Publisher: Feiwel and Friends
Published: January 3rd, 2012
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.
Cinder is book 1 of the Lunar Chronicles series written by Marissa Meyer. This book takes place in a dystopian future where all the nations of earth live peacefully; they avoid war because the last major world war had caused much loss of human life - to the extent where whole cultures had been wiped out. During this time there is also a plague called letumosis, once contracted, death is imminent and there is no known cure.
The main character of this book is Linh Cinder, a 16 year old mechanic who lives in New Beijing with her stepmother and two stepsisters. Cinder’s stepfather died when she was very young and her stepmother despises her, calling her a burden and blaming her for Garan’s (her stepfather) death. Cinder is also a cyborg, she is part robot and part human, for this reason she is looked down upon by the general public.
Other than conflict Cinder has with her stepmother, the other main conflict in this book is between Prince Kaito future ruler of the Commonwealth (prince of where Cinder lives) and Queen Levana. Queen Levana is the queen of the planet Lunar. She is known as a ruthless queen whose major aim is to gain control of the commonwealth through a marriage alliance with Prince Kai. Levana is known to be a ruthless ruler, partly because of her tactics and partly because of her Lunar gift. Basically, she can control people, make them do whatever she wishes. Anywhere from making someone feel loyal to her, to making someone turn a gun onto themselves. She can also create illusions to make herself appear beautiful and desirable, the illusion cannot fool mirrors or portscreens (her illusions don’t carry over to video recordings/ pictures). Queen Levana is the most powerful when it comes to her Lunar powers but many of her subjects also possess the power, those who do not are called shells, they do not have the power and they cannot be manipulated by it. Queen Levana cannot control these Lunars so she orders them to be killed.
However Queen Levana’s claim to the throne is not irrefutable, there is another rightful heir to the Lunar throne, Princess Selene. However Princess Selene was killed in a fire that also killed her parents, there were traces of her left behind in the fire but a body was never recovered. Some people believe that she did not die and she was secretly brought to Earth and is still alive. Many people also believe that Queen Levana is responsible for the attacks on her (Queen Levana’s) sister, her husband and Princess Selene.
The story is narrated by both Cinder and Prince Kai in alternating chapters. The story really starts right before Prince Kai’s coronation ball, a ball that everyone in the Commonwealth is invited to. Prince Kai and Cinder first meet at her stall in the market place, Prince Kai needs an android fixed that mysteriously stopped working, and Cinder agrees to take the job. After the workday Cinder goes home to her very loving younger sister Peony who begs to be allowed to come with Cinder on her escapade to the junkyard to find spare parts. While there Peony begins to show symptoms of the plague and is taken away by the authorities. When Cinder’s stepmother finds out she assumes that Peony caught it from Cinder because there was an outbreak in the market place that day while Cinder was working, she then has Cinder forcibly taken away, sent to a research facility that is trying to find a cure for letumosis. Cinder is injected with letumosis, but a most peculiar thing happens. it is found that she is immune. Dr. Erland (doctor in charge of letumosis research) agrees to let Cinder go home if she promises to return to give more blood samples to find a cure.
This book was a page turner! It was Dystopian future with a hint of fairytale mixed into the general plot. The book was fairly fast paced, and it didn’t take too long to read which I don’t think would have bothered me even if it did, I couldn't put it down, and I was sad when it was over mostly because It ends with a cliff hanger. I would not recommend this book if you’re the type of person who doesn’t like to read series that are uncompleted, because every single one of her three books ends on a cliff hanger and publication dates are about a year part. Currently there are three books of the series published and there is one more due next year. So if you don’t want to wait between books don’t read it yet. In general though good book, easy read, not hard to follow and you’re not alive until you read it!