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.
From the title and genre, I thought I had this book figured out. Just another teen vampire romance novel to go along with all the others. However, I was pleasantly surprised by this book. It starts very similarly, girl meets boy vampire, boy vampire tries to hook up with girl, girl denies him but secretly likes him, yada yada yada. What’s different? This book is hysterically funny and the characters are fantastic.
On the first day of Jessica Packwood’s senior year, in walks mysterious and slightly creepy, foreign exchange student Lucius Vladescu (It’s so fun to say his name) from Romania. Lucius informs Jessica that she is a vampire princess and the two have been betrothed since birth, you know, minor details that Jessica’s parents failed to mention.
At first Jessica is repulsed by Lucius and disgusted at the thought of being betrothed without her consent. But, as time goes on, she sees the good in Lucius and begins to care for him. However, in the time it took Jessica to realize her feelings for Lucius, he seems to have gotten over her and their betrothal. Lucius begins to rebel from his family’s arrangements and expectations and pushes Jessica away. In his rebellion, Lucius turns dark, almost evil, and Jessica must fight for him back or lose everything connected to her birth family.
The narration was fabulous and I'm actually glad I listened to the book instead of reading it. Katherine Kellgren is one of my favorite narrators and I loved the narrator for Lucius. Hearing Lucius’ Romania accent made this book for me and let’s face it accents are fun. The book alternates between Jessica and Lucius’ point of views, although Jessica’s is the primary perspective. Lucius’ perspective is introduced in the letters he writes to his uncle about his experiences in courting Jessica. His letters are an important part of this book and without them I’m not sure I would have liked Lucius.
Although Lucius’ dark side pulls at your heart, I enjoyed his unexpected change in feelings because it compelled me to keep listening. When Lucius rebels from his family, his character changes drastically, more so goes through a metamorphosis. Lucius’ change in character also forces Jessica to go through some changes of her own. I love character growth so I ate this up with a spoon.
Many people gave this book a not so great review all stating that they’ve read this book before. I have to disagree, I thought this book was different and had a lot of originality. This book was funny, dramatic, romantic, and so much fun. I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a fun a read.
I’ve read a lot of young adult dystopian novels and Article 5 ranks in the middle of that stack. It’s not in my top favorite but it wasn’t in the bottom either. I enjoyed Article 5 but there some parts of the book that felt familiar. The story was similar to Delirium and Pandemonium, and the romance was reminiscent of the love stories found in countless other YA novels. However, Article 5 has many original traits and can hold it’s own against the YA dystopian masses.
In the world of Article 5, the United States is a country rebuilding its society after a devastating war. Citizens who do not follow the government designated religion, have children out of wedlock, are the children of unmarried parents, rebel against the government, etc are thrown into a reformatory or are killed. The new government of the United States wants to eliminate those who would disagree with or taint their vision of new moral society. In other words, the government is basically putting people in internment camps and committing genocide.
It was hard for me to believe in this world as I can’t picture our country ever turning into this. I wished the author had expanding on more on what happened, besides a war, to make the country turn out like this. Scenes where the war was described were consistently vague. I’m hopping the next book might explain more but I have a feeling it won’t. The first book is usually where the author provides a history for their story.
So what did I like?
Article 5 is fast paced and the action starts right at the beginning and continues all the way to the last chapeter. The story moves along so quickly that any of the things mentioned above become non-issues. I also liked how the main characters, Ember and Chase, grew up together and had a strong bond. Many YA dystopian novels the two main characters meet for the first time and I appreciated this change. It was intriguing to have their history revealed bit by bit as the story moved along. Their relationship had a little bit of mystery behind it and it pulled me in.
The characters have an equal amount of pros and cons. Chase’s character is easy to like and I’m sure teenage girls every where are drooling over him. He’s tall, muscular, handsome, and protective. He’s also self-sacrificing which can be viewed as good and bad. After awhile got tired of him always throwing himself under the bus. While I understand why he is this way and I wished he would stick up for himself just a little bit more.
Ember is also easy to relate to and is smart, most of the time. She has moments of genius when she gets herself (and Chase sometimes) out of trouble. Then she has dumb moments where she walks right into trouble. She also seems to be pretty dense when it comes to recognizing that Chase clearly is in love her. She pushes him away for most of the book and this is as frustrating for the reader as it is for Chase. Ember redeems herself in the end.
I also enjoyed the narration of Jenny Ikeda. I’ve listened to one of her audiobooks before and enjoyed her voice. She has young voice but not too young. Many young adult audiobooks these days have very nasal sounding narrators. Ikeda’s narration is just right.
Overall, I had fun listening to Article 5. It’s fast tempo and resilient characters keep the reader hooked. It’s not my top pick for dystopian novels, but I think other readers who don’t read as many dystopian novels as I do would really enjoy it. I plan on reading or listening to the next book in the series.
Just a little bibliophile! ;)
This quirky paranormal story is written and played out with so much heart, it's hard to imagine how one would not be charmed by it...Evie and her misadventures, and her love for her sweet boyfriend. Yes, this is a youth-oriented story and the relationship between Evie and Lend remains innocent, so you just have to know that's what you're going for with this tale. The writing is good. Ms. White has considerable talent, and she does not "take it easy" and bring only her B or her C game because this story could probably "coast" on it's quirkiness and fun even with lesser writing. Instead, she fully commits with her A-game. The characters are endearing. Evie will win your heart; yes, the thinks and sounds much like a teenager because she is one. Lend is a charming and sweet character. Sure, he may be a bit ideal (as Evie would say, "read: Too good to be true!"), but after all, isn't that what fiction is for? Excellent narration by Emily Eiden...she IS Evie, she truly makes her real.