Publisher: Feiwel and Friends
Series: Lunar Chronicles #1
Age Group: Young Adult
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.
Summary from Goodreads.
Um yeah, Cinder came out on January 3, 2012... over two years ago.
I don't know why it took me so long to finally read this book, because I sure as heck wanted to. I've even had a signed copy sitting on my shelf for ages! I have no excuse, but you can bet I'm kicking myself for not reading it sooner.
Seriously, Cinder makes me want to run out to the library and grab all of the YA girl power sci-fi I can carry. First and foremost, of course, I want to read Scarlet because I can't wait to dive into the world of the Lunar Chronicles again. It's so thoroughly and wonderfully done, and you get to see it from both a political and social aspect. The world is a wholly different place, with new organizations of countries, and it's fascinating to see this new make-up square off against the Lunars (I'll get to them in a sec). I love that the story takes place in the Eastern Commonwealth, too; it turns out the future doesn't happen JUST in America! (Shocker, I know.)
So about those Lunars... Queen Levana, the ruler of the Lunars, is a fabulous antagonist. She's manipulative, ruthless, oh, and she has magical powers. Not to mention, she's also incredibly strategic and because of her, the stakes are high. She throws some incredible wrenches into the plot which makes for some incredible tension.
But the focus of the book isn't Queen Levana, it's Cinder, our wonderful protagonist. She's determined and fiercely loyal, plus incredibly intelligent and a talented mechanic (forgoing gender norms, for the win!). She's also a cyborg, which is cause for constant discrimination. Society's prejudice adds a lot to this already beautifully layered story, and it adds a lot to her character as she works to overcome it.
What is phenomenal is that Cinder's main focus throughout the story is her sister and also helping society overcome the plague that, well, plagues them. The romance is just icing on the cake (if you'll excuse the cliche), though delicious icing it is. (Seriously, Prince Kai is such a sweetheart with so much pressure on him. He's incredibly sympathetic and charming).
So with all that Cinder has going for it, I really wish I had read it when it came out like I had intended. But I'm also glad that I waited, because I can read Scarlet and Cress in one swoop. :)