Author: Marissa Meyer
Publisher: Puffin (UK) | Feiwel & Friends (US)
Release Date: 5th January 2012 (UK) | 3rd January 2012 (US)
Series: Lunar Chronicles, Book 1
Source: My own personal copy
Blurb 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.
Frist Line - 'The screw through Cinder’s ankle had rusted, the engraved cross marks worn to a mangled circle. Her knuckles ached from forcing the screwdriver into the joint as she struggled to loosen the screw one gritting twist after another.'
From line one you can tell this is no ordinary fairytale. And if you think this is going to be an exact copy of Cinderella...think again. Firstly, Cinder is a cyborg...a second class citizen in her world, as if having metal in her body makes her worth less than everyone else. Secondly, while there is still the wicked stepmother (Adri), one of her stepsisters (Peony) is actually quite nice, Pearl however is just like her mother and despises Cinder...despite the fact her skills as a mechanic are wildly sought after and bring steady income into the house. And finally, Cinder lives in a city called New Beijing, in a world that is wider than we have ever known. A race of beings living on the moon, called the Lunar, are just one of the new editions to our home world.
While not an apocalyptic dystopian novel, Cinder is set in the distant future where a plague (letumosis/blue fever) has been ravishing mankind. It's already taken Cinder's adoptive father leaving her to face his widow and daughters alone. Then her only ally in the household, Peony, is also struck down by the disease. It can strike anyone at any time...including the King of New Beijing. Letumosis has no known survivors.
A scream filled Cinder’s ears. She flinched, the sound peaking in her audio interface, and turned toward it. The market silenced. The children, who had switched to a game of hide-and-seek among the clustered booths, crept out from their hiding spots.Adri had always hated Cinder, believing that if her husband hadn't gone to Europe to adopt Cinder, he would never have caught letumosis and would still be alive today. And after her daughter Peony contracts the disease too, Adri decides to get rid of the 'useless cyborg' who's been plaguing her life for years...and in the ultimate act of cruelty and betrayal, Adri volunteers Cinder to test the newest vaccine against Letumosis. Cinder has no choice in the matter because Adri is her legal guardian so despite the fact that Cinder refuses to test the vaccine there is nothing she can do...and no cyborg has ever survived the testing phase. And that's all I'm telling you about that...too many spoilers lay ahead...you'll just have to read CINDER and find out for yourselves ;).
The scream had come from the baker, Chang Sacha. Baffled, Cinder stood and climbed on top of her chair to peer over the crowd. She spotted Sacha in her booth, behind the glass case of sweet breads and pork buns, gawking at her outstretched hands.
Cinder clamped a hand over her nose at the same moment realization skittered through the rest of the square.
“The plague!” someone yelled. “She has the plague!”
'Legally, Cinder belonged to Adri as much as the household android and so too did her money, her few possessions, even the new foot she'd just attached. Adri loved to remind her of that.'Why is Cinder a cyborg and not fully human do I hear you ask? Well, there was an accident...at least that's what Cinder's been told. She can't actually remember. All she knows is that one day she woke up with a metal hand and metal leg, along with some sort of programming wired into her brain that can tell when people are lying and get her just about any information she wants.
Cinder is just an awesome main character, she recognises and deals with her awful family dynamic maturely despite the often harsh treatment from her Stepmother and Pearl. The closest person to her was her sister Peony, but when the disease steals Peony from Cinder...she's left with no-one. That is until Prince Kai steps on the scene. He'd turned up at her stall looking for the famous Linh Cinder...the mechanic who can fix anything. Expecting some old dude covered in grease, you can imagine his surprise when he meets the real Cinder. It sort of spirals from there and includes an android with royal secrets as well as a possible cure for the fatal letumosis disease. All the while Cinder has to hide her true nature from Kai, for fear he'll be as disgusted by her as her family is. But Cinder's family troubles are only just beginning, there are many revelations for Cinder in this. She finds out who and what she really is...the things from before the accident that she can't remember, and reason why her mad scientist friend insists she hide from the visiting Lunar Queen. It's all very exciting and left me on tenterhooks for the next one in the series :)
Marissa Meyer has breathed new life into this classic fairytale, taking us on an exciting journey of love, war, and impossible choices. I'd recommend it to anyone who has a love of fairytale and dystopian novels. Heck, I'd just recommend it to anyone :D
My Rating 4.5/5
Interested? Well you can read prequel novella GLITCHES by Marissa Meyer HERE. A big Thank You to Tor and the lovely Marissa Meyer for providing this amazing novella online :)