I recently did a reread of Marissa Meyer’s Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles, #1). I first read it back on its initial release and had completely forgotten about what happened, so I figured a reread was in desperate need before I continued on with the rest of the series. Luckily, it was just as fun as I remembered it being!
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.
I think by now most people are probably quite familiar with Meyer’s writing style as she’s not some debut author anymore. If you aren’t, Meyer’s strong point is that she can make fantasy and science fiction very accessible. She doesn’t let minute details bog down the story, nor does she churn out overly complex language to explain the world her novels are set in. I feel like a lot of times authors get so caught up in making their world unique that they can lose readers in the process. Luckily, this isn’t something Meyer struggles with. I don’t always want overly flowery language or massive paragraphs explaining the details, sometimes I just prefer things to be kept simple. And Cinder definitely keeps things simple and straightforward. THANK YOU, JESUS!
Can we talk about how high the sass level is in this novel? Every single character has at least one or two perfect comeback moments that I am just in awe of. Cinder is one of my favorite types of heroines. She’s sarcastic, strong-willed, but also has a really soft heart. I loved how strong her relationship was with her stepsister, Peony. You really could feel that she was willing to do whatever it took to ensure her safety. Prince Kai was a fun character as well. His sense of duty really affected his personal emotions and decisions, which I think helped elevate the stakes a bit because you were never sure what he was going to decide to do next. His and Cinder’s interactions were always so cute and witty. I am totally onboard with shipping these two! And Iko… How can a robot be so amazing and probs my favorite character? Because she manages to do it and she’s not even around for long stretches of the book! A robot playing dress-up is a scene that I never knew I needed until I got it. And it was wonderful.
The pacing seemed very steady throughout the book. There were only a few sections here and there that I thought were a little slow, but nothing that detracted from my overall enjoyment of the story. The last third of the novel was definitely on overdrive as different things begin to be revealed. I do enjoy a good cliffhanger as well, which Cinder definitely ends on. I thought it was done with just the right amount of tension that leaves you wanting more.
I loved that Meyer chose to go science fiction, rather than typical fantasy for this fairytale retelling. She gave us just enough of the original storyline and yet was able to completely turn around and make it her own. I think my only issue with this book is that I wasn’t at all surprised by the big reveal, nor were there any twists that I didn’t see coming. It was very formulaic in how everything was presented. However, I expect things to deviate more from the norm as the series moves along and I hope for higher stakes in later books. Overall, Cinder was a quick fun read that’s a solid start to this series.
Final Verdict: 4/5 Stars
Have you read Cinder? If so, what did you think of it? Does this series get better with each book? Which character did you enjoy the most? Do you enjoy fairytale retellings?