Cinder by Marissa Meyer
Review by Janine
I was excited to read this book but a little unsure since it was something I don't normally read about, which is cyborgs, yes, I said cyborgs. But since I enjoy the dystopian and science fiction genres, I was willing to try this out.
Just from the cover and title, you can probably guess that this book is a retelling of Cinderella, but it is unlike any retelling or any story I have read so far. They basic story is the same, Cinder, as she is called, is an orphan who was adopted in Europe by a scientist when she was eleven. She was brought home with him to live in the Commonwealth ,where he lived with his wife and two daughters. The wife, as you remember, is not happy with having Cinder around. This is made worse when Garan (the husband) passes away, and the wife (Adri) is forced to not only care for her two daughters, Pearl and Peony, but Cinder as well. As a way to "earn her keep," Cinder works to support her family. There is the jealous stepmother, although I really didn't find the stepsisters to be as resentful. The handsome prince looking for a wife, and of course, the ball. From here, however, the similarities end. The reason that Adri is not happy with having Cinder around is because Cinder is a cyborg. She was in an accident that she does not have any memory of, leaving her with a metal leg, hand and other parts throughout her body. Cyborgs in this society are really at the bottom of the social system, and for this reason, Cinder is not only looked down upon, but carries the burden of supporting her family. She is a mechanic who works in the market fixing many things from other robots, to port screens, to net books. Her life is forever changed when Prince Kai arrives in disguise at her booth in the market and asks her to fix his android, which is apparently holding classified information that the prince needs. Also during this time, the Earth is being plagued by Letumosis, a terrible and highly contagious and fatal disease. To help with finding a cure, cyborgs are being drafted to help test antidotes. As the whole commonwealth is dealing with this plague, they are also getting ready for the royal ball. It is while she is getting ready, that Cinder discovers that Peony has Letumosis. After she is taken away into quarantine, Adri volunteers Cinder for the draft so that she could be rid of her for good. It is during these tests that Cinder finds that she is immune to the disease and that she is of a different race that she did not know. These revelations, as well as her continued discovery of who she is and what her past was, change her life, her focus and her point of view more than any cyborg could imagine.
I really enjoyed this book. It was so complex with the way that society has changed and the infusion of so much technology, but yet easy to understand and so interesting. Cinder is an awesome character. Just when you think you understand her, she does something unexpected or courageous and you realize how complex she is; needless to say, I loved her!! I also love how society has changed. It is different, but not so different that you couldn't see it actually happening, which does play with your mind a little!! As far as following the Cinderella story, it really did, and in a clever and unique way. I really love how the ball scene was done, just the right amount of fairy with the story, so that it wasn't over done either way. This book is a must-read, especially if you want something a little different from what is out there. Now the only problem is waiting for Scarlet in February!!!
And thanks to the wonderful people at Macmillan Audio for making available to our readers an audio clip of this awesome story!!! http://media.us.macmillan.com/video/olmk/macmillanaudio/CinderCh1.mp3