Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles #1) by Marissa Meyer | Book Review + Discusssion

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Title: Cinder
Author/s: Marissa Meyer
Format: Paperback, 387 pages
Publication: January 8th 2013 by Square Fish (first published January 3rd 2012)


Plot in a Nutshell:

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.

Synopsis from Goodreads

Thoughts in General:

I was sold with the whole fairy tale meets sci-fi thing this book series got going on and I wasn’t disappointed with the first book.

Cinder by Marissa Meyer had such an exciting twist on the magical tale of Cinderella that grabbed my interest like a manic cyber monkey.

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I have to say that the covers for the entire Lunar Chronicles are top-notch! The typography and the color scheme works so well with the tone and feel of the books. However, I would like to comment on one thing that really irks me with the paperback editions of these books and that are these:

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I hate it…

I know that this flap thing houses glowing reviews, but c’mon people, you could have extended the front cover and still achieve the same effect without the aggravation! Okay rant over.

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The major characters in the book were all interesting, but I felt like I’ve read some of them from other books.

Truthfully Cinder acted like the diligent, strong, YA dystopian protagonist (ala Katniss Everdeen) which wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. However, I felt that she lacked a certain oomph factor that could have made me love her even more than I did. I know that her character traits will (hopefully) expand in future books, which is why I am not casting her off easily as a bland protagonist.

Prince Kai was such an interesting character because he sounded like a real person. He felt honest and raw and I think that was lacking in Cinder’s character. His tribulations throughout the novel seemed insurmountable, which was why I rooted for him more.

The main antagonist, Queen Levana, was such a bad ass. She was so manipulative and vindictive, which made for one infuriatingly good villain. That dinner scene was the perfect example of how twisted she was and I would love to see her up the ante in the sequels.

Out of all the minor characters, Iko was my favorite and I wish I had an android like her in real life.

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I personally wasn’t expecting the book to have so much political intrigue in it. The relationship between the Lunars and the Earthens was well-explained without the unnecessary info-dumping. Marissa Meyer was able to explain the science behind the Lunars magic in an approachable way and I liked that.

However (and this is such a minuscule issue), I felt like Cinder lacked a certain cultural authenticity to it. The Eastern Commonwealth didn’t feel Asian enough and I guess it lacked that traditional practices that are prevalent within the countries. I know that the setting is in the far-future, but I just wished that it had that element of specificity that could have made me feel that I was in an Asian-like nation.

Although, the fairy tale retelling aspect of it was done incredibly well. The subtle nudges towards Cinderella were sprinkled tastefully in the novel and I enjoyed finding those parallels as I read on.

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Cinder is an easily digestible novel with an eclectic cast of characters and a steady stream of drama and action. It’s a great introduction for anyone who wants to try YA sci-fi and/or a fairy-tale retelling!

What are your thoughts regarding Cinder? Don’t hesitate to share it down below!



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