Cinder by Marissa Meyer
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This was a great beginning to what looks like an exciting trilogy. If you've read The Snow Queen and The Summer Queen, you will recognize a great attempt at world-building and technology. You will also notice a similarity in the main character to reject then accept her "fate," or rather what path her life is going to follow.
***THERE ARE A FEW SPOILERS BELOW***
I really enjoyed reading a third-person YA novel for once. I am getting a little sick of reading from the POV of a 16- or 18-year-old who is totally in love with a guy and all of her struggles at being parted from him. In this book, I could get multiple characters' stories instead of not knowing what was going on in other parts of the stories until the narrator meets up with them again. I could see the struggles Kai was dealing with, as well as what Cinder was going through. It was exciting and helped create tension and climax within the story.
I really really wish that Kai had found out who Cinder was at the very end. I'll admit, that part of the story was incredibly predictable - I knew from the start, as soon as I heard that Princess Selene had been "murdered" and Cinder couldn't remember anything about her past as a human before she was a cyborg, that she was Princess Selene. It was a pretty easy set-up, because otherwise having Cinder as the main character didn't make much sense (unless Peony was the missing princess, and since she died, and was actually Adri's daughter, there was no way that was it).
I also wish there had been a bit more discussion about why cyborgs were reviled in the society and why Kai would have been so revolted. I get that she's part machine, but you would think that considering how it saves people's lives, normal people would be happy for them. Maybe that's wishful thinking? I certainly wouldn't be disgusted by cyborgs. Also, a bit more background on the cyborg-guardian relationship in society would have been helpful.
Still waiting to see what those identification chips taken from dead people are being used for. I have a feeling they come into play in the next book, but I can't be sure since it didn't garner too much attention. Just the few mentions of Peony's chip that Cinder is carrying with her makes me think that is an important detail, not to be overlooked. I hope that Meyer does expand on that in book 2.
Overall, this was an unexpectedly good science fiction read from a YA author. I haven't read any real SF, it's all been too focused on the dystopian aspects and not enough SF was part of the book. But this one really had it all. It's a shame the next one doesn't come out until next year - I'm itching to read it now!
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