Cinder by Marissa Meyer Book Review

Tuesday, September 11, 2012 8:00 AM
Title: Cinder
Author: Marissa Meyer
Published: January 3, 2012
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Series: The Lunar Chronicles #1
Genre: Young Adult Science Fiction, Retelling
Pages: 390
Source: Library
Rating: 4 stars
Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

“I'm sure I'll feel much more grateful when I find a guy who thinks complex wiring in a girl is a turn-on.” 
― Marissa MeyerCinder

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. (Goodreads)

It's been taking me longer than usual to read books because I'm still recovering from one of my notorious migraines. So all I've been doing is drinking caffeine and resting. I hate reading when I'm not feeling well because it's always harder to keep interest, but I couldn't resist. I hope everyone is feeling well because I heard something is going around! Anywho, on with the book.

My Thoughts
I'm not a huge fan of the Cinderella fairy tale, but I might be biased, seeing as how I never really liked the Disney version. I was more of a Beauty and the Beast girl. I always thought the Cinderella in the movie was so domesticated, and she needed a man to get away from her evil stepmother. Plus, the prince and her fell in love in like two seconds. And she loses her shoe, and the prince's brillant idea is to go around and try to find a girl whose foot fits perfectly into the shoe. Because of course he wouldn't recognize the girl he fell in love with once she has her hair down and is covered in ashes. And there are no two girls with the same size shoe (obviously sarcasm). I hope I didn't ruin anybody's love for this fairy tale. I did love Ever After though. One of my favorite movies. Though A Cinderella Story? Not so much.

So you can imagine that I was very surprised when I found myself loving Cinder despite all of my bias and negative expectations. How couldn't I love this book? It's the most imaginative retelling of Cinderella that I have ever seen or read! Not only is Cinder a cyborg, but the story takes place in the distant future. Cinder is a flipping Asian cyborg! Instead of talking, singing mice, we have her robot friend Iko. Instead of a pumpkin turning into a carriage, we have a yellow-orange car which is considered ancient when hovers are the new form of transportation. And the dashing prince is the destined emperor of the Eastern Commonwealth (what Asia is now called). Is that not genius?

In Cinder, Earth is divided into six kingdoms after World War IV left the world in ruins and nuclear/chemical warfare destroyed many natural resources. A plague, letumosis, kills hundreds and even thousands of Earthen citizens, and doctors can't find the cause or a cure. Prejudice is shown towards cyborgs, and the cyborg draft is initiated to find guinea pigs for antidote research. As Earth is left vulnerable by the plague and a suffering economy, the Lunar queen seizes this opportunity to make negotiations with the soon-to-be emperor Prince Kai. The Lunars have mysterious powers to influence what others feel, see, or even do. Queen Levena is a cruel queen and a threat to all of Earth because of her hunger for power. When Cinder's stepsister Peony is infected with the plague, Cinder is entered against her will into the cyborg draft by her stepmother. Cinder finds out she might just be the only hope for her sister, New Beijing, and maybe all of Earth.

This book was such a thrilling, fun read! While I never thought I'd be a huge fan of science-fiction, I loved the technology and futuristic New Beijing. Cinder was a mechanic, and Meyer did an excellent job of describing Cinder's work and repairs. Meyer's attention to detail made the world of New Beijing all the more authentic, and I loved hearing about the portscreens, netscreens, and hovers. The city, with its skyscrapers and crammed apartment complexes, came to life for me through Meyer's in-depth description. The beautiful descriptions of New Beijing's palace and gardens were also not lacking in detail. New Beijing culture was a perfect mix of futuristic and traditional Asian elements. 

Cinder was such an awesome heroine! She was just full of spunk! I loved how Meyer made Cinder a mechanic famous for her skill instead of a maid, placing less focus on domesticity. While Cinder was dependent on her evil stepmother Adri, she still stood up for herself and found ways to rebel. She even beat up some androids and she was far from being a submissive, docile maid. She also had a kinder, loving side because she cared for her android Iko and her younger stepsister Peony. And of course Kai though she tried to deny it. It was difficult for her being a cyborg, and I loved seeing her fight past her insecurities and become a stronger individual because of it. 

