Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles Series #1)

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Overview

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 ...

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Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles Series #1)

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Overview

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.

 

Marissa Meyer on Cinder, writing, and leading men

Which of your characters is most like you?

I wish I could say that I'm clever and mechanically-minded like Cinder, but no—I can't fix anything. I'm much more like Cress, who makes a brief cameo in Cinder and then takes a more starring role in the third book. She's a romantic and a daydreamer and maybe a little on the naïve side—things that could be said about me too—although she does find courage when it's needed most. I think we'd all like to believe we'd have that same inner strength if we ever needed it.

Where do you write?

I have a home office that I've decorated with vintage fairy tale treasures that I've collected (my favorite is a Cinderella cookie jar from the forties) and NaNoWriMo posters, but sometimes writing there starts to feel too much like work. On those days I'll write in bed or take my laptop out for coffee or lunch.

If you were stranded on a desert island, which character from Cinder would you want with you?

Cinder, definitely! She has an internet connection in her brain, complete with the ability to send and receive comms (which are similar to e-mails). We'd just have enough time to enjoy some fresh coconut before we were rescued.

The next book in the Lunar Chronicles is called Scarlet, and is about Little Red Riding Hood. What is appealing to you most about this character as you work on the book?

Scarlet is awesome—she's very independent, a bit temperamental, and has an outspokenness that tends to get her in trouble sometimes. She was raised by her grandmother, an ex-military pilot who now owns a small farm in southern France, who not only taught Scarlet how to fly a spaceship and shoot a gun, but also to have a healthy respect and appreciation for nature. I guess that's a lot of things that appeal to me about her, but she's been a really fun character to write! (The two leading men in Scarlet, Wolf and Captain Thorne, aren't half bad either.)

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Singing mice and glass slippers are replaced with snarky androids and mechanical feet in this richly imagined and darkly subversive retelling of ‘Cinderella.’”—BCCB

 

"This is one buzzed novel that totally delivers." —Stacked Books Blog

 

"I absolutely loved Cinder. Marissa took a well known story and created an amazingly fantastic new twist, making this it an all together new story." —Between the Covers Blog

 

"Cinder is loads of fun—mostly due to seeing a familiar story play out in a new setting, but Cinder herself is also a tough, smart, mouthy, resourceful heroine, so spending almost 400 pages with her is completely enjoyable—and I'm totally, totally looking forward to the next one in the series." —Bookshelves of Doom

 

"Terrific." —Los Angeles Times

 

“Author Marissa Meyer rocks the fractured fairy tale genre with a sci-fi twist on Cinderella.” –The Seattle Times

"Debut author Meyer ingeniously incorporates key elements of the fairy tale into this first series entry." —Horn Book Magazine 

“What they [readers] do not know until they begin turning the pages of this fable-turned-dystopian-science-fiction novel, is that Meyer’s embellishments create a spellbinding story of their own.”–VOYA

"First in the Lunar Chronicles series, this futuristic twist on Cinderella retains just enough of the original that readers will enjoy spotting the subtle similarities. But debut author Meyer’s brilliance is in sending the story into an entirely new, utterly thrilling dimension. Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

“Fairy tales are becoming all the rage, with the TV shows Once Upon a Time and Grimm spinning them through a modern filter. The 26-year-old Meyer's debut novel Cinder, though, combines a classic folk tale with hints of The Terminator and Star Wars in the first book of The Lunar Chronicles young-adult series due out Jan. 3.” –USAToday.com

Cinderella is a cyborg in this futuristic take on the fairy tale, the first book in Ms. Meyer's planned ‘Lunar Chronicles’ series.” –Wall Street Journal, in a round-up called “After Harry Potter: The Search for the Magic Formula”

“…this series opener and debut offers a high coolness factor by rewriting Cinderella as a kickass mechanic in a plague-ridden future.” –Kirkus

“There’s a lot of moving parts in this fresh spin on “Cinderella,” the first in a four-book series.” –Booklist

