I picked up Cinder on the advice of a couple of good reading buddies, though I wasn't so sure it would be anything new in the world of fairy tale retellings. I'm beyond delighted to report that it far exceeded my expectations! Not wasting time in recounting the plot, I will simply list what I enjoyed so much about this well-written book.
Likes: Cinder herself. Despite being part cyborg, she's amazingly real with authentic human emotions. I loved the interaction between Cinder and her little sister Peony (and that was only reinforced by what happened later). I liked how Cinder took responsibility for Iko who was really nothing more than a machine, and I thought the relationship between Cinder and Kai was fun and teasing. Unlike some reviewers, I didn't feel it was too rushed because occasionally we meet someone and we just click with them, and I felt that was what happened between those two. I liked Cinder's sarcastic sense of humor, and I loved her mechanic skills! The plot, while never losing sight of its general theme of a retelling, did move in unexpected, if somewhat puzzling, ways, and the true evil of Queen Levanna has me wondering just how she's going to be ultimately defeated. And the way Cinder met challenges? Brilliant, even when she seemed to have given up. I will never count her out.
Dislikes/Quibbles: Cinder did get into the ball a little too easily, even if I could explain it away by her "gift"; in fact, she really did have a lot of freedom of movement in a city under siege. Oh well...big deal. It's a fairy tale, right? And I did figure out the big reveal amazingly early, though my interest never wavered despite knowing where we were headed. And yep, that's all I can think of as far as dislikes.
Cinder is such fun and such an original take, mixing fantasy and sci-fi, that the pages turned themselves. I'm in this series for the long haul--Ms. Meyer's writing has captured me fully. On to the next one!