Sunday, February 19, 2012
Putting Her Best Foot Forward: Cinder
Feiwell & Friends, 2012
*A big thanks to Page Turners Blog for supplying me with a copy of this book!*
Once upon a time, there was a girl who had a starring role in a fairy tale.
And then that fairy tale got a totally kick-ass makeover.
I almost don't even know where to begin my thoughts on this book because I'm so excited about it and the amazing potential for this series. But perhaps I should start at the beginning.
I'll admit (now shamefully) that I was a bit apprehensive when I first heard about this story. Another retelling of a fairy tale? Are YA authors starting to become like Hollywood writers who are completely running out of their own original ideas and are therefore just retelling stories we already have? But then this book started getting some serious buzz, even from other skeptics like me. I entered the Page Turners Blog's contest, happened to win a copy of this book along with gorgeous necklace by Charming Charlie, and cautiously started into this novel.
Before I knew it, I was completely hooked on this fantastic new spin on a tale we all know so well.
Cinder is the best mechanic in New Beijing, and for a very good reason - she's a cyborg, a girl who has many robotic parts enhancing her, most obviously a robotic hand and leg. Given her condition, she is technically the property of her step-mother, but she makes the best of it. She adores the younger of her two step-sisters, Peony, and she passes her days running a booth in the marketplace with quirky android Iko. It's a day like any other until two very big events happen: the handsome Prince Kai comes by and asks her to fix his android and not long after his visit, the whole market is forced to evacuate because another plague victim is spotted. Yeah, that's right, the plague. Before long, Cinder finds herself in the middle of an interplanetary struggle and learning secrets that can have a huge impact on the world's future.
Like I said, not exactly the story you remember from your childhood.
It's been a long time since I've been so delighted to be wrong about my first reaction to a book. In her debut novel, Meyer has taken this age old story and breathed new life into it. The sci-fi and futuristic twist were interesting and didn't scare someone like me who is usually a bit scared of reading science fiction. Cinder is a complex girl who is incredibly strong. She may be part robot, but she is still very much a teenage girl struggling to figure all the regular parts of growing up (not to mention trying to save her country and the planet on top of it). Prince Kai, too, is well rounded and fascinating, and I have a feeling we will see a lot of interesting things happen with him in the coming books. Secondary characters are well thought out and purposeful, the setting is brilliant (especially since it's believed that Cinderella started as a story from China involving traditional foot-binding practices), and the plot had an arc of its own while also leaving me completely anxious for the second installment in the series, due out next year.
The Lunar Chronicles are off to a fantastic start and Meyer has set up a great series. Full of smart characters, action, surprises, and rich details, Cinder mixes the past, present, and future in a captivating way that this reader throughly enjoyed.
Comments welcome and as always, happy reading!
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