MY THOUGHTS: I'd like to start this off with a profession of adoration for the cover art. It's completely perfect! It's dainty and feminine with a tw MY THOUGHTS: I'd like to start this off with a profession of adoration for the cover art. It's completely perfect! It's dainty and feminine with a twist of futuristic, kick-ass cyborg. What more could you ask for in a cover? The font works really well, too. It's very fairytale-esque and still almost mechanical at the same time. I also happen to be an obscenely huge fan of fairytale retellings (although Beauty and the Beast variations are my favorite), so you can see why I'm fangirling over this book. Plus, I'm a shoe girl, and Cinder is working those heels!
For me, Cinder was a huge improvement on the classic Cinderella tale (or at least the Disney-fied version that we're all familiar with). This girl doesn't wait around wishing that things would get better or waiting for a fairy godmother to rescue her. She tries to rescue herself (and a whole lot of other people while she's at it), which makes for a much better story, don't you think? I like my heroines strong and feisty, thank you very much. Not only is she self-sufficient, she's also an amazingly proficient mechanic, which kind of makes sense, her being part machine and all that.
One thing I really liked in Cinder was the romance between the protagonist and her love interest, Prince Kai. I thought it was slightly understated and more mature than a lot of the relationships I've been reading in YA lately, and by that I mean that is was blissfully void of the pining and woe-is-me inner character monologues that usually make me cringe. I mean, sure, Cinder imagines about how great it would be to get with that hot and wealthy prince who keeps asking her out (I mean, who wouldn't?), but she's very matter-of-fact about it. When the reader sees things from Kai's view, there is no strange, all-consuming, supernatural longing for a girl he's known all of two minutes. He likes her, but he's not obsessed with her. He asks her out, he doesn't stalk her from outside the tree by her window while she sleeps. The other men of YA should take notes (cough, Edward Cullen, cough). It is to be noted, too, that I have just finished reading The Carrier of the Mark by Leigh Fallon which features a creepy and stalkery love, so I might just be super sensitive to this issue.
I really enjoyed the mythology (for lack of a better word) that Meyer's has created in this series, too. A futuristic Earth that is ravaged by a vicious pandemic brought on by contact with the Lunar alien race. Oh, did I not mention that there are aliens in this book? Because there are. Cyborgs, aliens, plagues, princes. What more do you want? This book has something for everyone. Meyer's also introduced an interesting and relevant social aspect in the way that cyborgs are treated by society as if they were lesser people or property. Cinder's stepmother can literally control every single aspect of her life, including whether she lives or dies, simply because she is part machine. I can't wait to see how Cinder challenges and changes these ideals in future books.
Now for the things that weren't so great: there were a few parts in the book where I just automatically knew where the author was heading with certain plot points. Without giving anything away, there's a pretty big revelation at the end of the book that any reader with average observational abilities could see coming from a mile away. One thing retellings generally do have working against them, though, is the same thing that makes them kind of great: they are stories people are familiar with. It's hard to surprise people with a story they've heard before. The details are different, but the core is a Cinderella story through and through.
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