Publishers Weekly
First in the Lunar Chronicles series, this futuristic twist on Cinderella retains just enough of the original that readers will enjoy spotting the subtle similarities. But debut author Meyer’s brilliance is in sending the story into an entirely new, utterly thrilling dimension. Cinder is a talented teenage mechanic and cyborg—part human, part robot—who has been living in New Beijing with a demanding adoptive mother and two stepsisters, ever since her late stepfather took Cinder in after a hovercraft accident. Several events abruptly turn Cinder’s world upside down: a chance meeting with the handsome Prince Kai has her heart racing; a plague pandemic threatens her beloved sister Peony; Cinder learns she is immune to the plague; and the evil Lunar Queen Levana arrives on Earth, scheming to marry Kai. Though foreshadowing early on makes it fairly clear where the story is headed, it unfolds with the magic of a fairy tale and the breakneck excitement of dystopian fiction. Meyer’s far-future Earth is richly imagined, full of prejudice and intrigue, characters easy to get invested in, and hints of what might await in future books. Ages 12–up. (Jan.)
VOYA - Diane Colson
Cinder isn't fully human. For reasons unknown to her, Cinder's body was "altered" when she was eleven years-old, so that now she has a steel, mechanical hand and foot; software interlaced throughout her brain; and a heart partially comprised of silicon. Cinder is deeply ashamed of these artificial elements of her body, which place her in the despised social class of a cyborg. She lives in the Eastern Commonwealth, formed after the devastation of World War IV, working as a mechanic and living with her stepmother. Of course, Cinder's stepmother is cruel, and of course, Cinder has two stepsisters. The handsome, unmarried Prince Kai somehow finds Cinder attractive, and begs her to accompany him to the upcoming ball in his honor. Readers know the elements of the story before they open the book. What they do not know until they begin turning the pages of this fable-turned-dystopian-science-fiction novel, is that Meyer's embellishments create a spellbinding story of their own. Cinder's world is comprised of androids (some with surprisingly plucky personalities), a highly infectious plague that causes gross mutilation in victims before their swift death, and the threat of invasion from an evil queen who rules the creatures of the moon. The book will appeal to fans of twisted fairy tales, techno-thrillers, romance novels, and well-plotted suspense. Although the happy ending beckons, the story does not end with the final pages, a welcome promise that Cinder will return with more unimagined chapters in a story as old as time. Reviewer: Diane Colson
Children's Literature - Elisabeth Greenberg
Science fiction meets fairy tale in Cinder, the cyborg mechanic, who unwittingly becomes involved in lunar/earth politics while making a minor repair to the reigning Prince of China's android. Cinder has no recollection of her life prior to age 11. Adopted by a scientist who quickly succumbed to a plague, she ends up with the scientist's wife Adri, who treats her as a slave and hates her for her artificial parts. Adri sends her out to work in the local market in order to support Adri and her two pampered daughters, Peony and Pearl. Cinder's only friends are the feisty house android Iko and the sweet younger daughter Pearl until Prince Kai shows up in disguise at her market shop. Events start piling up. Pearl is infected, Cinder is sold to the plague research group as an antidote tester, Kai finds himself fascinated by her, the emperor dies and the lunar queen tries to force an alliance on Kai, and, in the end, Cinder ends up at the palace ball in rags, causing disasters right and left. However, the book ends on a hopeful note with Cinder planning to use her newly found lunar powers to escape prison to Africa in a bid to disrupt the lunar plan to take over earth. Readers caught by the story will anticipate Volume 2 of the "Lunar Chronicles." Reviewer: Elisabeth Greenberg
School Library Journal
Gr 7–10—This re-imagined fairy tale, the first of a quartet, is neither imaginative nor compelling enough to keep readers involved in the detailed plot. In New Beijing of the Eastern Commonwealth, citizens are plagued by a deadly disease called lutumosis and are in constant danger of being obliterated by a moon-dwelling population called the lunars. Cinder is a human with surgically implanted robot parts who lives with her stepmother, two stepsisters, and an android named Iko. She slaves away as a mechanic, working hard to fix robots, hovercrafts, and netscreens. One day a hooded stranger walks into her booth at the marketplace with a broken android. To her shock, it is Prince Kai. The teen is flustered by the handsome young man who is soon to be emperor but manages to hide her mechanical arm and foot, which would reveal that she is a lowly cyborg, and agrees to help him. Meanwhile her stepsisters, Pearl and Peony, are readying themselves for the ball, intended to help Prince Kai find a princess. After Peony becomes afflicted with lutumosis and is taken to quarantine, Cinder's stepmother volunteers her hated stepdaughter for research in a desperate attempt to save her. With the help of a strange yet kindly doctor, Cinder learns a shocking secret about her past that could help save Prince Kai's empire, if only she can figure out what it means. The author's skilled, concise writing style cannot save this lackluster tale that has way too obvious secrets. Die-hard retold fairy-tale lovers who are also fans of future worlds such as that in Scott Westerfeld's "Uglies" series (S & S) might enjoy this one, but otherwise it is an additional purchase.—Tara Kehoe, Plainsboro Public Library, NJ
Kirkus Reviews
Although it packs in more genres than comfortably fit, this series opener and debut offers a high coolness factor by rewriting Cinderella as a kickass mechanic in a plague-ridden future. Long after World War IV, with a plague called letumosis ravaging all six Earthen countries, teenage Cinder spends her days in New Beijing doing mechanical repairs to earn money for her selfish adoptive mother. Her two sisters will attend Prince Kai's ball wearing elegant gowns; Cinder, hated because she's a cyborg, won't be going. But then the heart-thumpingly cute prince approaches Cinder's business booth as a customer, starting a chain of events that links her inextricably with the prince and with a palace doctor who's researching letumosis vaccines. This doctor drafts cyborgs as expendable test subjects; none survive. Cinder's personal tenacity and skill, as well as Meyer's deft application of "Cinderella" nuggets--Cinder's ill-fitting prosthetic foot (loseable on palace steps); a rusting, obsolete car colored pumpkin-orange--are riveting. Diluting them is a space-fantasy theme about mind-controlling Lunars from the moon, which unfortunately becomes the central plot. A connection between Cinder's forgotten childhood and wicked Lunar Queen Levana is predictable from early on. Despite the simplistic and incongruous-feeling telepathic-enslaver theme, readers will return for the next installment in this sharp, futuristic "Cinderella" tale. (Science fiction/fairy tale. 12-15)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781250007209
  • Publisher: Square Fish
  • Publication date: 1/8/2013
  • Series: Lunar Chronicles Series , #1
  • Pages: 448
  • Sales rank: 10,302
  • Age range: 12 - 17 Years
  • Lexile: 790L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.66 (w) x 8.04 (h) x 1.17 (d)

