Okay I'm pissed off. Just had a whole review almost finished and safari quit. Pfft! This one will be shorter because now I'm pressed for time.
Cinder is an awesome book. Fans of both the Hunger Games and The Selection are going to wet themselves over this one. It's a Fairytale and yet nothing like it's namesake Fairytale, short of a significant foot, an interested prince and a crappy step-family.
To quote Tyra Banks, this book is what I'd call ugly pretty.
There is no glamour to our heroine and it's endearing because of it. Okay the final scenes pissed me off a little because it's like : 'Woman! Just a touch of lipgloss? A shower perhaps? Napi-San the gloves?????!!!' But then again there's a 'beauty is only skin deep' theme going on here so that's just my inner diva throwing a trendy-tanty when I should be rising above.
Don't read this expecting 'hearts and flowers' because there is a lot of suffering and shitty goings-on that will frustrate some. I wouldn't say pack away your HEA expectations-but shelve them or you will go mad waiting for the whole fairy godmother thing. (*Tiny Spoiler alert-there is no pumpkin or godmother but a sassy robot named IKO and what sounded like a VW bug circa '99 to me.)
A lot of readers (especially the adults) are going to say this in unrealistic but to them I say, if you're looking for realistic, put down the book with the robot high heel on the cover and head over to Grisham. It's YA-it's written for the boy-crazy, note-passing, selfie-taking YOUNG adults and is supposed to be a cheap thrill loaded with sentiment, and Cinder delivers on this. In fact the protagonist herself is a terrific example of what a 16 year old girl is really like-Both hopeful and pessimistic, self-loathing, well-meaning and ready to pitch a fit if you try to donate her to medical research. She can be very frustrating and make some decisions that will make you want to stomp on her robot foot but that's what 16 year old girls do.
I did not want to put it down. I am so happy to be all excited over a series again. I'd be reading the sequel now if not for the other two less-than-awesome books I'm still trying to get through. This is great dystopian and there's a terrific mix of magic, mechanical and mayhem in this post-war world that sets it apart from the others I've read. The good-guys are likeable, the bad guys are dreadful and quite terrifying, and the grey area characters are exactly that-Grey. They could go either way and do.
I'm not a sci-fi fan. In fact, I kind of hate it-I always thought of it as an unromantic genre, far removed from my dreams of mermaids and Dread Pirate Roberts' BUT I liked the angle this writer came from. I found Cinder's genetic/technical make-up fascinating, especially when the two sides of her come together. The world building is similar in creative overdose the way The Hunger games is, which is a GREAT thing. But it's not set in America *Dramatic gasp* but 'New Beijing' and the bad guys are from the MOON. Isn't that neat? Aren't you just foaming at the mouth to read it now? I was! Nothing against Dystopian American societies-they're fantastic to read about-but how fun to swim over to Asia and check out how they're going for once! They're almost always painted as the bad guys in world war situations so it's lovely to be able to empathise with them! Rest assured however, for those of you who find it hard to connect with non-westernised writing, this book is not drowned in Eastern culture. It seems that every country remaining has lost it's specific identity which is kind of nice. If not for the Lunars, you'd think that this dystopian world would have found a way to thrive as one without the oppression of religion or cultural line-crossing guards. And maybe they will if they take the lunars out, and then get over their cyborg racism.
Yes alas, poor Cinder is at the bottom of the social barrel because she is half robot. Among other things. And I want to pat the author on the back for giving amputees a heroine who could possibly kick some inter-stellar ass. I'm still pissed at THG movie for not portraying Peeta with a prosthetic limb-amputees need fictional role models too! Though it weirded me out at first that she had robot parts-I snapped out of it a few pages in when i realised her soul was intact, and would greatly encourage others to do the same!
Now Cinder isn't perfect. It's full of exciting plot twists that unfortunately, the author gives away bluntly and fairly early in. Or maybe that was just me-it's pretty hard to sneak a plot twist by a writer-but there was one sentence a chapter or so in that made me go : 'Oh MAN! Really? You couldn't have rephrased that so I'd be a LITTLE surprised later?' And lo and behold I was right and it's basically the crux of the story too so that was a let-down. I think there are a bit of showing vs telling issues here-the author goes into great detail when she shouldn't, and vagues out on you when you need a bit more picture painting. One or two things caught me by surprise but unfortunately, they were shitty things I would rather have not happened.
The ending is a bit chaotic too-at one point I had no idea what was going on and re-reading didn't clear much up, and there's a cliffie, but the cliffie thing is easy to spot a few chapters back. It's obvious that it's going to be quite a long epic story so if you hate cliffhangers and pick this up before the next book is released, more fool you, lol.
I'm going to give Cinder a solid 4 starts with the potential to be a 6 star series. It's a good mix of drama versus fantasy versus heart-breaking and will move you if you go with it. In fact, if the series has a happy ending it will probably surpass THG for me :) Well done Marissa Meyer!