Impression Parade Book Club discussion

Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles, #1)
This topic is about Cinder
Lindsay's Book Picks > May 2015 - Cinder by Marissa Meyer

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Lindsay | 33 comments Mod
It's that time again and I'm ready to move of from our not-so-great picks of April. I'm hoping that Cinder will redeem YA for me, otherwise... all hope may be lost. No pressure, Cinder!

Marianna Neal (impressionblend) | 53 comments Mod
Lindsay wrote: "It's that time again and I'm ready to move of from our not-so-great picks of April. I'm hoping that Cinder will redeem YA for me, otherwise... all hope may be lost. No pressure, Cinder!"

I'm kind of in the same boat with YA... Something needs to redeem YA books for me ASAP, and I hope Cinder will do the job...

Jacqui (3valve) | 2 comments Okay, so I got a bit of a head start on this one, but I'm sure I'll fall behind soon because I chose to go with an audiobook - I'm a commute listener, so I listen to an hour per day, 5 days per week - and obviously I listen much slower than I read. :)

My initial impressions are good! While the book cover and title already tell you this is a "Cinderella story", it's not so literal that it's predictable or dull. The author's idea of foreshadowing sometimes smacks you over the head with a frying pan, so I'm pretty sure I know what's coming, but I'm still enjoying the journey there. The characters are not (all) one-dimensional, which is great in a YA book, and some of them are downright enjoyable. I kind of love Iko. She's like the robot version of a 13-year-old fangirl. Very original.

So, here's the topic that's been nagging at me since I started listening. The discrimination-against-cyborgs theme in Sci-Fi is a little trite. It seems like they're always treated as not really human, second class citizens, etc. I might be putting too much thought into this, but here's the perspective I'm coming from: I live in a city known for its military bases and its medical centers, so when I think of cybernetic body parts, I usually think of it in terms of disabled veterans. We're already starting to see prosthetics that are controlled by, essentially, computers that communicate with the central nervous system - we are at the forefront of a "cyborg" society. It's not frightening, mysterious or even that futuristic anymore; and in the context of veterans, our community is both grateful and sympathetic towards those who have a need for prosthetics, and cybernetics is a field that will open up more possibilities for them to lead a more normal life. What I'm trying to get at is that it feels like a literary crutch to assume that in the future we will suddenly decide that people with cybernetic parts "aren't human" and start discriminating against them. Especially in military cities like mine, people who would in the context of this and other science fiction books be considered "cyborgs" will probably be more common than we can even imagine. This isn't Battlestar Galactica, authors. Time to find another reason to make your futuristic teenagers angsty. ;)

Anyway, TL;DR - I like the book and am looking forward to the rest of it. And it's a series? Yay! More decent commute entertainment!

Lindsay | 33 comments Mod
Jacqui wrote: "Okay, so I got a bit of a head start on this one, but I'm sure I'll fall behind soon because I chose to go with an audiobook - I'm a commute listener, so I listen to an hour per day, 5 days per wee..."

I have to say I agree with your point about discrimination against cyborgs. Since it is so widely used in this world, it really doesn't make sense that people would be weary of the technology. This makes even less sense since it is set in the very futuristic NEW Beijing. Regardless, I still think that growing up with Adri as a stepmother would be enough to make a teenager angsty. Let's face it, she's just a biotch.

Besides the weirdness of the discrimination against cyborgs, I'm actually really enjoying this book. I flew through half of the book last night. It reads incredibly fast and the way each chapter ends made me want to keep going. I hope they go into more detail about how the cyborg things works. Cinder seems to be almost entirely human in terms of thinking and feeling? Although they haven't gone into whether or not she has a human brain or if she is AI or what. I have a feeling they won't go into it, but instead focus more on the events. I hope I am wrong.

And yes! It's a series! Although... the other books are about different characters. Scarlet (little red riding hood) and Cress (Repunzel) should be interesting as well, but I do wonder how all these individual storylines will come together.

Marianna Neal (impressionblend) | 53 comments Mod
You guys are making me really excited about this book! I only started it (didn't get very far because I was tired), and I'm really liking what I've read so far. I was a little worried because so far fairy tale retellings have not been my thing, but this is going well :) I hope there is more interesting cultural stuff that sets New Beijing apart from our world. I'll have to get back to you on cyborgs though, once I read a bit further.

