Author: Marissa Meyer
Series: The Lunar Chronicles, #1
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Release Date: January 3rd 2012
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 centre 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.
– Blurb courtesy of goodreads.com
My Thoughts On…
I love fairy tale retellings so as soon as I read the blurb I knew I was going to love Cinder, after all, what’s better than the cyborg version of Cinderella living in New Beijing? When I got around to reading this book I wasn’t disappointed. The Lunar Chronicles has a lot of praise and in my opinion it is all incredibly well deserved. The series stands out from all the other fairy tale retellings and all other YA books in the sci-fi genre.
When Cinder is approached by Prince Kai at her market booth and asked to fix his broken down android he doesn’t realise she is a cyborg and she doesn’t tell him. She doesn’t want to have to see the disgust in his eyes when he discovers the truth.
Life in New Beijing isn’t easy for anyone with fear of catching the plague around every corner. The Emperor is already dying and it is spreading quickly. When people are taken to the quarantines they are not seen alive again. After her youngest step-sister, Peony, catches the plague Cinder finds herself sold to the cyborg draft in the hopes of finding a cure but for her stepmother it is simply a convenient way of getting rid of the cyborg she never wanted in her home.
With the discovery that she is immune to the plague Cinder is recruited by Dr. Erland as an actual volunteer to help discover a cure. One of her conditions is that the money she earns goes to her and not Adri. Her first step to an escape from her stepmother. However the more time Cinder spends at the palace the more she runs into Kai, and the more she becomes pulled into his world.
During the turmoil and upset of the Emperor’s death Queen Levana of Luna decides to take advantage and comes to Earth. While Kai struggles to find more information on the lost Lunar princess, Cinder tries to stay off Levana’s radar. She soon realises, however, there are far worse things in her and Kai’s near future, especially if Levana realises what the two of them are up to.
Cinder works as a mechanic in the New Beijing market. As a cyborg she is viewed as a second class citizen and nothing more than the property of her legal guardian. She is horribly treated but in spite of her harsh upbringing she is a genuinely kind person and tries to do the right thing for the people she cares about, few though they may be.
Kai has been thrown head-first into ruling over an empire after his father passed away. He feels he isn’t ready to bear the weight but he understands sacrifice and is willing to make it for his people. Kai is a very down to earth, sharp-tongued and witty person, and in spite of the situation he finds himself in and the ultimatums Levana makes, he does care for Cinder.
The relationship between Kai and Cinder is one that’s slow to build from that of a prince and one of his subjects to something more. Cinder doesn’t immediately fall all over herself in the presence of the prince. In her mind they are two separate species and she knows better to entertain any hope that he will see her as anything more than a cyborg should he discover the truth. She is a realist about their future but all Kai knows is that he genuinely likes Cinder and enjoys her company.
All the characters in New Beijing are very well developed. None of them can be called wholly good or evil instead they all have their good and bad sides. Even Cinder’s stepmother who, despite selling Cinder to the cyborg draft knowing it will mean her death, cries in the bathroom for her youngest daughter when no one can hear her.
The Lunars are shown to be a very cold race and Levana is the worst of them all. She is determined to rule and will let nothing get in the way of that desire. She murdered her sister and niece for the Luna crown and has now set her sights on Earth. She dangles promises of a cure to the plague and threats of war in front of Kai in a bid to force him into a marriage arrangement with her. Levana wants power and she isn’t going to let anything or anyone stand in her way.
While reading Cinder I really liked the idea of the story being set in a future version of Beijing however I would have loved to see more of the culture and history of the city. I feel that if they changed the names this story could have been set anywhere, there was nothing that made the city stand out as New Beijing. However the history and technology was incredibly detailed. Everything from cyborgs, to the Lunars, to the development of the Commonwealth had so much detail and I loved that it wasn’t neglected for the plot or character development I just would have loved to see more of New Beijing.
With the threat of the plague and the fear of war with the Lunar people looming over the heads of the New Beijing citizens the plots takes some interesting twists and turns before it reaches its conclusion. However it still has influences of the original Cinderella tale woven throughout.
What did you think of Cinder? Was it a favourite of yours or could you just not get into the story? Let me know.