Cinder by Marissa Meyer
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
This book is a refreshing break from the serious books I've been reading. Tied loosely to Cinderella, Cinder is a foster daughter/slave in the Eastern Commonwealth on a planet plagued with a new sickness that strikes quickly and is always deadly. Complicating matters is the planet (earth) is always on the cusp of war with the Lunars, a fearsome race living on the moon who tend to have magical powers and the ability to control thought.
So Cinder is the slave laborer, the unwanted child that is merely tolerated but always excluded. So she ends up meeting the Emperor's only son and develops feelings for him. It appears he is somewhat smitten as well. The problem is that, although Cinder doesn't seem to have the plague, she is part mechanical, due to an injury suffered in the childhood she can't remember. Meaning that, like Cinderella's glass slipper, she might lose a body part at any time.
It is not a mere retelling of the classic fairy tale, thank goodness, but an original idea including the politics of the Lunar ruler and the handsome prince. Add in the cyborg components, the deadly plague, spies, and the mysterious programmer introduced at the end of the book, and you've got a fun and original read. It also doesn't hurt that Cinder is a strong protagonist that (slight spoiler here) doesn't wait for Prince Charming to save her.
I'm looking forward to the next book.