Meet the Author

Marissa Meyer

Marissa Meyer was born and raised in Tacoma, Washington, home of Almond Roca and Stadium High School, which was made famous when Heath Ledger danced down the stadium steps in 10 Things I Hate About You. Marissa didn't actually go to Stadium High School, but she did attend Pacific Lutheran University, where she earned her bachelor's degree in Creative Writing. She still lives in Tacoma, now with her husband. Cinder is her YA debut.

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

The screw through cinder's ankle had rusted, the engraved cross marks worn to a mangled circle. Her knuckles ached from forcing the screwdriver into the joint as she struggled to loosen the screw one gritting twist after another. By the time it was extracted far enough for her to wrench free with her prosthetic steel hand, the hairline threads had been stripped clean.

Tossing the screwdriver onto the table, Cinder gripped her heel and yanked the foot from its socket. A spark singed her fingertips and she jerked away, leaving the foot to dangle from a tangle of red and yellow wires.

She slumped back with a relieved groan. A sense of release hovered at the end of those wires— freedom. Having loathed the too- small foot for four years, she swore to never put the piece of junk back on again. She just hoped Iko would be back soon with its replacement.

Cinder was the only full- service mechanic at New Beijing's weekly market. Without a sign, her booth hinted at her trade only by the shelves of stock android parts that crowded the walls. It was squeezed into a shady cove between a used netscreen dealer and a silk merchant, both of whom frequently complained about the tangy smell of metal and grease that came from Cinder's booth, even though it was usually disguised by the aroma of honey buns from the bakery across the square. Cinder knew they really just didn't like being next to her.

A stained tablecloth divided Cinder from browsers as they shuffled past. The square was filled with shoppers and hawkers, children and noise. The bellows of men as they bargained with robotic shop keepers, trying to talk the computers down from their desired profit t margins. The hum of ID scanners and monotone voice receipts as money changed accounts. The netscreens that covered every building and filled the air with the chatter of advertisements, news reports, gossip.

Cinder's auditory interface dulled the noise into a static thrumming, but today one melody lingered above the rest that she couldn't drown out. A ring of children were standing just outside her booth, trilling—"Ashes, ashes, we all fall down!"— and then laughing hysterically as they collapsed to the pavement.

A smile tugged at Cinder's lips. Not so much at the nursery rhyme, a phantom song about pestilence and death that had regained popularity in the past de cade. The song itself made her squeamish. But she did love the glares from passersby as the giggling children fell over in their paths. The inconvenience of having to swarm around the writhing bodies stirred grumbles from the shoppers, and Cinder adored the children for it.

"Sunto! Sunto!"

Cinder's amusement wilted. She spotted Chang Sacha, the baker, pushing through the crowd in her flour- coated apron. "Sunto, come here! I told you not to play so close to—"

Sacha met Cinder's gaze, knotted her lips, then grabbed her son by the arm and spun away. The boy whined, dragging his feet as Sacha ordered him to stay closer to their booth. Cinder wrinkled her nose at the baker's retreating back. The remaining children fled into the crowd, taking their bright laughter with them.

"It's not like wires are contagious," Cinder muttered to her empty booth.

With a spine- popping stretch, she pulled her dirty fingers through her hair, combing it up into a messy tail, then grabbed her blackened work gloves. She covered her steel hand first, and though her right palm began to sweat immediately inside the thick material, she felt more comfortable with the gloves on, hiding the plating of her left hand. She stretched her fingers wide, working out the cramp that had formed at the fleshy base of her thumb from clenching the screwdriver, and squinted again into the city square. She spotted plenty of stocky white androids in the din, but none of them Iko.

Sighing, Cinder bent over the toolbox beneath the worktable. After digging through the jumbled mess of screwdrivers and wrenches, she emerged with the fuse puller that had been long buried at the bottom. One by one, she disconnected the wires that still linked her foot and ankle, each spurting a tiny spark. She couldn't feel them through the gloves, but her retina display helpfully informed her with blinking red text that she was losing connection to the limb.

With a yank of the last wire, her foot clattered to the concrete.

The difference was instant. For once in her life, she felt . . . weightless.

She made room for the discarded foot on the table, setting it up like a shrine amid the wrenches and lug nuts, before hunkering over her ankle again and cleaning the grime from the socket with an old rag.

