Cinder Marissa Meyer
Cinder is a cyborg-- a cross between android and human. She's a rarity and a freak, and hides her robotic parts when she can. She's also the best mechanic in New Beijing and the main source of income for her family. A large part of this story is Cinderella (Because you couldn't guess from the title.) The other part involves the Queen of the Moon (who is way freaky and evil) coming to Earth to attempt to marry the prince and TAKE OVER THE WORLD. There are missing princesses, a deadly plague, creepy medical testing, a lot of questionable motives and alliances, PLUS! Evil stepmother + ball.
New Beijing is the capital of the Eastern Commonwealth, which seems to include all of Asia. As such, there is a mish-mash of Asian touches-- a character with the last name of Nguyen (Vietnamese) and a street called Sakura (Japanese). This is TOTALLY on purpose-- as the capital of all of Asia, of course different Asian cultures would blend in this way. As someone who's used to seeing bad Chinese settings, it initially set off some warning bells until I could talk myself down. But that's totally my own issue. I think Meyer was very deliberate in how she combined cultures and created a whole new world.
My big complaint is that I figured out all the twists about 1/3 of the way through. However, I liked the world enough that I kept reading. Only to find that nothing really resolves, the stage just gets set for the next big adventure.
Several people have complained that there's not a lot of spark between Cinder and Prince Kai. There's not. There's some "oo hot guy that I oddly respond to" but no swoon or insta-love. I'm ok with that, because it's not like we're being TOLD that they lurve each other and not seeing it. They're attracted to each other but don't really know each other and I can see this turning into a slow burn that ratchets up over the next few books.
BUT! I loved the world building. I loved the politics. I loved Kai being unexpectedly thrust into power and having no good solutions or answers to very big problems facing his people. Plus, it's a fairy tale retelling. You know how I love those. The titles of the next 3 books have already been announced-- Scarlet, Cress, and Winter. I have ideas where those names come from based on this story, but I'm also hoping for Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel, and Snow Queen. Too bad we have to wait until 2013.
Book Provided by... my local library
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