Title: Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles #1)
Author: Marissa Meyer
Narrator: Rebecca Soler
Publication Date: January 3, 2012
Publisher: Feiwel and Friends
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Reviews for book 3, book 3.5, & book 4
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 to admit, I was pretty late to jump on the Lunar Chronicles bandwagon. Years ago, I downloaded a sample of Cinder to my kindle and read the first few pages before deciding I wasn't interested. I literally did this FIVE TIMES. I kept trying to get into it because everyone said it was amazing, but it just wasn't hooking me. Finally, I decided to just get the whole book and push through. I read it and really enjoyed it a couple years ago, and now I've just finished listening to the audiobook.
I really enjoyed the way this retelling is handled. Personally, I don’t much care for retellings that are very similar to the original story (see: my review of Heartless…sorry Tracy). In Cinder, the elements of the original Cinderella story were there, but there was so much more to the story. Set in the future, Cinder is a cyborg living as a mechanic in New Beijing, fixing androids and hovercrafts. She lives in a world where people live on the moon and the world is plagued by letumosis, a rapidly-spreading disease that has killed hundreds of thousands. Not your typical Cinderella story.
The Lunar Chronicles is one of the few series I've read where I actually like all of the characters. There aren't any characters that I don't enjoy...except the ones we are supposed to hate, that is. (*cough* Levana *cough cough*) Cinder is amazing - shy and totally awkward, but also brave and strong and not afraid to get dirty. And Kai - oh, sweet Kai. I'm pretty sure the heart eyes emoji was made specifically for him. I don't think this is how he is described, but I totally picture Li Shang from Disney's Mulan as Kai. Or the Prince Charming from the Rogers and Hammerstein Cinderella movie staring Brandy. Does anyone remember that? I know, one of those men is a cartoon character and the other is a hunky Filipino-American actor, but I can't help what my imagination comes up with.
Ok, let's get back on track....I love the main characters of Cinder and Kai, but I also just adore the supporting characters. Iko and Dr. Erlund are some of my favorite sidekicks ever. They intrigue me and keep me laughing and add so much depth to the story. I really feel like all of the characters are my friends. I feel like I know them so well and I can't wait to open a book and hang out with them. Well, maybe not Levana...
While I really enjoyed Cinder, rereading it has made me realize just how much I prefer the other books. I do like Cinder, but the series really comes into its own as the cast of characters grows and develops. Cinder is a great first book for the series. It introduces you to an awesome cast and a captivating story...but it is lacking that wow factor that appears in the later books as the story develops. It took me forever to get into Cinder, but once I finally gave it a chance, I really enjoyed it. And once I continued on with the series, I was hooked. I absolutely devour these books and I can't wait to continue on with the series. I'm currently rereading the first three in preparation for finally getting around to reading Winter for the first time. I can't wait!