Cinder by Marissa Meyer (Book Review)

Posted January 3, 2012 by Jana in Book Review, Young Adult Fiction / 51 Comments

Cinder by Marissa Meyer (Book Review)Cinder by Marissa Meyer
Series: The Lunar Chronicles #1
Published by Feiwel and Friends on January 3, 2012
Genres: Dystopia, Retelling, Science Fiction, Steampunk
Pages: 387
Source: Publisher (Netgalley)
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5 Stars

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.

Reviews of Cinder are storming the blogosphere right now, in anticipation of today’s release date! They are everywhere! I’m jumping on the “Cinder-lovers” bandwagon and seriously have no idea how to approach this review. Haha! My thoughts feel so unorganized and are conflicting with one another. What can I say that will make my review different? So many people have already covered everything. Oh well! Here goes!

Last year with my first grade class (I taught reading and phonics to a 1st grade class while their other teacher did small group tutoring), we had a fairy tale week and I spent the week reading them different Cinderella picture books. We had a zombie Cinderella, and an Indian Cinderella… and a very modern spin on the story. The kids LOVED it. At the end of the week, we wrote and illustrated our very own Cinderella story called, “Mrs. Bellarella and Miss Janarella.” (I’m Miss Jana, obviously. Mrs. Bell was their other teacher.) The story was absolutely hilarious. Needless to say, I’m pretty familiar with Cinderella, and I was pretty excited to hear about a more “grown-up” retelling. I thought that cyborgs and androids were pushing the envelope a little too far, though. I was SO wrong! I loved how Cinder tied in all the elements of the original story, but put a modern sci-fi spin on it! And even though we’re talking about a dystopian society with cyborgs and aliens, Cinder was still a completely magical fairy tale. :)

I loved Marissa Meyer’s writing style, and very creative imagination! The world she created left me with no questions. The detailed descriptions of the scenery, futuristic mechanics and medicine, people, etc. were captivating to read. I got totally lost. I loved Cinder’s character. She’s a tom-boy mechanic, and has grease stains all over her ALL the time. Her idea of getting dressed up is putting on a shiny new foot, not a glass slipper. She’s spunky, and realistic. She sticks up for herself when it counts, and is not afraid of anything! I pretty much adore the fact that she’s always got her head on straight. Perhaps her internal programming is what keeps her grounded, but she just gets it. She knows what needs to be done, no matter what, and she does it! She lets nothing cloud her judgement. You go, girl! Her quirky android friend/assistant, Iko, is hilarious. She’s a machine, but there’s some kind of glitch in her that makes her more human than most androids. I was enthralled by their story, and really loved reading about their latest projects and schemes.

Prince/Emperor Kai is a little… eh right now. Don’t get me wrong, I like him. It’s just that as the male lead in the story, we don’t know much about him. His conversations with Cinder are mostly small talk, with a few intimate details shared every once in a while. Perhaps he’ll become more rounded in the next three books. I do appreciate that there’s no insta-love. They both know that there’s a connection, but they’re not going crazy about it. Meyer is giving them time to develop their relationship, which we will hopefully be able to see in the next books.

My favorite parts were the hidden Cinderella details, and the awesome futuristic settings and technology. Oh, and the ending is pretty breathtaking as well. Twists and turns keep you guessing until the last sentence. I would have enjoyed seeing a little more character development in Kai. Right now, I’m not seeing what Cinder sees in him. Also, the story takes place in New Beijing, but I never would have known if it had not been continually mentioned. I would have liked more Chinese cultural elements, even futuristic ones. Finally, the ending was a bit too rushed for me, and then I fell off a cliff all of a sudden. I’m hanging by a thread here, wondering how the ending snuck up on me so fast!

Regardless of my tidbits of constructive criticism, I can’t deny how much I loved the story. Sometimes we have to make allowances and just enjoy the ride, forgetting what we would have preferred. Plus, I’m trying to remember that there’s 3 more books in the series! Marissa has plenty of time to turn Emperor Kai into Prince Charming. She has plenty of time to explain more details to me. I kind of like the mystery I’ve been left with. If we were given too much with this book, the others would end up being fluff. I’m sad I have to wait so long for Scarlet (Book #2). I guess that’s the downside of getting ARCs: more time to wait for the next one! Haha!

Oh, and for your pure reading enjoyment, here is the story my class and I wrote together. We illustrated it and had it published, so the kids could order hardback copies if they wanted to. Everyone wanted a special part in the story, so please excuse the MANY names. :) I ran into one of my kids at the grocery store a few weeks ago, and his mom told me that this is his bedtime story every night. Presh! I melted a bit.

Mrs. Bellerella and Miss Janarella

“Once upon a time there was a girl named Mrs. Bellerella, and she really wanted to go to the ball. She had two evil stepsisters named Emily and Lesly and an evil stepmother named Tamaraleen. They were very mean to her. All day long she cleaned up their messes and cooked for them. She spent her free time looking out the windows at the Castle.

Her mouse friends named Alyssa, Morgan, Pamela, Ninel, Paul, Joel, Nathan, Andrew H., and Andrew V. locked up her evil family members so that Mrs. Bellerella could escape to visit her fairy Godmother named Taylee. The fairy Godmother said, “Give this flower to the one you love, and he will love you too! Here’s an extra one, just incase you lose it or want to give one to a friend.” Mrs. Bellerella said, “Thank you! Can you help me make a dress?” The fairy Godmother, Taylee, said, “Yes. We’ll make it out of red and blue roses. Let’s get started!” Her dress was huge and puffy. It was covered with red and blue roses. She had gloves and make-up on and she looked so pretty.

