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