Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles #1) by Marissa Meyer, narrated by Rebecca Soler
Cinder is a cyborg (half machine/half 16 yr old teenage girl) living in New Beijing, in a futuristic post-World-War-IV world. She’s a droid mechanic and is visited by Kai, the handsome young prince of the Eastern province, so she can repair his android as it is “of the highest importance.” There seems to be a back story there, but Cinder is not able to determine it at the time, as she is overwhelmed by the fact the prince came to her stall. This is especially true after the plague, called letumosis, breaks out in the bakery across the street and Cinder must flee the area. After her step-sister Peony catches the plague, Cinder is racked with guilt and her truly evil stepmother volunteers her as a test subject to find a cure for the virus. There is the threat of war from the mind-controlling glamour-using Lunar Queen Lavana which has all the world leaders, Prince Kai included, worried. Will Cinder survive the plague and find out the truth about her past? To find out, read the awesome start of The Lunar Chronicles. Highly recommended for ages 14+, 5 stars.
This book has been on my to-read list forever, so I finally took the plunge and got a copy. I am glad I did because I really enjoyed this sci-fi dystopian fairy-tale interpretation of the classic Cinderella. The narrator, Rebecca Soler, was quite good at differentiating between all the different characters and personalities (great performance). I love that the premise of the book is accepting people who are different and even loving them for it or perhaps despite the difference. The world-building was fantastic and the author really sucks your into the book from the beginning. The story is kind of hard to summarize especially when you start with “Imagine a retelling of the Cinderella where the heroine is a cyborg,” and most people don’t quite know what to think about it. But it was really easy to root for Cinder as her life did suck and meeting Prince Kai and everything that happens after really does change her life, for good or ill. Plus Prince Kai…sigh, sounds so dreamy. I kind of picture him like the sweet popular guy Kazahaya in the From Me to You anime:
I mean it’s obvious early on that Prince Kai digs Cinder, but she is so convinced that he is mistaken because she is a cyborg (probably because she’s always been treated like crap by her adopted mother and the older step-sister), though of course he doesn’t know that until much later. The scene in the elevator when he asks her for the second time to go to the ball with him was adorable as was her reaction. And I thought I was gonna scream (in a good way) when he brings her the present on his Coronation Day. In fact, this book made me very emotional (mostly joy though a little bit of spite for the severely evil characters, in the form or Audri and Queen Levana). Aside from Cinder, my favorite characters were Iko and Dr. Erland (even though he was a bit off in the beginning of the book, he more than made up for it in the end). I look forward to reading the next one very soon!