Today we've got a few awesome guest reviews for CINDER! I figured since I've already reviewed it on the blog, I'd let other people's reviews represent for the month! And later in the week I'm going to have another post full of CINDER goodness, so stay tuned!
First up is an awesome review by Jenna @ Making the Grade! I don't know if you guys have ever checked out her blog, but she writes excellent reviews and really awesome feature posts. Definitely stop by her blog :0)
CINDER is a well written re-envisioning of the classic fairy tale… with cyborgs, alien races and interracial war in the mix. I admire Marissa’s bravery in undertaking a well-known story and dropping it right in the middle of a futuristic setting as well as turning Cinder(ella) into a cyborg. For the traditionalist, that is quite a lot to take in. It could have gone bad, so very, very bad, but amazingly it works! And it works in a very, very good way indeed.
So you have the classic fairy tale, ok. But place it somewhere in the distant future after multiple World Wars have ultimately united the citizens of Earth. Throw in a race of Lunars (people living on the moon) and you have the world conflict. Then you make Cinder even more of an outcast by turning her into a cyborg in a world where cyborgs are looked down upon in society as the lowest of the low. Mix in a deadly disease, a controlling step-mother and two step-sisters, as well as a mystery of epic proportions, and you have turned the classic fairy tale into this highly entertaining, futuristic cyberpunk chronicle. Sadly, I did notice a couple little “holes” here and there while reading, though I’m not sure if they are holes, so much as they are items that we’re not yet supposed to know about (there are three more books currently planned in the series). This book definitely does read like the first part in a continuing story. We’ve only scratched at the surface here. (But still I wonder, did I miss the explanation as to how the Lunars ended up on the moon and became the “Lunar” race in the first place?)
I instantly fell in love with the main character, Cinder. She is both meek and strong-willed, if such a thing can be said about a single person (er, cyborg). She is fixated with the belief that her kind -cyborgs- are worthless and have no real place in the world. All thanks to the words of her step-mother, as well as the beliefs of those who live and work around her. Yet, at the same time, Cinder knows what she wants and in most cases (except for those that have some relation to her being a cyborg, of course) she will stand strong in her convictions and work tirelessly for what she wants or for what she believes is right. I admire Cinder, both as a person, per say, and as the heroine of the story. Ohhh, but there moments when I seriously wanted to strangle her (for reasons I will not reveal)!!! In addition, I fell in love with the “Prince”, Kai. In Cinder we have the opportunity to get into the prince’s head, witness his side of the events and learn more about his story, which is something lacking in most classic fairy tales. The step-mother fits her mold, as do the step-sisters (or at least one of them). Cinder also has a wonderful android friend, Iko, who I grew to like for her humor and personality (chip). Finally, there is an additional antagonist in the story, Lunar Queen Levana, who chilled me to the bone on more than one occasion.
At some unknown time in the future, people are identified with chips in their arms, use net screens to communicate, hover cars have replaced the modern vehicle, broken body parts are replaced with cyborg pieces, the elite are assisted by androids and all people live in a unified world where the Commonwealth appears to reign supreme. Oh, and there is a race of people on the moon who we are apparently deathly afraid of. This is the world in which Cinder lives, and it is in many ways familiar, yet in ever more ways like a foreign unimaginable future. I love the way that Marissa takes components of our current world and twists them into things of her future world. Oh, and apparently, in this distant future, we have already experienced not one but two more World Wars – the second of which almost destroyed us all. Finally, the fear that the citizens have for some new, fast-acting and deadly disease that is rampaging around the land (which is incurable at that) is felt in nearly every action and/or word said by the characters. I only wish that a little more could have been said about how we got to this future.
Quite a lot happens to poor Cinder within these 300 pages. There is a large amount of build up and multiple peaking climaxes within the book before you even reach the final, fast-paced climax. At its core, the book follows the classic storyline of Cinderella, but it is a telling unlike any Cinderella you have ever read or seen before. There is no fairy godmother here, and thankfully there are no clothed mice who talk either. And the ball, well that is something else entirely… It’ll be difficult to put this book down once you’ve started, so be sure to make a corner of your home nice and comfy for a handful of hours or, if you’re a busy mommy like me, for a whole weekend. But please please read the book knowing that this is the first entry in a four part series. With that said, I desperately want the second installment, Scarlet. (Like, NOW NOW NOW!)
