Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Cinder (Lunar Chronicles #1), Marissa Meyer

Title: Cinder
Author: Marissa Meyer (author website)
Release Date: January 5th 2012 by Puffin
Age Group: Young Adult/Adult
Genre: Sci-fi
My Rating:1 star2 star3 star4 starhalf star

Cinder is not the fairy tale you remember. Dark and strange—as all proper fairy tales are—it seamlessly blends old and new with a future so bizarre it would not seem out of place alongside the twisted stories of the brothers Grimm.

From Goodreads:
Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, the 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

The Story

Linh Cinder is New Beijing’s most talented mechanic. Broken androids, hovers, ports, she’s your girl. Yet despite her reputation and skill, Cinder is a cyborg—a human ‘repaired’ with robot parts following a horrific accident—for all intents and purposes, a slave. Reviled and subjugated by her stepmother and stepsister, her closest friend is an android with a faulty personality chip. But Cinder’s problems are about to get worse. The world is being torn apart by a devastating plague, and the Empire lives in constant threat of war with the strange race of—wait for it—moon people, called Lunars. When Crown Prince Kai turns up at Cinder’s shop with a broken android she finds herself thrust into political intrigue, betrayals and secrets that could change not only Cinder’s fate, but that of two worlds.

Once Upon A Time, There Was a Girl…

She was fair and kind, but she had a wicked stepmother who… hmmm…
Let’s start again.

Cinder is not Cinderella. Resigned to a life of injustice and hard labour, Cinder is no damsel in distress. She longs for something more, certainly, but she harbours no expectations or dreams of a knight in shining armour, or a happily ever after. The life of a cyborg is hard and cruel in Cinder’s world, and they’re treated as second-class citizens or tools at best, and reviled and used as test subjects at worse. But Cinder isn’t a tool, and she isn’t an object. She’s a very real teenage girl trapped in a shell of flesh and fabrication, one who feels with the intensity of any other, holds the capacity to love, dream and learn. Cinder isn’t the sobbing scullery maid of folk tales gone by—in fact, she’s physically incapable of tears—she’s something more. Something stronger, tougher. Pieces of her are forged steel, and they’re not her prosthetic limbs. This steel is tempered with fragility, and an aching longing for something more that makes her sympathetic, while never pathetic, or pitiful. Perhaps best of all, Cinder is smart. She’s intelligent, resourceful, and she has real skills and a trade. She’s an admirable and genuinely likeable character. Her humanity makes her relatable, and Cinder is, for all intents and purposes, as human as you and me.

Humans and Cyborgs and Androids, Oh My!

It’s the question of Cinder’s humanity that drives a crucial part of the book’s plot. Alongside the prince charmings, wicked stepmothers and extravagant balls is a completely different moral story. The legal standing and recognition of cyborgs in Meyer’s world mirrors our own world’s civil rights shame, but in this world, there is no Martin Luther King Jr, no Ghandi, no Dalai Lama. There is no champion of equality, of the downtrodden. The towering sense of injustice is crushing and infuriating, and it lends Cinder a gravity completely separate from its classic roots. There is hope in this world, though. In one Prince Kai. While it would not be hard to wax poetic on the young prince’s many positive attributes, it’s sufficient to say that yes, he is a perfect Prince Charming, but more so, he’s the face of hope. He’s more than a happily ever after, if he is that at all, he’s the face of change, or a better future for his people.

The Verdict:

Cinder (the book, not the character) is like the classic Cinderella you know and love in many ways. Except it’s not. Meyer’s writing has a dreamy, faery tale-like quality which perfectly complements Cinder’s faery tale premise. An odd, quirky world perpetuates the folk story feel, and it’s dark and twisty in a way stories like Cinderella traditionally were, pre-Disney. Yet it’s gritty in a manner these stories weren’t. Meyer’s taken Blade Runner, stuck it in a blender with Ever After—hell, why not add some Sailor Moon, too—to create something different, and wholly unexpected.

Cinder is tantalisingly familiar, but filled with archetypes, not clich├ęs. Loathsome characters are tempered with touches of humanity, and the ‘good guys’ have faults that go beyond mere foibles. While one character in particular could go down as being all bad, it is diabolically well done.

