Cinder is a futuristic spin on an old classic: Cinderella. Cinder is a 16-year-old girl living in New Beijing. She is the best mechanic in town, has a robot-droid for a best friend, and a wicked stepmother. Cinder’s story does not end there. She is also a cyborg. Cyborgs are second-class citizens who have been injured and now have robotic parts to replace the ones they have lost. Cinder does not remember anything before her surgery when she was 11. Another wrench in Cinder’s life (pun intended) is that there is a plague ravaging earth. In order to try to find a cure for the plague, the kingdom Cinder lives in has instituted a cyborg draft. Each day one cyborg is selected and then taken to the palace research lab, where they are used to test the latest antidote for the cure; these cyborgs never come back. Cinder’s relatively humdrum life of gadgets, gears and grease gets turned upside down when the kingdom’s heartthrob, Prince Kai, brings his personal droid to Cinder to repair.
The book was enjoyable brain candy. My biggest complaint was that it seemed to take a while to really understand what a cyborg was. Considering fairy tales are to zombies now what zombies were to vampires five years ago, I can imagine there will be a certain appeal to this book on that fact alone. It is also the first novel from author Marissa Meyer; there are three more books slated to be in the series.
Rated: Mild. The plague sweeping the globe tends to make the book focused on death. There is some non-graphic description of the progression of the plague. There is also a handful, at most, of minor language. The only sexual content is when Cinder’s droid, who has a programming error which makes it far more personable than it should be, asks if the prince’s droid has seen him naked.