Thursday, April 12, 2012

Cinder by Marissa Meyer [audiobook]

Cinderella as a cyborg? What a great premise. This unique retelling of a classic has Cinder as a mechanic - the best in the kingdom of New Beijing. When Prince Kai seeks her help to repair his android, Cinder isn't up front about being part robot. Not exactly something you want to share with a handsome prince. One third of her body is machine, the rest is flesh. The problem is cyborgs are the dredge of society and the "human" citizens of New Beijing are prejudiced and afraid of them.  Cinder's stepmother treats her like a machine with no feelings or worth while older stepsister follows in mommy dearest's footsteps. But the younger sister loves Cinder like a sister and shows kindness in small ways. Cinder doesn't know how she became this way. All she knows is that when she was 11 years old she was in an accident that killed her parents and destroyed most of her body.

Not is all well in the kingdom of New Beijing. Earth has been destroyed through nuclear wars and a plague is killing off humans. Prince Kai's father has fallen ill from the plague and is in the middle of negotiations with the aliens from Lunar. The wicked Queen wants to marry Kai and he has to bargain with her in order to keep his country from going to war. In the meantime, Cinder becomes embroiled in a government-run program that inflicts cyborgs with the plague in hopes to find a cure. But Cinder discovers that she can help her country in more than just finding a cure for the plague.

The story has great pacing and does an excellent job creating a futuristic, dysfunctional world. I love the irony of Cinderella and her cyborg foot that is too small for her. Cinder grieves for the loss of people she loves in the story and tries to do the right thing. She is brave and feisty and must learn to find her identity. There is quite a bit of violence in the book from the mind-controlling lunar queen who has people kill themselves by their own hands when they displease her to the plague being purposefully injected into subjects in order to find a cure.

I really liked this book but found it predictable listening to the audio. It is a different experience listening to a book versus reading a book and I don't notice the writing as much as when I read a story.  I wished I could have read a hard copy of the book because I don't think I would have guessed so well what would happen in the plot. The layout of the plot was similar to the Cinderella movie, Ever. In both creations Cinderella gets along with the young sister and not the older, Cinderella doesn't tell the prince the truth about herself, the older sister is jealous of Cinderella and attacks her when she finds that the prince has given Cinderella attention, a stepmother sells her so the family can have money, Cinderella rescues herself, a mentor helps Cinderella, there is a maligned group (gypsies in the movie...cyborgs in the book), a stepmother that accosts Cinderella at the ball, and a prince that rejects Cinderella. The two settings are nothing alike with the movie adaptation being historical and the book set in a futuristic world where humans have destroyed their natural resources. You have to understand that my daughter watched Ever dozens of times. If I wasn't watching it with her I was hearing it in the background. Most would think me odd for seeing similarities between the two. That aside, the uniqueness of this story kept me from putting it down - I just wished I had read the book first instead of listening to the audiotape. The ending suggests a sequel... so there is really no ending. Grrrr........

A sure-fire winner with the young adult crowd.

Reading level: young adult

4 out of 5 Smileys

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