Friday, June 20, 2014

Cinder | by: Marissa Meyer

Many readers have already discovered and fallen in love with Marissa Meyer's Cinder as well as the other books in her Lunar Chronicles series, but as usual, it took me a little while to join the bandwagon. Cinder is a Cinderella retelling, and the concept of fairytale retellings never draw me in. However, I also heard that it was a Sailor Moon retelling, so I finally decided it was time to give it a chance. Thank goodness I did - even after one book, The Lunar Chronicles is a new favorite series for me.

Cinder is a cyborg - she's human, but she's also made of robotic parts, marking her as an outcast in this futuristic China. Her legal guardian, Adri, is always finding something new for Cinder to fix, for Cinder is a well-known mechanic of their city. But her latest customer? The prince. And from what he's been telling her, there's a lot at stake right now. Queen Levana, who reigns on the moon, is a threat to Prince Kai and everyone on Earth. But Cinder knows she has no chance going to Prince Kai's ball, let alone being able to do much about intergalactic problems.

The truth is that there's a lot more to Cinder than she ever realized.

...Sounds like a pretty badass take on Cinderella, doesn't it? I never would've thought that a Cinderella-Sailor Moon mash-up would necessarily be a good idea, but Marissa Meyer created a truly amazing story. Honestly, readers will enjoy Cinder even if they don't like Cinderella and/or don't know anything about Sailor Moon because it's such a vivid story. But for fans of Sailor Moon, it’s quite fun to see the parallels in this novel.

Cinder is set in such a unique futuristic world. Unlike many novels set far into the future, New Beijing isn’t really a horrific dystopia even though there are some frightening aspects (the plague, intergalactic tensions, cyborg hatred – cyborg hatred is like the new racism). Even though the time it took for society to reach this point in time had a rocky past, it seems that world leaders have been able to find peace among another – at least on Earth.

That brings me to another aspect I loved about this book: Lunars. There are people living on the moon that have powers! But unfortunately, this is where another of the more frightening aspects come into play. The Lunar Queen Levana… Well, no one likes her. She’s crazy and manipulative. Cinder’s stepmother, Adri, and her stepsister Pearl are also bound to get under everyone’s skin; they’re so bitchy.

But of course, there were characters I really enjoyed reading about. Cinder is a strong heroine; she has moments where she feels like a broken outcast, but she definitely has fight in her and I love that. I think she's only going to get stronger and stronger as the series continues. Her love interest, Prince Kai, is so suave and humorous, but their situation is quite complicated right now; I’m hoping to see more with their relationship in the sequel, Scarlet. The somewhat whimsical Dr. Erland is another one of my favorite characters in this series even though he's a bit flawed, and so is the fun-loving android Iko.

Throughout the course of the novel, there are moments both full of hope and full of hopelessness. There are parts that are sad, parts that are empowering, and everything in between. Cinder is a fantastic science fiction novel; now I finally know why readers have been fangirling so much.

I loved this book. I didn’t expect to, but I loved it, and I'm desperate for the next book in the series. I haven't coveted a sequel this much in a really long time.

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