Monika (rocaillewrites) | 3 comments Alrighty, so I'm all finished with this one, and I thought it was okay, but I wasn't blown away. Since you guys are all still reading, no spoilers, but I will say that somewhere in the first 1/4 of the book I already had a working theory of how the plot would develop, and unfortunately I was spot on, which kind of spoils the fun for me. I quite dislike when things in the plot fall too neatly together, but maybe I'm expecting a bit too much here from a YA Cinderella retelling.

Anyway, I do agree with Jacqui that everyone hating on cyborgs is a bit tenuous. My understanding is that the hatred stems from the fact that cyborgs' brains are also tampered with during the surgery, which would potentially mean they don't think or act like humans anymore, but as we know from the book, they do - so it's interesting that this supposedly modern and technocratic society would uphold such a huge misconception. As for the rest of the setting, I quite enjoyed it, but thought there were little things here and there that didn't quite fit together. If Cinder's step-family was in such dire financial straits after the death of her stepfather, how come they can afford an apartment where everyone has their own bedroom (in a city that's supposedly so densely populated that living spaces had to be further subdivided to fit everyone in), a hover in the parking garage (which I totally misread as hoover for the first ten times and was quite confused why it was so crucial for Adri), and money for frivolous purchases? I guess what I'm trying to say is that I wish the setting was developed a bit more carefully.

With regards to the characters, I'm with Jacqui on Iko, she's totally adorable. I do however quite dislike prince Kai - he's just a bit too perfect, you know? Speaking of Cinderella retellings, have you guys seen Into The Woods? Now there was a surprising twist to the Prince's character, no? I really liked that movie.

I'm looking forward to reading what you guys think!

Marianna Neal (impressionblend) | 53 comments Mod
I finally finished this last night, and I actually liked it a lot more than I thought I would! Already bought the next two books :) I wish the story wasn't so predictable—it seems like every "plot twist" was setting off red flags in the beginning, so nothing really surprised me.

I'm with Monika on the cyborg thing: I think the reason some people didn't like Cinder was because her brain was messed with. I did hope that the author would explain if there was A.I. involved, but that never happened. I also question how much of it was Cinder's perception of reality: we don't really see THAT many people be hostile towards her—she is the one telling us how everyone hates or would hate her if they knew she was a cyborg. Obviously, growing up with Adri made her feel like as if there was something wrong with her, but how much of that hate actually came from others? There are always going to be people who can't accept anyone different from them, but I thought there were plenty of reasonable people as well. Another question I have is whether she was disliked because she was also better: the net link she had, retina display, sensors—those seem like pretty neat things to have and perhaps some people disliked her because they saw her as someone with superior abilities? Things I wish the author would have explored more...

I also wished there were more unique cultural things in Cinder. Come on now, this is NEW BEIJING! Tell me more about it! Because I kind of feel like this could have taken place in any country and it wouldn't have made much difference—aside from a few references, it was pretty "standard".

Monika, YES! Into the Woods was a fun movie, I really liked it too. Have you seen the actual musical? The movie was a very tame, PG version of it—the musical is insane, much darker and even more screwed up.

Monika (rocaillewrites) | 3 comments I haven't seen the musical! I'll have to look into whether it's now being played on Broadway. Hahah, the movie was dark enough for my husband, he got a bit of a downer after watching it, lol.

Jurgita (js_corwin) So I am almost at the end of the book (btw bought all the rest of them already. Fairest included.).
I see everyone having a problem with cyborg-hate. I don't think is unrealistic. First of all as Marianna noticed we see everything through Cinder's eyes. And she definitely knows her step-mother and step-sister hate her. And that's not only because she is a cyborg. They would have hated her even if she was a regular human. (Well, she is Cinderella after all.)And that would influence how you think about yourself and what you think other people think or might think about the fact of her being cyborg. When someone tells you enough times that you are a freak you start to believe it.
Second, no matter how advanced we think the world Cinder lives in is, people will be people. And people still hate those who are different from majority. Unfortunately it hasn't changed during thousands of years of civilization and quite possibly won't change in the next hundred years. (I know it sound rather pessimistic.) And the reason cyborgs are hated in New Beijing is because they are (look) different. Not because they act differently.
I do agree that not much is described about this new world. And that's a pity cause I love world building. Hopefully I'll get more of it in the next books. But maybe the world is not important. It's just a story of a girl and a boy and it could happen anywhere.

Marianna Neal (impressionblend) | 53 comments Mod
I second that pessimistic outlook on humanity—sadly, there will always be people who will judge and/or dislike others because they look different.

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