AUTHOR: Marissa Meyer
LENGTH: 400 pages
SUMMARY: (via amazon.com) Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl. . . .
Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.
BRIDGE: Teachers could use this book to teach fables, fairy tales, and allegory. Using this book in lit circles with other adapted, well-known stories would be easy. It could be paired with its namesake Cinderella or with a completely different allegory like Animal Farm to compare the allegorical structure. In addition, looking at the elements of a fairy tale from the original Cinderella and analyzing how Meyer used those elements with her futuristic setting and documenting the fun twists on the original fairy tale would be a good analysis lesson. This book could also be used in a science class to discuss the dynamics of creating cyborgs and to analyze the technology used in the book. How probable is it that this technology will exist? Does some of it ALREADY exist? History classes could use this book to analyze diplomacy and compare the negotiations with the Lunar Queen to similar marriage negotiations of the past. In addition, there is a definite caste system/segregation of society between the humans and the cyborgs. Students could look at other caste systems and countries where segregation and discrimination have been seen or are still being seen to do comparisons. And the ethics surrounding the use of cyborgs as test subjects could spark some serious debate.
READERS: This book will appeal to fans of science fiction but will also appeal to readers who enjoy a good identity story with a bit of romance mixed in. The love interest part of the story does not overwhelm the plot and is nicely done. While more discerning readers will figure out one of the major plot points early on, curiosity about the resolution will carry the reader to finish the book. Readers who enjoy strong protagonists will cheer for Cinder and grind their teeth in frustration with her when the obstacles appear. Fans of audiobooks will enjoy the narration in this one.
OTHER TITLES: Readers who like this book will also enjoy Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card, The Host by Stephenie Meyer, and The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson.