About the book:
Author: Marissa Meyer
Publisher: Square Fish, Macmillan Publishers
Publish date: January 3, 2012 first ed, January 8, 2013 second ed
Pages: 448 (ebook pages can be different)
Genres: Young adult/Romance/Science Fiction/dystopian
Cinder, a teenage cyborg, recalls nothing about her life before age 11. Now she lives with her wicked stepmother and two step sisters who blame her for their father’s demise. An out break of disease called leucosis has swept the city of New Beijing, and being a mechanic, Cinder works right in the center of the city.As a Cyborg, Cinder is universally hated and the thing she worries the most is the Draft: in which Cyborgs are enlisted by the government to become test subjects to find the treatment for the disease and no Cyborg has ever endured it. Unluckily for Cinder, her dear step sister Peony catches the disease the same day that her services as a mechanic are requisite by charming Prince Kai. Both happenings set in motion a chain of events in which she find out the truth about her own blood and finds herself at the mid point of political conspiracies with the awful, jingoist’s lunar people.
According to the book, Cinder has different yet inter connected threads. On one hand, there is Cinder and her family life, her problems at being despised and abused by her step family which in this novel are further complexes by the fact that she is a Cyborg in a world that does consider them as equally beings to humans. On the other hand, there is the world in the prospect and the plague, the pressure of the politics between the Earth and the Moon and its lunar people and their Queen. All of this combines in a way to build Cinder’s internal and external struggle and I thought all was really well done particularly with respects to the world-building and the fairy tale cusp. Although the Cinderella elements are almost minor to the story, I thought they were well handled by the author and it was amusing how certain parts of the tale were combined differently here (like the shoe, the carriage, etc.). In fact, this was so noticeable that I think this was done on purpose. To me, it made it all the more exciting to follow Cinder through the encounters she was going through.
That said, whereas I thought these basics to be well done, and the world-building to be justly developed, the same can’t be said about the certain situation of this story. The story is set in a place called New Beijing and for all intentions and purposes everything sounds Chinese and it appears that everything should be Chinese but there is never a clear portrayal of its people, its places, and its culture. It is a possibly cool, different setting that is totally under-developed to the point where I doubted what was the point? It was not a deal-breaker because I really enjoyed everything else but it was quite provoking.
It also needs to be said that Cinder is leading in a new series so although this first book shadows the story of Cinderella, I consider this fairy tale part is mostly over now. It will be exciting to see how the story advances.
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