Sunday 9 February 2014

Book Review: Cinder by Melissa Meyer

Title: Cinder
Author: Marissa Meyer
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Published: January 3rd 2012
Pages: 387

Goodreads Synopsis:

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.

If you haven't guessed already I am a huge fan of re-tellings. This stems from my University days when I studied Angela Carter's "The Bloody Chamber", which is basically a re-telling of fairytales and legends such as Little Red Riding Hood, Puss-in-Boots, Bluebeard and Beauty and the Beast. It is more suited towards adults as it is quite dark and violent. Cinder is one of those books that you hear about EVERYWHERE, and when I heard it was a re-telling of Cinderella with cyborgs I was incredibly intrigued. I was looking for something that was different and not your everyday YA book and Cinder did not disappoint me there.

Lately, I have been disliking the female protagonists in the books I have been reading. They are usually far too reliant on male characters or are spoilt/pathetic/shallow etc. Thankfully Cinder was none of these things. I really liked the character of Cinder as she was strong and independent. She wasn't the usual YA protagonist that swoons every time she sees her crush. When she first meets him, she is shocked and clearly really excited (not only is he her crush but he also happens to be famous, well a Prince). Cinder sticks to her guns and her motivations are not selfish. Her actions do not revolve around Prince Kai but more so what she knows is the right thing to do. She makes level headed decisions and doesn't lose her mind because of her crush on the Prince.

This brings me on to the romance. Being a YA book and a re-telling of Cinder there is obviously going to be a romance, however, this one thankfully did not overshadow the plot line of the story. THANKFULLY. Now, the romance was a little rushed but it was not the be all and end all and, in fact, even though the feelings Cinder and Kai had for each other progressed very quickly, the romance itself didn't. Hallelujah, extra points for that.

Now, while I really enjoyed the character of Cinder I was not too fond of Prince Kai. Now don't get me wrong he seems like a nice guy but I guess that is the problem, he seemed too nice. A Prince who has no notions of grandeur, thinks only of his people, etc. seems too good to be true. He was a little too boring for my liking. I loved the character of Iko. She was quirky and fun and basically the perfect sidekick for Cinder, who is far too serious. The Lunars were also incredibly interesting characters with the Queen of the Lunars playing the perfect antagonist. 

One tiny little aspect I had a problem with was the setting. This story was set in New Beijing, which I was excited for as not many books are set in such locations. Unfortunately, this book, literally, could have been anywhere. To be honest I kept imagining the place like an American city (why American? Probably because most of the books I read and tv series I watch are set in America). It was only when the words New Beijing were mentioned would I remember that this was actually meant to be an Asian city - so quite different to what I was imagining. There was only the odd reference to Asian like buildings. I would have liked this book to have been more firmly rooted in Asian culture, so Asian clothing, buildings, streets, customs etc. However, this wasn't really a major problem for me, but if you are looking for an Asian setting, this book will probably not be for you.

I thoroughly enjoyed the plot line and found it so refreshing from what I usually read. This is my first cyborg read and I would definitely pick up more after reading this. This was a really enjoyable read for me and so I give it:

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