"Cinder" by Marissa Meyer | Book Review

Series: The Lunar Chronicles (Book #1)
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Fairy Tales
Page Count: 387
First Published: January 3, 2012

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As you can tell, it took me a while to pick up Cinder, and The Lunar Chronicles book series is something that I kept taking off and putting back on my to-read list for the past two years. My relationship with fairy tale retellings (as well as YA books in general lately) has been a rocky one, but I'm happy to tell you I have hope for the genre again. Cinder is a science fiction retelling of Cinderella, in which the main character is a cyborg and a mechanic. It takes place in New Beijing, while the country is being ravaged by a plague for which there is no cure. The book has the standard Cinderella elements: the mean stepmother, two stepsisters, a prince, a ball, and some romance. However, there are plenty of unique additions as well, which made this book very interesting to read for me. 

First of all, I was very intrigued by the Lunars—people living on the moon, most of whom possess special powers, ruled by an evil queen. I thought they were a really interesting addition, and I can't wait to find out more about them. The flip side of this is that I thought there wasn't enough about the Lunars and what their "deal" was, which is probably something that will get discussed more in the other books in the series, but at this point I was definitely left wishing for more information. Second, while we're on the topic of wishing for more information, I really wanted the author to go further into the discussion of who Cinder is. Does she have artificial intelligence? Is she human? How much of her being a cyborg and her brain wiring actually effect her personality, emotions, and feelings? How much programming is involved (since we know there is some)? All of these questions were left unanswered, and I thought there could be a very interesting discussion had there.

Something that I really appreciated about Cinder was that not everyone in the family was mean to the main character. First of all, one of the stepsisters was very friendly and kind, which I thought was a great change from the original story. I also loved Iko—Cinder's android friend, she was adorable. Something I was pleasantly surprised by was Kai, the prince in this story. I always thought that the Cinderellа prince lacked any kind of development and personality, and Kai is a huge improvement—he's an actual human being, he's pretty relatable, and his character development is interesting to follow. I'm actually excited to see what his life will be like after this book!

My biggest issue with Cinder was its predictability. Of course, a fairy tale retelling comes with a certain level of predictability, but this was on a whole different level. Every plot twist was obvious way before it actually happened, and like most people I was able to predict how things were going to go down very early on. This is ultimately what made me take the rating down from 4 to 3.5 stars, because despite the faults I still really enjoyed Cinder, and I burned through it pretty quickly.

Overall, I think this is definitely a book worth reading, and I will be continuing with The Lunar Chronicles series very soon (I already bought the next two books). I hope the rest of the series is just as fun, but a little less predictable, because this sci-fi setting is really working for me.

Have you read Cinder? What did you think?