Friday, April 13, 2012

Cinder: Needs more batteries...

Hardcover, 387 pages
Feiwel and Friends, January 3, 2012

Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl. . . . 

Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.

This is the second book reviewed in the 2012 Debut Author Challenge, hosted by the Story Siren.

Meyer definitely changes things up with this sci-fi spin of the traditional Cinderella story. While there were elements of the original story (the "evil" stepmother, the mean stepsister, servitude, a royal ball, a prince), thankfully, there were also some new ideas: a loving stepsister, a plague, a Cyborg foot instead of a glass slipper ;). So really, Meyer deserves a round of applause for making Cinder less than traditional.

Unfortunately, while the concept was intriguing, the execution needed a little help:

As a cyborg, Cinder is part human/part machine and according to society, is seemingly less than "human." But while there were scenes and details that depicted discrimination towards Cyborgs (mostly only to her), I just plain couldn't relate. For me, I never felt like Cinder was less human...which stems greatly from the fact that in our present society, we don't look at humans who have mechanical parts (metal arms/legs, plastic heart valves, electronic pace makers) as less than human; in fact, we graciously praise those scientist for making it possible for these humans to live. Now, if Cinder's society is an extension of the human condition, then--based on what we know today--why would I consider Cyborgs inhuman? What made her society view them as such?

Since Cinder's character as a cyborg was such a key part to the story, this depiction of her made it extremely hard for me to understand WHY certain characters treated her as such. For me, Meyer, needed to expand on what I already feel today and change it so I can relate to her character's behavior.

New Beijing:
Again, Kudos to Meyer for adding a little multiculturalism. However, the setting of New Beijing needs something more than a booth of buns and Asian-type references and names. What makes Beijing, NEW Beijing? And why Beijing? (In my mind, I kept envisioning Hong Kong--with it's bright lights of skyscrapers and electronics.) So, again Why Beijing? Who are the people living there? Why is there an emperor? Describe to me the smells, the food...give me a little background so I know where I am!

As the story progresses, we are introduced to a competing society to earth: the people of Lunar who (you guessed it) live on. the. moon. While the introduction of another colony is intriguing, there wasn't much background to their existence except that they were an advanced human race that lives on the moon and can manipulate bio-electric energy to make you do what they want. And maybe I'm being a little picky here do they live on the moon? Do they live in space stations? Is there gravity or air? The reason I ask is because in a later scene when pictures are taken of them, they appear to be STANDING STILL (not floating) on the moon without any helmets. ???!!!??? Also, why is Lunar and Earth at war with each other??!

The main interest of this story is its adaptation to the traditional tale. Otherwise, the story line is predictable within the first few chapters, the introduction of lies that induce conflict is getting tiresome to see in story after story, and the lack of empathy for the mc makes this book lacking.

Again, I do applaud Meyer's sci-fi adaption and the bionic parts that make up Cinder, and the writing is decent (considering that it's in 3rd person--which I don't favor). Interesting and somewhat enjoyable to read (if you can ignore the predictability)...I think I will read the next installment to see if there's improvement to the character/plot (I mean, there is going to be 4 books in the series) but it was still somewhat of a disappointment to me. (Zombie Sis feels differently: Check out her review!)

Rated: 3.5 Zombie Bites.

Cinder: Book One in the Lunar Chronicles is available in bookstores everywhere.


Connie Onnie said...

I requested this from the library after I saw your review!

Stephanie said...

I have heard great things about this one and really want to read it!