“Cinder by Marissa Meyer (The Lunar Chronicles: Book 1)
I loved this book. I was one of the best I've read in the last year (and I read a lot of books in a year).
At first I didn't get the whole cover thing. Yea, it's a book called Cinder, but it also has this cool graphic that's sort of an x-ray overlay showing the mechanical parts inside what's otherwise a beautiful lady's foot, wearing a glossy red stiletto. It was the picture that attracted me, not the title, and I didn't even read the blurb on the back. Then a few pages into the story, this prince shows up in disguise, the pieces clicked and I mentally groaned: prince, cover with the beautiful foot and shoe (slipper), Cinder(ella)????
Damn. I almost stopped reading right then and there. "What's up with all these television shows, movies, and fricking books trying to do new takes on existing fairytales???" I asked myself. The only thing that kept me from putting the reader down that moment, besides the deeply seated personality flaw that makes me read to the end of anything I start, was my level of curiosity.
The book opens with Cinder, who's some kind of mechanic that does android repair in an open air market in New Beijing, replacing her own foot (sic). Apparently her old appendage was low quality and too small for her body size and she's just spent all her savings buying a replacement. When the prince shows up in disguise seeking the famous android mechanic Linh Cinder so he can fix a broken droid that no one seems able to repair, the moment is priceless. Cinder is flustered, jumps up, and almost falls over because she's forgotten that she hasn't yet attached the new foot. The prince is flustered because she is the famous mechanic. We already know that cyborgs are treated as second class citizens by this point, so Cinder is desperately and discreetly checking to make sure that all her not human bits are hidden. She's 17 and has this huge grease spot on her forehead and he's 18 ½ and heir to the largest country in the world, and they are both too cute.
I should mention at this point that yes, this book will get the dreaded and revered Young Adult billing pasted all over it. Yes, the protagonist is a late teen girl. No, there isn't any cursing or sex. Yes, there is some young love action happening at various points in the story. And finally, yes, if you let that stop you from at least giving the book a try, then you really are the idiot that your mean third grade English teacher called you.
It's just a great story. Put away what you know about Cinderella for now, and put away that flash you just had of the hot terminator chick from T3 saying, "That's my shoe," as her arm transforms into some bad assed laser ray that she then uses to blast the prince…ok, maybe that's just me.
This is simply a great story. The world building is timeless, elegant, and non-intrusive, with none of that hard core Sci-Fi feel that you get with some books. The reimagining of the Cinderella story is amazingly original. The characters are fresh with tenderness at the most unexpected of times. You have androids with flawed personality chips so they think they are human, a slightly mad scientist, an evil adopted mom, a royal ball, an old orange car, a cyborg Cinderella, a prince facing a world crisis and trying to find a cure for a plague that's claiming the lives of thousands, an evil queen who lives on the Moon with her army and who can do magic. The list goes on and on but alas, now it's time for the bad news.
Did you see what I had up at the top of this review? The whole, "The Lunar Chronicles: Book 1" part. BOOK ONE!!! It came out three months ago and book 2 of 4 isn't due out for a year. Then one in 2014, one in 2015…you get the gist. The ending of Cinder wasn't so that I actually threw the iPad…but let's just say that it's a good thing that Ms. Author wasn't sitting there at the table in Urban BBQ with me. We would have had words.
I recommend this book to any lover of stories like me.