Friday, December 9, 2011

Review of Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Cinder by Marissa Meyer; Fiewel & Friends, 2012.

Cinder is the futuristic story of a teenage cyborg of the same name that is a whiz at fixing androids, robots, and other mechanical devices.  She lives with Peony and Pearl, her stepsisters, and Adri, her hateful stepmother in New Beijing, which is part of the Eastern Commonwealth.  At age eleven, Cinder was adopted by her late stepfather, a cyber scientist, and brought to New Beijing.   Prince Kai, the Crown Prince of the Eastern Commonwealth, brings his android to Linh Cinder’s repair booth in the marketplace, and she immediately falls for him.

In the meantime, a terrible, deadly plague is sweeping the country, leaving many dead in its wake.  To help find a cure for the plague, cyborgs are drafted and used as test subjects.  Peony falls ill and is taken away, and Adri blames Cinder for her daughter’s demise.  For revenge and spite, Adri gives Cinder to the plague scientists, who begin to run tests on her.  While this is going on, Emperor Rikan, Prince Kai’s father, is on his deathbed suffering from the plague, and the Lunar Empire (from the moon) is threatening to attack the Eastern Commonwealth.  Cinder ends up in the middle of the two conflicting empires and must quickly learn about her past to in order protect earth.

This intriguing novel is a remake of Cinderella, but set many years in the future, one hundred years after the world has seen World War IV.  Lihn Cinder is a cyborg, part human and part robot, due to an accident in which she supposedly also lost both of her parents.    I found this premise for the basis of the novel to be both extremely inventive and refreshing!

The characters are wonderful!  Cinder seems like any normal teenager…she has hopes and dreams; the “kicker” is that she is only about 2/3 human!  Prince Kai wants to do what is right for his country and his citizens, even though it will ruin his personal future!  Cinder’s stepsister, Peony, is sweet and naïve, while Adri and Pearl are hateful and vindictive, as is characteristic of the fairy tale.
Descriptions of the city, the market place, and the palace are vivid and detailed!  However, I wish some additional background information would have been provided about how the moon became colonized and how people can exist there without oxygen.  Additionally, I would have welcomed more information on the history of New Beijing.  Hopefully, these questions will be answered in the forthcoming sequels in The Lunar Chronicles.  The cover art is very cool...kudos to the artist!

This is a delightful and thought-provoking read!  I recommend it for middle school, high school, and public libraries.  The book has a release date of January 3, 2012.
**Reviewer’s note:  The book reviewed was an advanced reader’s copy provided by NetGalley and read on nook.