So imagine this. New Beijing. A plague – the Blue Fever – has decimated the country. The people are poor. The omnipresent threat of war and destruction looms over the planet. Cinder, a young female cyborg, finds herself in quite a predicament when Prince Kai, Crown Prince of New Beijing, comes to her for help on a mysterious project. What unfolds is a story of deceit, manipulation and of course, young romance.
It seems as though the only time I have to read books nowadays is when I’m on a long-haul flight and I have nothing to do but to pull out my trusty iPad and read the many books I have hoarded on there. I’ve been meaning to read Cinder since it first came out, drawn to the cover and synopsis like a bee on honey. I’m a sucker for dystopia and fairy tales.
Cinder bears many similarities to her Disney counterpart. She is a headstrong, unextraordinary-at-first-glance young woman (with the addition of metallic limbs), and her adoptive family hates her guts for reasons beyond her control. There’s a grand ball at the end of the story where our heroine dances with the dazzling prince and it seems as though time comes to a stop for their blossoming love.
Except not really, because there’s a murderous queen from the Moon that is after her blood.
In Cinder’s smog-filled world, a faction of humanity split apart and moved to the Moon many ages ago. A colony filled with beautiful, perfect people that all possess a mysterious magical power. Their queen, the tyrannical Levana, has New Beijing’s balls in a vice. After Prince Kai’s father succumbs to the Blue Fever, an opportunity finally arises: she can swoop in and strong-arm Prince Kai into marrying her, thus gaining control of the Moon and the Earth.
While it’s retained the essence of the original story, Cinder is truly a wonderfully done re-imagining.
What makes the story work for me is Cinder’s character. Of the many YA novels I’ve been reading these days, it’s refreshing to have a strong female lead that is highly aware of her attraction to the male character, yet chooses to act intelligently about it – and stay away. None of that swooning and curtsying BS. Also, her dark backstory gives her an unprecedented emotional depth that really won me over. It’s rare for me to finish a book and desperately crave the next one, but it happened!
While it’s rather hard to bring anything new to the sci-fi table nowadays, there’s a quirky sort of charm that goes along with Cinder’s grit and darkness. Unlike many YA novels out there, it reads smoothly, and the characters introduced are wonderfully multi-dimensional. It’s fabulous, I’ll give you that.
– Rachel C.