Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Review: Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles #1)

by Marissa Meyer
Series: The Lunar Chronicles #1
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Science Fiction, Retellings
Publication date: January 3, 2012
Published by: Feiwel & Friends
Hardcover, 390 pages
My rating: 5/5 ★

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 sounded like something completely different from what I usually read. For one thing, I don't really read sci-fi; it's just not a genre that usually appeals to me. I've also never specifically sought out fairytale retellings. Unlike other people, that's never really been a selling point for me. Add to that the fact that there is a huge (and I mean huge) hype surrounding The Lunar Chronicles, and I think it's understandable that I had been hesitant to pick this book up for a long time. Would it live up to the raving reviews I had read everywhere, or was it really just not for me?

I am so so glad that I finally decided it was worth giving this book a try. Cinder did not disappoint. All the things I was sceptical about turned out to work perfectly for me. Cyborgs, androids and evil queen from the moon? Yes please!

My favorite part of the book was undoubtedly Cinder's character. She is a teenage cyborg mechanic. That sounds confusing, and it actually took me a while to figure out what exactly it means to be cyborg. (I thought this was intentionally done, but I just realized that a quick google search would've helped, as the term is cyborg actually fairly specific. But well, not really knowing was part of the fun for me!)

Cinder is very head-strong. Even though cyborgs are shunned in her society, she makes the best of it. She always stood up for herself and, most importantly, didn't blame herself for the bad things that happened to or around her. That was honestly so refreshing. I feel like even the strongest and most kick-ass female characters in YA always blame themselves for everything. But not Cinder. She always defended herself when she was unfairly accused (of literally everything) just because she was cyborg, especially by her stepmother and -sister. She knew she wasn't to blame for things like the death of loved ones, even if she was repeatedly told it was her fault. Overall, she was just the perfect heroine in my opinion.

The reason why I don't usually seek out fairytale retellings is that I expect them to be very predictable. I had always imagined that the retelling would be so close to the original tale that by knowing the original story, the retelling would pretty much be spoiled. Clearly, I didn't know what I was talking about. Knowing the story of Cinderella didn't help at all in predicting the ending of Cinder. I liked how the similarities between the two stories were obvious, while Cinder was nevertheless very distinct from Cinderella. I will say that the story in Cinder was still rather predictable. None of the plot-twists or reveals took me by surprise, and most of the theories I had formed while reading the book turned out to be true in the end. This didn't lessen my enjoyment of the story itself, but unexpected twists and turns are always a plus and would have probably made me love the book even more.

Another rather weak aspect of this book, in my opinion, was the romance. It wasn't really there. The book's focus was clearly somewhere else, and believe me, I appreciated that. The only reason I was disappointed was because I've read many times how swoon-worthy Prince Kai is, so I expected there to be a little more. But maybe that will come in the next books, and if not I can totally live with a YA series without the romance drama for a change.

Overall, Cinder was a very well written and thought out story. I'm very intrigued as to what the next books will bring and I can't wait to see how the story continues. I would recommend this book to pretty much anyone - you definitely don't have to be a fan of sci-fi to enjoy this story. 

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