Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Cinder, a new YAL novel by Marissa Meyer, is a play off of the fairytale classic, Cinderella. While it loosely follows the the story line of Cinderella, there are a lot of new and exciting aspects that update the classic. There are a lot of different variations of Cinderella and this seems to follow the Disney route more than the Grim Brother route.

This novel is part of a series, which I am overly excited about. It is a series of four books and currently only Cinder and Scarlet are published. The next two novels to be published are Cress and Winter. Each of the books following Cinder also play off of some other classic fairytales including Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel and Snow White.

A plague is taking over New Beijing after World War 4. The emperor is infected with the plague and is on his death bed. He is currently trying to work out an alliance with the Lunar Queen, but has not come to an agreement for years. Tests are being done on cyborgs to find a cure for letumosis, but there are no hopes in sight of finding a cure to save the emperor or anyone else.

Meanwhile a cyborg named Cinder is living with her step mother and two step sisters and is forced to follow their every command, since she is technically property and not a person. To help support her family, after her adoptive step fathers passing, she works as a mechanic in the towns market place. While working at the market a young man asks Cinder to fix his android. It is then revealed that this young man is Prince Kai, who is soon to be emperor if his father passes. Prince Kai is adamant about getting his android fixed, but it is unclear as to why he would need this old and outdated android when he could afford a new one. Nonetheless, Cinder agrees to fix the broken android. After the prince leaves there is an outburst in the market place because a child with the plague is spotted. Everyone evacuates the market in hopes of not contracting it.

Cinder arrives home and sees her step sisters being fitted for their dresses for the annual ball that is meant to celebrate peace after World War 4. Cinder is obviously told she will not be going. Then Cinder is ordered to fix her step mother's hover car. Cinder, Iko (the family's android and Cinder's best friend) and Peony (Cinder's nice step sister) go to the junk yard to find the part and to have some fun. While at the junk yard Peony finds spots on herself and goes into a panic. Cinder calls for help and Peony is taken away once it is confirmed she has the plague.

Once Cinder arrives home her step mother, Adri, is in a fury because she was informed over her net screen that Peony has the plague and Cinder is automatically blamed. Adri then volunteers Cinder for the plague testing, and Cinder has no choice in the mater. Cinder fights, but is knocked unconscious and is taken to the palace for letumosis testing. Once Cinder is injected with letumosis all there is to do is wait to die. But the disease does not take over Cinder, it actually dissapears. This has never happened. She was never given an antidote, but her body fought off the disease in only a few minutes. What does she have that everyone else does not? Is there hope for a cure?

No cure is found quick enough to save the emperor and he passes away and prince Kai becomes emperor of New Beijing. The Lunar Queen announces that she will be coming from the moon to further discuss her alliance with the new emperor. However, is does not seem that they will be able to form an alliance that both agree with and this starts to threaten New Beijing's and the rest of the world's future. The Queen says she has an antidote to treat letumosis and Kai needs to make a decision fast.

Will Kai and the Queen come to an alliance that will help save millions of people? WIll Cinder be able to fix Kai's android? Will Peony survive? Will anyone survive?

I know this is a long overview of the book, but I felt that it was need because there are so many things going on in the novel and this all happens within the first few chapters, there is so much more excitement in the rest of the book that I did not even touch. I could not put this book down when i started reading it. It was difficult to do any other homework because I was so enticed by this book. If you like a twist on classic fairy tales other books that you could read are Beastly, Cloaked, A Kiss in Time and even more. All these novels are from Alex Flinn.

I can see where young girls would love this novel, but this is definitely not a novel that most young boys would chose or want to read. I do not think I would incorporate this into the classroom, but I would recommend it to students who want a good read in their spare time.

Here is the book trailer for the novel. I hate book trailers, but hey, it gives a decent overview.


Leslie Shambo said...

I am really impressed with the author's creativity in setting the typical Cinderella story in futuristic New Beijing, and casting the main character as a robot! I certainly never would have thought to take that path, and I admire Meyer's gumption. In reading your review, I actually thought, "this must be a male author" because the plot line seems so atypically feminine, but I was pleasantly surprised to see it was written by a female, and I have to say I am pleased to see another female thriving in the science fiction genre.

I know that Cinder is an android, but I was curious if all of the characters in New Beijing were robots, or whether some were human, particularly the prince. I suppose I will have to read to find out!

I also have to agree with you about book trailers. I think book trailers take some of the imagination out of reading, particularly when it comes to character appearance. I am not a fan.

Nickolas Armstrong said...

I tend to be attracted to these sort of books that take the classic tales we all grew up with and transform them into something new and interesting. This book seems to be a great example of that kind of transformation. Turning Cinderella into a futuristic post-war story about fighting a plague seems so incredibly creative. The protagonist of the story is now a cyborg, which definitely gives the story some elements that the original did not have. I really appreciate how detailed your review was, I think you did a great job of representing the book as worth reading. I also agree that book trailers, particularly this one, are pretty bad. The actors pretty much just stand there looking dramatic.

Sean Andrew said...

These type of stories I think are absolutely phenomenal. Twists on classic stories give you the best view on how the story could have gone. What is so great about this book, is setting it in the future after World War 4 (A smart move I would say, everyone normally uses World War 3) and making the main character an android. People are always speculating on robots rights in futuristic stories and it seems like this one seems to try that notion again.

It also reminds me that I need to catch up on my Once Upon A Time (OUaT). Also, a way I could see this being taught, is through a compare and contrast essay, using this book, and comparing it to TV shows (such as OUaT) and the classics.

Jessica Pagliara said...

I think this is a great new twist to the classic story. Sometimes it's nice to have these stories in today's time or even in the future time. It sounds like the author did a great job incorporating the story into a future time. I'm sure most kids are familiar with the story of Cinderalla, but I think they would enjoy reading the story based on futuristic times for a change.

JessicaGeelen said...

I just love all of the new books (and even movies and tv shows) that have come out that decided to remake old stories.
The best kinds are able to stand on their own as a sort of pseudo-remake and I think they offer so many opportunities inside and out of the classroom.
Kids like weird. Almost all classic story remakes are weird and interesting and they make readers want to continue reading until the end to see what happens next. :)