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.
I have been DESPERATELY wanting this book since I read the description, so imagine my joy when I saw it sitting harmlessly on the "new" shelf at my local library. I of course grabbed it, and the proceeded to read it - all 300+ pages - in a few hours. Seriously, this book should be the definition of UNPUTDOWNABLE.
The plot was seriously amazing. Think Cinderella, and then add humanoid aliens and androids and cyborgs. Got that? Now think a total veer off from the old fairy tale, made oh-so-much-better. With a nice step-sister, and a step-mother you felt bad for even as you hated, a bunch of AMAZING twists that you never saw coming (well, I may or may not have a tendency to read the end first, so yeah I saw it coming...but if I hadn't cheated I wouldn't have). However, no matter how far it got from the original story, there were still definite points that you could reckognize from the original fairy-tale.
And then there were the characters. I'll admit I was a little worried about Prince Kai - I read a review somewhere where the reviewer said he wasn't a good character. Well, I must say, I don't agree. I found him very likable. He was a good ruler, even when faced with the fact that Cinder was - well, I'm not going to tell you because that would spoil it! And on the topic of Cinder, I really liked her. She was a strong character. At times I wanted to yell at her ("Tell him you're a cyborg!!!!!!!!!") but I have to say that I can see why she didn't. My least favorite character had to be the Queen of Luna - and not because she was evil. She just didn't have as much character growth or backstory. Of course, we may see more of that in the next few books.
The setting of this book was also stupendous. It took place in "New Beijing", a monarchy taking place years and years in the future, one hundred and twenty six years after World War Four!!! It almost felt like it took place a long time ago, if it hadn't been for all of the androids. And then someone would say something that would be so out of place (more fit for this century), and yet fit perfectly. I also liked how there was some explanation behind the government, but not so much that you grew bored.
There are three more books in this series, each coming out one year after the next. I know, painful! The stories will also have a fairy tale base (first Red-Riding Hood, then Snow White, then Rapunzel, I think) but with Cinder still as the main character. There was already some indication of the Snow White tale in CINDER.
The book ended in a major cliff-hanger. The worst thing is, as previously mentioned, I have to wait until 2013 to read the next book in the series. It will be worth the wait, I'm sure, but I don't know if I can stand it!
This was one of those book that deserves a MUCH higher rating, but since there is no higher, I give it a 5/5 and DEMAND you read it. Now!!!!!
Language: Mild, only one use of the d-word.