I feel so mean for laughing.
I feel so mean for laughing.
( This is me, all the time! I am doomed. :D )
I was very excited to read this book. Not just because it was a dystopian (I love dystopian settings) but because the main protagonist is bisexual – yay for diversity! I have read many LGBT books but very little seem to cover the ‘B’ (even less so the ‘T’) aspect so I was really happy to discover that the main character Reece is attracted to girls as well as boys.
The story begins with a bang – after taking part in a National Debate competition, Reece and her debating partner David, find themselves stuck in Arizona when all the planes across the US are grounded. Flocks of birds have been acting erratically and flinging themselves at planes causing multiple crashes across the globe. Fearing an act of terrorism, the government grounds all flights until they know more about the phenomenon.
Being stuck in Arizona holds little appeal for the teens and their debating coach, so they decide to hire a car to travel back to San Francisco. It is when they are travelling across the country that disaster strikes again – a bird flies into the headlights of their car causing a massive crash.
Awakening a month later after being in a medically induced coma, Reece and David find themselves in a secret military hospital. They have undergone some kind of radical new treatment but they are warned by the doctors and other military personnel not to discuss with anyone what they have seen there. It is when they return home that things get even crazier. Both of them are experiencing strange and unusual dreams. They seem to be able to heal very quickly and are exhibiting some unusual abilities.
Feeling shy around David, whom she has crushed on for some time, Reece avoids spending time with him and ends up meeting an irresistible girl called Amber who makes her question things about herself. But who is Amber really and just what is it that is happening to Reece?
This book was intense – the beginning sucked me in right away. I was intrigued by the set-up and I really liked the main character Reece and thought she spoke with an authentic voice. The first couple of chapters were very tense and Malinda Lo really evoked the underpinning feeling of panic as all these strange and unexplained events started to unfurl.
Once the accident occurred and Reece and David woke up in the military hospital, the book followed a more familiar territory. I was initially disappointed with the direction the story took (and began to worry at this point that it was going to be more a traditional science fiction tale – especially with the Area 51 connection) but I ended up being pretty surprised by the results. Yes, this is a book about aliens but there was a lot more to it than that. I liked the creepy build-up of what begins to happen with Reece and David and the greater ramifications their treatment seems to have on them and what is happening world-wide.
Reece’s romance with Amber, for all that I was excited that the main character was going to have a female love interest, actually ended up falling a little flat for me though. Don’t get me wrong, their initial meeting and the couple of dates they had were very sweet but I think they ended up ‘falling’ a little too quickly for my liking. I like a slow, gradual build-up when it comes to romance and I felt that this was missing here.
I actually preferred Reece’s interactions with her debate partner David (a cute Asian boy) and am looking forward to seeing how things progress in the next book. I did like the idea of Amber but I never really felt I got to know her as a character therefore could not really see why Reece would find her so instantly irresistible. However, I will be prepared to change my mind in the next book if their relationship gets a little more development.
I also thought that the secondary characters were a pretty likable bunch. I really liked Reece’s mother and her best friend Julian, a conspiracy theorist who believes there is more to the events than what the government is letting on, was also a highly entertaining character. David, who initially appeared as though he was going to be the main love interest, seemed to get very little page-time but I was intrigued by what little he did get and I am looking forward to his character (hopefully) being expanded in the next book.
Overall, this was an intriguing and entertaining read, though it did suffer from some pacing issues especially in the middle section of the book. The book really started off with such fanfare but when the characters got back home the plot seemed to go a little off course and meander around until it kicked back up again in the last couple of chapters. It ended fairly abruptly as well and left a little bit of a cliff-hanger although it is not the worst I have come across.
I really liked Malinda Lo’s writing style – she has a clear, flowing voice which translates as well to a science fiction setting as it did with the fantasy setting of Ash, her debut novel which I also enjoyed. She has a knack for writing very relatable protagonists. I ‘got’ Reece. I liked the fact that she didn’t come across as flighty despite the fact that she was confused throughout the course of the novel with regards to what was happening to her and her burgeoning sexual awakening. At the start she was pretty closed-off but I liked how she opened herself up even if I was not particularly convinced by the romance itself.
The plot was interesting, it really kept me guessing and even though it did tread some familiar ground, it did so with gusto and panache. The book does have a little bit of a love-triangle going on but it didn’t bother me as much as it usually does in YA novels – this love-triangle actually did add something to the plot and wasn’t there just to up the angst quota.
