Cannonball Read IV

A bunch of Pajibans reading and reviewing and honoring AlabamaPink.

Archive for the tag “Cinder”

Scootsa1000’s #CBR4 Review #20: Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Along with many of you, I am SO FAR BEHIND on my reviews, I don’t really know what to do about it.  I can barely remember what I did last week, so its certainly going to be a challenge to review some books that I read over a month ago. Sigh.

But I do remember this one, Cinder by Marissa Meyer.  A few of you had read it and liked it, and even though I was a bit “blah” about the book cover, I thought it sounded interesting enough to try out.  I’m not going to lie: I tore through this sucker in one sitting.  I enjoyed it immensely, even though I knew where it was going (for the most part) and saw the huge “reveal” coming from a mile away.  Maybe its because my 2 year-old has recently discovered Cinderella, but this was one of my favorite modern retellings of a classic story since Bridget Jones’ Diary.

For those in the dark, Linh Cinder is the most talented mechanic in the futuristic New Beijing. She also happens to be half-cyborg, which isn’t too popular in society, as cyborgs are definitely looked down upon by the rest of the population.  She lives with her horrible adopted stepmother and stepsisters (one she hates and one she loves), and her only friend is her android, Iko.

New Beijing (and the rest of the world) is suffering from a terrible plague that kills its citizens pretty quickly and is extremely contagious.  When Cinder’s sister Peony (the one she loves) gets sick, her stepmother “volunteers” Cinder as a test subject for a cure, as the government is always asking for young, female cyborg test subjects.

Meanwhile, Cinder becomes friends with the dreamy Prince Kai, who has an android that needs repairs.  His father is dying from the plague and Kai is under pressure to marry the ruthless Lunar Queen, Levana.

As Cinder spends time in the hospital undergoing tests with the kind Dr. Erland, secrets are uncovered and the plots for the future books of the trilogy (but of course!) are laid out.

Even though I pretty much knew how the story would turn out, I still enjoyed the new telling of Cinderella, and will pick up the future volumes of the story as the are released.

You can read more of my reviews on my blog.


Malin’s #CBR4 Review #45: Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Cinder is probably the best mechanic in New Beijing. She’s also a cyborg. As cyborgs are generally shunned in society, she tries to hide this fact from as many as possible. The kind man who adopted her years earlier died shortly after, leaving her the ward of his cold and uncaring wife. She expects Cinder to work to support her and her two daughters, never showing the “unnatural” girl any appreciation or affection. Cinder is surprised to find the Prince Kai, heir to the Imperial throne, at her booth one day, urging her to fix one of his androids, but reluctant to share why it matters so much to him.

Scientists are working ceaselessly to find a cure for the deadly plague that’s affecting the population, and when Cinder’s stepsister is suddenly taken ill, her stepmother “volunteers” her for medical testing. Drugged and taken away in restraints, Cinder tries to escape the testing facility, but is with a strain of the disease, and shortly after released by the head medical expert. He reveals that Cinder is immune to the plague, and makes her promise to help him find a cure. As the stepsister who’s ill is pretty much Cinder’s only friend in the world, Cinder readily agrees. Working with Dr. Edlund, she keeps running into Prince Kai, whose father, the Emperor, is also ill with the plague, and eager for the doctors to find a cure.

Dr. Edlund agrees to pay Cinder for her assistance, and with the money Cinder plans to refurbish an old car, grab her sidekick android, and escape her stepmother’s reach once and for all. Her growing feelings for Prince Kai are definitely complicating things, especially when Kai asks her to be his date to the annual ball at the palace. Dr. Edlund is acting strangely, and clearly knows more about her than he’s willing to reveal. Why is he so determined that she stay far away from the palace when the Lunar Queen is visiting? Why is Cinder immune to the plague?

I love fairy tale retellings, and while I normally don’t read a lot of sci-fi, this book was difficult to put down. The concept of Cinderella as a cyborg was a really cool one, and the futuristic world conjured up by Meyer is really well rendered on the page. The supporting characters are all well developed too, and I was genuinely affected when good (and bad) things happened to them. Cinder’s a wonderful character, although I suspect only the really slow kids at the back will be genuinely surprised at the shocking revelation of her true identity (this is NOT a spoiler – Meyer leaves anvillicious hints throughout the story).

My main gripe is that the ending is rather sudden, and very open ended, and the next book isn’t out until next year. As far as I can tell online, there will be four books in total inThe Lunar Chronicles, and as far as I can tell each new book will be another fairy tale retelling. Not sure how she’s going to tie each new book into the current story line, but with such a promising beginning, I’m choosing to be hopeful that it’ll work out.

Crossposted on my blog, Malin’s Blog of Books and Goodreads.

