Marissa Meyer is another new author to me so I have added this to the New Author Challenge 2013 at the Literary Escapism blog.
by Marissa Meyer
Series: The Lunar Chronicles, book 1
Published by: Feiwel & Friends, 2012
Synopsis: 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.
Cinder is a cyborg…meaning parts of her aren’t human. She doesn’t really remember what happened to her, but was told she was injured in an accident that killed her parents. She was given some mechanical parts because she was so badly injured. She’s very careful to keep her nonhuman parts hidden so when the prince shows up in her repair shop she hides the fact that she has removed her foot to replace it with another foot. He believes she’s a human girl and flirts a little with her. He has brought an android for her to repair. It’s an old android, but Cinder can tell it’s important to him and she promises to do what she can to repair it.
Cinder was brought back by her foster mother’s husband from the European states, but he died very quickly from the disease which is becoming epidemic on Earth. Because he brought Cinder home, but didn’t reveal a reason for adopting her and because he became sick right after he returned to New Beijing with Cinder, Cinder’s foster mother and sisters don’t like her–though one sister is kinder to her (as in many of the Cinderella stories).
The plague which is ravaging the population comes to the market where Cinder has her repair shop when the baker across the street sickens. Anytime someone is sick androids appear to take them away to some secret place. These people are never seen again. Cinder knows the government has begun a lottery choosing who are used as guinea pigs to find a cure since they aren’t really viewed as human. Cinder fears she will “win” this lottery eventually.
My thoughts: When I first saw this book a few months ago I didn’t even read the synopsis because I was sure I didn’t want to read a take-off on Cinderella. A couple of weeks ago I did read the synopsis and immediately thought, “Well, maybe I do want to read this…a book about a cyborg, New Beijing and Lunar people…sounded good!
I downloaded it and quickly read it. I like the storyline and the way the book followed Cinderella…the wicked stepmother, stepsisters, the prince, the ball…all were there. Even the stepmother and sisters (foster mother and sisters) lord it over Cinder that they are going to the prince’s ball wearing their beautiful dresses and she’s not.
But I love how the story changed–Cinder is a mechanic and cyborg and shunned by anyone who figures out she’s a cyborg. The Lunar Queen is a new character, but certainly does fairy tales proud with her evilness! The epidemic is a new twist, too. Also the prince meets Cinder on several occasions before the ball and likes her. Actually, most of the book happens before the ball. The ending of the story doesn’t follow the original Cinderella either, but apparently Cinder shows up in the next book–Scarlet–which I haven’t read yet.
Cinder has an identity problem and inferiority problem…but with reason–people do shun her when they find out she’s a cyborg. Parts of her aren’t human and even people who like her turn against her when they find out the truth. During the course of the book she grows and becomes more self-confident…but still has difficulty taking the final step in her journey towards self-identity. By the end of the book she has her own identity and is a strong and confident young woman. I’m looking forward to seeing what happens to her in future books.