Author: Marissa Meyer
Series: Book #1 in the Lunar Chronicles
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends – an imprint of MacMillan
Publication Date: January 1, 2012
Genres: Young Adult – Science Fiction, Romance, Dystopian
Format: Purchased Paperback
“Cinder” by Marissa Meyer is a fairy tale retelling of the Grimm’s classic tale of “Cinderella“. But instead of the Cinderella we’ve come to know, Cinder is, in fact, a cyborg living in a more futuristic world after World War IV. She is not only a cyborg (which not many people know about), but she’s also a mechanic – and a pretty good one, too. When Prince Kai comes to her one day with one of his broken androids, fate twists these two together in a way that no one would see coming. It’s a tale about self-discovery, loss, a fleeting romance, and more.
Overall, I loved the concept of the book. I thought it was definitely unique in the way that Meyer told this version of Cinderella. Yes, there is the wicked stepmother and the two stepsisters, but one of the stepsisters actually likes Cinder (gasp!), which is actually a nice little reprieve from the story we all know. Cyborgs, futuristic, a need to save the human race from a deadly disease… it’s a bit of a great way to retell the story, right?
Cinder, herself, was a likeable character. I felt that I, personally, didn’t attach to her as much as I wanted, but rather I attached to how she acted as a cyborg, how each function worked and how it could overtake her at any moment. I also liked how she was always cautious and aware of what she viewed as her “deformity” by always making sure her gloves covered any metal parts, as well as how she was sometimes missing a foot around the prince. Oops. I did think she was a pretty cool character other than my lack of attachment to her. Not only did Meyer beat a stereotype in making Cinder a mechanic, but she was also a cyborg, making her even more badass (in my opinion, anyway).
Prince Kaito (Kai) was definitely a teenage ruler about to come into power. He knew what his father wanted for him, and respected it greatly, but he also knew what he wanted and upheld those decisions, too. Though we often saw him troubled one way or another throughout a majority of the book, I did think that he was definitely well thought out and I hope to see him in the future novels.
Queen Levana, our main villain, is a Lunar – a person from the moon with “magical” abilities – who is pretty evil down to her core. She hates mirrors, for they show the true beauty of what she is, and she hates “shells,” which are Lunars who have no magic and are able to see past any glamour she might conjure up to try to brainwash any citizens. She definitely makes for a good evil villain and she kind of reminds me of the Evil Queen from Snow White.
A few lesser characters included Iko, the little android servant to Cinder’s stepmother, Adri, but also Cinder’s companion. She has a sassy and fun personality and I loved reading the parts she was in. I wanted to just scoop her up and hug her all day.
Adri, the stepmother, definitely held her role throughout the book and I really just hated her. Good minor villain.
Pearl, the older stepsister, hated Cinder and treated her like crap. I didn’t like her much, but again, good minor villain.
Peony, the younger stepsister, was cheerful and adorable and I liked that she was nice to Cinder. Not so much a villain, but rather a sidekick, I think.
Now one of the plots of the story included a disease that is spreading rapidly around the Eastern Commonwealth, and around the world, called letumosis. Its symptoms do not appear, at first, but once a victim has gone into stage two is when the black and blue blotches start showing up all over the skin and they have to be taken to quarantine. There is no cure and so all of those who get sick with it, die. It’s really sad when one of the characters does die from it because I liked her, but I also liked that she couldn’t be saved in time, making it seem more believable that it could happen.
The other plots included Cinder fixing Kai’s android, Nainsi, for him and discovering a chip inside her that linked to someone on Luna. I have my theory that it might be Cress. Maybe (don’t tell me if you already know).
The ball was fun to read about, imagining Cinder dressed up all haphazardly and all that. I thought the events leading up to it were a bit slow and that the plot could have moved a little faster or maybe more added in, I’m not sure. I did enjoy the little hints that resembled Cinderella: the stepmother & stepsisters, the orange car (the pumpkin carriage), the cyborg foot (the shoe), and more.
Overall, I thought this was a cute read and I hear that the sequels get better. This book was a little slow going for me, but I’m glad I still read it.
I rate this book 4/5 stars.
Accompanying video: Cinder Book Review