Chapter 1 Summary
As Cinder begins, a cyborg girl named Linh Cinder is unscrewing her mechanical foot. When she yanks it off, she feels relieved. The human parts of her body have long outgrown the cyborg parts, and this foot has been far too small for years. She sits back and waits for her friend Iko, an android, to return with a replacement foot.
Cinder is a gifted mechanic, and also the only mechanic who keeps a booth at the busy weekly market in the city of New Beijing. Her work is highly respected, but she is not. The people of New Beijing are prejudiced against cyborgs—people who, due to accident or disease, have had some of their natural body parts replaced by mechanical ones. As Cinder waits for her foot, she receives a glare from Chang Sacha, the woman who owns the bakery across the street. “It’s not like wires are contagious,” Cinder mutters bitterly to herself. Nevertheless, she keeps the stump of her right leg out of sight and she wears a glove to cover her metal right hand. Most people do not know she is a cyborg, and she wants to keep it that way.
A customer arrives and tosses a broken android onto Cinder’s table. Cinder takes in his “copper-brown eyes…and lips that every girl in the country had admired a thousand times.” She knows exactly who he is, but the netlink in her brain automatically informs her anyway: he is Prince Kai, the handsome eighteen-year-old prince of the country known as the Eastern Commonwealth.
Cinder blinks to remove this information from her vision and, keeping her missing foot out of sight, stands up to make an awkward bow. Prince Kai explains that he is looking for Linh Cinder, the mechanic, to fix his personal android, Nainsi. He seems surprised when he learns that the most respected mechanic in his kingdom is a teenage girl.
As Cinder works, her own android, Iko, arrives at the booth. She brags that she got an excellent price on a slightly used cybernetic foot....
(The entire section is 563 words.)