on January 8th 2013
Genres: Fantasy, Retelling, Science Fiction, Young Adult
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 think I may be in the minority here, but I didn’t fully buy the Cinder hype. I was extremely hesitant about picking this up for fear of getting disappointed, and that’s exactly what happened. Don’t get me wrong, I liked the book, but it wasn’t as amazing as all those raving reviews have led me to believe. And that’s the danger with hyped books – they raise your expectations.
Cinder is one of the few fairytale retellings I have read, but it’s a very original take on the Cinderella story. Because Cinder is a cyborg who repairs androids for a living, while also cleaning the house of her stepmother and stepsisters. Not only that, but the people are ravaged by a deadly plague, leaving no survivors. Add to that a handsome prince in the form of the future emperor, as well as an extra-terrestrial threat in the form of the Lunars (former human pioneers who’ve… evolved a bit, shall we say), and you have yourself a pretty decent mix for a thrilling story.
Despite not being as excited by the book as everyone else was, I still found it to be an entertaining read. I loved the originality of it, as well as the newness of being one of my first retellings. Iko, Cinder’s little android helper friend, was just the cutest thing ever.
“Prince Kai! Check my fan, I think I’m overheating.”
She was basically a fangirl in the form of an android and I loved her to bits.
Cinder was also a really nice protagonist to follow around. Sure, she was a bit mopey, but she also had a sense of humour, cared deeply for her stepsister Peony and Iko, and I loved the fact that she wasn’t a typical girl. Not in the obvious sense – the fact that she had wires up her entire body and had a prosthetic leg and arm – but in the sense that she was a gifted mechanic and tinkered with cars and seemed to have a permanent grease stain on her face. Her awkwardness around Prince Kai, due to her insecurities about her being a cyborg, were also really endearing.
“I’m sure I’ll feel much more grateful when I find a guy who thinks complex wiring in a girl is a turn-on.”
It could have been an amazing story, if not for the fact that I’d had everything predicted about a quarter of the way in, if that. Every twist and turn that happened, I’d already thought of. And while they were good twists and set the story for the rest of the series, I found myself disappointed that the book hadn’t managed to surprise me in any way. The story went for the obvious route, and that’s where it lost me.
I was also disappointed by the world-building, or rather the lack thereof. While I lit up a little every time the story mentioned cherry blossoms, I thought there was very little description or explanation for anything. We didn’t learn much about how this world came to be, or what things look like.
However, I’ve heard more than amazing things about the series as a whole, and I’ve been told that the sequels are better than the first one, so I’ll definitely keep reading. Despite its predictability from beginning to end, I still found it an entertaining read, and that’s all I need to keep me going.