Cinder by Marissa Meyer
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.
Review: Ugh, can we please stop having "big twists" that the audience figures out in the first chapter? Seriously. There's this big "reveal" that happens pretty much in the last 5 pages, and literally every single person who reads this book heaves a huge sigh and is like, "yeah, I already knew that, thanks." Not to mention that this "big twist" is hinted at in the summary of the book! Can we stop doing that? Please? #kthxbai
*steps off soapbox*
Now that that's out of the way, what a cute book! Futuristic, cyborg retelling of Cinderella. I am totally down with that. I knew I'd love it, but I'm not sure why I hadn't read it sooner.
Cinder was pretty adorable. She's tough and capable, but also loyal and sweet. And even though she lies to Kai, by not telling him she's a cyborg, I can understand why. And the two people in her "family" (I don't know if I legitimize her domestic situation by calling it a family, but you know-- the people she lives with) that she loves and are nice to her (her younger stepsister Peony and her android Iko) are actually people that I would like, too. (As opposed to Annoyingly Sweet characters -- it's always nice when the protagonist's friends are actually likable.)
Kai is also cute... to a point. I like his crush on Cinder, and I imagine that the reason he pursues her for so long is the whole "Thrill of the Chase" thing guys are always talking about in books and movies (and in real life sometimes, to be fair). But... for a prince, especially the heir to the throne, he seems to have a lot of free time on his hands. I mean, shouldn't he be meeting with ministers and governors and heads of parliament all the time? And why does he seem to only have one advisor, who ALSO has tons of free time (as evidenced by the fact that he has enough time on his hands to attend EVERY meeting Kai takes)? And shouldn't Kai, as heir to the throne, already have received a TON of training in leadership and diplomacy and management and stuff? And how, in some post-apocalyptic world in which there are only six countries left on Earth anyway, did we manage to keep an actual, honest-to-goodness monarchy, with rulers who are more than just ceremonial heads of state? Wait-- that might actually explain why Kai has so much free time. But if so, shouldn't his Prime Minister be the one negotiating a peace treaty with the moon?
And while we're on the subject of politics, I found Levana's diplomacy to be... well, pretty horrible. She invites herself to his palace with absolutely NO notice, makes demands of Kai's police and security forces, attempts to discipline his servants (with corporal punishment, no less -- not just bad diplomacy, but also super tacky), and tries to arrest his citizens! And then tries to maintain the charade that she might not declare war. Sorry, honey, but you pretty much already have.
However. Once I suspend my disbelief on the subject of politics, the book was quite riveting. I LOVED all the Cinder/Kai stuff, as is my way, and was super excited by the story -- it turned into quite a nail-biter. I'm excited to read the rest of the series.
Goodreads Shelves: addictive, bechdel-test, excuse-me-half-the-book-is-missing, fluffy, funny, is-or-would-be-a-good-movie, is-this-a-kissing-book, my-kind-of-woman, nook-ya