Mrs. Bellerella called her sister, Miss Janarella to go to the castle ball with her. A limo came to pick up Mrs. Bellerella, and then they got Miss Janarella. Miss Janarella’s dress was yellow with yellow roses all over it. On the way to the ball, the limo ran out of gas!! The knights named Ayden, Hunter, Oli, and Gates came and took Mrs. Bellerella and Miss Janarella to the castle on their horses. They got to the ball and danced with princes and lots of boys. They danced with their favorite princes. Mrs. Bellerella danced with Prince Matthew and Miss Janarella danced with Prince Alexander. The princes liked Mrs. Bellerella and Miss Janarella so much that they wanted them to meet their parents, King Leo and Queen Hayley.

Mrs. Bellerella’s evil family broke out of their home and went to the castle to break the spell and steal the magic flowers. Meanwhile, the knights were back at the castle practicing their sword fighting and had to stop and rush to capture the evil stepmother Tamaraleen and the evil stepsisters Lesly and Emily. They saved Mrs. Bellerella and Miss Janarella! The magic flowers were destroyed, but the princes loved Mrs. Bellerella and Miss Janarella anyway. They got married in the front of the castle. They kissed. And they lived happily ever after. Oh, and by the way, they each had two kids who were cousins and liked to play together. The End!!”

5 Stars
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51 responses to “Cinder by Marissa Meyer (Book Review)

  1. How cute is that story by your class? It’s totally adorable and I think it’s awesome that they could have a copy of the book if they wanted one! I’m totally envious you get to work with little kids :)

    Oh, and thanks to your review of Cinder, I am now really excited to read it! I hope I can get a copy of it soon :)

  2. I’ve seen so many reviews fr this book….but I like yours the best! I love how you rewrote Cinderelka with your small group —– I love the authentic writing that comes from that!

  3. Ahh… I wondered why there were so many reviews of Cinder around at the minute, now I know!

    That story is ADORABLE. There are some strange names in that class though!

  4. That is a cute story about your class.

    I really liked Cinder. I actually loved the character and the whole idea. But there was one thing that stopped me from giving it 5/5 stars. I really dislike when you can see plot points coming a mile away.

    I am extremely curious to see what happens with the next book Scarlet. And how Cinder fits into the story.

  5. Ichigo_sora14

    The first book is always the best and the beginning of a new adventure for a wonderful book series. I haven’t felt so excited again for a book series until I read the Lunar Chronicles.

  6. Nancy L.R.

    I read this book not too long ago & I honestly loved it! I’m usually very hesitant when reading Sci-fi/futuristic books, but I’m glad I gave this one a chance!

    Not only is it completely unique, but I loved the whole fairytale concept! That it’s based of those.

  7. Sarah

    Great review! I agree, Prince Kai is my least favorite of the Lunar Chronicle guys. But other than that, Cinder’s my favorite of the two books out so far.

    Also, cute story.

  8. Fatimah Elghazawi

    I absolutely loved Cinder. It’s such a unique story and I’ve never read a story as interesting as it before. And c’mon. Prince Kai is AWESOME.

  9. Denise

    I LOVE THE IDEA OF CYBORG CINDERELLA! I especially love her little sidekick Iko! Thank you for the awesome review!

  10. Darith L.

    I just love this book! The futuristic take on a classic updates and expands on the original while maintaining its own. :D

  11. Amna

    I totally agree with you! This book really took me by surprise how good it was. The series just keeps getting better.

  12. Ryan

    I was extremely skeptical of this book when I first found it at my school library, considering the colour scheme of the book cover given that it was right next to Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight series. But, being a sci-fi nerd, I couldn’t help but pick it up after reading the back.

  13. Jenelle Riane

    Aww, that story is so adorable! :) And yes, I totally loved Cinder too! Futuristic cyborg cinderella for the win!

  14. Krista

    I thought Cinder was a little predictable, but the setting made it really unique. The world-building was really great!

  15. Elizabeth

    I loved this review! Cinder is one of my favorite books ever written. I completely agree with your thoughts on the setting: the world of The Lunar Chronicles is extremely well-thought out and interesting. I can’t wait for book #4, when (hopefully) we’ll get to see more of the Lunar world. Also, the short story you wrote with your class is absolutely adorable. My favorite part was the line about the cousins!

  16. Anastasia

    I can’t believe I haven’t read this yet! It sounds sooo good!!! I just love the whole idea behind this book! I need to read this soon!!

  17. Cinder took me by surprised, following the standard story in many ways and yet giving it this unexpectedly enjoyable cyborg twist. I absolutely LOVED it. To this day in recommend it for Book Club, but no one can get past the cyborg idea to see how genius and fun this series is.
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  18. Rachel S

    I want to start this series so bad! I got to read the Kindle preview of it and I loved the first few chapters, but I really want to read the rest!! Especially with Cress coming out now. :) Glad you enjoyed it!

  19. Megan

    That story by your class is adorable! Cinder was an amazing book and I can’t wait to see where it goes from there! I CAN NOT WAIT FOR CRESS!

  20. Jacob

    my sister wont stop talking about this book and i think i might read it, cant wait, ive only heard positive things about it

  21. Jessica

    Cinder is so far my favourite book of the series. I never read anything with cyborgs so I was intrigued by the plot and Marissa did such a great job with the storytelling that I couldn’t help but be hooked right away!

  22. Chloe

    I agree tat we don’t get to know Prince Kai very much in this story but i also think that is what makes him a little more interesting and mysterious. My favourite part of the story was the ending, i was totally mesmorized by what was happening and could not put the book down!