This futuristic retelling of Cinderella is loads of fun. The story is set in New Beijing, post-World War IV. Cinder, age 16, is a cyborg; that is, because of an accident when she was little, she received a number of metal parts, and now is only 64% human. Rather than feeling lucky to be alive, however, Cinder has an image problem: in this society, cyborgs are considered anathema.
Cinder works as the only full-service mechanic in New Beijing’s weekly market, and she has a reputation as one of the best. When handsome (and single) Prince Kai, 19, brings his malfunctioning android to her for repairs, an attraction is formed, although Kai doesn’t realize Cinder is a cyborg; Cinder is convinced he would never look twice at her if he knew.
Meanwhile, a ball open to everyone is being planned to celebrate the anniversary of the end of WWIV, in spite of Kai’s father just dying of the horrible plague that is sweeping the country, and in spite of the unexpected and unwelcome visit of the evil Queen Levana of the Lunar race. Cinder can’t attend in any event; her wicked stepmother Adri would never allow it. Only her stepsisters Peony and Pearl may go.
This is the final straw for Cinder, who plots an escape from her stepmother with the help of her own android, the very human-like and endearing Iko. Adri tries to destroy Iko, and even takes away Cinder’s prosthetic foot so she can’t go anywhere the night of the ball. But then Cinder intercepts a warning meant for Kai, and decides she must go to the ball. Even at the cost of Kai seeing she is a cyborg, she has to get the message to him before it’s too late.
Evaluation: This is a very enjoyable read. The characterizations are delightful. Adri and Levana are over-the-top evil, but they’re supposed to be; after all, this is a fairy-tale retelling! Kai is charming, and I liked that his attraction for Cinder seems to be based on her being the only one in the kingdom who doesn’t fawn all over him. But Cinder and Iko are the real stars of the story. Iko the android is adorable, and Cinder is terrific: she is talented, strong, smart, loyal, not reluctant to be covered with grease from her job, and not afraid to stand up for what she believes.
But here’s the bad news: this book is only part one of a planned quartet, and it ends with a whopper of a cliffhanger. Gaaaaah! Nevertheless, I’m glad I read it, and will be happy to re-read it when subsequent volumes in the series are produced.
Published by Feiwel and Friends, an imprint of Macmillan, 2012
I’ve heard decent things about this book. But I’m growing weary of keeping readers on the hook for 2, 3, 4 or more books, often with manipulative cliffhangers. I guess one author must figure they are all doing it so why not?
Actually I think Kersten Hamilton, author of Tyger Tyger gave a really good response to the issue of why trilogies which made me much more sympathetic. Here is her comment:
Thank you for the wonderful review, rhapsody–I’m glad you liked Tyger Tyger! And I hope you don’t mind my stopping by. And I have an answer for the posters who ask “why a trilogy?” Two answers, actually!
The first is: I love my characters. A lot. I want a HUGE story for them, where I can take my time and work in delicious complexities. But as a new author to the genre, it is next to impossible to sell a book of that length. It is too risky for the publisher.
Which brings me to reason number two: it can take a long time for readers to find a new author. With one book, you have your release date and if for any reason—a hugely anticipated new title from an established author, a news story that distracts the audience, or simply not catching the attention of the right reviewers —your book is overlooked…well, it can be a career ender. Publishers take the sales numbers of your last book into account before they offer on a new one.
With a trilogy, you have at least three years for readers to find you. That makes it less of a risk for the publisher and gives new authors a better chance of success.
I hope that explains why there are so many trilogies in this crowded market….
Glad you got to this Rhapsody! and enjoyed it too! Wasn’t it fun!
This sounds so creative. For some reason I always feel like I need to read books when they are in a series… I don’t know why, lol. So when the next one comes out I can be in the know or something? Heheh
I’m on the waiting list at my library for this one!!
So, four books is called a quartet? I’m not into fairy tale retellings, but my sister loves them. i think she’d like this one.
This one just arrived from the library a few days ago, and I have been eagerly eying it and wondering when I will have time to read it! I am so glad you loved it, and can’t wait to start with it, but the quartet thing is bothersome. I would love a big thick book that just tells the whole story, but from the letter you quoted from, I can see that isn’t feasible. Great review today, Jill!
I have a soft spot for retellings of fairy tales, so I’ll probably give this one a try at some point.
This is usually not the kind of book I gravitate towards but you may have just convinced me. I don’t mind trilogies, I find if I like the characters I’m happy to know they will be around awhile.
I heard that this one was just plain fun. Sometimes, that’s what you need.
I am looking forward to getting to this book. I have a copy on my TBR pile. 🙂
I’m very excited for Cinder. I just have to decide whether or not to wait on reading the series or to begin now. Cliffhangers leave me feeling all itchy, but I generally give in! Lovely review!
Oh … this sounds delightfully oddly weird! A quartert though! A quartet!! GAAAAAHHHH is right!
I was gung-ho to read this right now and then I got to the bad news. Argg! What is it with publishers/authors? Greed, I think. I read Kerster Hamilton’s response but I’m not buying it. There are other ways to market books so the author becomes known. (Ask Beth Hoffman.) Somewhere the reader’s opinion should be taken into consideration.
Cinderella is one of my favorite fairy tales but I actually like the sounds of this futuristic version. (Shocked, eren’t you. I never read futuristic stories.) I think I’ll wait until the last one comes out and then decide whether it’s worth buying. So, take that publishers/authors. This is my revenge on your evil practices.
Okay, I feel better. Thanks for letting me vent.
First in a quartet?! Aiyiyi! I don’t mind trilogies but somehow waiting for a fourth book just seems cruel!
I’ve heard so many good things about this one!
A quartet!! Egads! but you make it sound so deliciously wonderful!!!!
C’mon! I won the sudio in a giveaway and was excited about it. Until you told me it was part of a quartet! I seriously need to find a way to get by on less sleep/
This sounds so fun! I’m in the middle of so many series/trilogies right now it’s ridiculous. What’s one more? Have you heard of the site fictfact.com? I’m using that to keep track of the series I read.
I really enjoyed Kai in this book-such a good guy. Nor my favorite Cinderella story but very enjoyable.
Gah! Whyyy is nothing a stand-alone anymore? Nevertheless, I WILL be reading this 😛
I’ve seen so many fun reviews for this one! I might have to give it a chance.
Aaaaah, a quarted? Nevertheless, I am still very curious to give this a try one day. Going on the super long wishlist that I started this year 😉
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Loads of fun and a retelling of a classic fairy tale sounds like one I’m going to have to pick up soon!
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