Monday, January 28, 2013

Audio Book Review: Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Title: Cinder
Marissa Meyer
Publisher: Macmillan Young Listeners
Release Date: January 3, 2012
Rating: 4/5

Cover Impressions:
Definitely interesting.  Stands out from the typical YA cover.  Love the font and the red shoe.  Will fit nicely with the cover for Scarlet, can't wait to see the covers for the two after that.

The Gist:
In this updated re-telling of the classic Cinderella story, Cinder, a cyborg, lives with her horrid adoptive mother and two sisters.  Her city of New Bejing has been decimated by a mysterious plague and no one can find a cure.  When a chance encounter with the sought after Prince Kai and a brush with the plague brings Cinder under scrutiny, she begins to learn about who she was before her surgery and the important role that she may play in the country's security.


I don't normally go in for Sci Fi novels.  Which will explain why I didn't get around to this book until a year after the release date.  I was finally tempted by the great reviews and the fairy tale aspect.

The character of Cinder is interesting, if occasionally infuriating.  She refuses to believe that she is anything special and has a lot of difficulty standing up for herself.  She has a tendency to talk herself out of taking any action and this often drove me to distraction.  At the same time, she is clearly a caring individual (in a world seeming to be populated with the most unfeeling of citizens) and with wonderfully sarcastic wit.  Her step-mother, Audrey was cold and calculating, but at times came off as bit too cartoonish in her hatred.  I loved the addition of a sympathetic sister and cheered Marissa Meyer on in being able to make some difficult choices as to the fate of her characters.  I truly enjoyed Prince Kai and could feel a real spark between him and Cinder.  I really was rooting for them to finally get it together (ie for Cinder to stop fighting the inevitable) and was horrified by the unwanted advances of Queen Levana. 

The plot was fairly predictable and I really hope that Meyer didn't intend the final big revelation to actually be a big revelation for the reader.  I did enjoy the unexpected twists on the Cinderella story and the reversal of the plot (ending with the ball instead of starting with it).  It allowed the book to be based on the fairy tale, but with enough originality to be given its own life.  I especially liked the tidbits that alluded to future characters and allowed me to wonder where this might lead in future novels. 

The ending was a little unsatisfying.  I kept seeing the minutes tick away and thinking "she can't possibly end it without more resolution".  I guess I was hoping for some emotional or romantic payoff - all that chemistry for nothing!  I can deal with the cliffhanger ending this time, but I really hope Meyer doesn't make it a habit. 

For those interesting in the audiobook, it is voiced by Rebecca Soler, who is wonderful.  Her pacing is good, her voice is fantastic and she is able to pull of a number of accents throughout the book. 

Bring on Scarlet!

Teaching/Parental Notes:

12 and up
Gender: Female
Sex: Kissing
Violence: Mind Control, Gunplay
Inappropriate Language: None
Substance Use/Abuse: Drinking
Other Issues: Descriptions of Medical Procedures


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