In this retelling of the Cinderella story, Cinder is a cyborg mechanic living in New Beijing. Adopted by a man who died years ago, she is left with her hateful stepmother and two stepsisters. Being a cyborg comes with many tensions and inconveniences, including prejudice from fellow citizens and the cyborg draft, an initiative to help the scientists of New Beijing find a cure for the plague that has devastated the world.
Things change when Prince Kai approaches her, asking Cinder to fix his android. What starts as a business encounter turns into something more as Cinder faces new struggles and learns of hidden truths that could change everything.
I was intrigued by this book's high ratings and seemingly endless praise. I finally decided to pick it up, and I can conclude that it is one of the most original, enjoyable and riveting books that I have ever read. I was skeptical at first, as stories of cyborgs and androids generally aren't included within my usual reads, but I must say that I agree with all the five-star ratings and raving reviews.
The world-building in this book blew me away. I was completely and utterly engrossed in the world of New Beijing, and all of the social norms, prejudices and political issues that revolved around it. I feel that in a way, it mirrors our world: people are quick to judge those who are different (like many judged the cyborgs), people become desperate in hard times (for example, times of illness), and of course, there was the tricky and intriguing world of politics. All of these issues were portrayed in a way that made them seem incredibly realistic despite being dystopian and within the realm of science fiction, and this added a whole new dimension to the reading experience that I feel many books, unfortunately, lack.
This was a refreshing retelling of Cinderella. The use of cyborgs and "hovers" and extraterrestrial beings made for an original tale and a nice break from the more fantasy-oriented retellings of fairy tales. Cinder herself was a perfect combination of the traditional view of Cinderella - mistreated, hopeful and pleasant - and an original personality. I hope that readers get to see more of her in the next book!
All of the other characters, including the stepmother, stepsisters (one friendly and one not-so-friendly) and the prince fulfilled their roles from the original fairy tale, however the author also went above and beyond to make them unique and much more than just overused, stock cliches. The combinations of the characters, unique twists and the world itself brought the book to life as I read it and I never wanted to put it down!
While there were some twists that I could definitely see coming, this didn't take away from the reading experience at all. Any disappointment that came from being able to guess some of the big reveals was erased by the author's writing style. I read it for hours on end without needing to take a break, and the time seemed to fly. I was sad when I flipped to the last page, because I don't have the next book yet!
I recommend this to fans of YA and science fiction. Even if you're not a big fan of science fiction, give this book a try! You won't regret it.
Couldn't put it down