THUD.

Cinder jerked, her head smacking the underside of the table. She shoved back from the desk, her scowl landing first on a lifeless android that sat squat on her worktable and then on the man behind it. She was met with startled copper- brown eyes and black hair that hung past his ears and lips that every girl in the country had admired a thousand times.

Her scowl vanished.

His own surprise was short- lived, melting into an apology. "I'm sorry," he said. "I didn't realize anyone was back there."

Cinder barely heard him above the blankness in her mind. With her heartbeat gathering speed, her retina display scanned his features, so familiar from years spent watching him on the netscreens. He seemed taller in real life and a gray hooded sweatshirt was like none of the fine clothes he usually made appearances in, but still, it took only 2.6 seconds for Cinder's scanner to mea sure the points of his face and link his image to the net database. Another second and the display informed her of what she already knew; details scribbled across the bottom of her vision in a stream of green text.

PRINCE KAITO, CROWN PRINCE OF THE
EASTERN COMMONWEALTH
ID #0082719057
BORN 7 APR 108 T.E.
FF 88,987 MEDIA HITS, REVERSE CHRON
POSTED 14 AUG 126 T.E.: A PRESS
MEETING IS TO BE HOSTED BY CROWN PRINCE
KAI ON 15 AUG TO DISCUSS THE ONGOING
LETUMOSIS RESEARCH AND POSSIBLE LEADS
FOR AN ANTIDOTE—


Cinder launched up from her chair, nearly toppling over when she forgot about her missing limb. Steadying herself with both hands on the table, she managed an awkward bow. The retina display sank out of sight.

"Your Highness," she stammered, head lowered, glad that he couldn't see her empty ankle behind the tablecloth.

The prince flinched and cast a glance over his shoulder before hunching toward her. "Maybe, um . . ."— he pulled his fingers across his lips—"on the Highness stuff?"

Wide- eyed, Cinder forced a shaky nod. "Right. Of course. How— can I— are you—" She swallowed, the words sticking like bean paste to her tongue.

"I'm looking for a Linh Cinder," said the prince. "Is he around?"

Cinder dared to lift one stabilizing hand from the table, using it to tug the hem of her glove higher on her wrist. Staring at the prince's chest, she stammered, "I-I'm Linh Cinder."

Her eyes followed his hand as he planted it on top of the android's bulbous head.

"You're Linh Cinder?"

"Yes, Your High—" She bit down on her lip.

"The mechanic?"

She nodded. "How can I help you?"

Instead of answering, the prince bent down, craning his neck so that she had no choice but to meet his eyes, and dashed a grin at her. Her heart winced.

The prince straightened, forcing her gaze to follow him.

"You're not quite what I was expecting."

"Well you're hardly— what I— um." Unable to hold his gaze, Cinder reached for the android and pulled it to her side of the table. "What seems to be wrong with the android, Your Highness?"

The android looked like it had just stepped off the conveyer belt, but Cinder could tell from the mock- feminine shape that it was an outdated model. The design was sleek, though, with a spherical head atop a pear- shaped body and a glossy white finish.

"I can't get her to turn on," said Prince Kai, watching as Cinder examined the robot. "She was working fi ne one day, and the next, nothing."

Cinder turned the android around so its sensor light faced the prince. She was glad to have routine tasks for her hands and routine questions for her mouth— something to focus on so she wouldn't get flustered and lose control of her brain's net connection again. "Have you had problems with her before?"

"No. She gets a monthly checkup from the royal mechanics, and this is the first real problem she's ever had."

Leaning forward, Prince Kai picked up Cinder's small metal foot from the worktable, turning it curiously over in his palms. Cinder tensed, watching as he peered into the wire- filled cavity, fiddled with the flexible joints of the toes. He used the too- long sleeve of his sweatshirt to polish off a smudge.

"Aren't you hot?" Cinder said, instantly regretting the question when his attention returned to her.

For the briefest moment, the prince almost looked embarrassed. "Dying," he said, "but I'm trying to be inconspicuous."

Cinder considered telling him it wasn't working but thought better of it. The lack of a throng of screaming girls surrounding her booth was probably evidence that it was working better than she suspected. Instead of looking like a royal heartthrob, he just looked crazy.

Clearing her throat, Cinder refocused on the android. She found the nearly invisible latch and opened its back panel. "Why aren't the royal mechanics fixing her?"

"They tried but couldn't figure it out. Someone suggested I bring her to you." He set the foot down and turned his attention to the shelves of old and battered parts— parts for androids, hovers, netscreens, portscreens. Parts for cyborgs. "They say you're the best mechanic in New Beijing. I was expecting an old man."

"Do they?" she murmured.

He wasn't the first to voice surprise. Most of her customers couldn't fathom how a teenage girl could be the best mechanic in the city, and she never broadcast the reason for her talent. The fewer people who knew she was cyborg, the better. She was sure she'd go mad if all the market shop keepers looked at her with the same disdain as Chang Sacha did.

