Friday, December 2, 2011

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

A forbidden romance.
A deadly plague.
Earth's fate hinges on one girl . . .
CINDER, a gifted mechanic in New Beijing, is also a cyborg. She's reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister's sudden illness. But when her life becomes entwined with the handsome Prince Kai's, she finds herself at the centre of a violent struggle between the desires of an evil queen - and a dangerous temptation.
Cinder is caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal. Now she must uncover secrets about her mysterious past in order to protect Earth's future. (from publisher's site)

Cinder is the first book in the Lunar Chronicles quartet (the quartet will star Cinderella, Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel and Snow White). 

I have read a few fairytale retellings, but none so bold and dynamic as this futuristic retelling of Cinderella. There were so many elements to love: 

  • humans and cyborgs and androids haviging out in a techno-gadget-y future (Cinder is a cyborg)
  • a plague (I am a sucker for plague/virus stories)
  • intergalactic political intrigue (with an evil queen living on the moon ~ and the mysterious death of an heir...)
  • sci-fi elements and a dash of magic mashed-up creatively with the classic fairytale
There’s also a constant weaving in of (tragic) back story, shrouded in secrets. The story is mostly told from out heroine's perspective, but there are chapters from Prince Kai’s point of view (widening the scope of the narrative.) 

Plot-wise ~ there’s a lot going on. The plot is constantly steaming ahead. As with most retellings, the characters have a defined role to play (as in: the role of the evil stepmother, the shallow sister, the arch nemesis, the charming prince). I loved watching out for plot elements that matched the classic Cinderella story and enjoyed the twists Meyer gives them (ie, instead of Cinder losing her shoe at the ball ~ she loses her (cyborg) foot. In some places, characters are little more than their role, but in others, Meyer succeeds in going further than the stereotypes and layering her characters, so you feel their unique hopes, dreams, aches, love and loss. I loved the relationship between Cinder and her (nice) step-sister, Peony, and Iko (Cinder’s android bestie). Prince Kai had his moments too, he was charming, sure, but it is not an overly romantic kind of book. 

I am truly curious to see what sci-fi fans think of Cinder. I found it easy to imagine the futuristic world, even though I mostly have no idea about all the techno gadget stuff. 

Perhaps the one thing that detracted from the experience for me, was there was just so much going on . All the plot threads pulled together in the end, but I wish I could’ve had more time with the characters and less of the constant action/political intrigue/plot twists* but that complaint is coming from a contemporary YA lover who loves getting under character’s skins. 

overall Cinder is more of a wild ride than a lingering read. 
The thing that most impressed me about this story is it’s scope. It’s dynamic, imaginative and creative. It would play out brilliantly on the big screen. It would have sucked me in big time when I was a teenager. I liked it as an adult. 

*regarding the plot twists: I saw them all coming ~ but not in an unsatisfactory way, some had the kind of foreshadowing that heightened anticipation. Other twists were screamingly obvious to me even as the characters remained completely oblivious.

Cinder's Australian release date is Jan 3, 2012

Cinder @ Penguin Australia
Cinder @ goodreads

Thanks Penguin Australia for my review copy :)


  1. Wild ride? Great description. Awesome review. Good to know!

  2. I keep rethinking about this book cos I'm not much of a sci-fi fan. Although, the cyborg twist to Cinderella is very original, I think. I'd love to know what she does with the other characters - Red Riding Hood, Snow White, Rapunzel. I wonder if Rapunzel's hair will be of cyborg/android/other techno-gadgety thingy significance ;)

    I like the review, Nomes. You're making me think about picking this up.

  3. I'm always down for a wild ride. =) I love it when you're reading a book and it's so fun to imagine and think about visually. I just finished listening to the Dark Life audiobook and thought, "This would make an animated film!" I didn't realize Cinder was going to be a quartet. Great review, N, looking forward to reading it.

    Also I love cyborgs.

  4. There was definitely a lot going on with this one, but I kind of liked that she added so much more to the Cinderella story that it was really only marginally recognizable as a retelling. I wouldn't have minded more time with the characters either though, maybe we'll get that in the next book:)

  5. I'm always interested in fairy tale retellings. I've been hearing good things about this one and I'm hoping to read it soon! I think I got approved to get this from NetGalley.

  6. I agree with you completely - too much going on way too fast to really be able to get lost in the story.

  7. Hmm. Lots going on cold be good, could be bad (this is from a person who likes sci fi)! I like political machinations and whatnot, but it depends on how it's presented. Will have to check CINDER out. :)


Thanks for the commenty love :)