Cinder by Marissa Meyer | Book Review

Cinder by Marissa MeyerBook Title/Author: Cinder by Marissa Meyer
: Feiwel & Friends 2012
Genre: YA Science Fiction – Futuristic Fairytale Retelling
Series: Yes!
Other Books From Author: Scarlet (Book #2 Lunar Chronicles series)

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I borrowed this from my library!


Set in a futuristic China where a deadly plague is devastating the population and both humans and androids co-exist, Cinder is a talented mechanic and also a cyborg pretty much indentured to her wicked stepmother and two stepsisters after her father, who saved her though she has no recollection of it, passed away from the plague.  She finds herself face to face with Prince Kai, who has just taken on a lot of responsibility and is trying to stave off a war with the Lunar People, when he requests her services to fix his android and finds herself seeing more of him and feeling some sort of spark but she can’t let him know what she is even though it seems their futures are tied together as Cinder learns more about her past.

I’m probably the last person in the world to read Marissa Meyer’s Cinder — a futuristic retelling of Cinderella complete with cyborgs, evil stepmothers and a dreamy Prince — so I don’t know that this review is going to persuade anyone to read it because y’all already have! So how about you all just rejoice with me that  I loved this book?

I love when I put off a book and ignore it because I think it’s not my thing and then I absolutely am proved wrong and quite enjoy it. That was the case here, my friends. I mean, I enjoy some science fiction and retellings and fantasy but cyborgs? Really? So not a me thing. But Marissa  Meyer makes my preconceived notions go right back out the door where they came from.  All “SEE YA..don’t let the door hit your ass on the way out, you beastly preconceived notions.” Her re-imagined story of Cinderella breathed new  and exciting life to a very beloved fairytale from my childhood but still had the bare bones Cinderella storyline that made me fall in love with the story in the first place. It was like visiting that best friend from elementary school when you are all grown up — gone is the toothy grin and the pink jellies and overalls but somewhere in that grown up exterior you can still make out that same playground playmate you spent many great years romping around with and throwing rocks at boys with. Familiar yet wholly new.

While Cinder started out a little slow for me because of my side-eying of the whole cyborg thing, I quickly grew enraptured by the world full of robots and cyborgs that living amongst humans but as second class citizens. The plague with the  unknown origins and the Lunar people from the moon were equally fascinating and kept me riveted. There was so much about the story that I just couldn’t wait to be revealed. I got a really great sense of the world though, being set in “New Bejiing” in China, I would have wished I felt that part of the setting more. The futuristic sense I got but I would have loved a little more of a sense of the Chinese culture. Beyond my love for the world, I really fell hard for Cinder’s story. It wasn’t hard to feel for her. She was a cyborg — half human and half robot — treated like crap and living with a stepmother who resented and hated her every day. You could feel her struggles to retain her humanity but that overwhelming reminder that she’s just NOT fully a human by the world’s standards was palpable. As the story progresses, her story weighs even heavier and heavier on my heart as blows are dealt and shocking revelations – -for Cinder & not so much for me — are made known and add so much more dimension to the story.

As I alluded to in the last sentence, I’ll say that I totally called almost every big revelation and twist and thought they were obvious but I didn’t find that it detracted from my overall enjoyment in this case because I don’t know that it relied on that element of shock. I kept reading with a sense of urgency to see if I was right and then, when I was, to see what the implications of that revelation would mean for Cinder.  I think these revelations, while not surprising for me, set up a lot for book 2 and I cannot wait! I also hope maybe we will learn more of the background of the Lunar people and maybe some more explanation about the cyborgs and how they became because there seemed  to be little detail in  that  and only the groundwork seemed to be laid. Despite the fact these twists and revelations weren’t a shock to me, I thought Meyer wrote it in a way where you could FEEL it so intensely along with Cinder despite any inklings you had.

And to end this ramblefest…can we talk about the characters?? What phenomenal characters! I loved Cinder obviously but Prince Kai was to die for. He was strong but still had uncertainties as he has to make big decisions that affect his people immensely. I could feel his struggle. And he was sweet. So very sweet. I loved Iko — Cinder’s robot sidekick. I smiled every time Iko was on the page. The familiar wicked stepmother and stepsisters could have been lackluster because we know those characters from the fairytale but rather I actually thought they were brought to life and felt very real to me. And OH PEONY. That is all.

