Summary from GoodReads:
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.
Oh my stars (see what I did there:) )! I never, in a million years, thought I would like a science fiction book as much as I loved Cinder. Now, I wouldn’t say Cinder is heavily science fiction, but usually, anything that even remotely is science fiction, I avoid like the plague (see what I did there, again? ). But after hearing amazing things about Cinder for months and months, and also there being a possibility of going to an author event featuring Meyer, I thought I should give Cinder a try. And thank goodness I did. Cinder is completely amazing!
This book gave me lots to think about, so I may talk about some spoilers, but I will warn you before hand.
In case you didn’t know, Cinder is a retelling of the fairytale Cinderella. It’s a pretty loose retelling. Cinder has to do all the work for her stepmother, Adri. She has two stepsisters, Pearl and Peony. However, in this story, Peony and Cinder and good friends, and Peony is a total sweetheart. There is a ball, and Cinder totally crashes, although there is no fairy godmother. Although Cinder’s mode of transportation does sort of resemble of pumpkin carriage.
But there is a lot of other things going on in Cinder than just Cinder trying to go to the ball. There’s lots of politics, and a scary Queen from Luna (seriously, you guys she’s totally scary!) who is determined to marry Prince Kai.
And then, as another complication to the story, there is the Plague (Letemosis, spelling?) that is infecting so many people. There is no cure for this illness, and pretty much once you get infected, you are a goner. There are many scientists and doctors trying to find a cure, but so far there has been no progress.
And oh my gosh, you guys, the whole story was so wonderfully put together, even with so many aspects to work with. The Plague, evil Queen Levana, the citizenry of cyborgs, Cinder, and Prince Kai, not to mention all the science fiction stuff like hovers, and netscreens, and all that! I don’t know how Meyer did it, but man, she handled it brilliantly! It never got confusing, and I never lost interest in the story.
So let’s talk about the characters, now. Cinder is so relatable. Granted, I don’t think anyone can identify with being a cyborg, but most everyone can identify with feeling inadequate at times. Cinder is so nice (although she isn’t afraid to speak her mind, and she definitely has a snarky attitude at times), and you can tell how much she just wants people to love her. Adri, her stepmother, gives no love to Cinder, nor does her stepsister Pearl. Cinder does get some affection from her other stepsister, Peony, and from a totally awesome android, Iko. Cinder really cares about Peony, and when Peony becomes ills, Cinder is devastated. What I really loved about Cinder is that she does what has to be done, not what is easiest for her.
Prince Kai is totally dreamy! Exactly what a prince should be! He’s got a lot on his plate, being the heir to the throne, and with his father having the plague. Not to mention Queen Levana’s desire to marry him, and the devastation the plague is reeking on the Commonwealth. He meets Cinder when he brings his dysfunctioning android to her mechanics booth. They end up developing a friendship, and it is so sweet to see. I really liked that Kai acted like someone his age (I think he is around 18). He is young, and lacks a lot of experience running a country, and it shows. But he does the best he can, and always wants what is best for his country. He’s just so honorable, and seriously ladies, who doesn’t want an honorable man (err . . . teenage guy in Kai’s case)?
The secondary characters are great additions to the story. I particularly loved Dr. Erland. I loved his personality, and I just felt like he’s got Cinder’s back. Peony doesn’t get a lot of screen time in Cinder, but the scenes she is in, her personality really shines through. Peony has this wonderful, sweet, innocent personality. Oh, and Iko, the android. Yeah, she is just about the most awesomest character ever!
So I want to talk about a few spoilers now, so if you are one of the very few who hasn’t read Cinder, you might want to avoid this next section. SPOILERS BEGIN:
I couldn’t give this book five stars, because of some things that I didn’t think make 100% logical sense. For some reason people treat cyborgs as second class citizens. I couldn’t understand why. It seems that cyborgs are basically examples of medical advancements. Someone becomes a cyborg when that person is dying. For Cinder, she was in a terrible accident, and lost her leg, and a hand. So she has cyborg parts, and wires in her brain, and stuff. But doctors saved her by making her cyborg. She is still a person! She has wants, and needs, and a conscience. So why does everyone hate cyborgs? It was difficult to believe that all these people could treat cyborgs that way. I mean, cyborgs are members of people’s families. They are people!!! I couldn’t quite understand that.
That said, this little thing didn’t at all prevent me from devouring this book!
Since I listened to this via audiobook, I have to mention the totally amazing narrator, Rebecca Soler. Soler kicked some serious ass narrating this book. He voice is very down-to-earth, which was perfect grounding the story for me. Some of the science fiction stuff could have overwhelmed me, but her voice was so matter-of-fact, that she kept me from getting all stressed about it.Soler also creates awesome voices for the different characters. Her voice for Cinder was perfect – I can’t imagine Cinder any other way. And even for Prince Kai, Soler created a guy-ish voice. It’s amazing. The whole audiobook production was phenomenal. I want to see what else Soler has narrated.
I was so afraid there was going to be a cliffhanger at the end of Cinder. I am getting very sick of cliffhangers. And although there’s lots left unresolved at the end of Cinder, it wasn’t exactly a cliffhanger. The ending just felt right. Seriously, if you haven’t read Cinder, you are missing out. And if you have then tell me what you thought! I’m so glad I ventured outside my comfort zone to read this. I can’t wait for Scarlet, the second book in the Lunar Chronicles!