Cinder by Marissa Meyer
The Skinny: Cinder is a renowned mechanic, the step-daughter of a cruel woman, and a cyborg – a trait that makes her a second class citizen. She dreams of escape, wanting to leave her life behind for freedom. The handsome Prince Kai shows up at her mechanic’s booth, asking her to repair an android, and she is suddenly faced with her attraction to the most eligible bachelor in New Beijing and the fear that he’ll find out she’s cyborg. But when her step-sister falls prey to the deadly letimosis that is ravaging the world, Cinder’s stepmother blames her and “volunteers” her to be a research test subject to help find a cure. Cinder is thrust into a world of deception and lies, one that’s on the verge of intergalactic warfare, and is faced with the truth of her mysterious past.
BFF?: Okay, I’m not sure WHY cyborgs are second class citizens, but if they’re anywhere near as amazeballs as Cinder, I want them all the be my BFFs! Cinder was a perfect balance of bravery and honor, carelessness and carefulness. She also had a sassy, spunky personality that made me fist-pump whenever she cracked a smart-alack one liner. She has a good heart and, although normally shunned by others, opens it to all she meets. But this doesn’t make her an easy target nor does she wear her heart on her sleeve; she’s cautious about others, holding back while she considers their motives before making decisions that could hurt not only her, but them. I don’t normally think that characters are 100% perfect, but Cinder comes pretty darn close, flaws and all.
Listen-ability: Rebecca Soler does a FANTASTIC job of narrating Cinder. She gave it just enough spunk and excitement that I wanted to pay attention carefully, not letting my mind drift off like I do sometimes with audiobooks. Her voice captures the the attitudes and personalities of the different characters, without trying to imitate the male voices – something I can’t stand.
Crush Level: 7
I don’t think initially I was attracted (physically) to Prince Kai – the floppy black hair doesn’t really do much for me. But then… BUT THEN! we get to know him and wowzer… he’s just so much fun! He seems a little uncertain, kind of hot-tempered in a bratty way, but his princelyness comes through nicely. I love seeing the good-buddy/crown prince dynamic he’s faced with when it comes to Cinder; he’s flirty but in a friendly way, which is my favorite type of flirtation.
Sailor Moon Bonus Points: Did anyone else imagine 90% of this book to be an episode of Sailor Moon? Maybe I’m alone, way out on my branch of nerdiness, but seriously… check the bonus points:
Peony the Stepsister
Maybe it was just the narrator’s voice, but anytime Peony (prior to getting sick) showed up I imagined her as Sailor Moon (Serena, Usagi, whatever you want to call her). The way she flailed around, bouncing and excited… I definitely imagined my favorite meatball head.
Regular Bonus Points:
Narrated by Velma
Y’all, I nearly peed my pants (okay, not really) when about halfway through I realized the reason the narrator’s voice sounded so familiar. It’s Velma from Scooby Doo! Or the actress who played her! I was so excited and got so much more into listening after I realized this.
Commencement Speech: I was CRAZY hesitant to read Cinder. I’m all for retellings, but having Cinderella as a cyborg? Way out of my comfort zone. But I forced myself out of it and picked up (well, downloaded) the audiobook and steeled myself to give it a chance. I’m SO glad I did! Cinder was everything everyone’s been preaching about. It was fun, it was unique… it put a great spin on a favorite fairy tale. Cinderella is definitely not one of my favorites but Cinder managed to make me forget that prejudice and open myself up to love it. Meyer’s tale is imaginative and way outside the box while keeping itself close to the box. She weaves the basics of Cinderella – evil stepmother, glass slipper, pumpkin coach – into her story while giving them amazingly unique twists. I loved how the car Cinder finds is orange. It took me a while to realize that was her pumpkin coach! All in all, this book taught me that I should start facing my hesitancies, opening myself up to books that I think might not appeal to me. Any book that teaches me a valuable reading lesson is okay in my book!
Yearbook Quote: “I know this is stupid, but part of me felt like if I could come see you today, if I could convince you to go with me tonight, then maybe I could still change things.”
Superlatives – Most Likely to overload your circuits