Author: Marissa Meyer
Publisher: Feiwel and Friends (a Macmillan imprint)
Release Date: January 3, 2012
Number of Pages: 400
Source of Book: ARC from NCTE Convention
Author's Website: marissameyer.livejournal.com
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. . . .I liked CINDER a lot - it was one of those books that kept me turning pages because of the well-paced plot and I didn't want to stop reading it. It was a little predictable, but also exciting. There were parts I thought I knew what was going to happen, and they ended up a little different, but overall I felt like I knew many of the big things were going to happen before they occurred. Now, because this is a retelling so has a basic structure of familiar things sI would look for, that's to be expected, but I wanted more of the big moments to be more a surprise to me. However, I still really enjoyed reading it, and can see that this would actually be good for my middle school students.
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.
In this thrilling debut young adult novel, the first of a quartet, Marissa Meyer introduces readers to an unforgettable heroine and a masterfully crafted new world that’s enthralling.
This book is full of political intrigue, suspense, action, and not knowing what would happen next or how things would work out. There is an intergalactic battle brewing and it adds another whole element to the tension of the story beyond just what is going to happen to Cinder. There was strong world-building as I felt as if I was there with the characters and understood what was happening and why they were dealing with the things they were, but it wasn't overly drawn out with lengthy sections for exposition. It was worked right in and pieces were slowly revealed to the reader as the characters learned them. There are androids and cyborgs and netscreens and hovercrafts and all kinds of technological advancements which add a great science-fiction element to the story as well.
One of my favorite parts of the book was the characters. Cinder is just a warm-hearted character - I was really pulling for her to make it through all of her difficulties. I liked her and I wanted her to come out on top in the end. She is kind and caring even though she has not received this same treatment from others in her life. She is brave, but she has no idea how brave until she is faced with some difficult choices, and realizes what she would and can do to help save people. She is finding her strength throughout this book, and she does it all with an integrity of character that is admirable. She may not be physically 100% human, but that doesn't mean that she doesn't have the feeling and thoughts of one (contrary to what some might believe).
There were some great secondary characters (Peony, Ito, Kai) who were endearing as well and made it possible to believe that Cinder would have the will to get through some of the stuff she's going through. And, there are also the requisite evil characters who I really hated (as I was supposed to). Prince Kai is actually my favorite character and he has the start of a sweet romance going on, but he has a whole lot of other issues to deal with as well. I have to say that I would have liked even more of Kai; although, the third person writing style gives us a lot of insight into his character and feelings, but mostly from Cinder's perspective. Kai is strong and sweet and young and looking for something to help him through as he is forced to grow up really fast, and I was definitely supporting him throughout.
The ending was intense...I'm not sure where this story could go next. It was previewed a little bit in the final conversation, but I'm still not sure what to expect from the second book. I'm glad this is going to be a quartet of books, but can't believe that means we'll have to wait until 2015 to get the end of the story! I will definitely be picking up the rest of the books though to see what happens with Cinder and Kai next!