Cinder by Marissa Meyer’s made me a believer in a futuristic, science fiction fairytale retelling and I can’t wait to get Scarlet from the library to continue on with this fantastical adventure and continue Cinder’s story which goes so far beyond that of the Cinderella tale. Meyer’s takes the bare bones of Cinderella and, while familiar, adds depth and dimension to it and it feels like a new story with a futuristic world where there are robots and cyborgs, evil queens from the Moon, a deadly plague with unknown origins and a heroine whose story doesn’t just end with that typical fairytale happy ending. I can’t wait for what lies ahead in Cinder’s story. While the revelations seemed pretty obvious to me, I could FEEL those bombs drop for Cinder and think the things she learns take this story into some interesting directions.

Recommends For: People who like fairytale retellings that are truly unique but pay homage to the original, futuristic stories with cyborgs and robots, a pretty fast paced read (minus the start for me)


Cindery Marissa Meyer review

Let’s Talk: Have you read this one??  How did you feel about it? Did you enjoy it or not so much? Was anyone else going into this one thinking it wouldn’t be for them but were pleasantly surprised? Did the revelations surprise you or did you figure them out? Does anybody else wish we really got to feel the Chinese culture a little more? I was so excited about that because it’s not a setting I encounter a lot.

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About Jamie

Jamie is a 32 year old married lady (with a new baby!!) who is in denial that she's actually that old to be a married lady and a mom. When she's not reading you can find her doing Pilates followed by eating ice cream, belting out Hamilton (loud and offkey) and having adventures with her husband, daughter and rescue dog.


  1. hehe!! so glad you loved it!! I went into this book similar to your thoughts.. I was pretty sure I would not love it as much and then… I loved it to pieces! I’m not much into Fairy Retellings, but this one stands out so much!
    You are going to love the next one too! Promise 🙂

  2. This is definitely on the TBR. It’s quite high but my library books have to get read first. Choices choices choices…

  3. Penny Yoke says:

    Yup I read Cinder and I loved it! As a Chinese, I have to agree that the Chinese culture elements are quite superficial, only present in the names and the architecture. But it’s not that important for me. Anyway, Scarlet will be set in France!

  4. Yay Jamie I am so glad that you read & liked this. It’s definitely the most original fairy tale retelling I ever read. 🙂 I didn’t read Scarlet yet, but I heard that it’s even better…

  5. I have been putting off reading this one as well. And sometimes I do it with books and think “I can’t believe I put this off!” So I’m glad this may be another one of those. Thanks!

  6. Glad that you loved this! Isn’t it so awesome when books you didn’t think you love totally come out of left field and steal a little place in your heart? Although the premise for Cinder was totally my thing, I still had reservations. I read this late, too but I still just didn’t trust that I would enjoy it. And, you know, of course I did. : )

    I loved what you said about the revelations because I got them right away or very early on. The surprises weren’t terribly surprising. This is what really resonated: “…because I don’t know that it relied on that element of shock.” THAT is exactly it. The story wasn’t lessened by the lackluster shocks, because it wasn’t dependent on them! Oh, so perfect that you were able to put it into words.

    I have to pick up Scarlet, too. Hopefully soon…. hopefully.

  7. So happy you loved this. Then again, I wasn’t worried because I knew you would! I was wary of this book for the same reasons you mentioned, but boy was I wrong! This book gave me all the feels! And I loved the homage to Sailor Moon. I agree that it was predictable, but it didn’t bother me either. It was just so much fun!

    Looking forward to your thoughts on Scarlet. I enjoyed Cinder slightly more, but I love this series to pieces!

  8. I remember not being sure about this book when I first got it from NetGalley, but it has become one of my favorite series. So glad that you liked it!

  9. I was wary about this one too, Jamie. I LIKE sci-fi, but then again, I have to be in the mood, and it has to be good and engaging, which Cinder was. I called all the twists too, but it’s weird, that didn’t make me enjoy this one any less, either! The one issue I had was, although really LIKED the world-building, I wished there was just a bit more of it, but other than that, I loved it – and really am swooning all over again, over your review! I bought Scarlet, but now I want to re-read Cinder before I read it. 😀

  10. I’m so glad you liked Cinder, Jamie! I didn’t read this for a long time either because I really, really don’t care for science fiction. And like you said, Cinder as a cyborg? That’s crazy! But I ended up loving it. I didn’t care that I figured out the big twists. And defeinitely read Scarlet, It is just as amazing.

  11. You are NOT the last person to read this! It’s on my shelf and I have been told MANY times to get my butt in gear and read it finally. I plan to … soon. I know if I don’t a certain friend of mine will come and hold it in front of my face until it’s done. 🙂

    I’m happy you liked this!

  12. So glad you like it. I thought the same thing – cyborgs? lunar people? – but it was SO GOOD.

  13. Oh my gosh, IKO and PEONY! Wahhh!!!
    I was totally with you – All my preconceived notions out the door! Cyborgs. HA. Cyborgs are totally in now. Or something like that…….. I guess Marissa Meyer just knew how to do it RIGHT and right it was!
    Sheesh, I’m totally out of my noodle today.
    Anyway, lovely review. We all agree with you 🙂 Can’t wait to read the rest of the series!

