Author: Marissa Meyer
Buy This Book: Amazon / Book Depository
Cinder, 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 finds herself at the centre of a violent struggle between the desires of an evil queen - and a dangerous temptation.
A modern retelling of Cinderella set in a futuristic, dystopian world with androids, cyborgs, space travel and an alien race living on the moon. How can you not want to pick up this book and read it? All the reasons it intrigued me were all the reasons I hadn't picked it up. I wasn't quite sure how it would work or if it even would. But, once I started blogging, I began to see glowing review after glowing review. Over time I realised just how much hype was surrounding this book and that scared me too. I fear I became a victim of Skyscraper Syndrome, meaning that the hype had sky-rocketed my expectations and there was no way for the book to deliver the kind of earth shattering awesomeness that I had come to expect of it. But, trust me, that's not to say that this isn't an utterly fantastic, brilliantly written and unique read that I loved because I did. It just wasn't everything I thought it would be even if I can't even pinpoint exactly what I was looking for. I wasn't left feeling soul-crushingly disappointed but it just didn't live up to the ridiculous expectations caused by the hype. I HATE HYPE!
The story takes place in New Beijing after World War 4, Cinder is a cyborg who works as a mechanic and runs her business at her local market. A plague is sweeping through New Beijing and there is no known cure, despite testing being carried out on cyborg's in order to try to find one. Cinder's path crosses with Prince Kai, the Emperor's son, when he acquires her services to fix one of his androids. Over the course of the book their paths will cross numerous times and Cinder will be drawn into Kai's world and the problems facing New Beijing. I absolutely loved the setting, Meyer really brings it to life and I could easily picture all the different locations. The world building was definitely one of my favourite things about this book and I loved all the different locations I was taken too, I felt like I was really there.
I want to start by talking about the issues I had with the book. I usually save those till the end but I really want to rave about all the things I loved at the end, I don't want to end this review on the negatives. My main and biggest issue with this book was the big revelation. To me it kind of ends up feeling like what revelation because the big reveal was glaringly obvious from the very beginning of the book. I am certain that anybody reading this saw it coming pretty early on and yet the author waits until the very end to reveal it. It actually infuriated me because I felt it should have either been revealed sooner or it shouldn't have been made so obvious to us as a reader. I personally feel like it should have been as much as a shock to us as it was to Cinder. That would have been a great reveal at the end, instead it's annoying to just see Cinder being kept in the dark when we're already aware of what's coming from the beginning. The wait for that to finally be revealed really annoyed me for the entirety of the book and I wanted to hit Dr Erland because he just kept avoiding it.
The characters were something I especially loved about this book because there were so many of them to get to know. That was one thing that helped him me understand why people raved about this book so much, Meyer knows how to write characters. Cinder is fantastic, she's a character that I came to love almost instantly. She has a distinct personality and her sense of humour was one that worked really well for me. Her android Iko was another character that had so many funny moments. Her character was adorable and it was understandable why Cinder relied on her so much and felt true friendship with her. I have to admit to feeling like other characters were lacking a little in character development and I never really felt like I got to know them. This is a long series though so I feel like there will be time for that in later books.
Adri plays the role of Cinder's evil step-mother but it was too extreme for me. I know that this is a retelling of Cinderella and an evil step-mother is expected but I just wish she felt more realistic. But Adri just seemed to be evil for no reason, like she had no true reason to be as horrible as she was. I wish we had been given more back story for her or been able to clearly see why she acts the way she does. But I just felt like she was evil because that was the role she had to play. Peony, who is one of Cinder's step-sisters and the one she gets along with, was a sweet character but I wanted to get to know her better too. I knew Cinder cared for her because I was told a lot but I don't think I was shown that enough. I wish we could have seen more interactions between her and Cinder so that I could come to know and care for Peony too, sadly I didn't.
Prince Kai was an interesting character as well but I feel like we barely scratched the surface as far as he was concerned. I like the fact that the story switches between characters and it's not just told from Cinder's perspective but I still feel like I didn't get to know Kai very well. At this moment I can't really tell whether he will continue to be a love interest for Cinder or not in the other books. Romance doesn't really play a key role in this story, at least not in my opinion. I never felt much of anything between Cinder and Kai but maybe we will in the books to come.
The Lunars were a great part of the story and I was utterly fascinated by them. They are the alien race that live on the moon and they possess the power to 'glamour' people, which is very similar to the glamour that vamps have in True Blood. They can basically make people think and do what they want but also see what they want them to see. It's basically mind control and was really cool. The Lunar's are a threat to Earth because they are powerful and willing to do whatever it takes to get what they want. They are ruled by Queen Levana who was quite scary and she seems like the evil Queen from Snow White as no one can be more beautiful than her. I really can't wait for this story to get to the moon, which I am sure it's going to sometime soon, because that would be absolutely fascinating and I would love to see what Meyer does with it.
The writing is superb though and it's what made me know that I was going to stick with this series. There is something rather beautiful about it and it pulled me in to Meyer's world straight away. There were many aspects of the story that I wasn't 100% satisfied with but I knew that this was a world that I would fall in love with. I have to follow this wonderful series to the end and I can only see it getting better as the books go on. The whole book just feels so unique, like nothing I have read before. I hate the fact the hype left me feeling even a little disappointed in this because it does deserve all the praise it gets. It's a unique and superbly told story with great characters and excellent world building.
This really was a brilliant start to a series. My disappointment was due to this being beyond hyped up, I don't think any book could live up to that kind of hype. I loved how unique the story feels, even though it is a retelling of a well known story. Meyer definitely puts her own spin on it and it is superbly done. I can't wait to continue the series and see what she does with other well known fairytales. I have had such an easy time putting into words the things I disliked but I can't seem to be able to properly articulate why I loved this book so much.