Cinder - Marissa Meyer Wow...I don't think that I've been this crazed over a book in awhile. I literally couldn't put it down. I found myself reading it during commercial breaks, sneaking time at work...basically any time my focus wasn't elsewhere.

The summary, while catching my interest, doesn't really do this book justice. Even better, when explaining it to my friends, all I could say was "Ummm...cyborg Cinderella." Which sounds ridiculous but it's really not.

Cinder is a cyborg: human with andriod parts. In her case, it's one of her hands and leg, along with other modifications internally that we find out as the book proceeds. Just like Cinderella, she lives with her stepmother (who is so horrid and never hides the fact that she despises Cinder) and two stepsisters. One of the things that I liked was that both stepsisters were not evil. Peony, the younger of the two, was friends with Cinder.

Cinder works as a mechanic in the marketplace alongside her driod with personality, Iko. It is here where she meets Prince Kai when he shows up asking for help fixing a palace droid. I liked Prince Kai instantly. There was just a warmth about him and he would always instantly come alive whenever Cinder was around.

Aside from the Prince/commoner issue, this book throws so many obsticles in our pair's way - but it doesn't seem too cluttered like other stories can become. These obsticles just added to the intensity of the relationship. Let's talk about some of them.

First, there's the plague that's taken earth by storm, claiming the lives of millions without a cure in sight. Letumosis. A plague that not only claims the life of the Emperor, Kai's father, but also Peony, the nice stepsister. I did not see the death of Peony coming. The Emperor - yes, that was needed to further the change in Kai, but Peony...I honestly thought that Cinder would get there in time.

Secondly, there's the fact the the Queen of the Lunar people (a race that lives on the moon) will only agree to a peace treaty with Earth if she is allowed to marry Kai.

Pausing here to discuss Levana, Queen of the Lunar people. What a heinous and manipulative bitch! She controls her race through bascially mind control, forcing them all to do her will, which is why they are so "peaceful". And in order to solidify her role as Queen, she had the only other heir who could unsurp her, Princess Selene killed (or so we think....more on that to come). Prince Kai has been furiously serching for the Princess because there are rumours that she is actually alive and living on Earth. Back to her bitchiness. Levana uses the Emperor's death and the current plague as a bargaining chip for peace. She comes to Earth for the funeral and also Kai's corrination and while there drops the bombshell that the Lunars have found a cure, but they will only mass produce it if Kai marries her. Which, against his feelings, agrees to do - to protect his people. He decides to make his announcement at the ball (of course there's a ball).

Even though Kai's agreed to marry Levena, we the readers know that he has feelings for Cinder - which is clearly evident every time he's around her. He's constantly asks her to the ball, only to get turned down, because even though Cinder likes him as well, the fact that she's cyborg is a secret she's not ready to disclose. That and she's a Lunar...

Yes, I said it, Lunar. When Peony gets sick, the evil stepmother "volunteers" Cinder as a cyborg test subject to find a cure. Here we meet Dr. Erland who I hated at first, but then grew to love. Not going to lie, it took me awhile to fully trust him, but I see his reasoning for what he did. It is Dr. Erland who discovers Cinder is a Lunar fugative hiding on earth - something Cinder didn't even know. It was also Dr. Erland who discovers the jaw dropping truth - Cinder is in fact Princess Selene, the true Queen of Lunar.

Can I just say, I KNEW IT!!!!!!!!!!! *dances*

Now Dr. Erland being Lunar...I actually didn't figure that one out until a few chapters before he admitted it to Cinder. Permantly endearing him to my heart and explaining his actions perfectly.

Wrapping up the story, Cinder ends up going to the ball after she discovers Queen Levena's plan to take over Earth. Of course Levena recongnizes Cinder for who she is the moment her true Lunar self starts to emerge and instantly calls for her death - since no Lunar is allowed to leave the moon planet. It is here, of course, that Kai discovers she is Lunar. Cinder flees, gets caught, thrown in jail. It is here she finds out who she really is and Dr. Erland asks her to escape and meet him in Africa. End book.

While I loved the storylines in this book, it was the little things that broke my heart:
-Cinder coming home to find that Iko had been destroyed and the only thing left of her was her personality chip. Not gonna lie, I cried. I can't believe that I felt so much for this tiny character. I loved just her
-The gloves that Prince Kai gave her that the evil stepsister ruins, even after she turned the Price down to the ball for the upteenth time. I loved that he obviously put so much thought into that gift, noticing how she always wore gloves.
-Cinder's stepmother demanding that Cinder "return" her robotic foot, forcing her to hobble around.

Perhaps the most heartbreaking scene for me was after Cinder flees the ball and because of poor wire connections in her robotic foot, loses her foot on the stairs. It's the iconic Cinderella scene, the Prince finding the glass slipper. Only this glass slipper is a piece of metal and instead of Kai havign to search for the mystery girl, she's lying right there in front of him...and she's not a stranger, or at least she wasn't. The look in his eyes when he realizes that Cinder has lied to him... *sobs*. My heart broke for the both of them.

Such an amazing book. My only problem is now I have to wait a year for the sequel. I don't know how I'm going to do that.