domingo, 17 de março de 2013

The Lunar Chronicles: Cinder [Review] Monster blues

Monster blues is a writer and reader's blog which includes short book reviews and personal texts and poems, most in Portuguese, a few in English. The bloguer published her first book, Alma Rebelde (Rebel Spirit) in 2012.
 You can read the original post here.

The Lunar Chronicles: Cinder

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.
Because I read this in English in my kindle, and especially because I want to, I'm writing this opinion in English, and then I'll shorten it to a Portuguese version.
I bought this book because I love retellings, can't resist one, and there were such exciting opinions about it. I should have been warned by someone that, unlike the original story, this one doesn't have a ahappy ending... or a sad one. It simply doesn't end. I had to deal with a terrible and unexpected cliff hanger that rushed me to the kindle store to get the next book. And I have just found out there are at least four!
My reaction speaks volumes, though. I found it a little difficult at the beginning, I love science fiction but was havind a hard time fusing it with the fairy tale. Then I just stopped caring, it is so nice.
The world build after a WW IV is believable and not overdone, with a bit of old world revival that makes it interesting. You get a pretty good idea of how the power is assigned, how the world is porganized, what threatens it and why. Being set in Beijing is clever, given the  importance of China as a rising economic power, but also our ocidental view of its culture and society - too many people, the opression, etc, etc.  The disease-plague reminds me of the ancient plagues in Old Europe, or the ones Old Europe inflicted in the new continents (Meyer actually refers to them in the book). The Lunars are my least favourite adition, not because they are hateful, since not all of them are, but because they are the least plausible and left almost unexplained.
Cinder is not the sweet (and weak) Disneyish Cinderella we knew as children, but a strong cyborg with a touch of something else. She grows and changes throughout the story and, cyborg or not, is as human as they come. Or not. The Prince is endeed charming, not the Ken to match the Barbie-Cinderela Disney created, but human, faulty and loveable. I loved the cheery and hopeful Iko (go find out who it is) and the doctor who reminded me of a good old crazy scientist... I imagine him a little like the scientist in Back to the Future, just a tiny bit quieter. I'm sorry, can't help it. Queen Levana is as hateful as any evil queen she should be. I'm still hoping to find out if she is evil just because, as most traditional evil queens are, or if Meyer will give her a fashionable XXI century motivation for evil, freudian maybe. Hope not.
I cannot say I was surprised by the turn of events towards the end of the book (how on earth... or the moon do I do this without a few sweet spoilers? By keeping it short!). People were exactly who I expected them to be almost from the beginning, and their intentions exactly what I expected them to be as well. Since I do not need to be surprised at every turn, it didn't spoil it for me. The cliff hanger almost did, though. Hate them. Simply hate them. I have already bought Scarlet. I'm not going to read it right away, but I will soon. Very soon.

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