Cinder

14 10 2011

(First off, apologies. I’ve been busy — I was just elected to my 4-H board, and as I get back into the swing of things life gets busier. So I decided to reward you by posting a review of an online ARC I got.)

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.

So I have never been a fan of science fiction. I don’t know why; just never been partial.

And then I found an online ARC of Cinder. It had gotten great reviews, and the premise is amazing. Cyborg Cinderella? Now that sounds impressive to me.

And so I read it.

And what is my response?

Let’s start with the first sentence:

The screw through Cinder’s arm had rusted, the engraved cross marks worn to a mangled circle.

That, in a nutshell, tells you how amazing the book is. The writing is goregous, constantly full of lyricsm and beauty. Meyer had a tendency to make her characters too formal, however. Their language seemed more attached to the past than the future, though — full of long sentences and no contractions at all. It drove me batty for a while, but I got used to it eventually.

I was unsure about the fairytale retelling aspect. When I read these kinds of books, I’ll admit that one of the first things I do is try and figure out what characters are what in the fairy tale (etc, who’s Cinderella, Prince Charming, stepsisters).

While some were obvious, most of the characters defied roles. The stepsisters were kinder, more bossy than mean; there was no true stepmother, and the prince was an all around good guy.

The characters were all adorable and cute, and at times the story seemed more mature than a middle grade — more of a young adult novel. I’d say that the book is more young adult, with harder words and more complex reasoning.

The world-building is elegant, carefully drawn through names of buisnesses and more. There is never much of an info dump, more of a quick description through dialogue and more (though it never became an info dump either). The streets are filled with robotics; the booth next to Cinder’s sells computers that can float in midair.

I’ve read several ARCs lately, and one of the questions I have asked is “Would I buy this?”

And the answer for Cinder:

HECK YES.

I plan to buy this book when it comes out. I might have read it already, but that doesn’t mean that I wouldn’t read it again (and I won’t before it’s published; my ARC expires online in a week :P).

So if you want a fun, cute, funny, adorable, sci-fi retelling that defies retellings, read Cinder.

If you don’t….um, well then.

(Shorter review than usual, but I promise to get back to posting more often. Thanks a ton.)

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