Sci-fi for people who don’t ‘do’ sci-fi, Cinder has something to offer everyone: action, romance, politics, pending interplanetary war and cyborgs. Compelling and gripping from start to finish, Meyer has cut a rare and sparkling gem. Shining and multi-faceted, Cinder is rich and colourful. It’s not the faery-tale you know. It’s something more.

Books in This Series:

  1. Cinder
  2. Scarlet (expected 2013)
  3. Cress (expected 2014)
  4. Winter (expected 2015)

Hmmm... If Cinder's a retelling of the much-loved Cinderella, do YOU have a favorite fairytale? Can I say the Princess Bride is mine, or Stardust, by Neil Gaiman? They're both kind of fairytales... is that cheating? :D

26 comments:

  1. I'm not the biggest fan of Cinder (oh, did I want to be!) but your review was so eloquent and lovely! Love the "Humans and Cyborgs and Androids, Oh My!" heading. I really like the paragraph about Cinder and her humanity, I think it was an interesting aspect and exploration. Ha, I don't really have a favourite fairytale (gosh, they end so gruesome usually) but my favourite fairytale retelling is definitely Ella Enchanted.

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  2. I've got a copy of this one somewhere on my shelf, and after all the hype it's received across the book blogosphere, I have to say I'm pretty excited to read it.

    LOVE The Princess Bride, by the way. And I loved the movie Stardust, though I haven't had a chance to read the book yet. I've heard they're pretty different, but I still want to read it!

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  3. stardust movie was cool
    tnx4 the review sarah

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  4. I don't think I loved this book as much as most people but I did still really enjoy it. I had issues with predictability but I'm hoping the sequel is just slightly better. I agree that this has a bit of something for everyone. That I appreciated! Great review. :)

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  5. I am reading this RIGHT NOW and wasn't really expecting to like it all that much because the premise is so strange, but I am loving it!! It's such a good feeling when a book pleasantly surprises me like this. I love that Cinder is such an awesome female lead, and I would have to say that Iko is my favorite character (so endearing!).

    And I just got to the following part:
    "Oh. Well... but... maybe you would change your mind? Because I am, you know."
    "The prince."
    "Not bragging," he says quickly. "Just a fact."

    Ahhh, some of the lines and dialogue in this book make me smile! :-)

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  6. This seems like a really fresh idea. I love the twist on the Disney classic, because, like you said, The Grimm Brothers were originally quite the morbid fellows, but this sounds really intriguing.
    I always love your reviews. They're so nicely written.
    www.dogearedandcoffeestained.blogspot.com

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  7. Ooh, I love Stardust! That's my favourite Neil Gaiman.
    I love your description of it - Bladerunner cross Ever After plus a dash of Sailor Moon - :-D
    I honestly wasn't so interested in reading this before, but I am now.

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  8. :) I absolutely love your reveiw and description of Kai and of the discrimination plot of this wonderful story!
    yet another thing we have in common- PRINCESS BRIDE is my FAVORITE fairy tale/adventure with happy ever after movie EVER! (Rob Reiner, Guest, Robin, Cary and Mandy are an amazing combination) I also love the book because its brilliantly written.
    another fairy tale i love is beauty and the beast.
    I never read stardust but i completely love the movie, claire dawnes and Michelle Pfeiffer = amazing actresses! the story is completely complex and exciting too!

    I really liked your review!

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  9. YESSSSS times one hundred million thousand gazillion trillion <3

    You so give justice to Cinder's character and how beautifully HUMAN she is, despite whatever crap others might say. She has a strength and fairness you can admire. And Kai! YES. Like you say, so ridiculous well, is that while he IS the Charming of this tale, Marissa has given infused something more in him than just the handsome prince galloping in to save the day. Psh, our girl don't need saving, she'll do the saving herself, thankyouverymuch.

    I'm sooooo happy you loved this!! I'M SOOOOOOO HUNGRY FOR THE SEQUEL! I soooo don't like 2013 waits =\ And I sooo very much think your review rocks my slippers off.

    Also: I love Iko <3

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  10. I agree with everything you said. I absolutely, wholeheartedly loved this book! And Kai . . . he's a heartbreaker! Anyway glad you LOVED this book too! Just want the sequel . . . like so, so badly now.

