Tag Archives: science fiction

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Forget everything you know about the traditional Cinderella story. 11235712

There are no glass slippers and fairy godmothers to be found here. Here, mechanical limbs and elbow grease abounds.

Cinder is not some weepy damsel-in-distress crying in the ashes. She’s a cyborg. And not just any cyborg, she’s the best dang mechanic in the New Bejing. Too bad her lazy stepmother and selfish stepsister Pearl hate her guts and the youngest sister Peony is hardly ever allowed to hang out with her. After her adopted father died, she just became another burden for Adri. Even though her income supports the whole family, Cinder is not considered a member. Or even human.

Yet when the handsome crown prince comes to Cinder’s stall for help with his android, he doesn’t see her mechanical limbs–they’re hidden by her long sleeves. Instead, he sees a girl with a funny personality who doesn’t kowtow to him like everyone else. But before she can see where this romantic intrigue will go, a nearby vender is struck with the plague that is blighting the city and chaos ensues.

Should she tell the prince she isn’t what she appears to be?

On top of that, Cinder’s life is shattered when Peony is diagnosed with the plague and her stepmother “volunteers” her for the cyborg medical experimentation draft that none have returned from. How will she get out alive?

And did you think the plague was all? Oh no, a new alliance with the evil Lunar queen must be forged–and the prince’s hand in marriage is on the table. Imminent war and mass death is in the cards if they don’t figure out how to placate Queen Levana. It’s up to Cinder to help save the kingdom when the medical researchers realize that there is something special about her… All she can do is hope the queen doesn’t catch wind of her gift.

This book was very cute. Cinder had a good rough and tumble nature that set her apart, and her little android Iko’s spunky personality was adorable. I liked the combination of teenage girl and machine, and the way she used her mechanical parts to her advantage. Wouldn’t we all like to know when someone was lying? And it would be really handy to have a storage compartment hidden in your calf!

I WISH I had the evil queen’s powers, and I’m looking forward to seeing more of what the crazy Lunars have to offer. I liked that this story was geared (no pun intended) towards young girls, but the underlying message is that what you see on the outside isn’t what matters. You can have a beautiful face but an ugly heart. Sometimes it’s better to have skills than to just be another snooty girl unwilling to get her hands dirty.

It’s your personality chip that counts. ;P

4 bolts and cogs of 5

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The Search for WondLa by Tony DiTerlizzi

For those of you with the misfortune of NOT knowing who Tony DiTerlizzi is, let me inform you. Not only is he a critically acclaimed illustrator, he’s the author and co-author of many young adult/middle grade bestsellers such as The Spiderwick Chronicles (co-authored with Holly Black), Kenny and the Dragon, and The Search for WondLa Trilogy. I feel that DiTerlizzi has done for this generation what Brian Froud did for the last–helped children (and adults) the world over bring fantastical imaginings to life with a rare artistic talent. I strongly encourage you to check out his blog/website/sketchbook, which is why I’ve provided a link above.

And, if I could illustrate half as well as he can… Let’s just say I could die happy.

I would describe The Search for WondLa as a futuristic Wizard of Oz. In fact, Eva Nine’s journey is like Star Wars and the Wizard of Oz combined. There’s a young innocent girl desperately seeking something, a patchy smart-aleck accomplice, a companion made of metal, and a lumbering loveable beast. All suddenly–and rather violently–landed into a wonderful and dangerous world. 

While, DiTerlizzi’s novel didn’t hold me in thrall the way that Holly Black’s have done in the past, I did enjoy this story. It’s one of those send-a-message-but-not-shove-it-down-your-throat ideas. I think it will especially resonate with today’s youth, since it begs the question: What really makes a family? It isn’t always the Pleasantville archtype–in fact, nuclear families are becoming the rare these days… A family is a patchwork quilt of people (or aliens, in this case) who love you and want to protect you and lift you up. Very nice.

DiTerlizzi also includes something within the story that is the first I have stumbled upon… Augmented Reality. The story includes small markings at the bottom of a few pages within, and after downloading an app from his website, readers are invited to share “WondLa vision.” This includes interactive maps of Eva’s world, as well as three-dimensional “Total Immersion” techniques in which the reader can move around by altering the distance the book is from the screen. 

We’re not in Kansas anymore, Toto…

Unfortunately, due to my sudden move I was without Internet access for a few days *gasp!* and while I was reading WondLa, I had no way to get online. Alas, the book is now 4000+ miles away from me. I’ll have to look into it some other time.

3 Omnipods of 5