March 22, 2014

Review: Cinder

By: Marissa Meyer
Published: January 2012 by Feiwel & Friends
First read: January 2012
Format: Hardback, 387 pages
Buy: Barnes & Noble//Books-A-Million//Amazon//Book Depository
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She was a cyborg, and she would never go to the ball.

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.

Rating: 4.5/5

This review is based on a re-read. I'd first read Cinder not too long after it came out and had loved it, but two years have gone by and I couldn't remember much of what happened. I blame my overworked brain, of course. So I relatively jumped into this fresh and new and excited.

I was not let down.

I think I might have loved it more this time around, to be frank. First, I'm a sucker for very creative fairy tale retellings. Though I remember thinking at first I would hate this, as I'm never a huge fan anything to do with science in books. I just can't seem to relate to them usually, but Cinder was a pleasant surprise. The story, the characters, and the writing all came together to create such a fresh, unique story.

Meyer's writing is brilliant. Her flow made this incredibly easy to read without it being too easy or void of necessary description. After starting to write third person, I've gained a new love for it, so that gave Meyer an extra point in my book. I loved that it wasn't in first. God, how I loved it. Really, I didn't realize until this moment just how much I had appreciated it. Not only was it done well, but it gave more insight to the story for me. I liked seeing Cinder through someone else's eyes in places and I liked not being completely in the dark.

Though that is my one major complaint with this. The twists were far too simple for me. It didn't make the story less enjoyable--not by far--but I was slightly disappointed that the hints were dropped so early and that I essentially put together all the pieces of the puzzle without the border, so to say. However, that's my biggest critique. My only other one being I think the bit with comm toward the end (I won't elaborate because spoilers) was a bit rushed and I didn't particularly buy the reactions Cinder had with said person who commed in. It seemed slightly over the top.

But, in regards to Cinder's character, that had to be my only issue with her. I really enjoyed her personality along with her abilities and inabilities. She's a very strong lead with great, believable flaws. As for the rest of the characterization, kudos to Meyer once again. Each character was well-rounded, three-dimensional. She could have easily fell into the one-dimensional trap with many of the characters, like Prince Kai and Adri, Cinder's stepmother, but she didn't. While I'm not falling head over hills in love with Prince Kai, I like how he's not made out to be the typical YA love interest. While I would have liked to have seen more emotion from him, in general he was a very believable young man who just lost his parents to the plague and had to take on the weight of the world on his shoulders in a matter of days.

Now...the storyline. The plot. The freaking originality of this! Bloody brilliant, Marissa Meyer. Can I borrow some of your creative brain sometime? Really, I think just a measly 1/8 of it should suffice. I mean, it really was stunningly creative. She kept the meat of the Cinderella story, the bits that made Cinderella, well, Cinderella. The evil stepmother, the stepsisters, the whole left her shoe (ahem, foot) at the ball ordeal, and other bits that were morphed into fitting with this story. And God Almighty was it fantastic.

I already mentioned my petite beef with the twists, but other than that, the plot unfolds is at a great pace. I couldn't put the book down, and I didn't realize I was almost done until I had to blow my poor allergy-infested nose. It was creative down to each description. Meyer made me love so many aspects of things I usually don't--dramatically different settings, people from other planets (well, the moon, not planets in this case), cyborgs, etc. And I devoured every word of this book.

Hugely recommended for anyone who likes YA. Whether you normally like this kind of thing or not. It's incredibly unique, the creativity is insane, and the great writing is such a breath of fresh air. You won't regret it.

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