Reviewed by: Amy
Rating (out of 5): 4 stars
Cinder takes place in a distant future about 123 years after World War IV devastated civilization. The Eastern Commonwealth now has to deal with Letumosis, a plague that is slowly spreading throughout the city. The palace is working fastidiously to find a cure.
Cinder is a mechanic in New Beijing. After a terrible accident five years ago, she’s now a cyborg. People don’t look too kindly on cyborgs, so Cinder mainly keeps to herself and gets her work done. She’s happy being lost in the crowd that is until Prince Kaito comes to her booth at the market in need of her skills. Soon Cinder finds herself embroiled in the middle of a possible intergalactic war with the Lunars and her mysterious past may be the key to everything.
Cinder is, of course, a retelling of Cinderella. I liked Marissa Meyer’s take on the fairy-tale and the changes she made in making it her own, but regardless of these changes there is still the familiar story that many of us grew up knowing. With that familiarity, however, comes a lot of predictability. Throughout the story I felt like Meyer tended to lead me into the directions / conclusions where I were supposed to be instead of letting me get there on my own. It made for less surprise during the big revelations.
Cinder was such a sympathetic character. She was adopted by a man who died soon after of the plague. She then became the ward of a woman who looks at Cinder as the cause of the loss of her husband. While her oldest stepsister sides more with the mother, Cinder is offered respite in Peony, the youngest stepsister whom has real affection for her. When Peony falls ill of the plague, once again Cinder is looked at with disgust by her stepmother and offered up as a “volunteer” for a plague vaccine (which has not boded well for said volunteers). She is mainly ashamed of her cyborg status so very few outside of her family know. Despite her strife, Cinder remains strong and she’s determined to get away from her current living situation. If only the Prince would stop asking her to the upcoming ball.
The added conflict of the Commonwealth and the Lunars was a nice twist. The Lunars are a people who live on the moon, known for their ability to glamour and control feelings. The motives of Levina, their Queen, for peace with the Commonwealth are unknown, but everyone knows of her deceptions and agrees she is not to be trusted.
The romance in the book was slightly unconventional. Meyer certainly didn’t follow a pattern in that regard. For all that I thought was predictable, I still didn’t want to put down the book, and Meyer did surprise by leaving us with an open ending. This is definitely a series where we may have to wait until the end for an HEA. I’m very interested to find out how Meyer continues on with the fairy-tale retellings while weaving together the overall conflicts she started here in Cinder.
Sexual content: Kissing