got the Book: Amazon Vine-provided ARC

Even in the future, the story begins with once upon a time...

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.

In this thrilling young adult debut novel, the first of a quartet, Marissa Meyer's rebooted fairy tale introduces readers to a heroine and a masterfully crafted world that isn't the Cinderella you remember--but it's the one you won't forget.


It’s been nearly 126 years since the end of the Fourth World War and world peace, but another threat just as deadly as war has developed: letumosis, the blue fever. Cinder, a cyborg and the best mechanic in all of New Beijing, is devastated when her stepsister Peony contracts the disease, she is sent away to become a test subject so a cure might be found. What doctors find when they test her and her slowly developing feelings for Prince Kai throw her into the struggle against the Lunar Empire and lead her to uncover secrets about the past she can’t remember. The fate of the entire planet may rest on Cinder’s shoulders.

The world in which Cinder resides has a lot than can be explored--and that most likely will be explored later, since Cinder is the first of a quartet. Unfortunately, little of that world is explored deeply in this first book; it's more of an introduction. It's one I had a lot of fun reading about and was almost always entertained by, but an introduction nonetheless.

Cinder the character was such fun to read through the eyes of and get to know; though there were momentary shifts to two other points of view, most of the novel is seen through Cinder's eyes in third-person. Her developing romance with Kai never completely won me due to its insta-love-esque beginnings and a lack of investment in them, but as separate characters, I like both of them. One thing I wanted more from concerning Cinder was a deeper exploration of her. So she's a little over a third cyborg--how much of her is really her? How much might come from her circuitry? Could she have artificially intelligence but be programmed to think she is a human?

The biggest strike against Cinder as a novel is how painfully predictable the biggest twist of the novel was. From page 50 onward, I was nearly jumping in my seat and shouting in my head, "I know! I know! [sorry, not telling you]" but the twist was not revealed by the novel until the last ten pages or so of the book. Spending nearly 350 pages with the knowledge of the big twist and the book's refusal to confirm it until the very end was frustrating and it never fares well for books to be so predictable.

For most of the novel, I cruised through with little regard for the characters or investment in their various predicaments. It wasn't until the climactic scene at the ball that I finally, finally got into it and started caring about everyone. It's not a good sign that it took so long, but having that happen late in the game is better than it never happening at all, right?

Cinder was both less than I expected it to be and much, much more. That may not seem like it makes sense, but it does. I suppose I can say I recommend it. It isn’t perfect by a long shot and yet it’s still a fun ride that will surely improve with each book.

4 stars! (But let's call this more of a 3.5, hm?)

What am I reading next?: Haunting Violet by Alyxandra Harvey

1 comment:

I love hearing what others have to say about books and it makes me feel less like I'm talking to an empty auditorium, so comment away. Thank you for reading my blog post!