Author: Marissa Meyer
First published: 2012
Genre: Sci-fi, dystopia, romance
My rating: 4/5
What's in your mind when you hear the word "Cinderella"? Perhaps the blue dress, the pumpkin carriage, the glass shoes, the midnignt curfew, and the happily ever after? Well, those are not what you'll get by reading this fairytale retelling novel.
"It is easier to trick others into perceiving you as beautiful if you can convince yourself you are beautiful. But mirrors have an uncanny way of telling the truth." --chapter 19Linh Cinder is a famously gifted mechanic who worked and lived in New Beijing, 126 years after the World War IV. Eventhough she was a very skillful mechanic, she was considered a second-class citizen because she is a cyborg (part human, part machine). Almost 40% of her body was machine because of a very traumatic accident in the past that she lost one of her feet and hands...and her memories since before she was turned into a cyborg. She was adopted at the age of 11, and she lived with her guardian slash stepmother Linh Adri and her two stepsisters (Linh Pearl and Linh Peony).
She was brooding on a hot day in her small shop in the market when Prince Kai of Eastern Commonwealth came to get his tutor android repaired. And of course the prince had to be very handsome, and polite and funny and in short, Cinder was interested in the prince and vice versa. But of course things got a little complicated when the market was shut down because of 'the plague'. Letumosis is an extremely deadly sickness that attacts randomly and the patients' life would be numbered in days.
Peony and Cinder loved each other like real siblings eventhough they are stepsisters. Cinder was devastated when Peony was infected by the plague and must be taken to quarantie. Adri blamed Cinder for Peony's sickness and offered her as a 'test subject' to the royal health research for letumosis' antidote. She thought she was going to die as a guinea pig, but she was immune to letumosis, and offered a position as a blood donor (to be researched for the antidote) by the lead doctor. This was where she eventually met Prince Kai for the second time, and the third time...and so on.
Unlike the traditional Cinderella fairytale, the main antagonist in the story was not the stepmother. Queen Levana of the Lunar Kingdom (who was rumored to have murdered her older sister the real Queen, and her niece to take over the throne) had an ambition to take over the Earth by marrying Prince Kai after the death of the Emperor. Cinder tried to help Kai to defy the evil Queen.
Honestly, I was amazed by the story because it is very very creative and unique to turn a very traditional fairytale into an action sci-fi. Linh Cinder was unlike the old-time-Cinderella who accepted her fate, and got help from the fairygodmother and waited for the prince to find her. Linh Cinder was a kick-ass, a rebel, a real heroine because she took action throughout the story (you know I like strong women character, hehehe). The whole retelling is absolutely fantastic and very well-written. And of course the prince had to be soooo kind, sooo handsome, soooo sarcastic, soooo funny.... *melting*. I also like the Asian setting of this novel, because come on, I'm not being racist or anything, but most dystopian that I read has either the U.S or the U.K as the setting. I mean, come on, this world is BIG, BIG, BIG! I need to see other places as settings in novels too.
The only bad thing about the novel is that, I can predict the ending from only reading 30% of it. I mean, come on, it's to early to be able to guess the ending, about the real identity of Cinder and so on, but the clues are there for everyone to see, blindingly clear like chrystal. I don't know if it is intentional or not, but it definitely decreases the suspense for me. I wasn't even surprised when the lead doctor told Cinder that she actually was...*censored*...I'm disappointed.
But you know what, I still read it in only one day because the writing is good and you can just fly through it like I did. And the amazement factor of 'how could you make such a whole different world from traditional fairytale?' did get me till the end of the story and I intend to read the sequel. hahaaa.... So I guess, still 4 stars for this book.
It is recomended for you if you like sci-fi, dystopia, romance, and fairytale in a package. Enjoy :))