Katie’s #15 #CBR4 Review: Cinder by Marissa Meyer

First of all, I liked it!  It was exactly the sort of read I needed to get me through a busy, school-and-research-filled week.  The author gets major points for coming up with such an original take on the Cinderella story.  Although she has moved the story forward in time and made Cinder an android, that’s just the beginning.  She also added her own secondary plots, with the earth struggling to avoid a war with a country formed from human colonists living on the moon and  a dreadful plague sweeping the country where Cinder lives.  Re-reading the previous sentence, it almost sounds too bizarre to be believe, but the whole plot flows quite logically and plausibly from the author’s excellent world building narrative.  We never learn about the world in a way that feels disconnected from the plot; instead, we constantly learn new information while staying engaged with the current moment.

Read the rest here.

narfna’s #CBR4 Review #09: Cinder by Marissa Meyer

I picked this book up because of the cover, and because I love fairy-tale re-tellings. I wasn’t expecting much, but I was pleasantly surprised at what I found once I started reading, and pretty soon I couldn’t put the fool thing down.

Cinder is a sci-fi re-telling of Cinderella. It has cyborgs, moon-people, and a plague that is devastating the Earth’s population. It also has young Linh Cinder, orphan and cyborg, who is a mechanic in New Beijing a long ways into Earth’s future. The basic bones of the traditional Cinderella story are here: dead father (in this case, adopted father), “evil” step-mother and step-sister, a handsome prince, a ball, and there’s even a thing with her foot, although it’s not what you’d expect. There’s also a ton of stuff in here mined from Meyer’s imagination (and inspired by her favorite things, judging by the globalized China setting, one of which is obviously Firefly). Notably lacking? A fairy godmother. Cinder doesn’t have a fairy godmother because she doesn’t need one. She’s kind of a badass.

There were a lot of things I loved about this book. I loved Cinder herself. (Come on, Cinderella as a cyborg? How cool is that?) Obviously I’m a big fan of the whole moon people concept (even if it does need some development), and the plague that is plagueing Earthens (as differentiated from the moon people, who are called ‘Lunars,’ which is a less cool name than ‘Moon People,’ but that’s just like, my opinion, man) is genuinely terrifying. I like that the plague is not some vague concept. It affects Cinder’s life and her family and friends in awful ways that we see firsthand through her eyes. (I don’t want to get more detailed than that.) I really liked Dr. Edlund, the man in charge of finding a cure for the plague. He’s crotchety and complicated. I also really, really liked Cinder’s tiny android Iko, with the funky personality. I also think that Earth vs. Moon is a great structure for a book series, and the next four books have the potential to be awesome.

But as much as the story benefits from the Cinderella framework, at points Meyer’s narrative seems tied down by the concept. I’m excited to see what she can do with this world she’s created now that she’s got the fairy-tale conceit out of the way (spoiler alert: pretty much all of the Cinderella narrative, except for the happy ending, occurs in this book, which is the first of four planned volumes in The Lunar Chronicles). I want to see more depth to New Beijing and its citizens, more world-building, more character work. I assumed while reading the book that all of this stuff would be getting more development in later volumes, and that was enough for me for now, but I do need to see it all fleshed out in the next book.

There was lots of stuff that had to take a back seat to Meyer’s plot as it ran its course: most of the characters, including Prince/Emperor Kaito, the evil moon queen, her stepmother and one “evil” stepsister were all underdeveloped, as Meyer just kind of relied on the fairy-tale trope to carry those characters through. Also underdeveloped in this book? The moon people, the history of the dystopic world she’s created (how did it get to be that way? how far into the future are we?), an explanation for why the culture of New Beijing is so conspicuously Americanized (I gave her the benefit of the doubt and assumed it was due to globalization and cultures assimilating with one another over thousands of years, but it could also be an actual oversight). I wanted more development of the social structure in New Beijing. Cinder mentions several times that cyborgs are seen as second class citizens, but the only real instance of it we have is her stepmother’s hatred of her, which could just be chalked up to the usual stepmothery reasons.

The only other complaint that I have is that the plot “twist” near the end is completely predictable. In fact, I predicted it from the first moment I possibly could, and I’m betting 95% of readers will do the same (either because they’re smart like that, or because they’re so used to these types of stories and how they play out that it never had a chance of being a surprise in the first place). Meyer would have been better off acknowledging the twist from the beginning, and letting the tension come from us wondering when Cinder would be clued in as well.

So even with all that whinging up there, I give this four stars. I’ll probably be harder on the sequels than I’m being on Cinder, but I’m forgiving of all this stuff because I liked what was there very much, and it wasn’t really until I started thinking about the book after I’d finished it that other stuff came to light for me. In fact, most of that complaining up there can be boiled down to three simple words: I wanted more. And that’s not the worst complaint to have, really, because it means I’m invested enough to care . . . have I mentioned before how much I hate waiting for sequels? Because I really hate it.

[Link to original review here.]

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