Thursday, August 9, 2012

Book Review: Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Cinder by Marissa Meyer
Series: Lunar Chronicles #1
Published: January 3rd, 2012
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
387 pages (hardcover)
Genre: Young adult science fiction/fairytale retelling
Acquired this book: From the library
Warning: may contain spoilers
{GoodReads || Purchase this book: Book Depository || Amazon}

Synopsis: Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, the 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.

Cinder is a futuristic fairytale retelling of the classic Cinderella story. In a distant future (post World War IV), Cinder is a cyborg in a world of humans and androids living in New Beijing. She’s basically a slave to her nasty stepmother, working as a mechanic and giving all her earnings to her family. A plague wiped out a great deal of the population, and continues to infect people at an alarming rate. When Cinder’s stepsister Peony catches the illness, Cinder’s stepmother ‘volunteers’ Cinder for testing that’s being done on cyborgs, because cyborgs are basically considered disposable. During testing, secrets about Cinder’s mysterious past slowly begin to unravel.

So…Cinderella as a cyborg = genius. I have a wild imagination, but I don’t think I’d ever come up with something as clever as that. This futuristic world of hovers and handheld comms and high-tech gadgets is well-thought-out and fascinating for the reader to discover. I loved how there were classic elements of Cinderella woven in, but they were given a fresh, futuristic spin that left me admiring Meyer’s storytelling skills.

Cinder was a terrific character. She was smart, resourceful, and feisty, but she also had this vulnerability to her that made her relatable, and made me really empathize with her. She wanted so badly to get away from her life, and to find somewhere she fit in and wouldn’t be ridiculed for being cyborg. She was a very real character, and I found myself connecting with her on many levels.

Prince Kaito is not your typical prince. He certainly has his swoonworthy moments, but he’s not the perfect, unattainable prince we get in a lot of stories. He’s immediately taken with Cinder, and he seems to like her more with every encounter. In turn, I liked him more with every encounter. He wasn’t pompous and didn’t have illusions of grandeur just because he was a prince, nor did he treat Cinder as if she were ‘just’ a mechanic, or a commoner.

Even though I’m a romance junkie, and even though I enjoyed all the interactions between Cinder and Kai, I appreciated that their ‘romance’ was a subplot and not the main focus of the book. It made their encounters that much more enjoyable, and it gave their feelings time to build, making everything more believable. It wasn’t easy for them, but I definitely rooted for them from the beginning.

Despite the fact that I thought the world-building was executed well, it was lacking in some ways. World War IV? What happened? How did the world get to that point? How did New Beijing become so powerful? We have to assume this is far in the future because of the wars and the extremely advanced technology, and even though it technically says what year it is, it’s a new era - when and why did the current era end? It’s not like it really affects the story in any significant way other than just curiosity over these things. And although I’m sure we’ll learn more about Luna and the lunar people, I wish we had learned a little more about them in this book, especially when certain things were revealed.

Overall, I think Meyer did a terrific job with this retelling of a beloved classic. Likable, believable characters paired with a compelling story that had the right amount of tension and suspense made for a winning combination. The ending had me itching for the next book in the series, and I’m eager to find out what happens to Cinder and Kai, and the fate of Earth and Luna.

Have you read Cinder? What did you think? What's your favourite fairytale retelling?


  1. I also enjoyed this book ! I agree that the background story could have been more developed but other than that it was wonderful !

  2. I just bought this one the other day and can't wait to read it! I had it out from the library numerous times but just never got around to it, so when I saw it on SALE, I snatched it up! I love Cinderella, so a retelling of the story sounds awesome. And sounds like there's lots of romance!

    Great review, Marie!

  3. I've been on the fence about picking up this book. Been craving something new and with YA lately, having a hard time feeling like I'm finding fresh stuff. Not the same old story with just different names and places.

  4. Oooh, the romance is a subplot. I love these futuristic stories, and add in the retelling part and I'm over the moon. I've been wanting to read this one. I may have to put it on my "buy soon" list. ;)

  5. I read Cinder a few months ago, and really enjoyed it

  6. I'm beginning to think I'm the only one who hasn't this book. Everyone loves.

    I'm new to following you thanks to RCCleanup and am inviting you to visit my blog at when you have some time.


  7. I really liked this one, too, Marie! I enjoyed the world-building but do hope we'll get a bit more info and answers in the sequel. And YES. Wasn't Kai swoony? I loved that he was so down to earth! Great review, you totally picked awesome aspects of Cinder to highlight!


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