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Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Also from the list of series to try if you like the Hunger games was the one by Marissa Meyer, which begins with Cinder.  Going into it, I knew that this book was supposed to be a Cinderella inspired story set in the future, and obviously from the cover there would be some type of robot/mechanical type stuff.  But whatever expectations I developed from that knowledge were totally not what this book delivered.  Other than a lot dealing with a robotic foot, an evil stepmother, and a prince, this book was nothing like Cinderella.  It is set in dystopia China around 100 years after the fourth world war.  The world has been decimated in large part due to a pandemic of the Blue Plague.  There is also a colony of people who went to live of the moon but have largely developed into their own species known as Lunars who the Earthens hate.

The main character is Cinder who is a 16 year old mechanic that lives with her step mother and two step sisters.  Cinder was adopted after being in a terrible accident that resulted in her having her foot, hand, and many internal organs and bones replaced with mechanical equivalents.  All of these are run by a computer in her brain, so she basically has her brain for her normal human functions and also the computer.  Because of this surgery, Cinder is a cyborg which is considered to be lower than human.

Step Mom volunteers Cinder to be a test subject in attempts to find a cure for Blue Plague.  During the examination, Cinder finds out she is much more cyborg than she realizes.  It is also discovered that she is immune to the plague.  However, it is found out later on that it is because she is actually Lunar.

Meanwhile, there is a lot of political things going on with the emperor of China dying, the Lunar queen trying to marry the prince, and the prince having to take the throne and run the show.  He also has a hardcore crush on Cinder, but doesn’t know that she is a Lunar cyborg.

Basically there is a lot going on in this book and in the end nothing is resolved.  There is no actual conclusion and you are left wondering what will happen.  I looked up the rest of the series.  The next book is not out yet, but it is a little difficult to see how this story will continue with it.  Meyer plans to base the next three books on other fairy tales (Rapunzel, Little Red Riding Hood, and Snow White).  If this is really what happens, it is kind of hard to see how the story started in Cinder will be continued and ultimately resolved.  As an invested reader, I am curious as to where the series (the Lunar Chronicles) will go, but overall I don’t see how the necessary information will be given and how the conclusion will be reached.

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Divergent by Veronica Roth


I just recently finished reading Divergent by Veronica Roth.  I was turned on to it by a list I found called 25 series to read if you loved the Hunger Games.  As a fan of the Hunger Games series (but mostly the first book of the second and third), I decided to check out some of the books on the list.  From the beginning it was easy to see how Divergent made it on this list.  The main character and hero is female.  It is set in a future where the United States has been reconfigured into different, very specific groups that make up society.  The heroine, Beatrice (Tris), is an Abnegation.  This group prides selfless over everything else and that it is the key to lasting peace.  There are four other groups that each have their own characteristic that they believe is the most important for maintaining peace.  The book begins when Tris is 16 years old.  At 16, each person decides which group they want to be a part of for the rest of their lives (there is a simulation test given to help people determine where they would best fit in).  Tris receives an inconclusive response from her test and therefore has more choices as to where she should go.

Ultimately, Tris chooses Dauntless.  This group believes that bravery is the key characteristic.  In order to be a true member, the initiates must pass a series of tests to make sure they have what it takes to be Dauntless.  Tris has to overcome a lot including bullies, internal conflict about whether she made the right choice, and of course a potential romance with the instructor for the initiates.

In the end there is a battle where Tris and her group of friends and family have to work together to prevent the complete elimination of the Abnegation group.

I really enjoyed this book.  It was nice that it can stand on its own even though it is part of a series.  It seemed similar to many books like it but still had its own individual take on those ideas.  I wish there had been a little more explanation about what different things meant earlier on because it might have helped understand Tris and the society a little better.  It also would have been nice if the end of the book didn’t seem so cramped.  There is a lot of action in the end and some parts seem to miss out on the importance they deserve.  Overall though it was a great book and I look forward to continuing the series with Insurgent.  Here’s hoping the third book comes out soon.