I have a confession to make. I know it’s frowned upon and used as a derogatory expression for mediocre literature, but… well… here it goes: I read fan...moreI have a confession to make. I know it’s frowned upon and used as a derogatory expression for mediocre literature, but… well… here it goes: I read fanfiction. Specifically, I read Sailor Moon fanfiction. It’s been my guilty pleasure since I was 14 and, while I admit that perhaps 80% is trash the rest has been worth the trouble. Yes, they are writing about characters that don’t belong to them and yes, most stories do sound like 12 year-old masturbatory fantasies and are completely pointless, but what can I say? The few good ones I’ve found have made me addicted, and you know what?:
So what does my shameful confession has to do with “Cinder”? Well, you see, I learned of the existence of Marissa Meyer through her Sailor Moon stories. And when I heard that she had landed an agent and was going to get her first original book published I also knew that it was going to be my first YA book in a while, after giving up on the genre because of my less-than-stellar reaction to “Twilight”. Lucky for me, “Cinder” has nothing in common with that sparkly vampire disaster, and everything with the style of writing that made me admire Marissa for years.
In case you didn’t know this is a loose retelling of Cinderella. Our protagonist, Cinder, is a cyborg living in New Beijing with a stepmother that sees her as a disgrace. Cyborgs are thought of as second-class citizens and are often looked down on by the rest of the population, which makes Cinder ashamed of her robotic parts. Unlike her fairy tale ancestor, however, Cinder is also a great mechanic, and spends her days working and making plans for a better future. This is one heroine that doesn’t waste breath waiting for someone else to rescue for her misery, but instead is determined to work for the things she wants. Cinder’s life changes in ways she can’t possibly imagine when Prince Kai, heir to the throne to Commonwealth, comes to help looking for help repairing a broken android, while one of her stepsisters and her only human friends suddenly contracts a disease that threatens to decimate Earth’s population in a very short time.
As I said before, Cinder is not the type of heroine that prejudice has led me to expect from YA books. She makes her own decisions, and although there is a romantic interest it doesn’t turn her into a blabbering idiot incapable of thinking on her own. Regarding Prince Kai, I thought he was a kind kid, stuck in a situation he can’t escape from and forced to grow up at giant steps in order to protect his people. It was easy to care for Cinder and Kai, and that level of empathy turned the book into something I just couldn’t put down. I agree with other reviews that point out the predictability of some plot twists, not surprising I we remember this is after all a Cinderella retelling, but I also felt that the important parts, the ones that will make the sequel worth waiting for, were all original.
Having established my complete satisfaction with this book, I now need to mention something that bothered me a little bit: The whole cyborg theme was in my opinion touched only on the surface. How much of what Cinder thinks and feels is product of her robotic wiring, and how much comes from her human nature? Why are people with synthetic prosthesis deemed dirty and incapable of taking care of themselves? (view spoiler)[ The book wants us to think of the dying Emperor as a just and brave ruler, but if he is indeed such a great monarch, why would he allow the indiscriminate killing of cyborgs in the name of science, and why do they have to endure such an unfair treatment? (hide spoiler)] I really hope the sequel deals in depth with this, since it’s a big part of what makes Cinder who she is. Another thing that I didn’t understand is this: (view spoiler)[ at first the book says that Princess Selene died in the fire when she was 3, but Cinder got her cyborg makeover when she was eleven. Shouldn’t she have needed surgery much earlier? Am I missing something here? (hide spoiler)]
Spoilers and objections aside, this was a book that kept me hooked and interested to the end and I really recommended it to those of you that are into YA stories and don’t mind waiting almost a year for part 2. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)