Fantastic Friday: Cinder by Marissa Meyer

written by Marissa Meyer
Feiwel & Friends, 2012
ISBN: 9780312641894
390 p.
Grades 7 and up
Reviewed from purchased ebook.

BLURB: 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.

I don't read a lot of young adult books, I guess I just prefer middle grade and younger.  However, when I heard about this book, I knew I had to read it.  The premise was so unique that I was intrigued. I was delighted to discover that the book lived up to its hype.  Not only  is the story well told, but the characters are interesting and easy to relate to, despite the fact that Cinder is part machine, I found it easy to care about her and her struggles.  I liked how Meyer made Prince Kai very human with flaws and emotions and struggles.  I appreciated how Meyer made it clear that being a ruler is not fun and games and carries very real burdens with it.  He seemed very much like a normal young man placed in very extraordinary circumstances.

There were a couple of things that weren't as well done as they could have been. For example, Meyer foreshadows a major plot point fairly early in the book, but I enjoyed reading about Cinder and her struggles with her identity so much that it didn't bother me very much.  Also, Queen Levana and her entourage (all evil, all the time) as well as Kai's advisor seemed a bit one dimensional, I didn't have a problem with Levana's desire to conquer Earth.  Our real world has after all seen many with the same desire.  It would have been nice to get more detailed glimpses of the culture that Cinder lives in and just why cyborgs are so despised.  The story is supposed to take place in a future Asia, but there isn't really a strong Asian flavor to the book.

However, despite the few flaws, I did really enjoy reading this and highly recommend it to those who enjoy a little science fiction with their retold fairy tales.


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