by Marissa Meyer5 out of 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 is a cyborg living in New Beijing. By their laws she is the property of her step-mother, and all she can do is keep her head down and maintain her mechanic stall, knowing that things can't get much worse. Until a Prince comes into the picture.
I've been meaning to read this ever since I joined Goodreads, because what's not to like - a spin on the Cinderella story with cyborgs and a dystopian future. And I did enjoy it, maybe not in a backflips-of-awesomeness way; but definitely in a feel-good way.
The world may have progressed to a place where the countries have united in peace, and technology has advanced to the point where lives can be saved with mechanical additions. But the peaceful world is sitting beneath the hungry gaze of the Lunars, who play with the earthlings and take advantage of their fear of war.
And the people that are "saved" by becoming cyborgs - although they retain all their memories, personality and morals; they are no longer treated as equals. They are second-class citizens, turned into the property of their family. They can be sold, donated to research, etc.
Cinder feels little attachment to her step-mother and elder step-sister. It is only her younger step-sister Peony that treats her as something more than a household appliance and source of income. Their relationship is really quite sweet, and all that keeps Cinder staying with an otherwise miserable family life.
Prince Kai is used to his adoring fans, they are a pleasant distraction from the darker side of life. His dying father, and a war with the Lunar people which, despite negotiations, becomes increasingly unavoidable.
When he meets Cinder, I got the feeling that yes, there was a romantic aspect to it all, but all Kai wants is a friend with whom he can be completely honest with.
I loved the hints and references to the Cinderella original, and the twists that they put in. The ball scene with the "carriage" and dress were quite amusing!
Not-so-good, but not exactly bad - you can see the final twists coming from the very beginning.
Building up the background information is done in a smooth manner, with interesting stories and theories; but it does pretty much spell out what is going to happen. Absolutely no shock-factor, but a very pleasant feeling when Cinder finally catches on to a few truths.
This is a series that I will definitely be continuing with.