Author: Marissa Meyer
Narrator: Rebecca Soler
Series: 1st book in the Lunar Chronicles
Publisher: Macmillan Audio
Publication Date: January 3, 2012
Source: purchased audiobook
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Audible
I feared the rave reviews for this novel. I had more than a few misgivings because even though so many people loved -- I mean, shout-it-from-the-rooftops-LOVED it -- it is still a retelling, and I don't always have the best of luck with those. Usually, the ones that don't stray too far from the original story are a safer bet for me, so you can see why a retelling of Cinderella involving a cyborg living in Beijing might be a source of some trepidation for me.
But if it hadn't been for that damn cyborg foot, I might have completely forgotten this story was a retelling. It was one of the best science fiction pieces I've had the pleasure of reading...er, well, listening to. And I can't believe it took me this long to get to it. Seriously...I let nine months pass since Cinder's release before I even seriously considered giving it a try. I will not be making that mistake with the sequel!
Cinder made this book. She is the title character, obviously, but had she not been the mechanically-inclined, self-deprecating, naïve, hopeful cyborg girl that she was, this book would not have been nearly as fun to read. Cinder is strong but ultimately vulnerable, and both of those characteristics make Cinder my most favorite kind of heroine: the one who makes sacrifices and tough decisions to protect those she cares about instead of cowering in fear and letting some boy take charge.
Though the boy in this story wasn't all bad. Sure, Prince Kai is a little untrusting, but given his background, I think it's a little justifiable. Of course, he's handsome, and of course, he's the object of every girls' fantasy. But his father's empire, his legacy, is far more important to Prince Kai than his own love life. I loved that this story didn't jump right to insta-love...Cinder and Kai are friends first, despite their social positions, and it really bodes well for the story.
The disease that plagues the citizenry of New Beijing affects everyone -- tearing families apart -- with no cure in sight. Its effects are far-reaching, as are its implications. Is it possible that there are lunar people already on Earth, looking to escape their tyrannical queen? The very same queen who wants to rule Earth, or at least as much of it as she can lay claim to? I love where this story is going, and even though the major plot twist was foreshadowed very early on in the novel, I think it was done so ingeniously and has really paved the way for a great series.
I know I say this a lot when it comes to sequels, but I really CANNOT wait for Scarlet. I plan to get the audio again since the narration on Cinder was so awesome. This was my first experience with Rebecca Soler as a narrator, but it surely won't be my last if she always does such a fantastic job. I seriously have zero complaints about this story or the audio represenation of it. But if you're still not sure if this novel is for you, I suggest you read this prequel story, courtesy of Tor.