Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Book Review: Cinder

I will start this off by saying that I am completely biased towards this book. Obviously since I turned my red shoes into red cyborg shoes! (There's the fangirl in me.) That being said, I've tried to separate myself from it to give the most unbiased review I can.

I've watched Ms. Meyer work on Cinder from the beginning via her newsletters she use to do under her fanfiction penname. I've also been reading her fanficiton work since...well she started. I even have a signed copy of her self published poetry book. I always associated her name with quality. She's also been a personal inspiration to me.

Looking back at my goodreads account, I put Cinder on my "to-read" list in May and pre-ordered my book through B&N as soon as it was available (because I had a gift card wedding present). I pestered the library I worked at until they purchased it (which, it's now sitting in the back waiting to be processed). I was so unhappy on Jan 3 because my book was still in shipping, that my husband drove out to B&N seven minutes before closing to get me another copy so I'd have it release day.

All of this means my expectations were very, very high - and I was not disappointed.

I read the whole thing in less than 24 hours, but finding the words to adequately express my feelings has taken much longer.

But I can say I loved it and I think it's one of the best books I've read in a long time. As soon as I finished, I wanted to pick it right back up and start all over.

Cinder is a futuristic retelling of Cinderella as a cyborg. It's a simple concept, executed in a beautifully complex story. Cinder is a second class citizen because she's a cyborg, but, she is the best mechanic in New Beijing. She keeps her rotten stepmother and stepsister (excluding Peony) afloat with her mechanic business, but she doesn't get any of the profits. Everything is turned upside down one day the prince of the Eastern Commonwealth shows up at Cinder's booth in urgent need of a android repair. Cinder struggles with her own identity, forced upon her by society, and with a very pressing political threat not only to the Eastern Commonwealth, but the whole world.

There are lot's of reviews out there praising this book (and this is pretty much one of them), but I'm going to talk about the things that I love that don't seem to be getting coverage.

The themes in this book are well executed and plentiful (without being preachy), but it's the theme of globalism that really caught my attention. Cinder takes place in New Beijing, and I know the that Scarlet, Book 2 of the Lunar Chonicles, takes place in France, then Cinder ends with an allusion to Africa. Plus, there's this great scene with all the world leaders showing the state of the entire world. I love the globtrotting that I think this books are going to have, and that this is a full developed world. Most Sci-fi and Fantasy just clump everything together, as if in the future we're all one people having the same experience. It's so refreshing to see this isn't the case with Cinder.

The setting is also superb. Meyer's world building skills are something to be studied. I felt emerged in the world from page one, and without any need of the dreaded "Exposition Dump." I have to say, I never found the world as dirty as the Firefly inspiration she claims, but I did find it to be a real world (a little more like Bladerunner to me). And on top of that, it's the whole world! I love that the world is still broken up, abit, a little less than today's standards. And I get the impression that each place is different with their own quirks and customs, just like the world today.

My only issue with the book is the whole Cinder is this amazing/one-of-a-kind/super special/exactly who we're looking for/special powers character. I usually get a little miffed with a protagonist who discovers that she is this super-duper-special-save-the-whole-world-lost-at-birth person, but with Cinder it didn't really bother me. I will admit there was a moment or two I rolled my eyes, but on a whole I went with it. This is something that makes me livid at books, but was so well done in this one, that I didn't care.

But the most amazing part of this book to me is how meticulous it is. Every character is well thought out; every plot point carefully placed. This is a book that doesn't waste a single sentance, or even a single word. Each line was well thought out and lovely placed to make the book the best it could be. And that's what makes me give Cinder a 5/5. Now you know, so go out and get a copy of this right now!

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