Marissa Meyer’s debut, Cinder, is not your typical young adult novel. Yes, it is science fiction. Yes, it is based on a fairy tale. Yes, it is dystopi...moreMarissa Meyer’s debut, Cinder, is not your typical young adult novel. Yes, it is science fiction. Yes, it is based on a fairy tale. Yes, it is dystopian. It is indeed typical to see all of those genres hitting libraries and bookshelves lately. What is not typical is for the mash-up of all three genres to work well together – and it does.
The heroine, Cinder, is a cyborg who is just trying to make a living in post-apocalyptic New Beijing. Cyborgs are second-class citizens that have no rights and live at the mercy of their owners/guardians. She is owned by and lives with her adoptive mother and two “stepsisters” (only one of them being nasty), doing all of their work. The difference from the original story is that instead of doing actual household chores, she is one of the country’s best android mechanics and all of her income supports her family. Cinder is able to mask her cyborg nature from common knowledge by wearing gloves on her refurbished hands and covering her other metal parts, but things complicate when Prince Kaito comes to her booth in need of her service and develops an interest in her.
There are quite a few similarities between Cinder and the versions of the Cinderella fairy tale with which most people are familiar. However, do not expect it to be a mirror image (no mirrors at all if Queen Levana can help it!) of the original tale. There are quite a few interesting variances, not least a plague sweeping through the kingdom, and the happily ever after you’re looking for may not be waiting for you at the end. There are three more projected books in Meyer’s Lunar Chronicles, so it may be quite some time before things head down the path to happiness for Cinder.
I’ve been lucky to read quite a few amazing books lately, but this is the first one that I stayed up all night to read and put down all of my other books for (I usually read 2-3 at a time) since The Hunger Games. It was funny, enchanting, and magical. Scarlet – book two in the Lunar Chronicles – cannot come quickly enough.
*To satisfy FTC guidelines, I am disclosing that I received the book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. It has in no way affected the outcome. (less)
My discovery and devouring of Matched by Ally Condie was a happy accident. I was looking for a new audiobook on my library’s Overdrive account, and th...moreMy discovery and devouring of Matched by Ally Condie was a happy accident. I was looking for a new audiobook on my library’s Overdrive account, and this was checked out due to a smartphone glitch. I listened to it regardless, and was stunned by how quickly I fell in love with Cassia Reyes.
Cassia is not the typical dystopian heroine, but neither is Matched the typical dystopian young adult novel. In fact, I would rather classify it as “utopian”, but there aren’t enough of them to justify a new tag. But I digress. Cassia lives a perfect life, in a perfect Society, and just found out that her future husband will be someone that she already loves. However, something goes just a little wrong, and Cassia is suddenly facing something that she’s never faced before – choices.
I’ve seen reviewers give this book a lower rating because they said that it doesn’t have the strong feminine character or action that other dystopian novels, such as The Hunger Games, possess. I think it is an unfair analysis of the book because it’s not about the same thing. This book is not about fighting an violent and oppressive (on the surface) government; it is about a young girl who chooses to question everything she loves and holds dear after a series of very small things start to change her. Cassia Reyes is no Katniss Everdeen, but she has her own quiet strength that makes her ask questions when no one else does or will and give up the perfect life in the hopes of one day being able to choose something for herself. She is not fighting for her life, instead fighting for being able to choose what she wants it to be.
This is a great book for young teens to read because it demands that they ask themselves what is worth being safe and happy. I enjoyed it thoroughly, and I can’t wait to read Crossed.(less)