She was a cyborg, and she would never go to a ball.
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 by Marissa Meyer sat on my shelf for many, many years. Re-starting this book, I can see why I stopped the first time. The beginning is a little slow, a little weak. I wasn’t really in love with the characters or the story or the writing style. Cinder, at first seemed a little, well, robotic and monotone. At one point I was pretty disappointed in her hasty generalization of the Lunars, considering she herself isn’t “normal” and she doesn’t fulfill the stereotypes of her kind. Prince Kai was an okay guy, but he didn’t win me over in any grand style. The one bright light for me was Dr. Erland who was just spectacular and hilarious.
One thing I liked is that the love interest here doesn’t dominate the story. It’s a significant factor but the story could survive without it. I have to admit though, I don’t really feel the connection or attraction between Kai and Cinder. Though we get certain chapters in his perspective, I couldn’t really understand what it was about Cinder that interested him. The same for Cinder’s standpoint. Other than the infatuation from seeing him afar (like in Peony) and some physical characteristics she liked, I couldn’t really see it. As someone who really loves the relationships (especially romantic ones) in a story, this was a little disappointing. There was a point for potential fangirling, but I couldn’t enjoy it because at the same time, I was cringing in embarrassment and anxiety over the circumstances the moment was happening with and boy was that frustrating!
It took around 200 pages for me to finally get invested in the story. There were big revelations and significant events happening, and the stakes for everything – the Commonwealth, Cinder, her relationship with Kai – just skyrocketed. I got emotionally invested. Really emotionally invested. Here’s an exchange that happened between me and my sister while I was reading.
*Sitting in the car with older sister, reading Cinder. Things are happening.*
Me: *gasp!* Oh no no no. Kai, damnit!
Sister: *glares harder*
Me: *sigh* Cinderrrrrrrr!
Sister: Could you not?
Me: But she- the guy she’s – but, things!!!
Sister: *incinerates me with her glare*
– Scene –
The end just completely did it for me. Everything was just yes, yes, yes! I was in the moment and Cinder was awesome as heck, and everything just came together so very beautifully. The ending was full of action and information reveals and the pace of everything was just heightened to a point where I had to focus on breathing. Seriously. The end was definitely a lot stronger than the beginning.
Overall, I really liked this book, even though there were certain things that didn’t quite satisfy me. I will definitely be continuing with the rest of the series because a) the ending was just fantastic and b) Queen Levana seems kind of awesome, in a villainous way.