Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Review: Cinder – Marissa Meyer


Cinder – Marissa Meyer


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.


Review: I’m not usually a fan of fairytale retellings, but Cinder is a little unusual. The main character is a cyborg who lives in plague-infested future Beijing. She falls in love with Prince Kai, but she’s afraid to reveal her true identity to him.

Cinder takes a well-known fairytale (Cinderella) and transforms it into a quick-paced sci-fi story. It’s the most creative and entertaining fairytale retelling that I’ve come across so far. I flew through it. It’s definitely a fast, fun read.

The characters are the best part of the story. Cinder is a strong woman who can take care of herself. I was also very happy to discover that the prince actually has a personality. In many fairytales (and their retellings), the prince is just a plot device to move the story forward. That’s not the case with Cinder. Prince Kai is likeable, funny, and tries hard to do the right thing for his kingdom.

Even though I found Cinder entertaining, I still have a lot of problems with it. My biggest issue is its predictability. Nothing in this book surprised me, but I think I was supposed to be surprised. I wasn’t. I was just frustrated that it took the characters so long to figure out something that I saw instantly.

The story has some inconsistencies. For example, the plague is highly contagious and can live on clothing, but nothing happens when Cinder goes straight from the quarantine facility to the palace. She doesn’t seem concerned that she could infect someone.

I know that this book is part of a series, and the world will become more developed as the series progresses, but there are a ton of missed opportunities for world-building in Cinder. The reader does not learn much about the history or culture of New Beijing. The bias against cyborgs is never fully explained. Even the landscape and layout of the city is unclear in my mind.

I did have fun reading this book. It’s imaginative, but I’m undecided if I’m going to continue with the series.

10 comments:

  1. Now that you mention it, Cinder does indeed have a lot of unfinished business. I couldn't notice it when I read it myself, I guess, because I was wearing my heart-shaped goggles. Haha. I have heard that it only gets better though, so I am positive that a lot more will be explained in the next books :)

    Cucie @ Cucie reads

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  2. Great review! Explains my feelings perfectly! I understand some authors want to leave details to the readers' imagination, but it doesn't excuse them for their lack of world-building.

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  3. I recently read this book and loved it! I didn't notice that there were so many missed opportunities in here - I was too caught up in the plot which was predictable in a sense and then in another not, and also in the characters. But yes, it would've been nice to have more world building. Otherwise, I found it to be fantastic!

    Check out my review and giveaway: http://olivia-savannah.blogspot.nl/2015/03/the-boston-girl-review-giveaway.html

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  4. I was wary of Cinder for a few years before I finally gave in and read it. Now I'm a full-fledged Lunartic!

    I know what you mean about knowing exactly what's going on. Meyer uses a lot of foreshadowing, but I think she does it for the dramatic irony effect. It's cool to know what's going on, but it's even more fun to see how the characters react to something that you already knew.

    Great review!
    Erin @ The Hardcover Lover

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    1. I totally get what you’re saying about the dramatic irony. I just thought it killed the tension a little because it took such a long time to reveal information that I already knew. I wouldn’t have had an issue with it if it had been done quicker.

      Thanks for stopping by my blog. :)

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

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  5. I did "predict" the big surprise at the end, but I kind of think we were supposed to. I don't think were were supposed to not figure it (and other things) out. (Like Erin said in the previous comment.) I very much enjoyed the ride, and would recommend you give at least one more book a try. They are each their own story, with overlapping characters and world building. Great review!

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    1. I’ll probably read the next one in the series, especially if I can find it at a scratch & dent book sale. I got Cinder at one of those.

      Thanks for stopping by my blog. :)

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

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  6. I recently just finished this book and really liked it. I agree with you that there was a lot of foreshadowing and you can guess what would most likely happen in the end. Good review!

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  7. Have you read the other books in the series yet? I think everything starts making a little more sense as you move on. I'm glad you enjoyed the book, especially Kai haha; he was my favorite part. Great review!

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    1. I haven’t read the rest of the series yet. I’m waiting for my TBR pile to go down a little. I have so many unread books sitting around that I’d feel bad about ordering more.

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