16 April 2012

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Feiwel & Friends
New York

Oh holy lord how I have waited to read this book.  Two of my FAVORITE things are science fiction and fairy tales.  And Cinder is written by a woman who is the melding of the Brothers Grimm and Orson Scott Card*.  Since I read a review in Booklist back in the fall I’ve been DYING to read this book.  It just sounds so good! And it was.  I only have one teeny tiny little qualm with it, but I’ll get to that later.  Let’s talk about it’s awesomeness first, shall we?

Cinder is a cyborg – she’s part human, part machine, and she also happens to be an orphan.   Her adoptive father has passed away, and she now lives with her adoptive “step”mother, who never wanted her in the first place, and her two stepsisters:  Peony, who loves her dearly, and Pearl, who is repulsed by her cyborg-ness.  Cinder also happens to be an extremely talented mechanic, which comes in handy since her stepmother is more interested in making her daughters look beautiful (and possibly, hopefully, marrying them off to wonderful men who will provide for her).
Cinder’s mechanic skills are what cause her to meet Prince Kai, who, of course, is much more handsome in person.  Prince Kai has an android that recently malfunctioned and needs Cinder to fix it for him.  Cue complicated love story:  Prince Kai doesn’t know Cinder is cyborg, so she’s torn whenever he flirts with her because she’s sure he wouldn’t be interested in her if he knew she wasn’t completely human.
Another plot twist comes along when Peony catches a deadly plague-like disease called Leutmosis.  Cinder’s stepmother blames her and sells her for scientific research.  None of the cyborgs who have volunteered (or been drafted) have survived the testing as of yet, so Cinder goes to the research center, certain she will die.  Enter plot twist #2: Cinder turns out to be immune.
Plot twist #3 arrives in the form of a crazy queen of the moon (I always wanted to be queen of the moon when I was a kid…).  Queen Levana, and most of the people who live on the moon (“Lunars”) have the ability to “glamour” – or mind control anyone in their presence.  It’s possible to resist their control, but it takes lots of practice, and guts – once Levana knows she can’t control you, she has you killed.  Nice lady.  Anyway, Kai basically has to marry Levana or she’s going to wage war on earth, and earth will lose.

What I loved about the book is that it is so creative and ingenious - I truly love it when author’s take ancient tales and retell them.  I think it adds layers to our years of reading experience.  I loved that Cinder was independent, strong willed and smart.  I also loved that she had a freakin’ lie detector embedded in her eye! Talk about handy...

What I did not love was the ending.  You all know how picky I am about endings.  I do not like it when books end clearly needing a sequel.  Cinder doesn’t really have an end.  It’s almost as if Meyer’s editor said “hmm…a 600 page YA novel?  Methinks not, let’s split that bad-boy into a novel or two.”  The next book in the Lunar series will literally have to pick up exactly where Cinder left off.  As I finished all I could think was “this cannot be the last page!” but, it was.

I would still recommend Cinder to any fan of sci-fi or fairytales.  Like I said, it’s a great take on a classic tale, it’s completely middle school appropriate in both content and reading level, and it is a very fun read.  Unfortunately, the ending has turned me off to the rest of the series.
Remember? I'm picky.

*Since she’s female I couldn’t say something catchy like “she’s the love child of the Brothers Grimm and Orson Scott Card”, but that’s definitely what I think.

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