Author: Marissa Meyer
Published: January 2012
Publisher: Feiwell and Friends Book, a Macmillan imprint
Pages: Hardback, 387
Opening Lines: "The screw through Cinder's ankle had rusted, the engraved cross marks worn to a mangled circle."
Author Links: Website ♠ Twitter ♠ Fabebook
"Sixteen-year-old Cinder is considered a technological mistake by most of society and a burden by her stepmother. Being cyborg does have its benefits, though: Cinder's brain interface has given her an uncanny ability to fix things (robots, hovers, her own malfunctioning parts), making her the best mechanic in New Beijing. This reputation brings Prince Kai himself to her weekly market booth, needing her to repair a broken android before the annual ball. He jokingly calls it "a matter of national security," but Cinder suspects it's more serious than he's letting on.
"Although eager to impress the prince, Cinder's intentions are derailed when her younger sister, and only human friend, is infected with the fatal plague that has been devastating Earth for a decade. Blaming Cinder for her daughter's illness, Cinder's stepmother volunteers her body for plague research, an "honor" that no one has survived.
"But it doesn't take long for the scientists to discover something unusual about their new guinea pig. Something others would kill for."
~ Jacket copy
Thoughts: Since I first read Beauty by Robin McKinley, I have been enchanted by retellings. Fairy tales have always held a special place in my heart and will always be a comfort read. When I read about this book, my curiosity was piqued. Unfortunately, I was not able to get my hands on it right away, so I have been pining over it. After finishing a book for review, I decided to pick this book up. With the loss of my husband's grandmother and another huge crisis we're dealing with, I needed something that would bring comfort. And, of course, I return to my old love: fairy tales.
Wow. Just pure and simple, wow. There are not enough words to describe the masterwork of this book. It is simply a masterpiece and something that will stay with me for a long time. While the characters were true to the original Cinderella story, I felt that Meyer did an amazing job making them her own and adding little twists. For example, I never expected her fairy godmother! Further, being a cyborg, I wondered how it would work with her stepmother, sisters, and father. It was a brilliant idea that she was an orphan and adopted by her father.
The characters in this book were rich! I loved Iko! Even though she was an android, I really liked how Meyer was able to turn her into something more. It makes me wonder whether her personality chip was the only thing behind her uniqueness or she was growing and learning by being around Cinder. I also felt that she made Prince Kai more approachable and human. In the stories of Cinderella, the prince is always someone outside. In this, Kai was a real person with real feelings. I felt his pain when he was trying to decide how best to run his country. And Peony . . . She was a lovely, vibrant teenage girl. It was hard not to have a fondness for her.
The setting was as rich as the characters and the storytelling. Meyer did a wonderful job trying to imagine what life would be like after nuclear war, devastation, and so on. She also put a lot of thought into the technological side of things. I liked how the palace, while fully into the here and now, still retained elements from the past.
When I started this book, I had an idea of what the book might be, but I never really expected Cinderella and Anastasia. That added another layer of depth to the book, and one I would have considered. Even though it was hinted at throughout the book, I still found myself stifling a gasp when the truth finally came out!
Cinder is nothing short of magical! I wept for Cinder and her inability to cry, grieved with her, and found I needed to keep a box of tissues near by. This book will always hold a place of honour on my bookshelves and will be recommended to others!