  14. Ahhhh so glad that you enjoyed this book! I have yet to come across someone who hasn’t! I loved it, despite its predictability. Really good review as well 🙂 it was fun to read.
    Here’s my review of Cinder if you fancy a read of it :).

  15. *goes to move up my TBR ASAP* I’m so glad you enjoyed the book, we tend to have the same taste (shocking) so it makes it easier to move things up and down.

  16. Stephani Richens says:

    I loved Cinder! And just finished Scarlet last week! I can’t wait to find out what happens next and am crossing my fingers for the third installment to come out quickly.

    If you are into mini-stories, or between the novels short stories, you should read these:
    Glitches: ( this is a pre-Cinder story)
    The Queen’s Army: (1.5 between Cinder and Scarlet)
    I found both of these short stories enlightening.

    As a reader, my favorite stories lately, are fantasy/science fiction and fairy tales retold.

  17. I was interested in, but when I first started seeing this around the blogosphere, I was worried it’d be a major flop. I loved it as well! It had predictable but there were some twists and turns that I didn’t entirely see coming. Sometimes too many twists and turns bothers me, but it worked so well here.

    Great review!

  18. I definitely didn’t expect to get so much out of this book, I only bought it because it was on sale for a really good price. I ended up LOVING it, and am currently reading the sequel!

  19. I loved Cinder, but I do agree with your point about world-building, or the lack thereof. There was literally no point in mentioning that Cinder lives in New Beijing if Meyer does not add any culture. An explanation of the loss of culture/identity in the futuristic world would have been fine as well, but she doesn’t do that either. While the story is a bit predictable, it’s definitely a fun read. Glad you were able to jump on the Cinder bandwagon! 🙂

  20. I just had this one in my hands at the bookstore tonight, and I put it down!! I’ve heard tremendous things about it, but I just thought “It doesn’t sound like my thang! Dammit!

    Guess I am making another trip out there tomorrow! 🙂

    Thanks for the wonderful review/recommendation

  21. YES!! I’m so so so glad you loved it 😀 I’ve heard before from people that it doesn’t seem like their thing because it’s so “science-fictiony” but it’s really so much more than that!! And Scarlet will just knock your socks off. Cinder is fairly slow-paced compared to Scarlet, but both work perfectly! Cinder was like The Fellowship of the Ring and Scarlet is like the friggin Two Towers in it’s awesomeness! So excited to read your review of it 😀

  22. Hooray *\o/* I’m so glad you liked it Jamie. I love when you’re not sure about a book but you end up loving it. I find that happens to me a lot since I’ve started blogging. I’ve always been really resistant to contemporary novels but thanks to fellow book lovers I’ve read a few that have ended up being some of my favourite books.

    Scarlet is even better than Cinder in my opinion! Hope you enjoy it!

  23. I delayed reading this book for quite a while as well. It just really didn’t seem like my kind of thing. Personally, I didn’t care much for Kai because he fit the Prince Charming stereotype a bit too well and was (I though) perfect and dull. HOWEVER, I agree with everything else you say here. I loved how Meyer managed to give the original fairytale a new personality without making it lose itself.

  24. *flails* It makes my heart very, very happy that you enjoyed Cinder! I’m a huge advocate of The Lunar Chronicles, and pretty much recommend it to just about everyone who I think would enjoy it. Marissa Meyer put her own unique spin on the Cinderella story, and I think what she’s come up with is PHENOMENAL.

  25. You were not the last person in the world to read this. And I’ve been watching to see whether or not you liked it before deciding to read it, so you have in fact personally inspired me to give it a try. Go you!

  26. I wasn’t really expecting much out of this book when I first started it – robots and androids have never really been my thing. So imagine how surprised I was by the time I finished it and absolutely loved it! It takes a lot of awesomeness for you to really enjoy a fairy tale re-telling, I think, because you already sort of know how it’s going to end/play out. Especially with a such a classic story – Cinderella, which everyone has heard of.

  27. I was nodding along to your entire review. I just read this too and I enjoyed it SO much. I don’t think the predictability took away from it at all because it wasn’t about the AHA! at the end but more about how Marissa Meyer was going to take you there. I hope you read Scarlet soon!

  28. I’m so happy you finally read & enjoyed this book. Just wait til you read Scarlet, it’s even better! Love!!!

  29. I love how you said Cinder was “fresh” – that was my exact description of the book. Absolutely loved it!


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