She nudged some of the android's wires aside with her pinkie. "Sometimes they just get worn out. Maybe it's time to upgrade to a new model."

"I'm afraid I can't do that. She contains top- secret information. It's a matter of national security that I retrieve it . . . before anyone else does."

Fingers stalling, Cinder glanced up at him.

He held her gaze a full three seconds before his lips twitched. "I'm just joking. Nainsi was my first android. It's sentimental."

An orange light flickered in the corner of Cinder's vision. Her optobionics had picked up on something, though she didn't know what— an extra swallow, a too- quick blink, a clenching of the prince's jaw.

She was used to the little orange light. It came up all the time.

It meant that someone was lying.

"National security," she said. "Funny."

The prince listed his head, as if challenging her to contradict him. A strand of black hair fell into his eyes. Cinder looked away.

"Tutor8.6 model," she said, reading the faintly lit panel inside the plastic cranium. The android was nearly twenty years old. Ancient for an android. "She looks to be in pristine condition."

Raising her fist, she thunked the android hard on the side of its head, barely catching it before it toppled over onto the table. The prince jumped.

Cinder set the android back on its treads and jabbed the power button but nothing happened. "You'd be surprised how often that works."

The prince let out a single, awkward chuckle. "Are you sure you're Linh Cinder? The mechanic?"

"Cinder! I've got it!" Iko wheeled out of the crowd and up to the worktable, her blue sensor flashing. Lifting one pronged hand, she slammed a brand- new steel- plated foot onto the desk, in the shadow of the prince's android. "It's a huge improvement over the old one, only lightly used, and the wiring looks compatible as is. Plus, I was able to get the dealer down to just 600 univs."

Panic jolted through Cinder. Still balancing on her human leg, she snatched the foot off the table and dropped it behind her. "Good work, Iko. Nguyen- shìfu will be delighted to have a replacement foot for his escort- droid."

Iko's sensor dimmed. "Nguyen- shìfu? I don't compute."

Smiling through locked teeth, Cinder gestured at the prince. "Iko, please pay your respects to our customer." She lowered her voice. "His Imperial Highness."

Iko craned her head, aiming the round sensor up at the prince, who towered more than three feet above her. The light flared as her scanner recognized him. "Prince Kai," she said, her metallic voice squeaking. "You are even more handsome in person."

Cinder's stomach twisted in embarrassment, even as the prince laughed.

"That's enough, Iko. Get in the booth."

Iko obeyed, pushing aside the tablecloth and ducking under the table.

"You don't see a personality like that every day," said Prince Kai, leaning against the booth's door frame as if he brought androids to the market all the time. "Did you program her yourself?"

"Believe it or not, she came that way. I suspect a programming error, which is probably why my stepmother got her so cheap."

"I do not have a programming error!" said Iko from behind her.

Cinder met the prince's gaze, was caught momentarily dazzled by another easy laugh, and ducked her head back behind his android.


"So what do you think?" he asked.

"I'll need to run her diagnostics. It will take me a few days, maybe a week." Tucking a strand of hair behind one ear, Cinder sat down, grateful to give her leg a rest while she examined the android's innards. She knew she must be breaking some rule of etiquette, but the prince didn't seem to mind as he tipped forward, watching her hands.

"Do you need payment up front?"

He held his left wrist toward her, embedded with his ID chip, but Cinder waved a gloved hand at him. "No, thank you. It will be my honor."

Prince Kai looked about to protest but then let his hand fall. "I don't suppose there's any hope of having her done before the festival?"

Cinder shut the android's panel. "I don't think that will be a problem. But without knowing what's wrong with her—"

"I know, I know." He rocked back on his heels. "Just wishful thinking."

"How will I contact you when she's ready?"

"Send a comm to the palace. Or will you be here again next weekend? I could stop by then."

"Oh, yes!" said Iko from the back of the booth. "We're here every market day. You should come by again. That would be lovely."

Cinder flinched. "You don't need to—"

"It'll be my plea sure." He dipped his head in polite farewell, simultaneously pulling the edges of the hood farther over his face. Cinder returned the nod, knowing she should have stood and bowed, but not daring to test her balance a second time.

She waited until his shadow had disappeared from the tabletop before surveying the square. The prince's presence among the harried crowd seemed to have gone unnoticed. Cinder let her muscles relax.

Iko rolled to her side, clasping her metal grippers over her chest. "Prince Kai! Check my fan, I think I'm overheating."

Cinder bent over and picked up her replacement foot, dusting it off on her cargo pants. She checked the plating, glad that she hadn't dented it.

"Can you imagine Peony's expression when she hears about this?" said Iko.

"I can imagine a lot of high- pitched squealing." Cinder allowed one more wary scan of the crowd before the first tickle of giddiness stirred inside her. She couldn't wait to tell Peony. The prince himself! An abrupt laugh escaped her. It was uncanny. It was unbelievable. It was—

"Oh, dear."

Cinder's smile fell. "What?"

Iko pointed at her forehead with a pronged finger. "You have a grease splotch."

