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Familiar Diversions

I'm a librarian who loves anime, manga, and reading a wide variety of genres.

Currently reading

The Mystic Marriage
Heather Rose Jones
Progress: 302/426 pages
Ichi-F: A Worker's Graphic Memoir of the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant
Kazuto Tatsuta
Progress: 58/553 pages
The Naked Sun
Isaac Asimov
Progress: 20/187 pages
50 Girls 50 and Other Stories
Al Williamson, Frank Frazetta, Gary Groth
Fluency
Jennifer Foehner Wells
Progress: 58/367 pages
The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet: A Novel
Becky Chambers
Progress: 148/441 pages
The Count of Monte Cristo
Alexandre Dumas, Bill Homewood, Naxos AudioBooks
Progress: 667/3165 minutes
A Matter of Oaths
Helen S. Wright
Progress: 101/277 pages
Medical School for Everyone: Grand Rounds Cases
Professor Roy Benaroch, The Great Courses, The Great Courses
Progress: 34/725 minutes

Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles Series #1)

Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles Series #1) - For a while now, I've been kind of worried that I've lost the ability to love the books I read. It seems like everything I've read lately has just been “okay” at best. I wasn't sure how to break out of my funk. Should I read a new-to-me book by an author whose works I've enjoyed in the past? Should I reread an old favorite? I fretted that my reading funk might cause me to dislike books I'd normally enjoy.Then Cinder came in via interlibrary loan. I read it in a couple days and loved it. It's not flawless, but I loved it anyway, and that makes me so happy. It confirms that my ability to love the things I read is not broken.This was a fabulously imaginative retelling of the Cinderella story. It included a lot of recognizable Cinderella story elements, but it didn't always use them the same way they were used in more traditional versions. I excitedly noted mentions of Cinder's tiny prosthetic foot (Cinderella's tiny feet), the gasoline-powered car she found in a junkyard (Cinderella's ride to the ball), and more, and I made guesses about story elements I couldn't be sure of.The first mentions of letumosis, a plague that could affect just about anyone on Earth at any time, came as a shock. I had figured that Cinder would be a futuristic but still fairly straight retelling of the Cinderella story, and the plague didn't fit in with that. While the plague portions were definitely interesting and added a lot of tension, they also tied in with several of the issues I had with this book.First, it bothered me that the plague was never explained very well. Its victims went through several stages before dying, including one in which they developed bruise-like spots. There were never any survivors – anyone who caught the plague died of it. Beyond that, though, there weren't really any details. People acted like they had no clue how the plague was transmitted. They freaked out if they were anywhere near someone discovered to have it, and everything a plague victim touched was burned. Was the plague transmitted by touch? Was it airborne? I couldn't really tell. It seemed to just spontaneously appear.Second, this book had a kind of weird mix of tones, and the plague elements were part of that. Some things were very dark: the deaths of several characters due to the plague, cyborg plague testing, and Queen Levana's threats of war and willingness to brainwash anyone who opposed her. Other things were lighter: planning for the ball and Cinder's giddy attraction to Prince Kai. The different tones didn't always blend in quite the right way for me. For example, Prince Kai flirting with Cinder shortly after the death of his father, who readers were told he was close to. His father had been sick for maybe a week, so it wasn't like he had had a long time to get used to the idea that his father was going to die. It was a little jarring, but not so much that it completely threw me off. It feels nitpicky, but this slightly “off” mix of light and dark happened a few times throughout the book.The little things that didn't quite work for me were eclipsed by the things I loved, though. One of those was the pacing, which was good and fast. Another was Prince Kai. He tended to act more like a regular guy than like a prince, and even I noticed that Meyer never really showed readers why he fell so hard for Cinder rather than someone else. However. I wanted to hug him. He was sweet, and kind, and persistent (but not to the point of being a pushy jerk), even when Cinder turned him down without an explanation. He mostly saw her in work clothes, complete with grease smudges, and he didn't mind. He never once acted embarrassed to be around her, even though the story gave him at least a couple opportunities to be embarrassed. He was pretty much perfect for Cinder. The only thing is, romance fans need to be aware that this book doesn't end with Cinder and Kai's HEA – I'm hoping we'll get that in a future book.Cinder was another thing I liked about this book. She was good at what she did and loyal to the people she loved. By the end, she was in a better position to save Prince Kai than the other way around, and I'm looking forward to seeing how things turn out.Despite recognizing that this book had flaws, I still loved it, and I can't wait to read the next book.Goodreads Rating Note: I want to give this 5 stars, I really do, but every time I get ready to do it my mind flits back to the problems I couldn't help noticing despite the speed with which I was plowing through it. So, 4 stars it is.(Original review, with read-alikes and watch-alikes, posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)