From the B&N website:
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.
I read the book yesterday in huge gulps. This Cinderella spinoff provides a believable growing romance between Prince Kai and Cinder. They meet only a few pages in when he brings his broken android to her market stall for repair, jokingly saying it was a matter of notional security, though she suspects it might be less of a joke than he wanted to let on. Each time their paths cross after that, either accidentally or on purpose, they become more familiar with each other.
Cinder is one the few people the prince can trust as tensions mount across New Beijing and within the palace over concerns with the plague and the possibility of war with the feared Lunars. And Prince Kai not only treats her with respect, he asks her to call him by name without the title, something that flusters her a lot. Good thing she can't blush. Even more disconcerting, he asks her to be his personal guest at the upcoming ball, an offer she turns down.
Even if he really does want her there, self-preservation or not, she plans to escape her stepmother's control that night. Then it won't matter that he hasn't yet realized she's part mechanical, something she can't bear to confess and face his disgust over courting a mutant freak. But to save Kai from the evil plans of Lunar Queen Levana, she'll have to go to the ball anyway, even at the cost of the whole truth about herself being revealed for all to see.
The ending is gripping, not the ending I expected, but a cliffhanger, yet it feels right. The final words are perfect. But...ARRRGGGGG! I want the next book already! Gah!!!!!
Guess I'll have to read this one again before I have to take it back to the library.