Cinder jerked back and scrubbed at her brow. "You're kidding."

"I'm sure he hardly noticed."

Cinder dropped her hand. "What does it matter? Come on, help me put this on before any other royalty stops by." She propped her ankle on the opposite knee and began connecting the color- coordinated wires, wondering if the prince had been fooled.

"Fits like a glove, doesn't it?" Iko said, holding a handful of screws while Cinder twisted them into the predrilled holes.

"It's very nice, Iko, thank you. I just hope Adri doesn't notice. She'd murder me if she knew I'd spent 600 univs on a foot." She tightened the last screw and stretched out her leg, rolling her ankle forward, back, wiggling the toes. It was a little stiff, and the nerve sensors would need a few days to harmonize with the updated wiring, but at least she wouldn't have to limp around off kilter anymore.

"It's perfect," she said, pulling on her boot. She spotted her old foot held in Iko's pincers. "You can throw that piece of junk awa—"

A scream filled Cinder's ears. She flinched, the sound peaking in her audio interface, and turned toward it. The market silenced. The children, who had switched to a game of hide-and-seek among the clustered booths, crept out from their hiding spots.

The scream had come from the baker, Chang Sacha. Baffled, Cinder stood and climbed on top of her chair to peer over the crowd. She spotted Sacha in her booth, behind the glass case of sweet breads and pork buns, gawking at her outstretched hands.

Cinder clamped a hand over her nose at the same moment realization skittered through the rest of the square.

"The plague!" someone yelled. "She has the plague!"

The street filled with panic. Mothers scooped up their children, masking their faces with desperate hands as they scrambled to get away from Sacha's booth. Shop keepers slammed shut their rolling doors.

Sunto screamed and rushed toward his mother, but she held her hands out to him. No, no, stay back. A neighboring shopkeeper grabbed the boy, tucking the child under his arm as he ran. Sacha yelled something after him, but the words were lost in the uproar.

Cinder's stomach churned. They couldn't run or Iko would be trampled in the chaos. Holding her breath, she reached for the cord at the booth's corner and yanked the metal door down its rail. Darkness cloaked them but for a single shard of daylight along the ground. The heat rose up from the concrete floor, stifling in the cramped space.

"Cinder?" said Iko, worry in her robotic voice. She brightened her sensor, washing the booth in blue light.

"Don't worry," Cinder said, hopping down from the chair and grabbing the grease- covered rag from the table. The screams were already fading, transforming the booth into its own empty universe. "She's all the way across the square. We're fine here." But she slipped back toward the wall of shelves anyway, crouched down and covered her nose and mouth with the rag.

There they waited, Cinder breathing as shallowly as possible, until they heard the sirens of the emergency hover come and take Sacha away.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 770 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(515)

4 Star

(181)

3 Star

(43)

2 Star

(9)

1 Star

(22)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 770 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 19, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Smitten By Cinder

    For me, fairy tale re-tellings are kind of hit or miss. As with any re-telling, you kind of have to assume you already know what's going to happen. That was not the case with "Cinder." Although it definitely has elements of the classic Cinderella story, there were really enough new additions that I was kept guessing! Primarily, the setting was so...quirky and new that it totally pulled me in! Seriously. About 10 pages in and I hooked!

    Generally, I'm not a big sci-fi fan. I don't like to read books that feature robots and spaceships and stuff, yet Cinder's world somehow didn't come off as cold, metallic, and unfeeling - even though the main character is a cyborg. And man, I never thought I could actually be <i>rooting</i> for a cyborg! I found Cinder to be really well-written. She was smart, independent, and every bit the tomboy. She just came off as real and down-to-earth, which really helped highlight the nastiness of her step-mother and sister. My absolute favorite was the side character of Iko - an android and Cinder's best friend. She's the perfect support to Cinder's otherwise lonesome life. I wish I could get my hands on her personality chip.

    The world that Meyer writes is also really well-developed. New Beijing is a fully realized place which merges technology with elements of the traditional. I never thought I could appreciate an environment that featured both hover-crafts AND cherry blossoms. The conflicts and cultures that are portrayed in the book feel deeply rooted in the story - and never rushed or forced. Even the race of Lunars have depth and so much thought behind them.

    If you like your story packaged into one neat story, beginning to end, you won't get that here. The book is built on there being a sequel. With that being said, I completely and utterly LOVED "Cinder," and feel it's absolutely worth it to read this book and wait for the sequel!

    65 out of 72 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 8, 2012

    I Also Recommend:

    Great

    The was one of the better books I have read.I was instantly immersed into this fantastic, well written story.

    49 out of 64 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 19, 2011

    Best spin-off from "cinderella"...EVER!

    I love it. Its ahmazing! The first five chapters made me just abiut scream and dance and sing while anticipating the rest. Deffinatly going on my "To-Buy" list when it comes out!

