Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Publication Date: January 2012
Series: The Lunar Chronicles #1
Page Count: 448 pages
"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..."
In this Cinderella retelling, Cinder is a cyborg - formerly human, and has parts of her body replaced with robot parts - sort of like prosthetic limb but with wires and a control panel... I guess you'd have to read it to understand haha. She is also a gifted mechanic living in a future after the fourth world war, living in the Eastern Commonwealth in New Beijing, under the rule of Emperor Rikan and his dreamy son Prince Kaito (Kai for short), where the world has become plagued by an epidemic called the "blue plague".
The heroine, Cinder, lives with her "Stepmother" and two "Stepsisters" (technically her adoptive family). Her stepmom and one of her sisters hate her, and find her disgusting because of her cyborg qualities. As it happens, cyborgs are thought of as less than human and are considered property in New Beijing and have less rights than humans.
Prince Kai asks the gifted mechanic to fix his android and subsequently becomes enchanted by her...awkwardness? Most definitely not her beauty or wealth or family name. He asks her to the BALL! Yes, this book has a ball, and she turns him down because she is a martyr and doesnt want to embarrass him by letting him show up to this ball with a cyborg, especially because he doesnt know she is a cyborg.
With Cinder looking for a cure for the plague to save her sister - and the rest of the world - and trying to save Prince Kai from the evil-doings of the Lunar Queen Levana, who rules the "magical" creatures that inhabit the Earth's moon, now called Luna (which actually means moon in spanish - haha), she finds herself in a few predicaments that lead to her finding out some whopping secrets about her past that by the end of the book, she STILL cant wrap her head around. There is something about Cinder... something she doesnt even know that will change her life as she knows it.
This book was not just your average fairy tale. I enjoyed this book so much, and had to refrain from going out to purchase the sequel immediately (just because I have so much else to read). I found the world Meyer has built, with all her cyborgs and moon people and blue plague stuff, to somehow be more realistic than many of the popular dystopian novels out there right now. I know it sounds crazy, but I could picture myself as part cyborg more than I could picture myself fighting 20-something other children to the death in a giant arena. Dont get me wrong - I'm a huge fan of The Hunger Games, I'm just saying... I would be more likely to believe in people inhabiting the moon, thats all.
Writing style: superb
Plot: Interesting and moved quickly.
World building: SUPER COOL!
I actually found this to be a light, fun novel, even with all the death going around. The blue plague is the newest generation's version of the Bubonic Plague - the kids were even singing "Ring around the Rosie" at one point. For those of you that don't know the history behind that kid's game... check it out. You'll never want your kids to play it again.... creepy!
I loved the way Meyer worked in the Cinderella fairy tale without being over the top. It was a story that would still be a story if the Cinderella aspects were taken out, which was great for me. I mean who doesnt love fairy tales? But I'm 23, and though I loved to revisit my childhood, I like to think of myself as slightly more of an adult than I was when I was five. I'm glad there was a real story and plot that wasnt solely focused on Cinderella.
I loved the Prince, and Cinder because they were cute but not too much, and Cinder was funny and sarcastic which I always enjoy in my heroines. Meyer created two wonderful villians in Lihn Adri and Levana the Lunar Queen. I hated Levana and somehow despised and pitied Adri at the same time.
Its weird because at the end of the book there are some discussion questions and one asks if the reader thinks there was a character representing the "fairy godmother" in this story, and in one instance I will consider Dr. Erland the fairy godmother who gives her the money to escape and get gasoline for her car, which is sort of her "pumpkin carriage" being orange and all, and he champions her and wants to help her. And sort of could be Iko her android who saves her dress and finds her the cyborg foot. Might I just add how much I loved that and how much I loved the touch of Cinder losing her cyborg foot instead of her shoe on the stairs outside of the palace when she left the ball. Anyhow, in the other instance, I think Cinder was her own fair godmother. She paid for the cyborg foot, and repaired the car and got herself to the ball and tried the save the world alone. And I love that aspect that girls can sometimes need saving, but most times they can save themselves. Way to go Meyer! Girl power!!
There wasnt much I didnt like about this book. I found myself a little bored a few times - only for a few pages though, before the action started back up. That was about it, though. I thought I'd be tired of dystopians by now, and wondered if I'd be over this one before I even finished it, but its so different and original and FUN. I loved this story - hats off to Marissa Meyer! Once I find it reasonable to buy another book to add to my pile of 50+ TBR books, I will be picking up the next one, and I cannot wait! Another thing that upsets me, by the way is that the third and fourth installments of this series arent coming out until 2014 and 2015. What if the world ends by then!? I cant die without reading the rest of the series.
SUMMARY OF MY THOUGHTS:
I enjoyed this book very much. The writing was wonderful; it was extremely unique and creative and very different from other dystopians crowding the market; it was fun, light and believable; and I cant wait to read the next in the series!
This one gets a four star rating! There were some slow parts for me, but never slow enough for me to lose interest. The characters, dialogue, world and plot were believable, even though it was chock full of cyborgs, androids, moon people and monarchies. I liked this book so much and I would recommend it to anyone who likes sci-fi/fantasy novels, young adult fiction and dystopian novels - oh, and fairy tale retellings!!
Have you gotten to read this one yet? If you have - what did you think? Do you agree or disagree, and why?