Once upon a time, in New Beijing, among humans and androids, lived a cyborg girl named Cinder. Not exactly a loved member of her family, Cinder pays her keep by working as a mechanic in the marketplace, fixing anything that needs to be fixed.
That’s how she meets Prince Kai, prince of the New Commonwealth one day, as he begs Cinder to fix his trusty android. Cinder finds herself liking Prince Kai more and more, but must put her own interests to the side when her youngest stepsister contracts the deadly plague, a disease that has no cure in this modern world.
In attempts to find a cure for her stepsister, Cinder becomes tangled up in a political and intergalactic war, one that has been going on between the Earthens and the Lunars for centuries, risking not only her life…but her heart too.
What do you think you’d get when you mix YA, fairytales sci-fi, romance, and a bit of anime? It sounds like a recipe for disaster, I admit, but somehow Meyer fused together all this weird and different genres to make one very cool story.
When I first heard of Cinder, the first thing I learned about it was that it was sort of influenced by Sailor Moon. If you don’t know who or what Sailor Moon is, what were you doing with your childhood?! Okay, I kid, but I really loved the show. In addition to waving Barbies around, I spent my childhood trying to kick evil butt like Sailor Moon. Given my fond memories of the show, I put this book on hold right away and couldn’t wait to get it.
When I got it, even I couldn’t help but be sceptical of it; I’m not the biggest fan of cyborgs and sci-fi and some of the big reviewers on Goodreads didn’t seem to like it so much. So I went in with somewhat low expectations. And then happened to fall in love with the story.
Cinder is a very real. Yes, she is a cyborg, but she’s very likeable and sweet. She tries her best to appease her stepmother, but doesn’t become a doormat of niceness either. She genuinely loves her youngest stepsister, and tries all she can to find a cure for the mysterious plague she’s infected with. She doesn’t let her stepmother abuse her either, as a damsel in distress, but instead decides to run away, when it becomes clear she has no place in her stepmother’s heart or home.
I loved the world of New Beijing that Meyer created. It was interesting to read about this new world, a mix of humans, androids, and cyborgs and new class structures that have developed. Luckily, there wasn’t too many sci-fi elements involved in the story; they all made sense and added to the narrative, instead of bogging it down.
Prince Kai is also awesome. He’s no dark, broody, mysterious hero, but a prince who’s open, honest, and trying to do the best for his kingdom, even if he has to sell himself by marrying the evil Lunar queen in the process. The romance was also cute, with real feelings and real interactions, and wasn’t just based on lust or attraction. I was kinda hoping he would transform into a masked vigilante, but Meyer didn’t indulge my fantasies there.
I really enjoyed the concept of Earthens and Lunars, but would have really liked to learn a bit more about; it didn’t really bug me, its more of a I-wish-there-was-more type thing.
The ending is what pegged the rating of this book down for me. It felt rushed and like all these elements just sort of smacked together to create this big explosion. There’s a ball (duh) and that’s when everything just sort of starts happening quickly, so quickly that I was a bit confused. The ending was also very predictable. I think its a combination of being a Sailor Moon fan and also the heavy hints that were thrown in the readers face throughout the text. The ending is abrupt, and considering how the next book in the series is about a completely different fairytale character, I’m not sure if we’ll know how Cinder’s story is resolved.
Despite all that, I still really enjoyed it and can’t wait for the next in the series!
So for that: 4.5/5.
Thanks for reading,