CINDER by Marissa Meyer

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Linh Cinder is the best mechanic in Beijing–partly because she is a cyborg, a fact which she prefers to keep a secret.  When Prince Kai stops by her stall in the market to get help fixing his android, Cinder is immediately smitten by the witty monarch, even though she has heard the rumors that Prince Kai may be forced to marry the evil Luna Queen Levana to prevent a war with the moon.  But as soon as Kai leaves, reality brings her giddy excitement crashing down; one of the other shop owners has caught the plague.  Shortly after Cinder returns home, her beloved stepsister Peony catches the plague as well.  Although Cinder is declared healthy, her furious and heartbroken stepmother blames her for bring the plague into their home and sells Cinder to a medical testing center from which no cyborg has returned alive.  But Cinder’s tests come back all wrong and begin to bring to light the past that she cannot remember.

I am absolutely hooked on this series!  It is the most original and intriguing Cinderella story I ever have read.  I had an initial aversion to the book because about three or four chapters in, the plot point that I assumed was supposed to be the “big reveal” of the book became painfully obvious.  I was a little bit disgusted, thinking, “Well now I’m just going to be annoyed for the rest of the book that the characters are blind to the obvious twist that is beating them over the heads.”  But as I kept reading, I found myself becoming increasingly invested.  Both the characters and the plot are so complex that the story is full of surprises–thoroughly engaging, even though the “big reveal” is dramatic only to the characters.  I highly recommend this exciting, thought-provoking, well-written series!  Thanks for the tip, Vivy.

If you liked Cinder, you might like The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor.

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