What’s it all about?:
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.
What did I think?:
Time for some more of my guilty pleasure – YA fiction! This book came along with a recommendation by my sister @ChrissiReads although her favourite of the two is the second in the series, Scarlet. This fascinating debut novel by Marissa Meyer is set in a future, dystopian world where humans co-exist with androids (which seems a very handy thing to have as a friend or personal assistant) and cyborgs. Loosely based on the fairy tale Cinderella (clue’s in the title!) our heroine Cinder works as a mechanic in New Beijing, managing a small stall where her customers bring her their mechanical equipment failures. Her home life however is not so successful, as she undergoes daily battles with her wicked guardian/stepmother, and is forced into completing chores and earning the funds to keep this womans bills paid, fund her luxury household technical items and keep her stepsisters in beautiful ballgowns.
It is a fairly miserable existence for poor Cinder until a chance encounter with Prince Kai, the heir to the throne who brings in his battered but beloved old android, in the hope that she may be able to fix it. One other important thing to note about this book is that Earth is in the middle of a fight against a serious and deadly plague-like illness which is claiming too many lives without hope of an imminent cure. Currently, Prince Kai’s father has succumbed to the disease and the young heir must deal with the loss of his father along with a threat of war from the Queen of the other-worldly,vicious and very “persuasive” Lunar peoples. As Cinder is hurled into this messy business, she uncovers secrets she could never have imagined, and discovers more about herself than she could have ever believed.
For a debut, I thought this was an incredibly accomplished piece of YA fiction. I loved the science-fiction elements and the imaginative ideas twisting around this new digital world, where communications are transferred at the speed of lightning, individuals are identified by an ID chip in the wrist and alien races have the power to control our minds. Although Cinder was the only character that was explored in any real depth, I enjoyed the role that others played although my favourite had to be the intimidating and demanding Queen Levana of the Lunar People, whose dominating presence and magical trickery made the story a joy to read. It is also refreshing to read a re-telling of the classic Cinderella story where nothing is ever black and white, and there are surprises and twists around every corner. Why is there so little information about Cinder’s early life? How did she become a cyborg? Bring on Scarlet, I say!
Would I recommend it?:
But of course!
Star rating (out of 5):