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Cinder Paperback – 5 Jan 2012
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About the Author
Marissa Meyer lives in Tacoma, Washington, with her fiancé and their two cats. Marissa enjoys road-tripping, wine-tasting, and hunting for priceless treasures at antique shops.
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Cinder Lihn is a wonderful character, I really liked her. She has a strong will and determination to succeed, even though her stepmother treats her as a slave. Cinder has lived with the Lihn's since being eleven years old, when her adopted father brought her to New Beijing. Now sixteen, she finds herself working as a mechanic in the market to make ends meet. When Prince Kai visits her market stall with a malfunctioning robot, her life is thrown into turmoil and it will never be the same ever again.
This is a fantastic retelling of the classic fairytale, Cinderella, and is set in the future where a terrible disease called letumosis is ravaging the world for which there is no cure, and cyborgs are seen as abominations. It's a story that completely hooked me from the first page and took me on a huge emotional roller coaster ride from start to finish. This book is full of action, adventure, heartbreak, romance, mystery and danger and is told through the eyes of both Cinder and Prince Kai for the most part, but a few other characters have a say too.
I loved meeting the various characters, even Cinder's stepmother, Adri, and her stepsisters', Pearl and Peony. Adri, I feel, blamed Cinder for the death of her husband, even though he died of letumosis. This bred resentment and she took this out on Cinder.
I also fell in love with Prince Kai. He's another wonderful character. He is only eighteen, but he has a good head on his shoulders, even if he acts like a jerk at times. However, there is a lot of responsibility on his shoulders too, so I suppose one could forgive him for it.
Adri may be horrible, but there is one character that is downright scary. She is called Queen Levana and is the ruler of Lunars, who are descendants of an Earthen moon colony which was established several centuries before. However, I found her thaumaturges to be even more dangerous and scary.
There is one character that I really enjoyed meeting, her name is Iko and she is a housekeeping droid in the Lihn household. She is almost human in personality and is Cinder's friend and companion.
As I said above, I found myself completely captivated by this story. I raced through this book at a rate of knots and completed it in one day. It's not exactly a small book either. I normally have a huge love/hate relationship to cliffhangers, so I was actually glad that I had the second one ready and waiting on my bookshelf, because when I reached the end I found myself eager to find out what happens next.
Marissa Meyer has written a fantastic retelling of a classic fairytale. I love her world building, which is extremely believable and scarily realistic. Her characters are well developed, though I would have loved to get to know Peony better, and her writing style is incredibly fast paced, though it didn't feel rushed. The flow was wonderful too. This author has found another fan and I have added her to my favourite authors list. I am now looking forward to reading more of her books in the future.
As this is a YA novel, I highly recommend this book to young readers. However, depending on reading age, I feel this book would suit readers aged 11 upwards even though its recommended for 9-12 year olds. I also highly recommend this book to adults who love reading fairytale retelling's or books in the YA genre. - Lynn Worton
When Prince Kai of New Beijing visits a mechanic's workshop seeking the city's best mechanic, he finds Cinder, not at all what he was expecting. Little did they know that this meeting would irrevocably change both of their lives and they'd find themselves in the middle of an intergalactic struggle.
Cyborgs, androids, lunars, the plague - by all accounts this story just shouldn't work. But it does. There's a mishmash of half a dozen different individual plot points that one would never think of putting together for they would make a truly absurd story. Yet, here we have Cinder that does exactly that, but instead of being completely bonkers, it presents a story full of plot twists in a new world.
Cinder is a fantastic female protagonist that you will be rooting for from start to finish. She is deemed a second-class citizen because she is a Cyborg and her step mother will never let her forget it. Her step sisters have never had to work a day in their lives and their main focus is the royal ball. Meanwhile, Cinder spends every day stuck in her workshop, scraping pennies together for the whole family, but she doesn't resent her sisters for this. Of course, Cinder would love to go to the ball (who wouldn't?!), but she's not obsessed with it at all. She's accepted her lot in life and knows that pretty dresses and princes aren't for her. This is the story of a hardy and head strong girl who is fighting for her freedom, not trying to tie herself down.
I love that there's a nod to feminism in this story as Cinder is the most successful female mechanic in the city, amongst all the other girls who seem to just be vying for the prince's attention. Certainly Cinder's step mother is very focussed on how her daughters look and how that affects their ability to find a suitably rich husband. Cinder is the breadwinner of the family, singlehandedly supporting her poor family, but she is also kind and just, which makes her richer than her step mother will ever be. She is always willing to help those in need, but also seems unaware of just how kind and special she is, making you love her even more.
There is an element of romance in this story as Cinder starts to fancy the prince, but this is not at all the focal point of the story, which was a relief for me. There is nothing more annoying than a story in which the be all and end all is whether or not the boy gets the girl. Or in this case, the cyborg. I suspect the romance will be developed much more in the later books, but I am glad that the focus of the first novel was Cinder and her plight, rather than a teen romance.
One of the things that I loved most about this story is that it was set in New Beijing and not the US or the UK. I will admit there is a lot more diversity in books now than there used to be but we are still sorely lacking books set in non-Western countries in my opinion. Admittedly, the fact that we are in New Beijing doesn't seem to have a huge impact on the plot bar the fact that many characters have Chinese names, but it is a step in the right direction. Chinese culture definitely could have been integrated into this novel a lot more, which I would have really enjoyed (Asians ftw!), but it was refreshing nevertheless to read a story set in a completely different place. And, you know, the Cyborgs and stuff.
I'm a sucker for fairy-tale retellings, which are becoming increasingly popular, and this is definitely one of the best I have ever read. Cinderella with a sci-fi twist is something special and will keep you guessing with every page you turn. This is a truly unique fairy-tale retelling that does more than just tell another Cinderella story. This is the story of an outcast girl, desperately seeking freedom. She just happens to meet a prince along the way.
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The author has created an excellent future world with a sort of monarchy and a situation in which cyborgs like Cinder are treated as second class citizens. She has also added an excellent new villain which widens out the story and will make for an excellent sequel. The minor characters are also well developed so this is a richer story than if it just concentrated on Cinder. It is important to note that this book is the first in a series and it does end on a sort of cliff hanger - there is certainly plenty of plot yet to develop and situations to resolve.
This is a Young Adult book. Cinder is an adolescent heroine with whom younger readers can identify. I read it as an adult and didn't feel that there was anything lacking - possibly because of the fairy tale theme I expected a simpler plot and story.
Have a go at this one if you like YA fantasy - it is really fantasy although to has a science fiction like setting. I enjoyed it a lot
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