Review: Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Title: Cinder
Author: Marissa Meyer
Series: The Lunar Chronicles | Book 1
Pages: 448 pages
Publisher: Square Fish; 2nd edition (January 8, 2013)
Rating: 4 stars (Read It!-Choose It!)

The novel, Cinder, by Marissa Meyer tells the story of Cinder, a cyborg in New Beijing with a mysterious past as her life becomes entangled in an impending war between the Earth unions and the Lunars.

GoodReads Synopsis

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.

 

One of the best parts of Cinder was how it connected to the original fairytales it was loosely based upon and how Meyer made the story her own too. For instance, I found it interesting that of Cinder’s two stepsisters (Peony and Pearl), one of them was (unexpectedly) nice while the other was (predictably) mean to Cinder. In the original, I think both stepsisters and the stepmother are cruel.

Originally, I read the first few pages of Cinder in a bookstore and was not captivated so I decided not to buy. Fortunately this thing called “book hype” exists and when I kept on hearing about Cinder and The Lunar Chronicles, I just had to give Cinder another try. It turned out to be worth it.

Although the book got off to a slow start, the pace eventually picked up. In Cinder, there weren’t any jarring plot twists, I could see how Meyer was laying the groundwork for the sequels’ plot as the plot complicates, fortunately, throughout the series. The most surprising plot twist in book 1 that I can recall, however, would probably be when (highlight for spoiler: Peony, the stepsister who’s nice to Cinder, becomes infected with letumosis and dies. Of all the character deaths in the entire series, I actually think Peony’s death is the saddest and most memorable).

Meyer’s writing is the perfect balance of action and description, which made reading an even more enjoyable experience. The author also does a skillful job of making you feel strongly about all the characters; I don’t think there was any character I really felt neutral or indifferent toward.

Cinder, the protagonist and main character, was especially well-developed. I didn’t connect to her immediately, but as the story went on, I admired her bravery and sheer determination to do what she thought was right. She was also a good balance of thinking and acting on her choices.

I would recommend this book to people who enjoy well-written fairytale retellings with compelling characters.

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