Thursday, September 1, 2016
Cinder by Marissa Meyer
At the hight of fairy tale popularity, it seemed only a matter of time before someone came up with the concept of a cyborg Cinderella. This books brings science fiction and fantasy together in an action adventure that just so happens to have parallels to one of the most famous fairy tales ever.
The story is that of a young mechanic named Lihn Cinder, a cyborg who lives with her horrible stepmother, one wicked stepsister (the other one is okay) and an android named Iko in the East Commonwealth of New Beijing. The world is several years after the fourth World War and the people of earth fear the dreaded Lunar people, who possess mysterious powers, and a terrible plague that's spreading like wildfire across the world. When Cinder meets the young Prince Kai, her world is suddenly intertwined with his, forcing her to square off against the vicious Lunar Queen and her plot to take over both Luna and Earth.
First off, this ain't no jolly little ride filled with sunshine and rainbows. Don't let the fairy tale deceive you. This story has some really harsh moments as the world that Earth has become is indeed a much harsher place. You feel the grit and danger of the world Cinder lives in and tragedy hangs over her like an axe waiting to drop. The dusty, potentially deadly atmosphere sets the mood for the looming threats of plague and the Lunars which is where the meat of the story really takes place.
The one thing I really liked about this book is that the fairy tale aspect of it is pretty irrelevant to the actual story. There are some detail that match up, such as the ball and whatnot, but overall, Cinder is really its own thing. It's the story of one girl stumbling across a take-over plot, as well as trying to survive in a world that hates her guts. The structure of the story is it's own thing. Even the iconic ball scene is a big disconnect to the source material, almost hilariously so, but with enough action and tension to keep you hanging onto every word.
There is, however, the little detail of the cyborg hate that goes on in this book. It might just be me, but I don't really get why cyborgs are so hated in this world. The artificial limbs mentioned in the book don't seem quite as different here as they do in our current world, so why do people who have them get treated like they suddenly stopped being human? I guess it makes a little more sense in Cinder's case, seeing as her robotic enhancements include a lie-detector and a computer in her head, but for those who just have fake limbs, it just seems like a bit of a stretch.
On the plus side, Cinder herself is a good character to make this journey with. She's spunky without being overly aggressive, resourceful and refreshingly mature. There are a few times when she's a little "What'll he think of me..." which can be a little wearing on one's patience, but nothing that would make me start to dislike the character.
Cinder is fast-paced, story driven piece that, though based on such a famous work, stands on its own legs and support itself. Good characters, a story that goes from nail biting to heartbreaking in with each page turn and I'd say that this book is worth your money at your local bookstore.
Next time: He says the book is better, but how does his book hold up?