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Cinder - Marissa Meyer I've read a number of Cinderella retellings, but this was different from the usual. The cyberpunk and Asian elements added a cool touch to the setting and the main character was an enslaved mechanic (instead of an enslaved housekeeper).

Being fairy tale-based, I knew romance would be a key component of the story, but I was pleased to find it moving from center stage to the wings at appropriate moments. Even better, the characters' interactions and thoughts reflected the development of a crush, as opposed to the frequent cases of "I can't bear to be without you for a second" insta-love flooding YA novels today. Besides, there were so many other important things going on in the plot - brink of war politics, crashing economy, a plague killing millions, family dynamics, second-class citizen status, inter-species relations, etc.

On that note, there was a *lot* going on in the novel. It moved very quickly and I found myself wishing more than once that the author had stopped to breathe, spent more time immersing me in this cool city/era. My only other complaint might be the sudden dumping of special abilities. The "clues" as to Cinder's real identity hit you upside the head within the first chapter or two, so there was no surprise when that revelation came (which is probably why the author didn't dwell on it too long, thank goodness). However, Cinder's cyborg parts and being Lunar had already met the special-ness quota for the day. Giving her more abilities on top of that was kind of overkill for me.

Shortcomings aside, I am definitely interested in the world and enjoyed this novel enough to grab the next in the series.