I do not have time to read, but the books just keep getting stuck to my face. UF, HF, YA, fluffy romance, whatever. I love it all.
But I might judge you if you hand out five stars all willy nilly.
I was pleasantly surprised by this book, especially since I've had very little interest in reading it based on the synopsis and also because I don't particularly care for fairytale retellings. My fear is always that I will be bored because I know the bones of the story, but Cinder managed to throw me some curve balls. Honestly, if I hadn't known it was supposed to be based on Cinderella, and if there hadn't been a royal ball and a mean stepmother, I wouldn't have even associated this story with the classic fairytale. She may have used it as a jumping off point, but the story and world Marissa Meyer created is all her own.Overall I enjoyed it, and I totally understand the glowing reviews; for me personally, though, I was never so caught up in the story that I couldn't shut it off and walk away for a while. It wasn't juvenile and the writing was strong, but I still never forgot that it was a YA book and I didn't feel intensely invested in the story. I did think it was very well done though.
The romance is still in its beginning stages and was very light, with the majority of the story centering around Cinder's life as a cyborg mechanic living in the alternate reality of New Beijing, a city in the midst of a horrendous plague that is killing off millions of people. The disease is incurable and the government has instituted a draft for plague-research subjects, all among the cyborg population. The word cyborg kind of freaked me out, to be honest, because I was picturing the Terminator. Turns out in this book, people have differing levels of cyborg parts, and all that means is they were injured at some point and had a portion of their body replaced with a robotic part, usually an arm or a leg. Cinder is still very human, just augmented, but being a cyborg makes her a second-class citizen.
Probably my favorite thing about this story is that the author didn't wrap up Cinder's story with a HEA and a perfectly-fitting glass slipper (or cyborg foot, as the case may be). There is still a lot of story here to tell, and the world she has created allows for introduction of a lot of new characters. It actually reminds me of the show on TV that introduces new fairytale characters in each episode while following an overarching storyline (Once Upon a Time?) That show has always struck me as a little cheesy, but I'm actually looking forward to seeing where this book series goes. I think Marissa Meyer is onto something here.
Recommended for: Fans of sci-fi/fantasy YA who enjoy a good story but don't need a heavy romantic thread to stay interested. Note about the audio version: I listened to this as an audiobook and the narrator was perfect. She was easy to listen to, kept the pace steady, and I was able to distinguish all the characters without her using any overt vocal changes (such as a gruff growly voice for men etc). As an audiobook, this is at least 4 stars.