The premise here is great, but the execution was a little disappointing. This book isn’t poorly written, but it does lack some character development and some plot elements are rushed. I’m not sure what attracted Kai to Cinder in the first place (other than she’s more normal than other girls he presumably knows), which is a major factor in the Cinderella story, especially here since they’d met a few times before the ball. I also didn’t realize that Cinder was still significantly still human. It turns out she’s 36 and something % cyborg, which isn’t explicitly clear until part way through. I’d also like a little more world-building, since it’d be useful to know why-how Earth and Lunar societies got split in the first place, and how Earth society changed to get to its current form. I know this is book 1 of 4, so I don’t need everything right away, but a little more would have been nice.
I knew this was a series going into it, but I had expected that this story would be a full version of the fairy tale, and it’s not. There’s a pretty major cliff-hanger in progress at the end. Not that I won’t keep going, but if you’re going to do that to me, you could at least spend a little more time on character or world building. The ball ends in catastrophic separation, as expected, but Cinder and Kai’s relationship is left at that point by the end. This is fine for continuing of series purposes, but this is not what I was expecting and I don’t think I forgive that right now. Maybe in a later volume, there’ll be a conclusion that will enable me to do so, but right now I’m just a little irked.
I like the idea of bringing in the futuristic setting and making Cinder part human, part machine. I also like that we get a little more character from Kai than the standard Prince Charming. Kai is probably the character who gets the most development in this story, but the story’s supposed to be about Cinder too. Cinder seems to waste a lot of time with random things, and I don’t quite understand why it takes her so long to look at Kai’s android. Yes, her favorite sister Peony gets the deadly illness that’s been going around, and yes her stepmother sells her for scientific research, but neither of those things seem to be what takes up time. There’s a few trips to the junkyard and market, Cinder going out into crowds when she shouldn’t, and it just seems like a lot of it is just filler when it could be world or character building that’s badly needed.