Oh my, the dialogue. I personally believe that dialogue is the strongest part of Marissa Meyers’ writing. At times witty and at times quite tragic and sad. She has a way of making you sympathize when you should be sympathizing, or suspicious when you know a character may be pulling one over on you. She will make you despise those who commit wrong doings. There is also a lot of foreshadowing splattered throughout, some of which (most unfortunately) caused me to know the outcome before it even happened. But no worries! Even if it is a bit predictable, you will still find yourself cheering, shrieking or cringing as the events unfold. I did subtract a point though, since I, in all my naivety, could not be surprised to the very end. Others may find it even easier to guess what happens next.
I enjoyed Cinder to my geeky core and I look forward to reading Scarlet in 2013, Cress in 2014 and Winter in 2015. (My! That sounds so far away!) I would recommend this book to anyone who likes cyberpunk, science fiction, fairy tales or anime/manga. The author is a Sailormoon fan, and its influence is slightly apparent in her writing. (That’s a major compliment, coming from a fellow Sailormoon fan.)
Next up is a review by Monica @ Cover Analysis! I wanted to copy and paste her review here on the post, but it's mulitmedia and is best viewed directly on her blog. It's a great review and immensly entertaing, so definitely go check it out :0)
And last, but not least, we've got a review from Evie @ Bookish! I love how she incorporates quotes from the book into her review!
Cinder by Marissa Meyer is one outrageously amazing book! If you haven't read it yet, get on it. LIKE. RIGHT NOW. It's funny, touching, thought-provoking, fiercely compelling and insanely heartbreaking. Ridiculously well-written, taut, original, deeply emotional and gorgeously mesmerizing, it's the definition of a page-turner.
She was a cyborg, and she would never go to a ball.
Linh Cinder is a cyborg, which of course means some of her body parts have been replaced with mechanical ones. It also means, she's a second-class citizen and she is treated as such. She lives with her "adopted family" in New Beijing, in the Eastern Commonwealth, and has to earn her keep working as a full-service mechanic at the Beijing's weekly market. The Earth's population, ravaged by Letumosis, was driven to the brink of extinction. No one knows the cause of this worldwide pandemic that already killed thousands of people. No one knows how to cure it, either.
Imagine there was a cure, but finding it would cost you everything. It would completely ruin your life. What would you do?
Letumosis is not the only thing that Prince Kai has to worry about, though. There is also the threat of war against the Lunar (Moon) Empire hanging over the nation (no pun intended!). The evil Queen Levana has long been lusting over the blue planet. She wants Earth for herself, and she always gets everything she wants. She's powerful. She can manipulate the bioelectricity of people around her, casting a sort of glamour, making them see and feel whatever she chooses. She's despicable and ruthless, yet people can't resist her "charm". She's ugly and disgusting, yet all that others can see is a beautiful, trust-worthy, angel-like woman. And they follow her. And now she wants Prince Kai and Earth, and she's tired of waiting and negotiating.
"My only mistake was in waiting too long to be rid of you", Adri said, running the washcloth between her fingers. "Believe me, Cinder. You are a sacrifice I will never regret."Cinder's world is flipped inside-out when her beloved little sister, Peony, falls ill and is taken away to die in isolation. Her grief-stricken step-mother blames Cinder for her daughter's sickness. She sends Cinder away, volunteering her as a test subject for plague testing. But that's just the beginning of her problems. What she's about to discover will change not only her life, but also the lives of everyone around her, possibly the whole planet.
This book left me speechless.
He was the fantasy of every girl in the country. He was so far out of realm, her world, that she should have stopped thinking about him the second the door had closed. Should stop thinking about him immediately. Should never think about him again, except maybe as a client - and her prince.
And yet, the memory of his fingers against her skin refused to fade.
