Cinder by Marissa Meyer
"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."- summary from Amazon
I absolutely loved this debut and cannot wait to read the rest of this series. I flew through this book and had such trouble putting it down; I was actually really surprised at how quickly I got through this novel because this font is on the small side and it is 400 pages long. But Meyer's prose flowed so well and her characters were really interesting.
The world building was great and I liked this futuristic reworking of Cinderella (the little allusions here and there were fun to spot). The whole hierarchy of humans, cyborgs and bots was cool, and getting to read about the inner workings of the government with other countries and the Lunars through chapters following Prince Kai was intriguing and added a great depth to the book as a whole.
I loved Cinder as a main character- she was fun, thoughtful, intelligent, and resourceful. The other characters were handled well too, even the evil stepmother and stepdaughters (though Peony wasn't really evil). I also loved Cinder's helper bot who was just a hoot. I did think Queen Levana was a bit one-dimensional and, though I hate her with a passion (I kept thinking "JUST STAB HER!" whenever she came on the scene), hope we get more characterization from her in future books.
The ending for me was okay. It was a perfectly fine ending, but I was hoping for a bit more, i.e. Levana death as well as some other things. We do have three more books though so I guess we have to keep some threads open.
Overall though, a fantastic, engrossing debut from Meyer (who is also a Sailor Moon fanfic writer, which makes her even more awesome in my eyes) and one I think you all should read.
Here's a snippet from the audiobook (courtesy of Novel Novice):
FTC: Received ARC from publisher. Link above is an Amazon Associate link; any profit goes toward funding contests.