Cinder is another one of those books that I just haven't been able to escape from – it seems like everyone loves it, so once again I gave into peer pressure to see what all the hype was about. And boy am I glad I did!
Cinder is the first book in Meyer's The Lunar Chronicles series and it's futuristic retelling of the fairytale, Cinderella. Cinder, a cyborg mechanic living in New Beijing, dreams of freedom from her wicked stepmother, Adri. But as she's a second class citizen on account of her being a cyborg, she's forced to work as a mechanic to order to fund her stepmother's and step-sister's lifestyles. But with a mysterious deadly plague, letumosis, sweeping through the city, a Lunar queen intent on declaring war and Crown Prince Kai desperate to thwart the Lunar queen's plans, will Cinder finally get the life of freedom she's always dreamed of, or will she be forced into a life of a different kind of slavery?
I thought Cinder was really well written – I could vividly imagine New Beijing, with all it's bustle and noise and new technology (though that may just be because I lived in actual Beijing for a while...) and I loved the futuristic world that Meyer has built. She goes into just enough detail about Cinder's situation as a cyborg so that I was intrigued, but not overwhelmed with technical details. Cinder is a great heroine – she's funny, feisty, strong and independent, but she's also totally believable while she's at it. So many YA books these days seem to just plainly tell the reader 'she is feisty. She is funny. She is strong,' that it was nice to have a bit of change and to have Meyer actually show us Cinder's qualities, rather than have us simply read about them.
I really liked the different relationships between each of the characters, and getting inside each of their heads. I especially enjoyed seeing Cinder's feelings for Prince Kai develop. Thankfully, there was no case of the dreaded insta-love disease, and it was so good to see a natural relationship develop between them, even if it wasn't a full-blown romantic one (at least, not where this books leaves off...).
Overall, Cinder was fun, entertaining read that really drew me into the world of New Beijing. It didn't seem to suffer from the same affliction that some first books in YA series do – it offered the reader enough information to keep them guessing what would happen, but there was enough information in there that this book could stand pretty much stand on it's own, as well as being part of a series. Although there were a couple of slip-ups (i.e. in one scene, the rain stops but a moment later, it's still pattering against the window....) and the 'twist' at the end was a bit obvious (or so I thought), I really enjoyed reading Cinder and I'm really looking forward to picking up the rest of the The Lunar Chronicles series.
Final comments: A good, solid debut that will intrigue you and leave you wanting more (in a good way).