When I first started reading, I was, like, "So OK, it looks like just another re-telling of the classic fairy tale with a futuristic cyborg twist". I was intrigued (I have a THING for anything clockwork), but not entirely sold yet. The first 20-30 pages is like that. The beginning of the story was great, but with Prince Kai visiting Cinder's mechanical shop, and then Cinder day-dreaming about His Hotness, it didn't have the air of uniqueness about it. Not until Peony got sick. That's exactly when - forgive my French - shit hits the fan (trust me, it's a very accurate description of how things go really bad from this moment onward). From that point in the story EVERYTHING you thought you knew about Cinderella is re-defined and re-envisioned. For the most part it still follows the simple set up of the original tale, but Meyer adds some seriously insane depth to it. She builds around it, gracefully weaving all the fascinating futuristic details and extraterrestrial elements into the plot, creating a complex, impressive, fantastically imagined world. It's mind-blowing.
Marissa Meyer created a truly unforgettable world. Her writing style is amazingly descriptive and enjoyable. She has such a fabulous imagination (and is not afraid to use it!). I can easily picture New Beijing in my head. I think the setting of the story couldn't be any more perfect. On top of the fabulous world-building there's also the savvy plot line. It's a mesmerizing blend of stempunk, fairy tale AND mystery. Some plot developments are easy to predict, but mostly you're just sitting there with your jaw on your knees and eyes bulging out in surprise. And even if you could predict everything that will happen, you'd still love reading about it - it's a real crowd-pleaser in terms of its readability.
Her netlink fished for information, telling her that the palace had been built after the World War IV, when the city was little more than rubble. It was designed in the fashion of the old world, with hearty dosages of both nostalgic symbolism and state-of-the-art engineering. The pagoda-style roofs were made of gold-tinged tiles and surrounded by Qilin gargoyles, but the tiles were actually galvanized steel covered with tiny solar capsules that created enough energy to sustain the entire palace, including the research wing, and the gargoyles were equipped with motion sensors, ID scanners, 36-degree cameras, and radars that could detect approaching aircrafts and hovers within a sixty-mile radius.
I loved the characters. To say that they had more depth than the characters from the original fairy tale would be a major understatement. For once it's not about the silly ball, dancing with the shallow Prince or running away in a carriage made of pumpkin! The characters are real, their emotions are real, they have real problems, fears, struggles. There is a ball, but it's not the kind of ball you imagine when you think of Cinderella. There's a mechanical foot instead of a glass slipper and the dress is not only wrinkled, grease-stained and not in the least magical, but there is also a profound meaning to it. The Prince is not a brain-dead, spoiled little master with personality deficiency, who fancy sumptuous balls. He's an intelligent, good-hearted young man, who finds himself caught between duty and love. He has some insanely difficult decisions to make, and choosing a bride for himself is the least of his problems. Even the wicked step-mother is not entirely rid of human feelings. As much as I disliked her, she did have a few genuinely heart-breaking moments, when you could see a whole different layer of emotions shining through. My favorite character, though, was Cinder's adorable android friend, Iko. She was ROTFL-worthy, witty, supportive, loyal and just so.. cute! Her hilarious comments made for fantastic tension breakers. I really hope to see more of Iko in the next book of the Lunar Chronicles! Oh, and let's not forget about Queen Levana! Oh lord, what a gorgeously evil character she is! The White Witch and the Snow Queen combined wouldn't stand a chance! The whole concept of the Lunar Kingdom and the long lost Princess Selene reminded me of Sailor Moon - how could it not?! There are of course some major differences, but I'm fairly confident that Naoko Takeuchi's greatly enjoyable manga series inspired this breath-taking YA debut novel in some ways. And I LOVED IT!
To sum it all up: Cinder by Marissa Meyer is one helluva book! It's only the beginning of 2012 and yet I'm 100% sure this book will make it to my TOP 10 of 2012 list. I can't wait to learn more about Queen Levana and the mysterious Lunar Kingdom, and find out what will happen to Cinder, Nainsi and Prince Kai. I strongly recommend this read to everyone!!!
Thanks to Evie, Jenna and Monica, for letting me feature their reviews for this event. I love reading multiple reviews for a book that I loved, because it's always nice to see other peoples opinions on things you loved or didn't like so much! If you guys have CINDER reviews on your blogs, or Goodreads, or anywhwere, just leave the link in the comments so we can all check them out!
HAPPY MONDAY EVERYONE!