I have tried to write this review multiple times now, yet the words just wont come... so let me start by saying I just loved Cinder, even with its downsides.
Injured in, what she is told was, an accident which killed her parents, Cinder was adopted by a scientist, Garan, who soon after contracts the fatal plague, Letumosis. Cinder grows up in a world fraught with the plague and a prejudice towards cyborgs, humans with cybernetic implants. Raised by a woman who despises, and even blames her, Cinder is sent to work as a mechanic to fund her Step-Mother's lifestyle.
Cinder is a natural mechanic, with the added bonus of her implants which allow her to search and bring up the plans and schematics of everything she repairs. Her skills are so good that her reputation precedes her and the young imperial prince, Kai, seeks her services to repair his robot. Thus beginning a series of events that turn Cinder's world upside down.
I've seen other reviewers complain about Cinder's actions in regards to visiting her ill sister, or injecting the young boy with the cure... We need to remember that Cinder is a teen, rational thought doesn't always come so easily, especially when emotions are involved.
Peony was the only person in the world to treat Cinder like a person, even an equal. This loss would have been incredibly hard for Cinder, the urge to visit her would have been far greater than any concern over how the disease can be spread. Similarly when Cinder went gave the cure to the young boy, she was distraught, too late to save the person who mattered the most to her. Seeing someone she knew, if only in passing when his mother wasn't looking, Cinder reacted to her emotions and gave a second chance at life to someone who otherwise would soon die.
I'm not sure if any of this was intentional, but I particularly liked the setting of New Beijing, given that the story of Cinderella originated in China around the 9th century. Cinder's too small foot tying in with the Chinese tradition of foot binding, particularly within wealthy households, and the perceived beauty of small feet.
I love that Cinder was an outcast, a misfit, who was often mistreated just for having implants she didn't ask to have. She worked in a male dominated occupation, Kai's reaction to her being the mechanic seems to suggest he expected someone older and male.
My biggest issue is that it was just too predictable... part of which can be attributed to the fact that the story of Cinderella is so well known. The rest, as someone who isn't an author, I can only imagine how hard it is to hide the significant plot points without leaving them out completely. Adding it on at the end can seem like an after thought, yet adding it into the story, can lead to predictability, as happened here.
Aside from that, I think Meyer did an exceptional job of re-imagining an old fairy tale.