I've come to the conclusion that if I read enough books during the week to warrant two reviews before the next Tuesday (the day normally reserved for reviews), then I'll post another on Saturday.
And I'm really excited that I need to post on Saturday, because it means that I'm reading a lot.
**Warning: Spoilers May Abound**
Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl.
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. (source:goodreads)
Cover-First, I just really want to point out that it's the leg of a cyborg *squeals* I'm going to be squealing a lot in this review because it's the only way to accurately describe how excited I get just thinking about this book. IT'S A CYBORG, YA'LL.
Okay, I'm sorry, I just have a weakness when it comes to human/machine hybrids.
Over all, the cover is somewhat simple, which allows for rather descriptive text that has both a futuristic and a fairy tale feel at the same time. Combined with the iconic symbol of the shoe, it really speaks to the fact that it's basically a science-fiction retelling of the classic tale, Cinderella, with little changes here and there.
The one thing that kind of put me off was that nowhere in this book did a red pump (no matter how gorgeous) pop up. I was watching for it and it never actually happened, unless I'm missing something. In which case, I sincerely apologize.
I can't overlook the fact that this cover is basically stunning, though.
Narrative- Third person POV, jumping between Cinder and Prince Kai. This was a very smooth read in regards to the author's style of writing. I mentioned a few books ago that people have told me that the signs of third-person done well is that you don't even notice that you're not directly in the character's head, and this was one of those exceptional reads where, halfway through, I had to stop myself and really pay attention to answer the question of : is this first or third?
A lot of that has to do with distance, too, but that's a conversation for another time.
Extremely well done. Meyer's narrative was fantastic and try as I might, I don't really have anything bad to say.
Plot- I'm trying really hard not to start squealing again, but can we please discuss how fabulous this plot is? A futuristic, science-fiction retelling of Cinderella involving aliens (face it, the Lunars are freaky aliens) and cyborgs. My mind is seriously exploding. I walked into this more for the cyborg part of it than the aliens, and admittedly I was a bit wary (I always get wary when it comes to aliens), but seriously. I still can't wrap my mind about how intense this book was.
There's a plague. Cyborgs and androids (Iko stole my heart). Princes, Princesses, and Queens. Aliens who can read minds and influence thoughts. A conspiracy theory regarding the lost Lunar princess. A Cinderella story completely turned on its head. Not to mention that I'm not entirely sure there's a real love story; if it's there, it's subtle and I loved it.
Okay, there was infatuation and flirting. And a kiss. But then after that ending? Who knows what's happening. And there was a cliffhanger.
I want to go out on a limb and say that the pacing was phenomenal both in terms of the reveal of information and the action. I was never actually bored, and while at times I wasn't exactly surprised with answers that were given and the outcomes of events, it was always enough to put me on an emotional roller coaster and keep me reading.
In short: if you like science-fiction and fairytale re-tellings, you're probably going to like this book. It's dramatic, intense, suspenseful, heartbreaking (Iko! And that's all I'm saying about that), and best of all it's a puzzle. I hate books that I can predict what's happening by page fifty (and it's one of those predictions from a bit of a cliche plot point). I love books that prove me wrong.
Even more: I love books that I predict and wind up being right, but throughout the whole middle of the thing make me second guess myself and make me think that I was wrong.
Oh yeah, and there's inter-stellar (inter-galactic?) warfare being threatened. Could this get any cooler?
Characters-The main character, Cinder, feels very well-rounded to me. I would probably venture to say that she's one of my favorite protagonists that I've read in a good while: she's quick-witted, and while her personality has been shaped by the prejudices set against her for being a cyborg, she's not completely bitter. I mean, yeah, she's angry and all that, but she doesn't let it shape her: she's got dreams and ambitions, and even when she meets Prince Kai she's just as vulnerable to his charms. Not because he's the Prince, but because he's noticing her.
Maybe that's what made her so convincing to me: she didn't fall head over heels for him purely because of good looks, fame, or that strange "magnetic pull" that seems to drive a lot of romances; instead it's this aspect of having somebody see her, and treat her fairly, as another human being instead of a cyborg. She's not invisible to him.
Prince Kai, himself, is fairly complex. He's forced to grow up too fast. He needs to keep the Lunar Queen from waging war on earth while also attempting to find a cure for the plague, so he's fairly stressed for the entire novel (understandably so). Even so, he's diplomatic about it, not taking his angers out at the wrong people, and even manages to show himself as a kind and fair ruler.
Basically, he really is a prince charming.
Other, smaller, characters include Adri, Cinder's step-mother (guardian), and Adri's two daughters, Peony and Pearl. Contrary to the typical fairy-tale, at least one of these three is sweet and kind and actually likable: the youngest of them all, Peony. She's bubbly and just downright adorable, particularly with her adoration of Prince Kai. Adri and Pearl, however, live up to the term "wicked."
The Lunar Queen can be rightfully considered wicked, too, actually. She's downright evil, but because of her mind-altering abilities, the kind of power she wields is fascinating and made her an interesting villain.
Dr. Erland is a character all on his own: at first I hated him due to his eccentric coldness, but oh my word if he isn't the epitome of surprises and mystery.
And lastly, there's Iko, the android. Due to a "faulty" personality chip, she's smart-mouthed, sweet, sarcastic . . . a fantastic supporting character to Cinder in the way that she balances out Cinder's in-capabilities to be obsessed with the superficial things in life, such as the Prince's good looks or a beautiful dress to wear to the ball.
Overall, a wonderful cast of characters that I couldn't get enough of.
I feel like this book review is inadequate because it basically gets a perfect score from me, but I feel like it's been a long time since I've read a book that was so well rounded, in terms of plot elements and setting, characters and style.
Final Answer: 5 / 5