At First Sight: Cinder is a gifted mechanic working in New Beijing, and like the Cinderella of fairy tales, Cinder has an evil step mother - whom I loved to hate- and two step sisters - though one of them wasn't so bad.
Her only friend and confidate is Iko, an android that works with her at her stall in the market. Oh, and Cinder is a cyborg... and in New Beijing, that's quite an stigma.
Cinder was going about her business one day when none other than the heir to the Eastern Commonwealth, Prince Kai, showed up at her stall asking her to fix a droid for him.
The event seems small enough at the beginning -as small as meeting the Prince can be! - and Cinder has plenty on her plate: like being the sole provider for her stepmother Adri and stepsisters Pearl and Peony, and trying to keep Iko from being sold to the junk yard.
And then there is the plague... and illness that has been sweeping through the world, killing thousands, and the cyborg draft - if you're drafted you have to 'volunteer' as a guinea pig for the doctors trying to find a cure to the plague.
Unknowingly, Cinder soon will find herself in the middle of it all.
Second Glance: I've heard so much about Cinder, most of it good or amazingly good, so I was nervous going in. Fairy tale re-tellings can be tricky because when a story is so well known, it's hard to keep it fresh. But Cinder succeeds.
I had a bit of a problem with the pacing because sometimes I felt like it took a while for things to get moving, but that might be because there is an element of mystery about the story and I'm not a particularly patient reader, but other than that it was lovely. And I did love the mystery.
Things are complicated in Cinder's world, and it is a world that feels very rich - I loved the settling - so that was a plus. I really liked the characters, starting with Cinder and Kai - they had a good chemistry between them. But I gotta say my favorite character was Iko, even if she was all robot, there was such humanity to her emotions!
Bottom Line: I can honestly say that Cinder is a Cinderella like you have never seen before. Save for that small trouble with pacing, I loved it and I can't wait to delve again into the Lunar Chronicles's world.