I have been going back and forth on how to do this review because there are so many things I want to talk about that are specific and could contain spoilers. I’ve decided to split this up into two parts. This will be my general review of the book and I will also do a “Reader Experience/Book Discussion” on The Lunar Chronicles series as I read it. If you have not read the series then you may want to avoid that post as it will contain spoilers. Now, on with my spoiler free review!
Cinder by Marissa Meyer is a cleverly written fairy tale retelling with a twist. This story is a cross between Terminator and Star Wars with a mash up of different characters from several different fairy tales. Meyer’s take on this classic fairy tale is set in a futuristic world in a city called New Beijing that is filled with humans, androids, and cyborgs. The streets and homes in this city are over crowded and bursting with life. However, things are not all happily-ever-after in this world. There is a plague that is quickly spreading through out the city and with no cure in reach people are dying, including the emperor. If that isn’t enough to deal with there is also the evil Lunar queen that is watching and waiting to make her move to take the throne.
Our main character, Cinder, is a gifted mechanic and cyborg. She is considered less than human by the society she lives in because she is a cyborg. She has no rights, or property and she is at the mercy of her legal guardian, Adri. It took me about half way through the book before I started to connect with Cinder. I honestly did not feel invested in her story at first because her narrative seemed so monotone to me. In the beginning, Cinder comes across as very accepting of her life and how she is treated. She’s complaint with the rules and restrictions that are set by Adri and does her best to make the best out of what little freedom she is allowed. Cinder begins to question things as the story progresses and eventually fights back. Which of course is the point where things got interesting.
I wasn’t a fan of the “prince charming” in this story. I don’t get the big deal about Kai to be honest. His character is very one-dimensional and under developed in my opinion. Which is probably why I don’t get what the swoon factor was when it came to him. I would have liked to see more of his back story, which I’m really hoping will be revealed in the rest of the series.
I don’t understand the hype around the romance in this book. The two characters involved do not have a lot of interaction with each other. The chemistry is lack luster, so I would say at this point they are more acquaintances than friends, and no where near being romantic interests. I want build up dammit! That’s the best part of a romantic story line.
I love that this is set in a futuristic world. The mix of the ancient Asian culture with the sleek modern technology was fascinating. There is even a colony of people that live on the moon. PEOPLE LIVING ON THE MOON!!!!!!! How freaking cool is that? I’m not sure I’d necessarily want to live in this world because well deadly plague and all, but wow the world in this book is so unique and imaginative. I also like that Meyer doesn’t info dump when she does her world building. She effortlessly weaves the description of her world into her plot. Just enough detail is given to the reader to be able to imagine a world where androids, hover vehicles, and net screens exist amid ancient Asian culture.
Let’s take a minute to talk diversity since that’s all I ever hear about on blogs and BookTube these days. People crying out “We need Diversity!” Well..this book is overflowing with it! I love that the characters in this book are a complete mix of races. The citizens of New Beijing are Asian. There are the Lunars which are the people that colonized the moon. I don’t remember seeing an exact description of Cinder, but as I was reading I pictured her as Asian as well. The president of the Americas is President Vargas, a Latino man. Pretty cool in my opinion, I’m hoping to see this in the following books as well.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed Meyer’s take on the Cinderella fairy tale. It’s imaginative and unique. I’m hoping I get more back story on the characters like Cinder, Kai, Dr. Erland, and Queen Levana as the series progresses. Meyer’s writing style is easy to read and the world building is just…WOW. There were parts of the plot that moved a bit slow for me, but for the most part this was a fun and entertaining read. I would recommend this to readers that enjoy fairy tale retellings, science fiction, or anyone looking for a story with diverse characters in it.