    31 out of 40 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 13, 2012

    Cover Amazing cover, it suits the story perfectly, and it's gorg

    Cover
    Amazing cover, it suits the story perfectly, and it's gorgeous, love the red

    Characters
    Favorite
    This question is always the hardest for me to answer. I am usually on the side of the villain, because they make the story interesting. Even though this story had an awesome villain I think it's a tie between Cinder and Kai. They are fantastic characters they really drive this story. Cinder is so smart and protective and Kai is caring and sweet. I loved both of them so much.

    Least Favorite
    Adri, the step mother plays the part well. I hated the thought that Cinder even had to deal with her on a daily basis. But as we all know she is a necessary character in the story of Cinderella

    Beginning
    The reader gets to jump right into the world, jumping into Cinder's daily life and get information about the world through dialogue or actions of the characters. I love this, I have never been a fan of big info dumps. The reader is introduced to Cinder, her job as a mechanic in the market and her family and job. We also get introduced to the Prince right away and his need to have all of his affairs in order before the big ball takes place.

    Storyline
    Cinder who is a mechanic and cyborg in the city of New Bejing, finds herself in the middle of a world being seriously threatened by the Plague. Her own sister has fallen ill and everybody is fighting for the cure. When she accepts a job from Prince Kai she soon finds herself in the middle of a galactic war in which the lunar people have been watching and preparing for.

    Ending
    Heart pounding ending. It is like the tension being pulled in a rubber band and just about to snap. Sit on the edge of your seat kind of suspense that will leave you craving for the next book immediately. This is just the beginning of Cinder's story and I for one cannot wait to see what happens next.

    Thoughts
    I thought this story was very imaginative and very well put together. It had a growing sense of foreboding and suspense that kept me reading so fast that I never wanted to set it down. Although I did not like Adri because of how awful she treated Cinder, all of the characters were really amazing and made such an impact to the overall story. Perfect pacing and an all out enjoyable read from start to finish.

    Quotes

    &ldquo;Even in the Future the Story Begins with Once Upon a Time.&rdquo;

    &ldquo;Vanity is a factor, but it is more a question of control. It is easier to trick others into perceiving you as beautiful if you can convince yourself you are beautiful. But mirrors have an uncanny way of telling the truth.&rdquo;

    26 out of 32 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 3, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    An Amazing New Twist on a Classic

    Cyborg Cinderella. I think that it was the concept of an altered twist on the Cinderella tale that really made me yearn for this release as much as I did, and Marissa Meyer fulfilled all of my fantasy dreams. Castle on Earth, yes! How about a evil empire on the Moon that is hellbent on taking over ruling Earth by offing a huge portion of the population so evil Queen can marry hot prince who is crushing on said cyborg Cinderella?! OH yeah!

    Cinder is a story about a girl named Cinder who lives with the evil stepmother in New Bejing surviving by hiding out in her workshop and selling parts and repairs in the city market. We open up to Cinder revealing to readers that she is a cyborg, part human-part machine, living in a futuristic world that wants nothing to do with cyborgs (constant discrimination) and yet they are also looking to sell off a cyborg to two into research for a cure to end a crippling disease rippling through the population. Cinder is soon asked to repair a service machine to the one and only horribly attractive, conflicted and kind Prince Kai.

    Is this book just about a relationship, nope, it is about the harsh reality of interplanetary conflict, death and disease, machine repair, medical practices, and personal leg repair. The character interactions between Kai and Cinder are fabulously written and intertwined in the plot throughout the story but really what caught me was Cinder. This amazing young woman lives a harsh life but also she carries within her a spark to greatness. We soon find in these pages a complicated past and a harrowing future for this young heroine in a world out to shun her. Marissa Meyer has taken an old tale and fashioned it into a new beautiful work that will captivate readers and keep them anticipating until the very last page.

    17 out of 20 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 26, 2012

    Amazing

    This re-told classic is awesome. I was impressed with the imagery Marissa Meyers portrays. I feel the Lunar effect through the amazing descriptions. I could not put down this modern day classic. I am counting the days until 2013 when the story continues. This book leave you doing the same.

    14 out of 16 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 1, 2012

    Inventive and exciting.

    Such a creative take on Cinderella! I enjoyed every minute of it. A bit predictable in some aspects, but I didn't mind because it was so inventive, with such an in-depth backstory and strong personalities. It was fun to read and I could really get into it; I read nearly nonstop. I just can't wait for the next books!

    11 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 3, 2012

    This a great read!

    I didn't want to put it down and at work I would be thinking about this story and then couldn't wait to get home so I could get back to reading again. Waiting for the next book.

    9 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 3, 2012

    Fun fantastic read

    WOW is all I can say about this book. This is one of the better books I have read in a while. I am not a sci-fi fan and cyborgs, androids, and robots generally make me drool in boredom, however this book transcends any preconceived opinions about sci-fi. This book is great for anyone from ages 12 and up.

    8 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 4, 2012

    Good read but only gave it three star because I think the plot w

    Good read but only gave it three star because I think the plot was a little stretched out for too long. It was not too close to the cinderella story that you feel like you know how the plot will play out right away but a whole book just to bring it to where they left it was a bit much. That being said I will read at least a bit of the second book because there are several areas that are interesting and left for development in the next three books. I hope they really bring it and quit with the teasing.