I am definitely looking forward to reading the follow-up Inheritance.
##I received a copy of this ARC from the publishers Hachette Children's Books via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review##
I saw this on Epic Reads Facebook Feed, and probably laughed way more than I should have. *snickers*
But seriously, don't talk to me when I'm reading...
To say that I loved this book would be an understatement. As a rule, I adore fairy tale retellings. I also love dystopian settings. Combining the story of Cinderella with a dystopian theme = win! Cinder is the kind of novel that really ticks my boxes. I mean, a cyborg Cinderella – it is absolute genius. Yet Cinder is more than just a fantastic premise. There is a lot of surprising depth to this book and I was really moved by Cinder and her unfortunate plight.
Cinder is a mechanic living in New Beijing – the capital city of the Eastern Commonwealth, along with her stepmother and two stepsisters. Cinder is viewed as a second-class citizen as she is part cyborg, she has a cybernetic hand and foot and most of her internal wiring is made up of machine parts. Having been in some kind of an accident when she was much younger, Cinder has no memories of her younger days. She was adopted by the Linh family when she was around 12 years old.
After the death of her benefactor Linh Garan, her stepmother put Cinder to work, eking out a living in the marketplace. It is through working in the marketplace that Cinder meets Prince Kai, and this meeting sets off a chain of events which will change Cinder’s life forever…
Cinder was a truly fantastic novel. I have read a lot of YA novels over the last couple of years and I must say that Cinder was certainly one of the most innovative stories I have had the pleasure of reading. It put a very interesting spin on the classic Cinderella story and although parts of the story were influenced by the classic fairy tale, it also managed to be new and refreshing at the same time which I was not expecting at all.
Linh Cinder was a very likable protagonist. Despite the fact that she was part android she felt very real and very human to me. I related to her, I was moved by her circumstances, and I was desperate to find out the mystery behind her forgotten past. I also adored Iko her faithful robot companion!
Prince Kai seemed a little stiff at the beginning of the book but as the story progressed he became a fully formed, three-dimensional character with flaws and quirks enough to make him interesting to me. The Prince character in the Cinderella tale has always fallen a little flat to me, all surface charm and no depth, but Kai was a likable character in his own right and I enjoyed the chapters which gave real insight into his character.
The over-arching story was also exciting. A futuristic China setting, a deadly plague that is sweeping the nation, and a seemingly all-powerful enemy waiting in the wings, all combined to make this story have a real sense of danger lurking behind the traditional Cinderella story. Queen Levana, the leader of the moon colony Luna, made a very interesting villain – one which I am looking forward to being expanded on in the next couple of books in the series.
Overall, this was a very promising start to what looks like an amazing series. I am actually kicking myself that I didn’t get round to reading it sooner (it has been lurking around on my bookshelf) but the one benefit of this is that two of its sequels Scarlet (based on Little Red Riding Hood) and Cress (based on Rapunzel), are already out. Winter (a Snow White retelling) will not be out until next year unfortunately.
I haven't been on Booklikes at all for the last month. I have barely been able to keep up with my book blog but it was hard trying to navigate the rest of my social media and book sites while there was so much going on in my personal life.
On Tuesday 6th May, my mum passed away. She was diagnosed with lung cancer in October last year and it was already too far spread to be able to do anything about it (it had spread to her spine which caused paralysis and also into her bones).
My mum was given 6 months and she made it just passed 7 months. She was incredibly brave and fought it all the way. I am feeling really adrift right now. I cannot fathom how I am going to be able to cope with such a huge loss. My mum really was my best friend and I am devastated at losing her.
I have a lot of support though. My fiancé and his parents have been wonderful and my older brother is there for me too. The rest of my family and my friends have also been hugely supportive. I am very fortunate to have so many people there for me at this difficult time. It has really made me appreciate the people in my life.
I have been MIA from Booklikes for about a week (life gets crazy busy sometimes!). I have managed to keep up posting on my blog but I am reluctant to cross-post everything to Booklikes as I don't want to clog up everybody's dashboard!
I will post links to what i have been blogging about in this post so if anybody is interested, feel free to check them out:
March 26 2014
March 27 2014
March 28 2014
March 29 2014
I've posted this before, but I love it so much I have to do it again, LOL.