Title: Cinder (TLC #1)
Author: Marissa Meyer
On the Shelves: Young Adult> Fantasy> Retellings
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 (Goodreads 2014)
I first read this in 2012 when it first came out- I loved it and gave it five stars. However, with Cress coming out next month, I wanted to re-read the entire series. So I’ve re-read Cinder this month, with the intention of putting together a proper review for this book/blog, and then I’m carrying onto Scarlet (TLC 2) and then I’ll finally read Cress (SUPER EXCITED!!!)
So, as the book summary says, TLC is set in a future world, in the remains of a devastated Earth after World War 4, where Cinder is living in “New Beijing”. In a world where humans and androids co-exist, where a population of earth left the planet centuries ago to live on the moon and are suspected to now have grown into something fierce with supernatural powers.
The first thing I want to talk about is Cinder as a character. I adore Cinder. She is well written and has a depth to her that is rarely seen in YA literature, sadly. She is a mechanic and is good at what she does, (it helps that she is part cyborg of course). Cinder is practical, grounded and focused. She dreams of nothing more than getting away from being her guardian Adri’s personal slave and living her own life with her android friend, Iko (who is an amazing personality all by herself!) I also love that Meyer gave Cinder another friend, in her actual family. Instead of going down the classic route of the story and having her entire family loathe her existence, she lets the younger stepsister Peony, love Cinder, regardless of her being not all human.
I also actually managed to feel sympathetic towards Adri, the stepmother, somehow- that’s a bloody good trick, Meyer! During the scene where Peony is taken for being infected (Note: Not technically a spoiler since it is in the description of the book!), you see Adri’s reaction upon Cinder’s return to the flat, and …I never expected to feel bad for the “wicked stepmother”, but I really did, which surprised me. You see her show true emotion at her youngest daughter being taken away from her and I really did feel quite bad for her. My sympathy ebbed as she remains awful to Cinder and sends her away, but the initial sympathy was there.
The world building in this series is absolutely fantastic, some of the best I’ve seen in the world of Young Adult Lit, and upon re-reading this book already I’m seeing hints at the plot which becomes clear later in the first book which I didn’t pick up on the first reading of it- isn’t hindsight a wonderful thing?
I really can’t recommend this series enough, especially if you- like me- are a sucker for fairytale retellings. Meyer’s writing sucks you in and immerses you in such a detailed and carefully crafted world. I cannot wait for Cress in February, it’s going to be amazing, I can feel it in my bones!