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.
Or not. I hated it. No binging this series, sorry, dear friends. You may think it’s harsh that I give this book one star when there was nothing offensive about it, but considering the hype, I expected far, far more than that we were given.
Before reading the book, I knew why it came highly recommended to me; in theory, this book should have been awesome. An Asian protagonist (Everyone knows Khanh loves Asian shit!!!!), an alternate universe, plenty of opportunities to spin a beautifully-woven (Asian!!!!) setting! A fairy tale retelling (Khanh loves retold shit!!!!).
Yet for years, I resisted the many, many “KHANH, YOU GOTTA READ CINDER” because of one reason. The main character is an cyborg. I don’t like cyborgs, I don’t like androids. Not the Google-based operating system, the concept of part-human, part-machine. No, thank you. I like my main characters purely organic and carbon-based.
Let’s get one thing straight. I have nothing against technology, it’s just the concept of a human meshed with a robot that bothers me. I don’t think such a being can have the same emotions, the same characteristics, the same failings that makes human so, well, human. Here is where the book could have changed my mind; Cinder could have been made to be more than a inhuman robot (what she is, in my mind).
What’s ironic to me is that Cinder is too human. I know she is part machine, but it never felt like that part of her was explored as much as her humanity is sold to us.
Furthermore, the KHANH LOVES ASIAN SHIT part of me was so not sold on this. Yes, it’s cute that the MC is Asian. Yes, it’s cool that the new world is New Beijing. Those are just names, this is not an Asian-based book. You know how you go to one of those super chic Asian fusion restaurants and you order a fusion dish that costs $100 on a beautiful plate, and the only thing that’s “Asian” about it is the one drop of lemongrass essence that they add to the sauce? This book is like that.
There is no explanation about New Beijing’s culture. There is no explanation as to why it became that way. It was a world that was entirely unexplored, and unworthy of the hype, and of the “Asian” label slapped onto it. Sorry, guys, this series is not for me.