Written by Marissa Meyer
Published by Feiwel & Friends, an imprint of Macmillan Children's Publishing Group, 2012
2015-2016 Winner - Young Adult
Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl.
Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.
Excerpt from Cinder (pages 76-77):
She was lying on a burning pyre, hot coals beneath her back. Flames. Smoke. Blisters burbling across her skin. Her leg and hand were gone, leaving stumps where the surgeons had attached her prostheses. Dead wires dangled from them. She tried to crawl but was as useless as an upended turtle. She reached out with her one hand, trying to drag her body from the fire, but the bed of coals stretched off into the horizon.
She'd had this dream before, a hundred times. This time though, it was different.
Instead of being all alone, like usual, she was surrounded. Other crippled victims writhed among the coals, moaning, begging for water. They were all missing limbs. Some were nothing more than a head and a torso and a mouth, pleading, pleading. Cinder shrank away from them, noticing bluish splotches on their skin. Their necks, their stump thighs, their shriveled wrists.
She saw Peony. Screaming. Accusing Cinder. She had done this to her. She had brought the plague to their household. It was all her fault.
Cinder opened her mouth to beg for forgiveness, but she stopped when she caught sight of her one good hand. Her skin was covered in blue spots.
The fire began to melt the diseased skin away, revealing metal and wires beneath the flesh.
She met Peony's gaze again. Her sister opened her mouth, but her voice sounded awkward, deep. “Ready the ratio detector, if you please.”
The words hummed like bees in Cinder's ears. Her body jolted, but she couldn't move. Her limbs were too heavy. The smell of smoke lingered in her nostrils, but the heat from the flames was dying away, leaving only her sore, burning back. Peony faded away. The pit of coals melted into the ground.
Green text scrolled along the bottom corner of Cinder's vision.
Beyond the darkness, she heard the familiar rumble of android treads. Iko?
DIAGNOSTICS CHECK COMPLETE. ALL SYSTEMS STABILIZED. REBOOTING IN 3 . . . 2 . . . 1 . . .
Something clattered above her head. The hum of electricity. Cinder felt her finger twitch, the closest thing to a flinch her body was capable of.
The darkness began to warm, a subtle crimson brightness beyond her eyelids.
She forced her eyes open, squinting into harsh fluorescents.
“Ah! Juliet awakens.”
Used with permission of the publisher, Feiwel & Friends, an imprint of Macmillan Children's Publishing Group