Review: Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Book: Cinder
Author: Marissa Meyer
Publisher: Feiwel and Friends
Release date: January 3, 2012
Source: Borrowed from library
Series: Lunar Chronicles #1

 

Summary from Goodreads:

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.

If you couldn’t tell from the summary, Cinder is a loose retelling of the Cinderella story. Cinder is a cyborg who was adopted as a child by her father, who soon after died and left her in the care of her nasty stepmother. As a mechanic, she is responsible for the mechanical upkeep of her stepmother’s household machines. In her spare time, she dreams of escaping to a life of freedom on her own.

What could have been a somewhat interesting tale about a cyborg who wants to be treated as an equal quickly became a story so much deeper than that. There is a dangerous plague spreading rapidly through New Beijing, and when one of Cinder’s stepsisters becomes infected, Cinder is signed over to the kingdom’s scientists for medical testing. She discovers hard truths about the feared population living on the moon – the Lunars – and the price Earth must pay to keep them from taking over the planet. 

The politics of Earth’s negotiations with and history of the Lunars was so fascinating to me. I loved the mystery of the Lunars and their eerie mind-control abilities. The threat of their takeover raised the stakes of the underlying Cinderella story, and added a layer of nuance to Cinder’s exploration of her status as a cyborg and as a member of New Beijing society. Marissa Meyer built an incredibly rich world that was both believable and fantastic. I wanted to stay immersed in the story forever, just to keep walking the streets of town and interacting with its characters.

You may think you know the tale of Cinderella, but this book keeps you guessing. Although I found the twist at the end to be obvious from the beginning (so perhaps it’s supposed to be?), I still enjoyed the journey. I cannot wait to continue on with this series, and I’ll definitely be purchasing a copy for my shelves as well. This is a beautifully imagined and written book by a bright new star in young adult fiction.

Rating: 5/5 stars

Click the stars for a description of my rating system

 
  
 
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15 thoughts on “Review: Cinder by Marissa Meyer

  1. I loved Cinder, so it was a complete shock to discover that I loved Scarlet EVEN MORE. I did not think it possible. So bravo Marissa for totally obliterating the myth of the second book syndrome. Get your hands on Scarlet ASAP.

  2. Ah, yes, I loved Cinder! That one bit was really predictable, I agree, but it almost kind of…worked for this story. It’s odd, haha. Scarlet is even better so I hope you love it too!

    • Sara from Just Another Story and I were talking about this on Twitter, and she suggested that maybe we were supposed to know. I still can’t tell, but it does seem pretty heavy-handed. Who knows? At least it didn’t affect my enjoyment!

  3. I was disappointed by this book because I was expecting it to focus more on the Cinderella aspect and wasn’t prepared for the wider world setting. Having now read Scarlet, I really appreciate the many details and can’t wait for the next book!

    • I could see that. It does take a bit of a left turn from the classic tale there in the middle, but I’m glad it ended up working for you. Can’t wait for Scarlet!

    • Iko was my favorite character! I hope she comes back in Scarlet. She was like a funny little R2D2 sidekick and it helped brighten the tone of the story. I loved her!

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