Synopsis: 16 year old Cinder is considered a technological mistake by most of society and a burden by her stepmother. Being cyborg does have its benefits, though; Cinder's brain interface has given her an uncanny ability to fix things, making her the best mechanic in New Beijing. This reputation brings Prince Kai himself to her weekly market booth, needing her to repair a broken android before the annual ball. He jokingly calls it "a matter of national security," but Cinder suspects its more serious than he's letting on.
Although eager to impress the prince, Cinder's intentions are derailed when her younger stepsister, and only human friend, is infected with the fatal plague that's been devastating Earth for a decade. Blaming Cinder for her daughter's illness, Cinder's stepmother volunteers Cinder's body for plague research, an "honor" that no one has survived.
But it doesn't take long for the scientists to discover something unusual about their new guinea pig. Something others would kill for.
My 2 cents: The synopsis dragged me into this story. But it doesn't even cover the half of it! I loved this book, I read it in 2 sittings!
First of all, I need to explain Cinder a little bit. This story is obviously taking place in the future. After the 4th World War, most of the planet is destroyed. The main country that the story focuses on is called the Commonwealth, and its center is Beijing, now called New Beijing. And its a bit of a mess. The plague has been raging for a decade, the Emperor has taken ill with it; and Prince Kai is desperate for a cure for his father. In the future, there are cyborgs. They are part mechanical; but mostly human. Society in general does not think of these creatures as human though, and are treated as low class citizens. Cinder is almost all cyborg. I think in the book it says 36% of her make-up is cyborg. She became one when she was 11 and in a horrible car accident. Her parents were killed, and to repair her body the surgeons made her a cyborg. She doesn't remember anything before she was 11; apparantly her hippocampus in her brain was damaged in the accident. She actually came from Europe. An inventor adopted her after her surgery and took her back to the Commonwealth with him; shortly after he died, leaving her with a cruel stepmother.
The other huge part of the story is the Lunars. A moon colony was established awhile ago; the humans there transcended into a new species called Lunars. They have their own society. There has been talk of war between Earth and the Lunars for generations, and now is a critical point in history. Queen Levana rules Lunar, and she is EVIL. The biggest advantage Lunars have is they can use "glamour" to make people see and believe things that aren't true. Animosity between humans and lunars is very high.
Cinder was the best part of this book. Her character was awesome. By the end of the book, you felt like a cyborg, too. The author's way of writing it was so clever. We would occasionally get the messages in the text that Cinder was getting on her screen for her brain interface. Here's an example of some text. Cinder is in her workshop with her android friend, Iko:
"Iko's speakers made a coarse grumbling noise, the closest she could get to a groan. "What about it?"
"Its going to take all our time and money to fix it up."
"No. Cinder! Tell me you're joking."
Cinder was recording a mental list as she shut the storage compartment and rolled down her pant leg. The words scrolled across her vision. GET CAR. ASSESS CONDITION. FIND PARTS. DOWNLOAD WIRING BLUEPRINT. ORDER GASOLINE.
She spotted Kai's android on her worktable. FIX ANDROID.
"I am serious." "
All the other characters are fabulous, too. Kai is dreamy. I'm hoping we get to know him more later in the series. The plot was very inventive. It loosely follows the story of Cinderella, but in a future dystopian society kind of way. There of course is a few twists, but the major one I was able to figure out very early in the story. I think that is my only complaint....it was too easy to figure it out. But there are other smaller twists that I had no clue about.
Regardless of that, this book is definitely worth reading. I give it 4 stars!