Author: Marissa Meyer
Length: 387 pages
Cinder is a retelling of the classic Cinderella story; it took an old fairy tale and made it brilliant. Linh Cinder is a talented mechanic, and a cyborg. She lives in New Beijing, where a deadly plague runs rampant, and cyborgs are drafted to be used as test subjects in the search for a cure. At the same time, Lunars, the cruel race of people who live on the moon, constantly threaten the Earth with war. When Cinder meets Prince Kai at the marketplace, her life suddenly gets a lot more interesting.
First let's look at Cinder's family. I found it interesting that one of the stepsisters, Peony, is actually nice to Cinder. The other sister, and the stepmother, however, are just as you'd expect in a Cinderella tale, only worse. I swear, my heart rate would actually rise when I read scenes with Adri, Cinder's guardian. She was just so AWFUL. Like, painfully so.
I love how this book added so much more to the classic tale. The fact that Cinder is a cyborg in a society that treats cyborgs as sub-human, provide a great framework for Cinder's horrible mistreatment by her "family". The plague and the threat of war with the Lunars provides the opportunity for Kai to have some nice character development, taking him way beyond the nameless Prince Charming. But don't worry, he's still totally charming. :)
The one sub-plot that I found weird was the whole thing with the car. I guess it was supposed to be a kind of pumpkin coach metaphor? It just seemed weird to me that Cinder has all these important things to be doing, yet she still spends time trying to fix a car in hopes of escaping. I mean, I get that she wanted to escape, but seriously, can't you wait a little longer and deal with the immediate crisises first?! But in the end I was for the most part pleased with the decisions everyone made, so it's all good.
Speaking of the ending (don't worry, no spoilers!), oh my goodness why would you write this ending and then make me wait for the second book?! No fair. And the expected publication date of book 2, Scarlet, is 2013 (what month? That makes a big difference!). This is why I hate starting brand new series!! I have zero patience.
Full disclosure: Free copy received from the publisher.