Saturday, February 18, 2012

Review (YA Science Fiction) - Cinder by Marissa Meyer

BOOK DESCRIPTION:
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.

MY VIEW:

There seems to be a lot of coverage of this science fictional YA book and I too took the plunge to see what all the fuss was about. I read YA  because I find there is usually a directness and freshness to the characters and plot that I enjoy. That said, I also look to see that there is appeal to adult readers as well. Some YA is strictly aimed at the target audience, but more often good story telling is just that - good story telling, age irrelevant.

Unfortunately I found Cinder to be too unsophisticated for the adult pallete. While Cinder was a fully fleshed out character, most of the supporting cast were too limiting. I was particularly disappointed in the portrayal of Prince Kai, shown as an all-round good guy, moral and tolerant but severely lacking in political savvy given his position as heir to the emperor. I simply couldn't buy into that deficiency given the plot-line of the conspiring Lunarians.

The world-building suffered for me as well and I found it to be more science fantasy than science fiction, the story at heart still a fairy tale with only a gloss of reality. Things such as the mechanical nature of the cyborg attributes using wires and nuts and bolts belied any serious belief that the science in the fiction was anything more than a convenient wrapping.

Where the book is very successful is with Cinder herself, a very compelling character. There are a number of emotionally wrought scenes that are standouts. It is easy to identify and care about Cinder's future.

For me as an adult reader, Cinder is just too rough around the edges to garner the necessary suspension of disbelief required. The setting and twists on a familiar tale were insufficient for me to give this one a read recommendation.

Product Details
  • ISBN-13: 9780312641894
  • Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
  • Publication date: 1/3/2012
  • Pages: 400
  • Age range: YA
  • Series: Lunar Chronicles #1 

4 comments:

  1. I have this one on my to-read pile. I've heard a lot of interesting things about it.

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    Replies
    1. Shelley let us know what you think. It didn't quite work for me but many others give it fav reviews.

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  2. I felt similarly about this one. I liked the premise and found the story OK, but I think it could have been developed further. It didn't feel as strong as I wanted it to be.

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    Replies
    1. I wanted to like it more, but as a long-time SF reader I just couldn't overcome some of my expectations about what good SF is regardless of whether it is YA or otherwise.

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