Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

This book barged its way onto my reading radar towards the end of last summer. It immediately caught my attention and soon had me tight in its grip. First of all, the cover is very simple but so captivating! The leg and the shoe?... oh man! And then the concept of a fairy tale retelling – something I’m always keen to read – of Cinderella as a cyborg in a dystopian future setting. Let me say that again: Cinderella as a cyborg. How cool is that?!

There was no way I wasn’t going to read this book. It’s got my name written all over it.

Title: Cinder
Series: Lunar Chronicles #1
Author: Marissa Meyer
Publisher: Puffin
Target Audience: YA
Pages: 389
Chapters: 38
PoV : 3rd person
Tense : Past tense

Story: 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.

(from Goodreads)

Thoughts and impressions: As of the very first page I knew that I was going to love this story. The first scene depicts Cinder removing her cyborg foot, a foot that is far too small for her, and it was everything I could have hoped for from an opening to such a story.

It didn’t let up after that, with threats from various sides, and I was lost in the action. In fact, I was so captivated by the story that I was most annoyed with my boyfriend when he tried to get me to pay some attention to him instead of the book in my hands. I mean, how dare he?! Couldn’t he see that I was so engrossed by the book that I was oblivious to the world at large?

Cinder made for a very interesting and unique heroine. She’s 16 but she only remembers the five years of her life since her stepfather adopted her and brought her to China. What’s more, she has potentially devastating secrets. To begin with, this is simply that she’s a cyborg in a society that looks down on humans who have robotic components. As the story advances and Cinder starts to learn more about who she is and her heritage, she just accumulates more and more secrets. It was quite the thrill to watch her struggle with all these new revelations each time as she had to keep reassessing her own identity. I found her reactions plausible, if a little strained on occasion.

This is part of what makes Cinder’s interactions with Prince Kai so suspenseful. It starts with her just hoping that he won’t notice that she has no foot attached to her robotic leg, hoping that he won’t be repulsed by her and who – what – she is. As things progress and she admits to herself that she’s attracted to the prince, she finds herself fending off his attentions in return. She accepts that with each new layer added to her identity, it becomes even less of a possibility that he would still be interested in her should he learn the truth of her situation.  The ending could be seen a mile off, but it adds a new dimension to this relationship and I’m interested in seeing where Marissa Meyer will take things from here.

The story is fairly faithful to the Cinderella tale excepting one of the stepsisters. Peony, the younger of the two, is actually nice to Cinder and the only person Cinder can stand. Unfortunately, it is of course her who ends up contracting the sickness that is ravaging mankind around the globe. I think that the interactions with Adri, the stepmother, were my favourites, though, as they were full of such lidded anger. I could feel Cinder seething with frustration but also how powerless she was to take matters into her own hands. In particular, the scenes after Peony is taken into isolation are fairly rife with raw emotions and I felt Cinder’s sorrow and indignant anger right along with her.

Queen Levana makes for a deliciously devious villain. She knows just what she wants and she isn’t afraid to trample over anyone who just so happens to be in the way to get it. Her kingdom is the Moon and the inhabitants of the Moon have changed in their genetic makeup so that they are no able to wield bioelectricity in order to control the senses of those around them. Levana holds many cards and she’s not afraid to play them when they’ll hurt her opponent the most. She is the epitome of an evil queen and, again, I’m very interested in seeing where her character and kingdom will be taken in future books.

And the best character? Iko the android with a glitch. I loved her!

The Lunar Chronicles is going to be a quartet with each book based on a different fairy tale and set in another area of this futuristic society.
Cinder – Cinderella - China
Scarlett – Little Red Riding Hood - France
Cress – Rapunzel –Sahara Desert
Winter – Snow White – Luna (the Moon)

Style: The author obviously did a lot of research into robotics – it made for quite the glimpse into such a world and added that extra bit of realism to everything. Very enjoyable style.

Final verdict: This book lived up to and exceeded all of my expectations. Definitely a favourite!

Extra notes: Didn’t pick up on any bad language. No sex.


  1. I am currently reading this and I am loving it so far! I already can't wait to check out the other books :) Thanks for the great review!

    Stephanie @ Stepping Out of the Page
    Drop by & enter my International Giveaway

  2. I really enjoyed this book as well. I thought it was a great start to a new series and I'm really looking forward to reading the next book!

  3. I can't wait to read this's been on my TBR list for awhile now. Thanks for the epic review! =)

  4. I've read a lot of hype about this book. It's wonderful when a book lives up to & exceeds expectations. I do love Fairy Tale re-tellings.

  5. Cindrella as a Cyborg? YES PLEASE! It has been on my TBR list for a long time and I would love to read it. Your review just made me want it more! :D It's kind of crazy that it's located in China anyway... But Snow White on the Moon seems even more crazy ;P

  6. I read this book a couple of months ago (closer to when it came out). It was a little boring, and I didn't like the characters very much. Cinder was kind of annoying at times (evwhy the hell wouldn't you just run far, far away from your stepfamily!? Don't give me some crap about the cute little stepsister needs you.), the stepmother was silly (even though she was supposed to be), and the Prince didn't seem very princely to me. It was also too predictable for me. Of course Cinder is the lost princess. Of course the Lunar queen sees Cinder and immediately drops everything she's doing to find Cinder. Of course the Prince is gonig to like Cinder... a lot. This book was full of too many "I know where this is going...", and not in a good way (sometimes, I can get past that; in this case, I couldn't). I'll read the next one (Scarlet), and possibly the rest of the series, but only because I have to finish off a series once I start it (it's a control about me).
    You gave it five stars, so you must have it enjoyed it, and I'm glad. I would give it at the most three stars.
    Thanks for the review!!! And letting me rant.

    Alyssa Susanna

  7. I really didn't like it very much. I was pretty bored with it and the characters. I ended up not finishing it. I'm glad you liked it better than I did!


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