I didn't like Kai as much as other romantic interests. He grew on me, but I couldn't help finding him a little annoying at times. It seemed like he expected special treatment because he was a prince, and I was overjoyed when Cinder didn't respond to his advances as he expected. I was sick of hearing about what a heartthrob he was and having girls swoon over him (basically the Asian Bieber). Though I'm being a little hypocritical seeing as how I fangirl over Jensen Ackles and Ian Somerhalder from time to time. I did love that while the romance was sweet, it was put on a back burner in favor of the plot. And Kai was charming at times, and understanding and adorable. 

My one major complaint was the cliffhanger ending. I'm not a fan of cliffhangers. Who is? I see cliffhangers as just an author's attempt to persuade readers to read the next book. Unfortunately, this tends to be a generally effective method. If the sequel was immediately available, I wouldn't be as upset, but it isn't. I just like my books to have an ending. Even if there are still questions and other books, having somewhat of an ending is always better than a cliffhanger. There were a couple of other minor annoyances. Characters say Oh my stars a lot. And Iko was a little unrobotic. But Meyer explains the personality chip as being the cause. 

I'm so excited for Scarlet! I want to hear more about this world and the Lunars. Such as, why are they even on the moon? 2013 seems years away! I'm loving how each book will introduce new fairy tale characters. Obviously, Scarlet will bring Little Red Riding Hood into the mix. Apparently, Cress will take place on the moon and Rapunzel will be a main character. And then the fourth installment, Winter, will feature Snow White and will take place in the Sahara Desert. Yet Cinder will remain a main character in all four books. Fascinating! I cannot wait!

Happy reading,



  1. Excellent review!! Really like the details you use and yet you don't get into spoiler territory. Kudos!!

    I have this on my bday list, really want to read it now! Really it was Scarlet that got me interested but seeing it was a book 2 to a series I knew I had to go back and get Cinder! So on the bday list it goes! Maybe by December my TBR pile won't be so hectic!--and that might have been said with a dose of sarcasm! ;)

    Once again, awesome review! Look forward to reading this one for sure now!

    1. Thanks Jessica! I definitely enjoyed this one more than I expected. Glad to hear you enjoyed my review! I hope you get to read Cinder very soon, and i have to say I am more excited for the sequel than I was for this one. The premise sounds even better. And I love how more fairy tale characters are entering into the picture in such wild ways! So excited! :D

  2. Yeah, something bad has been going around here at my work, too. Thankfully I haven't gotten yet (knock on wood)! Migraines slow me down, too. I can't read at all when I have one, so sorry bout the headaches. Ever After really was wonderful! I have been wary about re-tellings, but I LOVED this one! The cover is what originally caught my attention. Love how you summed up Cinderella, lol. Fantastic review!! I am counting the days until Scarlet. Cinder was one of those books I like so much I had to take a couple days before starting another book.

    1. Thanks so much! :D I know! I just wanted the sequel immediately and was so frustrated! That cliffhanger killed me and I was like give me Scarlet now! I am always wary about re-tellings too because they often end up paling in comparison to the original. But this one definitely didn't disappoint and I loved the twists. Good to hear you loved it too!

  3. Aww I just love how much your enthusiasm shines through your review! You've definitely made me consider placing Cinder higher on my TBR list (though perhaps I will wait until the release of Scarlet is a little closer...). I agree that the Disney version of Cinderella doesn't have the best messages about submissiveness and domesticity, but there are tons of fantastic Cinderella retellings. I doubt anything can replace Ella Enchanted for me. Also, there's another Asian Cinderella retelling called Shadows on the Moon that I own but haven't read but I've read good things about that. Clearly the way to fix your Cinderella dislike is to continue reading quality retellings of it!

    1. Thanks Manda! Yes, I will have to continue reading retellings. Especially since I know you love them so much. I have to say that I felt the same way about Disney's Sleeping Beauty and Snow White. I thought the main characters were portrayed as bimbos obsessed with cleaning or spindles (I know that's part of the story but still). And singing birds and woodland animals. Not my thing. In Beauty and the beast, it was enchanted furniture and such which was awesome. And I don't like the instalove. I'm more into The Little Mermaid and Aladdin, where we see more progression. Yes, I overthink this A LOT. lol

  4. Brilliant Review Courtney! I still haven't read this book yet :( I have Scarlet on my bookshelf waiting to be read but I haven't even started Cinder yet! Seems like a good thing that I've already got book 2 if there's a major cliffhanger - I'm really impatient!!! I've never really read fairytale adaptions in YA books so I'm really looking forward to this :))

    Laura @ What's Hot?


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