Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

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.

5 Stars, 0 Flames

     In this adaptation of Cinderella, Cinder is a cyborg who was orphaned at a young age and adopted by a young man who is married with two children of his own. Soon after he
introduces Cinder to her new family, he succumbs to a terrible plague, Letumosis. Unloved and unwanted by her new step-mother, Adri, Cinder is forced to support her family as a mechanic fixing androids and other electronic or mechanical devices at the local market. With the enhancements of her cybernetics, Cinder's brain processes like a super computer, enabling her to detect lies and identify and gather information by cross checking with the net database. Unfortunately, most of Cinder's fellow citizens look down upon those who needed cybernetics to repair/replace damage done to their body. Cyborgs are viewed as second class citizens and treated as if they carried diseases. There is even a Cyborg Protection Act in place to keep cyborgs from becoming menaces to society. When the Letumosis plague began to spread through the Eastern Commonwealth, a draft was passed for one cyborg per day to be chosen for the great honor of helping scientists find the cure for Letumosis. Volunteers were also accepted for antidote testing and the families of the cyborg were compensated. When Cinder's step-sister Peony, the only one in the family who is nice to Cinder, contracts the disease, Adri volunteers Cinder for antidote testing, setting the wheels of destiny in motion, and putting Cinder on a crash course with Fate...and royalty.
     While Cinder's life is changing, another is experiencing similar difficulties. Prince Kai, heir to the Eastern Commonwealth throne, is preparing for the 126th Annual Peace Festival. Delegates from the six countries of the Earth Union will be arriving, and for the first time the Queen of the Lunar Republic, Levana. Queen Levana is pressing for Prince Kai's agreement to her marriage proposal in exchange for her signature on the peace treaty documents between Earth and the Moon. But Prince Kai doesn't trust her. Through some genetic mutation, some citizens of the Lunar Republic are able to manipulate and control others with their mind, even glamour themselves to change their features. Suspicious of the Queen's timely arrival with an antidote that is too late to save his father, Prince Kai is desperate to save his kingdom and find the cure to Letumosis.

     I am a huge fan of fairy tales, especially those adapted by Disney. Yes, I'm a fanatical Disney fan! I love how Marissa used original elements of the story as a loose framework to build onto her amazingly detailed world. If you have the opportunity, check her website out, www.marissameyer.com, because she walks you through her mind with pictures and ideas that blew me away. Brilliant! Sorry, I'm gushing, but I really enjoyed this story, and I'm not usually a fan of the dystopian genre. Back to the review. Ahem. Cinder is a strong, loyal character who is easy to love. I love the relationship she has with her step-sister, Peony. After Cinder meets Prince Kai for the first time, she immediately thinks of Peony who is like a Justin Beiber fan of Prince Kai's. A sweet scene occurs when Peony asks her opinion of Prince Kai.

     Something in Cinder's face must have said enough, because Peony suddenly shrieked and lunged at her, wrapping her arms around Cinder's waist and hopping up and down. 
"I knew it! I knew you liked him too! I can't believe you actually met him! It's not fair. Did I mention how much I hate you?"

The interaction between Prince Kai and Cinder reminds me of high school and how you fumble your way along, hoping the other person likes you as much as you like them. I also like how you get to hear from both characters voices, not just Cinder's. The entire world, from the characters, to the planet and countries, is developed so richly you are immediately pulled into the book. I read this in one sitting, and I am anxious for the next book in the series, Scarlet, due out Feb 5, 2013. 5 Stars, 0 Flames

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