Cinder by Marissa Meyer is a book that has been on my radar since April, when Marissa participated in Fairy Tale Fortnight (linked for any of you who missed it). And I'll be honest, I spent a long time going back and forth on where or not I was really interested in this one. I was always interested, because it's a fairy tale retelling, and that always grabs by attention. But this is a futuristic Cinderella, a Cinderella who is a cyborg. I haven't read a lot of science fiction, and I'm always a little bit wary of it. So I went back and forth between — Ya, I'm excited (shrug, I guess) and Yes! Of course I'm excited!
And then I read the book.
No more debates for me! This book was so amazing. It freaking rocked my face! Meyer manages to take the Cinderella story and turn it into something new and unique and futuristic and different while still keeping that magical feel of a fairy tale.
Cinder is a great character. She's confused about her role in the world, because according to the rules and laws of their world, being a cyborg makes her somewhere between a second class citizen and a possession. So she knows that, according to the laws & prejudices of her world, she is less than human. But other than the metal in her hand and leg and a few 'upgrades' here and there, she feels human. And how do you reconcile something like that?! Feeling like a person but being treated as a machine. My heart so went out to Cinder, because that would be so hard!
I was also really excited, because we get to see some chapters narrated by Prince Kai. It made him more real to me, made him a much stronger character, and it gave me a reason to root for him. Kai is in a terrible position because of the story's villain — the proverbial rock and a hard place — and no matter what decision he makes, it's going to end badly. And we get to see him struggle over that. He desperately wants to do right by his people, but how can you really do right, when no matter what choice you make, bad things will follow. There is bad, and then less bad, but that might lead to worse. Hearing Kai's narration takes him from Love Interest to Real Character. I love seeing a love interest who is developed beyond why they are, or should be, in love with the main character.
The villains of this story are the Lunar's — The Moon People. And boy — are they a villain worth reading about. Creepy, bad nasties. And that's all I'm going to say about that. (Mostly, because in early January, I'm part of the Cinder blog tour and Marissa is going to give me a whole post about them to share:) )
I will say that the story was, to me, more than a little predictable. I had most of the major plot points figured out rather early on in the story, and only some of those were because it is a retelling. I've mentioned this before, but I am very forgiving of predictability in my fairy tale retellings. Very forgiving. So being able to predict parts of the story didn't bother me at all. Because watching the characters get their on their own, being there as they learned their secrets made it so worth while. Meyer is a talented writer. She's created characters I adore and want to get to know better and she placed them in this situation where they have to act and become strong or do nothing, and then she lets them choose! There were honestly moments when I felt like they were real people making their own decisions.
This is a book that has something for everyone. The threads of the original fairy tale are woven so perfectly into the story that you can feel the fairy tale but it isn't as blatant as other retellings. It is part fantasy, part science fiction, full or magic and mystery and I am so in love with this book. I'm probably not doing the book justice, but believe me when I say it is awesome. I am already eager for the remaining books in the series. I can't wait to see the end of Cinder's story, as well as meet the new fairy tale characters and watch their stories intertwine. Meyer is definitely an author I'm going to keep my eye on, and I highly suggest you do the same. If you haven't read this one yet, I highly recommend you work on remedying that as soon as possible. This is a story it would be a shame to miss.