Short review: this book is crazy awesome!
Longer review (because who wants to read a long review?): One my all-time favorite movies is Ever After, which, if you don’t already know (you should be ashamed of yourself), is another Cinderella retelling. I’ve seen it a thousand times, and it doesn’t matter that Drew Berrymore’s accent slips up tons, it’s effing amazing. So, despite this Cinderella retelling being worlds apart from Ever After (cyborgs, anyone?) I’d already sort of made up my mind before reading it that it wouldn’t compare. I was wrong.
Cinder takes place in a chaotic and crowded post World War 4 New Beijing. The world is struggling with a deadly and mysterious plague outbreak as well as rising tensions with the Lunar people (a race of mind-controlling people from the moon). Cinder, a cyborg teenager and gifted mechanic, meets Prince Kai when he visits her market stall with a broken android. Some serious flirting ensues. From this meeting, Cinder is launched into the middle of some dangerous interspacial politics, not to mention a forbidden love affair. I won’t say too much more, because I don’t want to ruin it for you all, but yes, there is a ball. Yes, there’s an evil stepmother. And yes, things get ugly.
Top five reasons I love this book.
1. Prince Kai. Now I know what you’re thinking, but it’s not because he’s hot and a prince. It’s because he’s not your standard YA love interest. He’s a teenager dealing with the sudden and overwhelming responsibility of leading a country in a time of political turmoil. He’s also charming and complex and funny and vulnerable. And okay, he’s hot.
2. Cinder. Props to Marissa Meyer for creating a unique and strong female main character who doesn’t lose all of her integrity and melt into a puddle the minute she falls in love.
3. The Romance. Forbidden love—need I say more?
4. The setting. I’m not a person that usually enjoys sci-fi stuff, and so I was really surprised to find that I loved this book’s setting immensely. I’m thinking it’s because it’s unique, but also close enough to what our world is like now that it was actually believable. Wait a minute—did I just say cyborgs, androids, moon queens, and hovers are believable? Okay, so maybe it’s just that Maybe Marissa Meyer is a talented author.
5. The supporting characters. Practically every single character in this book is insanely well-developed, from Cinder’s android, Iko, to the researcher, Dr. Erland, to the evil stepmother, Adri. No cardboard cutouts in this book.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention a few drawbacks. One is that the big reveal in the end was pretty obvious from the beginning—I enjoyed the book immensely anyway. Also, I was pretty p.o’ed about the cliffhanger ending. I NEED a firm ending to be fully satisfied. Now I have to wait until next year to find out what happens next. If I didn’t already know what was going to happen because this is a retelling, I’d be knocking on Ms. Meyer’s door demanding answers (Just kidding, Marissa! You can cancel that restraining order.)
Five stars, easy. Can’t wait to read book 2 in The Lunar Chronicles.
Also, that was a long review.