Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Paperback, 387 pages
Published January 5th 2012 by Puffin (first published January 3rd 2012)
ISBN 0141340134 (ISBN13: 9780141340135)
I received a proof copy of this while interning at Penguin.

Blurb: "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."

This is a great new take on the classic fairytale of Cinderella. I was looking forward to reading this for ages after seeing all the great reviews on goodreads. Now I can't wait to read the next book in the series, Scarlet!

In this version of the tale, Cinder is a lowly mechanic who has been forced even lower on the rungs of society by a mysterious accident which meant that she was made into a cyborg in order to survive. In particular, she has an entirely metal leg which requires a new foot - cue Cinderella link. I felt that this could partly be a critique on how disability is treated by society as the cyborgs are mistreated and are not really viewed as real people but as property which must be owned by their families.

A key component of the story, is a deadly disease which is attacking the human population causing scientists to search ever more desperately for the cure. Even experimenting on people, especially cyborgs, even though they know it will almost certainly result in death for the person. When the ruler of the New Beijing contracts it the search becomes even more frantic, especially due to the growing threat from the Lunar ruler who wants to rule Earth too and subject it to her tyranny.

There are a lot of sub-plots going on in this novel which I don't want to give away, but I felt that some of them needed more development, particularly with regards to the Lunar people.

However, I really liked the characters who were well-developed and even if you did not like their decisions I found that I could empathise with them... although it was hard to empathise with the step-mother and Lunar Queen. Linh Cinder was a really interesting character and I liked her robot Iko. Her step-sisters were complete contrasts to each other which created an interesting dynamic in their household. Prince Kai was also well developed in terms of his personality and his reaction to his obligations and the conflict he feels over his developing feelings.

This novel was inventive, fresh and exciting and I can't wait to find out what happens next!

9 out of 10

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