Cyborg Cinderella: A Book Review of Cinder by Marissa Meyer

"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."Synopsis from Goodreads

I first heard about Cinder last semester when a colleague told me about different books she'd received and mentioned "cyborg Cinderella"-- my "oooooooooh" made a few of the people in the room laugh.  (Let's just say I'm known for my eccentric book choices, even in a doctoral program focused on children's literature.)

Wrapped up in finals season, then visiting our families for Christmas, I forgot about Cinder, until I noticed it on one of the shelves in my building when I was looking for a new weekend read.  The cover practically shouts "read me!"

Cinder was a quick read, maybe a few hours total, though I didn't particularly care for the beginning of the book.  It took me a little while to feel comfortable in the landscape of the novel-- I'm not sure if that's Meyer's fault or my own-- and some of the plot seemed very predictable. Like many dystopian novels, you're thrown immediately into an unfamiliar place and you have to live through a "learning period" as a reader, in which you figure out new vocabulary and position yourself in the fantasy world.  It took me a few chapters to get used to the technology of Cinder's world, and then I spent a few more chapters feeling like everyhing was too predictable and following the traditional Cinderella tale.

But! I didn't realize that Cinder was the first in a set of four novels.  The book ended where our knowledge of the typical "Cinderella-story" ends-- with a few major twists that really did keep me guessing!  I thought the second half of the book really picked up the pace and I am definitely going to read the sequels when they come out.  I'd definitely recommend this for anyone looking for another dystopian novel.


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