{Review Redux/Giveaway} CINDER by Marissa Meyer

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not to mention the launch of Marissa Meyer's SCARLET!
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This review was first posted on Jan. 14, 2012 for A Week of Cinder(ella).  
It is being re-posted now in honor of A Week of Little Red and Cinder's sequel, SCARLET!
O P E N I N G   H O O K:

THE SCREW THROUGH CINDER'S ANKLE HAD RUSTED, THE engraved cross marks work to a mangled circle. Her knuckles ached from forcing the screwdriver in to the join as she struggled to loosen the screw one gritting twist after another. By the time it was extracted far enough for her to wrench free with her prosthetic steel hand, the hairline threads had been stripped clean.
Tossing the screwdriver onto the table, Cinder gripped her heel and yanked the foot from its socket. A spark singed her fingertips and she jerked away, leaving the foot to dangle from a tangle of red and yellow wires.
She slumped back with a relieved groan. A sense of release hovered at the end of those wires--freedom. Having loathed the too-small foot for four years, she swore to never put the piece of junk back on again. She just hoped Iko would be back soon with its replacement.
(Page 6, US hardcover first edition)

I'll admit it now (and you all know it anyway):  I'm biased when it comes to CINDER.  I did, however, try to be as impartial as possible when reading and reviewing the book, so this review is based on the book's merits and not my love-fest revolving around Marissa Meyer. ^.~

Before CINDER, the only brush I had with a futuristic fairy tale was Anna Sheehan's A LONG, LONG SLEEP (reviewed here).  The only truly "sci-fi" (to me, this reads "spacey") books I own are ACROSS THE UNIVERSE by Beth Revis (review here) and various ENDER books by Orson Scott Card.  Science Fiction has never really been my thing when it comes to outer space, though I've always been fascinated by the moon.  But the idea of a space opera quartet revolving around four fairy tales from the fantastically talented Marissa Meyer?  I knew she wouldn't steer me wrong, and I'm happy to say that she didn't!  I'll be honest: Going into CINDER, the only thing I knew about cyborgs was the fact that there was a character in the animated TV series TEEN TITANS named Cyborg.  I had to have one of my co-workers explain the difference between a cyborg and a robot to me.  But even without our discussion, I feel that by the end of CINDER, I still would have understood because Meyer deftly showcases what makes Cinder cyborg and what makes her human (because she IS both.  There's no question about that.  I don't really understand the people who think cyborgs are robots and not humans, but that's another story).

Cinder wasn't always a cyborg.  She was born completely mortal, but an accident when she was young left her with a mechanical arm, foot, and some wicked cool abilities.  Cinder makes being cyborg cool.  She has a mind that works like Google's search engine, bringing up information as needed for Cinder to process.  Her leg also has a cool compartment that lets her tuck her equipment away out of sight.  And these are only two of the things that make being a cyborg so interesting.  Of course, Cinder doesn't think she's interesting.  She'd give anything to be fully human and not a lesser-ranked citizen.  She lives with her stepmother and stepsiblings, who treat her worse than dirt and completely own everything about her.  She can't keep any of the money she makes as a mechanic, and can't even buy replacement parts when needed (her poor leg is four years old and too small).  When tragedy strikes her household, her stepmother sends Cinder off as a research subject to find a cure for the plague that has been ravishing Beijing.  While being tested, Cinder discovers secrets about herself that have been carefully hidden over the years and realizes there's more to her than anyone expects.  This secret is especially dangerous because she's forged a connection with Prince Kai, who oversees the experiments, and will do anything to keep her cyborg parts hidden from him.  Her task grows even harder when the Lunar Queen, Levana, arrives on earth after the king dies.  CINDER gets more complex and in-depth as the story progresses and by the end, I was ready to throw my book against the wall because I have to wait a year to continue this four-book series.

While I was expecting an intergalactic battle over the course of four books, I expected all four to be self-contained fairy tales with proper endings.  I never expected that Cinder's journey would continue and not wrap up cleanly.  (I'm pretty sure I disowned Marissa for about a day after finding out the truth the hard way, but that's another story!)  While CINDER is intriguing from the start, it doesn't get impossible-to-put-down-good until a little ways in, and once the story has you in its grasp, it doesn't let go again.  While some plot points are fairly obvious and easy to figure out, others come out of right-field and smack you over the head when you aren't looking.  This is definitely one of the most unique and creative fairy tale retellings I've ever come across.  My only real complaint about the novel is actually a very small one: Knowing the author's roots, I was saddened by the use of the name Selene, though seeing as Selene is one of the Moon Goddess' names, it also makes sense for anyone reading CINDER with eyes fresher than mine.  I'm eager to see Queen Levana progress over the series and grow as a villain.  I can't wait to see the way four vastly-different fairy tales are brought together, especially since the scope is so large (CINDER is set in Beijing, SCARLET in France, CRESS in the Sahara Desert, and WINTER on the Lunar Moon).  I was enthralled that, like with personal favorites EVER AFTER and ELLA ENCHANTED, Cinder knew Prince Kai before the ball.  There's reason and motivation, and most of all, feeling.  I grew to care a lot for both characters and have become invested in their journey.  I loved that Cinderella wasn't a passive girl with one goal in mind.  She can save the prince, herself, her kingdom.  She's not going to sit back and wait for someone to save her!  I can't wait to meet the rest of the Lunar Chronicles characters I've been hearing about for so long.  I'm looking forward to discovering more surprises from Meyer and discovering new ways to look at beloved fairy tales that I may have never otherwise thought possible.


At first, I was iffy about this cover.  In person, I really like it.  There are layers upon layers that you can't see clearly on a computer screen.  The glass slipper is a bright, dangerous shade of red that reminds me of a villain's lips.  You can see through it to Cinder's foot.  And Cinder's foot--and leg--are also transparent, showing the artificial bone lying beneath the surface.  It's mysterious and captivating.  I can't wait to see the treatment for the rest of the series!

I also love the font used for the title treatment (Aeronaut), which Rich Deas discusses in his interview!  It's embossed in a beautiful shade of silver and manages to feel both futuristic and old-fashioned at the same time!  The C also reminds me of a sheet of music, so it has a lyrical feel to it, too.
O F F I C I A L   I N F O:

Title:  CINDER
Author: Marissa Meyer
Release Date: Jan. 3, 2012
Publisher: Macmillan / Feiwel and Friends
Received: For Review
(Re-read my own purchased copy, though!)

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.
If you haven't done so yet, enter to win 
a paperback of CINDER and a hardcover of SCARLET!
One lucky winner in the US/CA will win both books!
(And I THINK you can Tweet once a day, but Rafflecopter baffles me a little, so...)

I usually use forms, but for A Week of Little Red, I'm going to try out Rafflecopter...
Let me know what you think of moving in this direction, and let me know if you have any issues!
Again, I still don't fully understand Rafflecopter, lol!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


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