Gina (My Precious Blog)'s Reviews > Cinder

Cinder by Marissa Meyer
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's review
Oct 23, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: 2012-debut-authors, 2012-debut-authors-challenge, fantasy, fairytale-retellings, series-books, dystopian
Read from December 23, 2011 to January 19, 2012

Read it on the My Precious Blog:


In a futuristic time, the new earth inhabits not only humans, but also cyborgs, androids and even some fugative Lunars. A horrible sickness is claiming the lives of many of Earth's citizens. Linh Cinder is a seventeen year old Cyborg (part human and part cyborg). She's under the guardianship of an evil stepmother, who never really wanted her in the first place. Working as a reputable mechanic in the market square to earn her keep, life hasn't exactly been easy for Cinder, as cyborgs are considered second class citizens. Her best and only friend is and Android named Iko. Then, out of the blue, one day, the prince brings his android to Cinder's shop for repair and her life begins to change in ways she could have never expected.


Marissa Meyer lives in Tacoma, Washington with her fiance and two kitties. In her free time she enjoys road-tripping, wine-tasting and hunting for antiques. Cinder is her debut novel and has made it to the New York Times Bestseller List. The Lunar Chronicles is at least a four part series with Book two Scarlet due to be released sometime in 2013.


Cinder is set in New Beijing, China, the capital of the Eastern Commonwealth, where the future of Earth is threatened by a deadly plague. The story is told in third person, mainly from either Prince Kai or Cinder's perspective. Using a great deal of dialogue, combined with easy to read language the author crafts a clever, futuristic, sci-fi fairy tale retelling of Cinderella. With a slow to moderate pace in the beginning, picking up to quite brisk for the last quarter of the book, we follow both Cinder and Kai in an imaginative, adventure packed tale involving emperors, queens, princesses, magic and a little touch of forbidden romance.


Linh Cinder is a Cyborg: part girl and part android. Embarrassed to be part android, she goes to great lengths to hide this fault from others. A very calculating and intelligent being, Cinder is quite likable with her persistent desire to be considered human and not machine. She's a strong character who has set her number one priority of escaping from underneath the control of her evil stepmother.

Kai, is the prince, soon to be crowned emperor of New Beijing, China, after his father's untimely death. The weight of the world now rests on his shoulders. Prince Kai is a very handsome young man, all the girls swoon over, with a charming smile. He's witty, likes to make light of situations by joking and has a strong love for the people he governs. Being a young man, sometimes, he loses control of his inner feelings, they come bubbling up to the surface. This causes him an occasional inappropriate outburst, which he usually regrets later. Kai is a very fair, compassionate human being, faced with a very difficult decision involving a Lunar Queen and the ability to get his hands on an anecdote to cure the sickness his people are dying from.

The Lunar Queen Levena, a powerful, evil woman comes to prey on Kai's innocence and inexperience of being a ruler. She comes from the moon, where she is able to use glamour spells to project a flawless image of herself and force her people to love her. She's cruel, selfish and mean. She is able to project a beautiful image to the public, but refuses to look in mirrors or be filmed because then people would see her as she really is.

Cinder, a Cyborg and second class citizen, attempts to escape her legal guardian and current situation, but is held back by the sudden love interest attention of handsome Prince.


I recommend this to both guys and gals who enjoy fairytale retelling with a light science fiction fantasy twist. Do you enjoy Cyborgs, royalty, politics and stories about people from the moon? If a third person narrative doesn't mar your ability to connect with characters, than this story is for you. Those looking for something creative, entertaining and unique - a light, entertaining read, then should pick up this book.


I opened this book not really knowing much going in. Actually, I fell in love with its rich, creative cover. After diving in, I discovered it was a futuristic fairytale retelling, loosely based on Cinderella. There is a evil stepmother, some not-so evil step sisters, a cyborg Cinderella, a prince and a ball. However, that's where the comparisons stop. The rest of the story is a light science-fiction, fantasy thriller about governments, royalty, hidden princesses, anecdotes and mysterious secrets.

The characters were likable, much of the story unfolds through dialogue instead of description. I had difficulty making strong connections with the characters because this aspect of the book left me feeling like somewhat of a spectator. Even though this story unfolds in a futuristic time, it was depressing to witness humans still holding prejudices against one another. Despite the prejudices, I still felt irritated by Cinder's resistance to tell the Prince her secrets. It seemed like he was the type of guy who wouldn't hold being a Cyborg against her. Yet, she kept hiding this from him, which seemed harsh, resulting in hurt feelings.

The author was very creative in designing the premise for this story,though there where instances where I did struggle a bit with the world building structure. Problem one, I didn't even realize what a Cyborg was until I'd read about a quarter of the book. Even then, it really wasn't spelled out. Problem two, The Lunar people. Though I found their abilities to brainwash people with bioelectrical current impressive, I was left with more questions than answers. Like why are they at war with Earth? Why do they live on the moon, why did they move there and how? Hopefully, more of this will be explained in future installments of the series. Finally, I do wish the author had chosen a first person narrative for this novel. It may have helped me connect on a deeper level with the characters.

The conclusion, by some, may be considered a cliffhanger. I didn't feel quite as cheated as I usually do with this type of ending. I did feel some resolve. Its ending is similar to the book Legacy by Cayla Kluver. The ending wasn't really abrupt. It answered a lot of questions, but left a lot of room for more story to tell. I did feel like it ended at the right moment. I have to say, I look very much forward to continuing on with this series in 2013 when the next book will be released.


This book was a little predictible and suffered from a few world building detail exclusions. In the end though the imaginative story and creative take on a fairy tale retelling won out and I'm only deducting one ring. I give this one 4 rings....

4 out of 5 Rings
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Reading Progress

10.0% "Still trying to figure out what a cyborg is?"
10.0% "I read somewhere this is a planned 4 part series. Wow! Didn't know there was so much to write about Cinderella."
39.0% "All right, though it never really states it, I'm gathering a cyborg is part human and part android. This is what Cinder is. She's also embarrassed of being one I'm not sure why? PS: I don't like her "mother" or guardian what a bitty."
52.0% "The plot is coming together. Quite a lot of information to take in..."

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