Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Review: Marisa Meyer's Cinder

New York: Feiwel and Friends, 2012
Young Adult

In futuristic Asia, the situation is bleak. A dreadful plague without a cure ravages the population, and the evil and powerful Lunar queen threatens the freedom of the countries on earth. Meanwhile, the royal prince is preparing for the annual ball and desperately hoping to uncover the true heir to the Lunar throne. This is one of those books that isn’t actually very good, yet somehow contains an intangible spark that makes a reader care about the protagonist.  The story’s weaknesses are all upfront: It is a young adult fantasy romance (not a promising genre). There are logical gaps that require suspension of disbelief. Its futuristic setting shows very little worldbuilding. In fact, even though a royal prince and international intrigue are involved, they are portrayed as they might be imagined by a historically ignorant ninth-grader.    

Yet something about the heroine—a orphaned, teenage cyborg who supports her unkind stepmother and her stepsisters by working as a mechanic in New Beijing—kept me turning pages. She is interesting. She makes me want to see her survive and succeed.

As a retelling of Cinderella, the tale is creative and imaginative. I enjoyed seeing how the source material was used and reinvented. After all, how often do you see Cinderella-as-cyborg? Cinder does end up going to the ball, of course, but her story is only begun in this novel. If I want to find out whether or not she marries the prince (and, more important to this retelling, whether the evil Lunar queen is defeated) I will have to read the other three books in the series. 

Read other reviews at What We're Reading Wednesday!


  1. ITYM "Marissa Meyer"

    Also, while I'm probably not going to get this, cyborg Cinderella is a great idea.

  2. I really enjoyed Cinder too. I've read the second, Scarlett, but not the third, Cress. The second isn't really about Cinder, but develops some new characters. I have a penchant for re-told fairy tales and Cinder is very well done.
    Wait a minute! There are prequels and other books written in the Lunar Chronicles series? What? https://www.goodreads.com/series/62018-lunar-chronicles

    1. Yes, fairytales retold can be lovely, and I think Meyer (I'm spelling it right this time!) is smart to change the setting completely instead of writing a quasi-medieval story. When I was reading Cinder, I ended up telling my husband (SPOILER ahead) "The prince had better end up holding Cinder's cyborg foot during the ball, or I'm going to be mad."


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