Cinder is an orphan.  She lost her parents when she was eleven and she and her family were in a fatal hover accident. She survived the crash, but only just barely. In order to save Cinda, scientists had to add a metal hand and a metal leg turning her into a cyborg. Luckily, a man adopted her shortly after her surgery and took her to the Eastern Commonwealth to live with him, his wife, and two daughters. Not so luckily, the man died of the plague soon after he brought her home.  Ever since she has had to live with a step-mother who never wanted her in the first place.

Cinder is the best mechanic anywhere in her region. She has a booth at the market and the money she makes goes directly to her step-mother. She has nothing to call her own.  She has two bright spots in her life – her android helper and her step-sister Peony. Her life consists of nothing but work until Prince Kai shows up at her booth one day. Prince Kai is next in line to be Emperor of the Eastern Commonwealth and needs Cinder to work her magic on an old android.

Cinder tries to be professional whenever in his presence, but is always careful to cover her metal appendages. She knows she’d never have a chance with someone like the Prince, but she doesn’t want to see horror in his eyes when he sees what she really is.  Life becomes very complicated for Cinder when the plague (the same one that killed her adopted father) gets too close to home.

Cinder is thrust into a world she never knew existed filled with political strategy and deadly consequences. Will she be able to rise from the ashes of a world filled with death and prejudice?

CINDER is a masterful retelling of the fairy tale, Cinderella.  It has it all, the prince, the evil step-mother, the lost “slipper,” the “pumpkin coach.” I read the book in one day because I couldn’t wait to find out what happened to Cinder.  The sequel will be hard to wait for. Cinder is a tough girl – one that can take care of herself and doesn’t faint at the sight of the Prince. Yes, she thinks he’s handsome and dreams of him taking her in his arms, but….she doesn’t let that fantasy dictate her entire world. She has priorities and sticks to them. This is a wonderful example of a book with a strong female role model.