ETA: Macmillan Audio has kindly allowed me to post an excerpt from the Cinder audiobook to this blog! The link is here.
Title: Cinder (Click to add to your Goodreads!)
Author: Marissa Meyer
Maturity Level: YA. Some disturbing imagery and mild language, along with the usual sci-fi trappings.
You May Like This Book if: you enjoy science fiction, Fullmetal Alchemist (there are definitely a few shoutouts in here), and fairy tales.
You May NOT Like This Book if: you expect it to closely follow the format of the original fairy tale.
Linh Cinder lives in a pretty bleak world. As a cyborg in the predominantly human New Beijing, she is shunned and hated. A deadly disease is sweeping the land, wiping people out in droves, and Earth is on the brink of war with the ruthless, extremely powerful Lunars. Cinder’s only saving grace is her skill as a mechanic, and when she is contracted by the crown prince Kai himself, she falls into a terrifying political melee—and possibly, in love with the young prince.
My biggest issue with this book is that the balance between the fairy tale and the sci-fi aspect is kind of off. Don’t get me wrong, I love sci-fi—but I went into this expecting a fairy-tale retelling with sci-fi elements, as opposed to a sci-fi with fairy tale elements. Also, the world-building could use some work. I counted at least three or four different cultures that Meyer seemed to be trying to meld into the unifying society of New Beijing, but for some reason they just kind of clashed.
Wow, reading that last paragraph, you would think I really didn’t like this book. The thing is, I really DID like it for many reasons: the plague aspect was handled really well, I really liked Cinder as an MC, etc, etc. The storytelling definitely has a cinematic edge to it—I would not be surprised to see this one made into a movie in the next five years. However, the issues I outlined above did seriously detract from the story, merely because I found them jarring and somewhat annoying.
Overall, I thought this was a pretty solid sci-fi book, though it did have some issues. I was a little nervous when I discovered that this is meant to be the first in a quartet— I thought that minus the cliffie ending it could have easily stood just fine on its own—but I will definitely pick up Scarlet when it hits shelves in 2013. J
- The plague, obviously modeled off of the sweep of the Black Death through Europe. Very well done.
- Cinder. I thought she was a badass, and who doesn’t love a cyborg?
- Prince Kai
- Dr. Erland as the fairy godmother.
- The Lunars are weak conceptually.
- Occasional unnecessary over-description.
- I’m not sure if this should be a quartet.
- Melding of cultures in New Beijing is kind of awkward and heavy-handed.
Favorite Scene (s)
- pg 349-onward. Love this as a “ball scene”.
Star Rating on Goodreads: 3.5 stars, rounded up for GR.
Final Grade: B. Nice read, but had some issues that I simply couldn’t ignore.