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I have to admit that when I first saw advertisements for Cinder, it didn’t inspire me to add it to my ‘To Read’ list. In fact, it wasn’t until the release day that I even looked at it on Goodreads. When I read the description, I still wasn’t sold, a cyborg Cinderella story set in Beijing sounded strange to me. That and I’m not really into Cinderella retellings. However, as I browsed reviews I started to change to my mind. People were raving about it and then I suddenly started to think, “Hmm, a cyborg Cinderella story set in Beijing could actually be interesting and out of the box. Why am I being so narrow minded?”
Then I saw that it was available on audiobook and my finger started moving closer to the Purchase button. Ever since I’ve signed up for the YA Audiobook Challenge, I’ve been eager to start marking off books. That settled it. Cinder went from no where near my To Read listen to my Currently Reading list in 2.5 seconds. And let me tell you, I was pleasantly surprised and so happy that I pushed aside my hesitation to read/listen to a cyborg Cinderella story.
Set in a dystopian future in what is now called New Beijing, Cinder stars a teenage cyborg girl who has it very much like Cinderella. Cinder lives with her stepmother and step sisters who pretty much loathe her and blame her for everything, with the exception of her stepsister and friend Peony. She is a skilled mechanic and her talents are put to use by running an electronics repair shop and fixing whatever her stepmother wants fixed. The stepmother and stepsisters only focus is preparing themselves for the ball held by the handsome young Prince Kai of New Beijing.
There are occasional direct Cinderella references such as an old car that resembles a pumpkin, a cyborg foot that takes the place of a glass slipper, and a cute android that replaces friendly rodents that sing and dance and help Cinderella get ready for the ball. But the originality of these references is sweet and they bring a smile to your lips when you come across them. However, if you are hoping for a fairy godmother, you won’t find one in this version. And things don’t end fairytale perfect like they do for Cinderella.
The story line probably sounds pretty familiar to you and much of the plot keeps to the original story. Despite the similarities, there are many things that set this book apart from the original. The cyborg aspect, for one, adds a whole new dimension to Cinder’s character. At a young age, she was in a horrible accident leaving a majority of her body in disrepair. To keep her alive, Cinder was turned in a Cyborg. Although cyberization saved her live, she has new problems to face. Cyborgs are considered less than human and are often shunned by others. To maintain her body she must buy expensive parts, which upsets her stepmother.
In spite of being a cyborg, Cinder is a relatable heroine. She is kind, smart, unselfish, brave, yet makes typical teenage mistakes that only further diminish her not so wonderful life situation. You will find yourself rooting for her from beginning to end.
There is a cute semi-romantic relationship between Cinder and Prince Kai and one of the things I appreciated about their relationship is that it has time to develop. Kai’s character is very likeable. He is a noble Prince who has been forced to grow up fast but he takes his role in stride and is dedicated to helping his people. He has the weight of the world on his shoulders as he searches for the cure to a world wide plague, tries to alleviate tension between Earth and the Lunar.
I am eagerly awaiting the next book in the series. When this book was over, I literally cried out in frustration. I was not ready for it to be over and I wanted it to keep going. That’s a sign of a good book. Meyer sets up the end nicely for the next book and I can’t wait to find out with Cinder will do. I highly recommend this book to people of all ages. It’s a great read/listen.
Pandemonium had a completely different feel than Delirium, the first book in the series. The story, all told from Lena’s perspective, alternates between different times. This was a little jarring to me in the beginning but I eventually got the hang of it. That aside, I loved it. Couldn’t put it down. Ate it up with a spoon. It Leaves you on a total cliffhanger too. The kind that makes you scream, “WHY DO I HAVE TO WAIT ANOTHER YEAR FOR THE NEXT ONE?! AHH!” So. Good.
Contrary to Delirium, Lena is a little more rough around the edges in Pandemonium. After escaping from the police in Delirium, she is now on the run and fighting for her survival in the ‘wilds,’ as it’s called in the series. On top of that, she is recovering from the abrupt separation from Alex, the boy she loved so much that she ran away from everything she knew. She meets up with a resistance group living in the wilds. The story switches between Lena finding her way to the group and living with them to a future time when she is a member of the resistance.
Pandemonium is definitely grittier than Delirium. There is way more action and conflict. Alternating from Lena’s past and present kept the pace moving and made the book completely unpredictable. I really had no idea what was going to happen and this made the book difficult to put down. Out of the two books, I still think I liked Delirium more, but Pandemonium is still fantastic. It’s just different than the first.
I will leave this review short and simple because I know readers of Delirium will pick up Pandemonium at break neck speed. I know I did. If you haven’t read Delirium, you should.
I had my doubts about whether or not I would like this book, but shortly into it I was hooked. It was so good I found myself wondering, how has this book not received more attention?! Why didn’t I read this book sooner? With awe inspiring dragons, formidable characters, a vivid setting, and a skillfully crafted story, this epic first book in a duology is now one my favorite books of all time. Alison Goodman made me a fan for life.
Strongly influenced by ancient Asian cultures, Eon is set in a detail rich world ruled by an imperial family but balanced by the powerful Dragoneyes. Through a bargain with the twelve energy dragons, the Dragoneyes connect with their spirit dragon to wield power, control the elements, and much more.
In training to become an apprentice to the Rat Dragon, Eon has the odds stacked against him. His broken hip makes him walk with a limp making it difficult for him to walk let alone practice the dragon art of fighting. To top it off, Eon is really Eona, a girl and therefore forbidden to practice the dragon art. An act punishable by death. The one thing working in her favor is her dragon sight, the rare ability to see all the energy dragons. She can only hope that the Rat Dragon chooses her as his apprentice.
Eon/a is a complex heroine. She is strong and intelligent yet flawed by her inclination to be dishonest and her lack of trust in others. She weaves a dangerous web of lies in her fight for survival and, at times, this is very frustrating. There are many moments where I wanted to yell at her to snap her out of it. While at the same time, you understand her situation and her reasoning. That being said, in the end, Eona became one my favorite heroines.
Eon is technically considered a young adult book but, to me, the story reaches beyond young adults to older audiences as well. Goodman’s world is exceptional and you will find yourself captivated by the rich culture and unique mythology. I enjoyed this book so much that once finished it, I immediately (the same day) bought the next book, Eona: The Last Dragoneye.
This book was incredible. I mean, there have been storylines where people ended up where they didn't want to be, but this was written so well. The main character realized right away that something was wrong with the school he was sent to. When he asked the other students, they agreed but they had plausible reasons for sticking around. A lot of books have one character who has some common sense and all the other characters who appear clueless. Some stories have main characters who make really stupid decisions. In Variant, Benson's actions and reactions were believable. I can't say I saw the "explanation" coming. Once it was revealed many things made sense, but there were still many curiosities. Apparantly, there will be sequels to explain them. I look forward to them.
I only have two complaints:
1. The last few lines were very important, yet I had no idea who was speaking.
2. Why do I have to wait so long for the next book?
Great job Robison Wells.