    7 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 26, 2012

    So when i first picked up Cinder i looked at it and put it back

    So when i first picked up Cinder i looked at it and put it back because
    it just sounded strange to me.. Then i went back a week later and
    figured i might as well read it since ive read everything else and i
    must say i was pleasantly surprised!! It takes a very unique spin on a
    traditional fairytale and gives it a whole new light! You have to give
    the book a few chapters before you get hooked but i promise once you do
    you wont be able to put it down! I really liked Prince Kai's personality
    and thought him and Cinder complemented eachother well! Over all i
    thought it had a fantastic plot and decent character development, im
    very interested to see where she takes the second book! Definitly recommend!!!!

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 22, 2012

    Not what i expected

    After i read the description of Cinder i was like hey this would be a good read....

    i was a little disappointed. i felt that the story was slow at some point and some of the information that the author were giving the reader felt short. since this is just the first book of the series im going to not be to judgmental and give my full review when i have read the whole series.

    so with further a do i will say that Cinder was a unique book that felt short in some ways but you guys should read it and see what you think:)

    6 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 4, 2012

    I Also Recommend:

    Awesome

    .

    6 out of 31 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 2, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    5 STARS

    I'm wow-ing at how inventive, creative, and exciting CINDER by Marissa Meyer is!! I honestly didn't think that I was going to like it because I wasn't too sure how robotics would play out in a Cinderella twist, but Oh My Grease Monkeys I was so wrong! So wrong that I ended up paying for it with dark circles under my eyes. I started reading Cinder at around 11pm and next thing I knew day break was peeking through the curtains. Well worth the all-nighter, and will definitely not disappoint!!
    The unexpected action pack and drama/suspense had me glued to the pages. I never once needed a bookmark! Although I knew where the plot/climax was going, I totally didn't mind because the written layout has you wanting the events to build up to that point. Enjoying every detail, struggle, and anxiety inducing tale of Linh Cinder!
    I love how the introduction of non-earthen characters, the mixing of humans, and human hybrids (cyborgs & androids) made an enjoyable and imaginative twist to a well loved classic fairy-tale, Cinderella. Cinder by Marissa Meyer is no doubt on par if not exceeding the greatness of its classic!
    I will be looking forward to sharing the adventure and the thrill of delving back into the Lunar Chronicles in Book #2! A brilliant 2012 MUST READ Debut!!

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 28, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Did not finish Stopped at page 57, chapter 8    The beginning di

    Did not finish
    Stopped at page 57, chapter 8
       The beginning didn't grab me like I wanted. I can't put my finger on it exactly because it immediately shows us something unique about the world of cyborgs with Cinder taking off her foot. I put it down after four pages, and wandered around the house. But since I had read SO many good reviews about it, and it was voted by over half of the votes of what I should read next, I decided I would try to get through a few more chapters. 
       When we met the prince though, and the first talk about the draft and the plague was mentioned, I got into it a little bit more. But ultimately, I still didn't want to pick it back up  when I stopped, and although Cinder was brave and talented, a character that I would normally adore, I just felt indifferent about what happened. 

    5 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 22, 2012

    Good Book - But Wish I Had Waited!

    Well Put KimballSK! For that reason, I typically do not start series like this until the majority of the books are put out. I wish these authors would realize that a well-written book is all that is needed to "hook" a customer. Most avid readers like myself will read hundreds of books during the year that it takes the author to release the next in a series. By then, cliff-hanger doesn't hold the same appeal.

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 15, 2013

    Overall, a great read!

    I really enjoyed this spin on cinderella. The characters are pretty strong for a teen fiction and the pace of the novel is perfect. I did find some of the characteristics of the Lunar race confusing.

    The book mentions that Lunar's "glamour" spells cannot reflect in netscreens, portscreens, or mirrors. The Lunar queen even goes out of her way to avoid talking on a netscreen early in the book. The last quarter of the book, however, visualizes the queen on a netscreen.

    I hope the rest of the series stays true to the already mentioned facts of the races and characters because instances like this can be really distracting for the reader. This was almost my favorite teen read for the year so far. I hope Marissa Meyer pays close attention to detail in her next book.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 25, 2012

    Seriously???

    I tried, I really tried to read this book and could barely get through a page without getting distracted. I first got the sample which is what drew me to the book in the first place, but when I actually got the book(from the library...Thank God) I got easily bored and couldn't even finish the book. Maybe if I tried a thousand times harder I probably could have gotten past the thrid chapter, but I just couldn't pull through. Don't get mad at me, it's just my honest OPINION.

    4 out of 15 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 10, 2012

    Cool remake

    What a fun twist on an old tale but why why does it have to be part of a series... I hate the wait for her to continue the next step of her adventure. Great characters and feel. All ages would enjoy

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 6, 2012

    : P

    This definately wouldnt be my favorite book. It was okay, but wasnt neccessarily my style.

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 770 Customer Reviews

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