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  11. EEEEEEEEEEE! I am so freakin excited to read this one.

    "Meyer’s taken Blade Runner, stuck it in a blender with Ever After—hell, why not add some Sailor Moon, too—to create something different, and wholly unexpected."

    OMG, with a quote like that, how can anyone resist? I've seen all these movie's/shows and have a special place in my heart for each one. I might have to bump up the time I plan to read Cinder cuz you just got me super excited to read it NOW!!

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  12. *FANGIRL* I love this book so much and I'm so glad you enjoyed it too! <3 The characters were just spot on. Marissa REALLY made me want to kill Cinder's mum...... Great review! :D

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  13. My sweet!!!!!!!

    I really liked Cinder! Im glad you loved it too! kyaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!! I agree that it is multifaceted. Meyer seems to have build this story layer upon layer giving a solid and rich consistence to this book. Besides, totally original! even though it is based on Cinderella, Cinder is a unique tale on its own =D

    Excellent review my sweet! I agree about prince charming <3 oh yes! and the fact that there are no cliches makes this book even more unique!

    you totally make justice to the book! yay!

    ^.^
    XOXOXOXOXO

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  14. I've been so undecided about this book, Sarah, but I think your mention that it's sci-fi for people who aren't into sci-fi might just have convinced me! ;)

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  15. I still must read Cinder, I might wait until book 2 released, must check when that is. Marissa read it. Loved your thoughts on the book. It kind of sounds a bit like the movie Blade Runner in parts, or am I over thinking:D:D

    Michelle

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  16. Just finished my reread of this book - it's one I could read over and over without getting sick of! I loved how raw Cinder's emotions were and how she was never afraid of showing them (even though, you know, the whole Cyborg thing).

    Kai is such an intelligent and loveable prince. He's charming in a way that doesn't make you want to kill him. He's swoon-worthy and strong and... and... the ENDING! ARGH!

    I also loved that the moon queen wasn't a flat character. She's so deliciously evil and manipulative that you can't help but love her as a character. Meyer really makes her into something more than human.

    But I agree with what someone above said about predictability. The twist was not a twist at all.

    Only thing that stopped me from giving it a 5 from 5.

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  17. This has been the best review for Cinder that I've come across. I finally understand! I love the humor and wit in your review. I've finally been convinced to read Cinder. Thanks!

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  18. I think I've read your review already (on Goodreads?) but anyway YESSSS! I agree completely! Love this review. <3

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    Replies
    1. Aaaah, yes! I have this habit (I'm trying to break) of posting reviews on GR weeks before I post them here >___<

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    2. Haha I do too! :P It's so much easier to draft on GR that on Blogger.

      Delete
  19. Awesome review! ^___^

    I really adored this book, and I cannot wait for SCARLET! (And I need some more of Prince Kai...) ;D

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    Replies
    1. OH MY GOODNESS, YES TO BOTH!
      Kai = ♥
      Scarlet = DYING, HERE.

      Delete
  20. I LOVE THIS BOOK SO MUCH! I don't know how you manage to write such beautiful reviews all the time, I really don't! :') I especially loved what you said about Cinder not being a damsel in distress because that's EXACTLY what set her apart from all of your average fairytale princesses, and that's exactly why I loved her so much! And I NEVER would've thought to add a fairytale together with cyborgs, so that was just GENIUS to me! Plus, Marissa Meyer is probably one of the sweetest authors ever! She's talked to all of us Canadian bloggers on a video chat, and I swear I wished she was right in front of me so I could give her a hug :')

    LOVE your review, Sarah! <3

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  21. Wow! I need to read this one. I got it when it first came out and it's been sitting on my shelf for months now. I think your review is the push that i needed. I'll definitely read it this month. Great review!

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  22. I expected that this book was going to be a kind of Isaac Asimov fight for equal rights of cyborgs kind of thing. I didn't know that there were going to be Moon People. Did you like the Moon People aspect of it? Do you think the story would have survived without it?

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    Replies
    1. The Moon People are AWESOME.

      OK, so there is totally a story there with equal rights, and it's brilliant... but it's such a multi-faceted story. Civil rights = Sub plot. Moon People = Main antagonistic force. I genuinely liked everything about this one.

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