by Marissa Meyer
Published: Feiwel & Friends
Sold by: Macmillan
Digital edition (January 3, 2012)
Genre: Science Fiction/YA Fiction ???
Source: own book
I know that I am late to the boat on this book. I kept seeing great reviews and was interested, but honestly the cover kept putting me off. I finally decided to bite the bullet and downloaded the chapter 1-5 freebee on Amazon and started reading, mostly to avoid doing the non-fiction reading that I was supposed to be doing (oops!). After reading the teaser I was hooked.
A short introduction to the story: The protagonist is Cinder, a mechanic and a cyborg. Because she is a cyborg, and adopted, she is a second-class citizen and for all purposes is basically owned by her adoptive mother. She works in a street market in New Beijing repairing machines to raise money for her family (which seems to be living outside of their means). There she meets Prince Kai, who needs his android repaired. We also learn that a deadly plague which has been decimating other areas and is now moving into the city. The story is a futuristic re-framing of the traditional Cinderella story and manages to have a very fresh, interesting take.
Pros: The story is very fast paced and moves along quickly. I didn't even realize that it was 400 pages long until I looked it up after finishing the book. The pages just flew by. On there other hand, there were certain aspects that dragged a little bit. I mean we already knew from the framing device who Cinder was going to turn out to be (I don't think this counts as a spoiler - the whole story just screamed this). I wonder if the story would have been even stronger if there was a bit less dependence on the framing so developments might have been a bit more of a surprise ? On the other hand, a lot of the fun of reading the story was seeing how the author dealt with the classic Cinderella tropes.
Cons: The cover still bugs the heck out of me. Yes it is eye-catching and quite attractive in its own way, but it doesn't connect to the story at all! The story is set in New Beijing with street markets, the naming structure, and dresses that sound more like kimonos than anything else due to the description of the sleeves.
That shoe doesn't seem to have anything to do with what was being described in the story and it actively interfered with my ability to envision the world of the story. It is just wrong.
This also leads me to the biggest issue I was having with the book - kudos to the author for choosing to set the story in a futuristic China, but I never really felt that in the story. There were some thing that were vaguely oriental but it never really went past that. The world building was very uneven.
And the ending - ARGH! Sorry, I do in fact live under a rock, so I didn't realize that the book wasn't going to end so much as simply stop. Yeah, yeah so now I have get book two and book three comes out next month, but if that book ends the same way it is going to be a long wait to book four in 2015.
Overall: I really enjoyed Cinder. Based on the cover and location in the book store (YA fiction) it is normally not something I would have picked up, but I am glad that I did. I will definitely be picking up the next book in the series Scarlett and will probably jump on Cress as soon as it show up in the store. Four nice sharp happy claws.