“Together, we as one people are strong. We have the ability to love each other, no matter our differences. To help each other, no matter our weaknesses.”cinder by 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. With high-stakes action and a smart, resourceful heroine, Cinder is a Cinderella retelling that is at once classic and strikingly original.
Guys, I loved this book. I completely devoured this book. I am starting the sequel as soon as I finish this review because I can’t stop looking at the sequel Scarlet sitting you my shelf…thank goodness I bought all four books of this series all at once because I wouldn’t handle having to wait for the others to arrive. It took me way too long to finally start this series but I am so glad I didn’t delay it any more! One night before bed I started this book and I was immediately hooked! I unfortunately had to sleep so I had to put this beauty down but the following day I picked it up immediately after waking up and proceed to read the rest of it in that one day. IT IS SO GOOD.
So, Cinder is a science fiction Cinderella retelling (duh 😅) and I am a sucker for retellings. To see the hints to the original tales, but at the same time have them be pretty loose and therefore provide a lot of space for new developments and pretty much a completely different structure to the story is always so amazing for me. For example in this retelling the main character is a cyborg and a mechanic. It takes place in New Beijing (a setting I absolutely loved), while the country is being ravaged by a plague for which there is no cure. There are of course the classic Cinderella elements: the mean stepmother, two stepsisters, a prince, a ball, and some romance. However, the story really goes beyond that and it has plenty of unique additions.
I personally loved the science fiction elements, especially the Lunars—people living on the moon, most of whom possess special powers, ruled by an evil queen, who is the main antagonist of this series. I thought this was a really interesting addition and added such a depth to the story really bringing the whole world building aspect of it up a notch. Earth itself is also really futuristic as we can already see from the technologies used for androids and cyborgs and we get a nice background of how things came to be historically and why there is a separation between the Lunars and the Eartheans.
I absolutely loved the characters! Cinder is such a real character. She really is that shy teen who tries to go unnoticed (especially because of how people judge her for being a cyborg) but she is also sarcastic and funny and really brave, putting aside her own desires to fight for what she knows is right. I found her to be an extremely refreshing and gripping character exactly because of those traits. Prince Kai is a character I was pretty scared about, maybe because of the fact that I always thought that the Cinderellа prince lacked any kind of development and personality, he pretty much just stood there and looked pretty, but I am very happy to say that that is not the case with Kai. He is a huge improvement—he’s an actual human being, he’s pretty relatable, and his character development is really interesting to follow. To see his side of the story and what he has do to as a prince really added a depth I needed to this character. I’m actually excited to see what will happen to both him and Cinder from now on. I am also obsessed with Iko, Cinder’s android friend 😍 she is so perfect and her sense of humor had me truly laughing and added such a good flow to the story, even if her presence was somewhat short in it. As far as the other characters who get introduced we don’t get a real in-depth look but there is a nice introduction to each of them, an introduction that kept me really interested in the rest of the story. It was also very nice to have one of Cinder’s stepsisters be actually kind and nice to her, instead of just behaving like the evil stepsister.
There is also a hint of romance between Cinder and Kai, and I truly enjoyed it because it didn’t feel super forced or super rushed and there is still a lot of room for this relationship to develop, so it was really nice to have it but not exactly as the main focus since there are so many other things happening in the story too.
There is however something that bothered me a bit because I actually enjoy to be completely thrown away by the plot twists in the stories but with this one it was a bit predictable. The story was still extremely enjoyable and gripping and had me flipping through the pages at lightning speed so I truly loved it.
Also I loved that the setting for it was New Beijing and I loved getting little glimpses of their culture through their festivals but I wanted MORE. I wanted to be more deeply immersed in the Asian culture – which has so so many fantastic traditions and attributes – and for that it came quite a bit short. I wanted to hear more about traditions and their daily lives and read more characters descriptions truly depicting those Asian qualities.
As always with the first book of a series there is a lot yet to be explored and explained but Cinder is a book that will have you glued to your seat, rapidly flipping through the pages and wanting to know more. I also really loved to see a little tease on how the rest of the series may progress with all these fantastic fairytale retellings interconnecting in a plot! For a bit of a explanation, the rest of the series contains other retellings such as: Little Red Riding Hood (Scarlet), Rapunzel (Cress) and Snow White (Winter). It is so interesting and kind of reminds me of the tv show Once Upon A Time where there are all these tales being connected in ways we truly don’t expect. That’s why I’m already starting the second book and can’t wait for more on this world.