Cinder by Marissa Meyer
Cinder is the best mechanic in New Beijing, so it is natural that the prince would bring his broken android to her for repair. What he doesn’t know is that Cinder herself is also an android. She is owned by her cruel stepmother, who uses Cinder to bring in the income for the entire household. As a plague ravages Earth, the world is also under threat from above as the Lunar queen arrives to pressure the prince into marriage. As the plague reaches her own family, Cinder is given away to become a test subject. This brings her into direct contact again with the prince and also gives her new information about her unknown past. It’s a past that may just be the key to the entire planet’s safety.
This is a glorious melding of science fiction and fairy tale where androids and Cinderella mash up. It is the strength of the story itself that works well here. The blend makes the book compulsively readable with the science fiction giving a grittiness to the expected fairy tale story. At the same time, one looks for the fairy tale components and how they are reinterpreted. The entire concept works brilliantly.
The middle of the novel does have some pacing issues. While the reader knows Cinder’s secret past before Cinder does, that knowledge contributes to the slowing of the novel. There is also a pivotal plot point that is set aside what seems to be a very long time, further slowing the pace.
Cinder is a dynamic heroine who is notably human and caring. She is strong, but beyond that is also reassuringly sometimes clumsy and confused. The reworking of some of the characters of the fairy tale, including one of the step sisters works well. While the book follows the arc of the Cinderella story, Meyer also inserts new facets that fill the tale with surprises for the reader.
A riveting book that features a strong heroine and a brilliant storyline, this book will be enjoyed by dystopian and romance fans alike. Appropriate for ages 13-17.
Reviewed from copy received from Feiwel & Friends.
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