Friday, 13 January 2012
Review: Cinder by Marissa Meyer
Released: January 5th, 2012
Cinder, a gifted mechanic in New Beijing, is also a cyborg. She's reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister's sudden illness. But when her life becomes entwined with the handsome Prince Kai's, she finds herself at the centre of a violent struggle between the desires of an evil queen - and a dangerous temptation. Cinder is caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal. Now she must uncover secrets about her mysterious past in order to protect Earth's future.
I'd heard lots of good things about Cinder before I read it: the general consensus was that it was a must-read. So I promptly forgot about my own aversion to fairytales and cracked open my pretty red copy of the book. And let me tell you, I was not disappointed! Cinder was unlike any fairytale retelling I've read before; it wasn't flowery and Disney-esque, instead it was dark and brutal. Now *that* is my kind of fairytale!
Cinder is a twist on the famous story of Cinderella. Cinder is a mechanic living in New Beijing in the future, years after a devastating war has taken place. She's part android, has two (not ugly) sisters and is basically considered to be the lowest of the low by most of her immediate family. New Beijing isn't everything it's cracked up to be, though. There's a virus called Letumosis sweeping the nation, and anyone infected will most likely die once it reaches Stage 4. There's no cure, no hope of an imminent antidote, until Cinder meets a helpful doctor, a prince called Kai and a queen who is up to no good. Things quickly spiral out of control and Cinder's life is changed beyond repair, especially when someone close to her is exposed to Letumosis...
My little plot summary there does not do this book justice. I've tried to describe its awesomeness, but it's difficult - there's so much going on and the book moves at breakneck speed. Cinder kicks ass, the romantic elements are subtle but strong and the world Meyer has created is beyond cool. Just like the back of the book says, this is a fairytale but not as you know it!
I have very little to add in the way of criticisms when talking about Cinder. My only complaint would be that I think it's a bit long - I got 350 pages in and there was *still* lots more to come! Oh, and I guessed a major plot twist very early on in the book. That doesn't usually happen to me, so either this was a one-off or I'm finally starting to think ahead when I read. Either way, I wasn't surprised when I reached the end, and I think the shock was a bit lost on me because of that.
Cinder is such a brilliant debut novel, exciting and fresh and totally unexpected. The way everything unfolds is clever, and the parallels with Cinderella are fun to spot. There are three more books coming in this Lunar Chronicles series, each centred around three other female fairytale heroes, and OMG I cannot wait to read them. If they're anything like Cinder, we are in for a real literary treat.