Book Review: Cinder

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Title: Cinder (Lunar Chronicles #1)
Author: Marissa Meyer
Summary: [from GoodReads] 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.

My Review: *WARNING: Minor spoilers ahead* I am such a sucker for fairytale retellings. I’m also a huge sucker for Steampunk (which this isn’t quite, but it’s close), so this is a formula that should have worked for me. Boy did it ever! I want the next book like NOW! Of course, it doesn’t help that it ends on a mega-cliffhanger – if you don’t want to be annoyed for the next year while we wait for the second book to come out, I’d suggest holding off on this one. But don’t forget about it, because it is an AMAZING read that you don’t want to miss out on!

The first thing I loved was how relatable Cinder was. I think Meyer balanced the fact that Cinder was a cyborg and therefore distinctly not like us, and the fact that she really was more like us than any of the other characters wanted to admit very well. Our access to Cinder’s thoughts made us see how prejudiced the other characters were towards her. While some might call this a genre book (you’ll have to imagine the distasteful tone the literary snobs would say that with) I think that the way it deals with prejudice alone makes it an important read for “teens” of any age.

What makes Cinder a favorite for me, though, isn’t any of these things. What makes it, is the fact that this book never had to be a fairy tale retelling. I mean, sure, Cinderella is culturally encoded into all of our brains and nobody is going to read this without noticing the ways the two stories are connected. But instead of changing her story to fit as closely as possible with the original Cinderella tale, Meyer warps the Cinderella story to fit the needs of her story. Instead of a carriage made from a pumpkin, Cinder goes to the ball in a rust orange, ancient Jeep. Instead of losing a shoe, Cinder loses an entire mechanical foot. I could see the following books continuing the story without any reference to fairy tales, and not being disappointed in the slightest (though I have read somewhere that they are each based on fairy tales as well, which I’m sure will only enhance the reading experience).

Bottom line? All those good things people are saying about this book are true. But don’t take my word for it – read it and find out for yourself!

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2 Responses to “Book Review: Cinder”

  1. […] Cinder by Marissa Meyer – As I mentioned in my intro post, this is probably going to be my favorite of the year. I mean, really, steampunk/sci-fi and fairy tales, plus a really strong relationship between characters was all I needed, and I got so much more! […]

  2. […] Cinder by Marissa Meyer […]

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