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Review: Cinder by Marissa Meyer

>>Sunday, January 29, 2012

Title: Cinder
Author: Marissa Meyer
Series: Lunar Chronicles #1
Format: eARC
Pages: 390
Genre: Science Fiction, Young Adult
Publication Date: January 3rd, 2012
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Rating: 7.5

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.

Why did I read this book? It’s a retelling of Cinderella as a cyborg. ‘Nuff said.

Source: eARC from Netgalley

My Review
Honestly, I was really excited to read this book. Then some reviews came out from some of my trusted sources that kind of tempered my excitement, since I usually wholeheartedly agree with said sources. Not to mention, I tend not to become so enchanted with the hyped young adult releases as others do. So I sat down to finally read Cinder and to my surprised I actually kind of fell in love with this book.

Let’s start with everything I loved. Cinder is a cyborg who is living with her stepmother and two stepsisters in New Beijing. Because of her situation as a cyborg, this means she has fewer rights than “regular” humans and so is treated very poorly by her family (except for one sister, Peony). Cinder herself is a pretty awesome heroine – she’s a skilled mechanic, clever, interested in boys yet not an imbecile. She dreams of a better life, but most often, that doesn’t necesssarily mean a life dependant on a man. Then there’s her friend, the family android, Iko who is completely lovable and the perfect companion for Cinder.

Cinder eventually meets Prince Kai, son of the Commonwealth’s emperor when he shows up at her shop with a android for her to fix. This sparks a romance which is sort of doomed from the start – Cinder is an cyborg, so believes she could never be accepted, not even by the Prince.

Then there’s the whole other part of the story: the Lunars. These are people who live on the moon and are governed by Queen Levana. Lunars possess advanced technology which is perceived as magic by the humans of earth. They even possess ‘magical abilities’- able to make people see what they want them to see and feel what they want to feel – but this is really a biological thing, the ability to alter the bioelectricity of others. I really liked the play between science and magic; it all really depends on the person who perceives it. Cinder often calls this magic while others call it biology.

Queen Levana wants to pretty much take over the Earth and is trying to go through Prince Kai to do it. It’s hard for me to explain all the side plots of the story since it’s quite extensive. Meyer does an excellent job of taking all the iconic aspects of Cinderella and using just enough of it to create an original and engaging science fiction fantasy.

Meyer does a pretty good job with the world-building, but there are times that I felt that it could have gone even further than it did. I had many questions, such as: why doesn’t the Queen just take over the world if she’s so powerful? Why are cyborgs seen as lesser beings? How do people live on the moon? Also, I did question the reasoning behind making Cinder Caucasian when this story is set in a futuristic Chinese setting. Sometimes these questions would interrupt my immersion in the story.

Lastly, I have to mention that there is NO LOVE TRIANGLE. The romance is more of a “star-crossed lovers” story, and I enjoyed this a lot. There are threats to their romance, including other people, but I don’t think there was ever a question about whether Kai and Cinder had feelings for each other. Cinder also isn’t empty-headed or unreasonable when it comes to her feelings for Prince Kai.

Rating: 7.5
So, yeah. I definitely liked Cinder and found it to be one of the most enjoyable young adult novels I read in a long time. It had everything I look for: good world-building, no love triangle and bonus: it’s science fiction rather than paranormal. Warning: the story ends with a major cliffhanger. The sequel, Scarlet comes out next year.


  1. Wait.. Cinder was Caucasian? How did I miss this? I don't remember reading that at all. Hmm.

    Aside from the fact that I was sort of disappointed by how transparent the "big reveal" at the end of the book was right from the start, I adored this book. ;)

    1. Yes, somewhere near the beginning she says she was from Europe (adopted) and the Book Smugglers also note that she's Caucasian in the book trailers.

      Definitely agree about the "big reveal" :)

  2. Soooo excited to read this one! Glad you enjoyed it! :)



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