Cinder by Marissa Meyer
The Lunar Chronicles #1
First Published: 2012
Young Adult, Fantasy
Cinder, a gifted mechanic in New Beijing, is also a cyborg. She's reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister's sudden illness. But when her life become entwined with the handsome Prince Kai's she finds herself at the center of a violent struggle between the desires of an evil queen - and a dangerous temptation.Cinder is the first book that comes to mind when anyone wants a re-telling recommendation from me. And you know what's the real kicker? I freakin' almost didn't read it. I don't know why; maybe it was because it has cyborgs in it, and I haven't read many--if any--of those. Or because it was the only book out in the series at the time and I don't usually do those. Perhaps it was just because.
Cinder is caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal. Now she must uncover secrets about her mysterious past in order to protect Earth's future.
But for whatever reason, I am eternally thankful for Goodreads Group Reads, because without them I may have never given this a chance.
Don't believe me it's that good? Well, what if I told you this book could make you cry before it even really starts? Will you believe me then that this whole creation is awesomesauce? Because it does. It manages to make you so in tune with the characters and their feelings in such a short amount of time that you cry for them.
And this book pretty much starts by saying that in this Cinderella story, not everyone gets their happily ever afters.
Although, calling this a "Cinderella story" is not quite accurate. Yes, we have the evil stepmother. Yes, we have
Forget everything you know about the story of a servant girl who desperately want to go to the ball and dance with a prince, and a fairy comes along and--well, you've seen the Disney movie, no point in rehashing everything. Cinder has very little to do with that old age tale.
To me, Cinder's is actually, surprisingly, a story of slavery. It's a story about death. It's a story about dictatorship. And it's a story about finding yourself among the wreckage. This story takes your childhood fairytale and makes it something far greater, while throwing nods to the original version here and there that are sure to put a smile on your face.
The namesake of this novel, Cinder, is also the main character. And she. is. amazing. She's smart, courageous and strong. She is someone you can fully support and root on. Someone with whom you'll fall in love for sure.
Her love interest is Prince Kai, and he's one of the more likable princes I've read of - the title Prince Charming fits him well, as would Sweet Charming lol.
As for the romance between these two? I'll be honest. I don't think there was any--not yet. Cinder and Kai are attracted to one another. They are in the process of feeling more than just friendship throughout the book. But they still haven't went passed the 'liking' stage.
However, to me there is something immensely charming about the way they're testing the water; talking, sending signals, withdrawing them... Their real romance hasn't started yet - but you can tell it will be epic once it does.
All the supporting characters, with emphasis on the fantabalous Iko, added to the story and were well rounded themselves.
Now, I've seen people argue the book could do without the Cinderella theme because it makes the book predictable. I disagree, because it only makes it predictable in areas we would've already predicted, even without the theme.
And more often than not, things develop in such an unexpected way that though you did predict she'll go there, or do that, based on Cinderella, it's almost always shocking.
The only truly predictable thing has nothing to do with the theme, and to me it rather felt like Meyer blatantly intended for it to be obvious to the reader. I never felt like the "big revelation" was supposed to be a shocking, but rather the whole scenario leading to it.
Speaking of Meyer... I may be, possibly, in love with her writing style. She made us sweat for information. There is no such thing as outright explanations and world-building in Meyer's writing. Instead, most of everything we learn is through conversations, memories, and actions. She leaves it up to us to gather the clues, trusting our intelligence. And it works. It works brilliantly.