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Book Review: Cinder by Marissa Meyer

By Joyweesemoll @joyweesemoll

Book: Cinder by Marissa Meyer
Genre: Young Adult Fiction
Publisher: Feiwel and Friends
Publication date: 2012
Pages: 390

Source: My copy is an ARC, sent by a friend who was done with it. Does anyone else want it? I normally send my books on to the Greater St. Louis Book Fair, but that doesn’t seem quite right with ARCs. This copy has got at least one more good read in it before going to recycling.

cover of Cinder by Marissa Meyer
Summary: Cinder is a futuristic-version of Cinderella set in Beijing more than a century after the fourth World War. People, or rather, some distrusted magical variation of people, are living on the moon. Injuries can be repaired with computer chips and electronic parts, but you will forever be a second-class citizen, like Cinder, a reviled cyborg. Cinder’s stepmother and two sisters rely on her income as the most gifted mechanic in New Beijing, but gratitude isn’t part of the dynamic.

Thoughts: I’m going to keep this short because Cinder was all over the book blogs when it first came out.

The viewpoint character’s voice captured me from the beginning of the book. I devoured it because I was more interested in living her life than my own. (Don’t you love it when that happens?) I loved the Cinderella aspects of Cinder, even though they were spare and slight. Part of the fun was spotting the next reference. I enjoyed the setting, both the futuristic aspects and the kind of Eastern vibe that thrums through the text.

Cinder ends on a cliff-hanger. Fortunately, the next book in the series, Scarlet is out now. I went ahead and downloaded the first five chapters for free to see if this is a book I can get myself to read in electronic form. Short and fun work usually work well for me, so I have high hopes.

Read-a-likes: One aspect that I liked about Cinder was the strong female lead with mechanical skills. I don’t know why that appeals to me so much — I don’t have mechanical skills. Although, come to think of it, having computer skills as a female in the 1980s was something of a breed apart so maybe that’s where the connectedness is rooted.

If you also like mechanically-inclined heroines and you’re on the older side of the age range for this book, I recommend the Mercedes (Mercy) Thompson series of urban fantasy books by Patricia Biggs. Mercy is a rare, possibly unique, shape-shifting coyote under the protection, and occasional threat, of werewolves. Her day job is mechanic. The first book in the series is Moon Called.

I just finished Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein. I’ll probably review it on Monday. There’s a talented female mechanic in that story, too. Code Name Verity is YA, so the reading age range overlaps pretty closely with Cinder.

If you liked the alternate reality with Eastern overtones in Cinder, I’d like to recommend Sharon Shinn’s YA novel, Gateway: Book Review: Gateway. Gateway is a much gentler story, so you won’t want it when you’re in the mood for heart-pounding adventure. In a quieter mood, Gateway can be just perfect. It was for me.

What's in a Name 6 graphic
Challenges: I’m going to count this as the first of my books for the What’s in a Name 6 Challenge for item 4, A book with fire (or equivalent) in the title. Cinder is a by-product of fire with enough combustible material left to start flaming anew at any moment.

Have you read this book? What did you think?

Signature of Joy Weese Moll

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