Review: Cinder by Marissa Meyer (Lunar Chronicles #1)

[ My blogging juju-powers are currently stuck, so apologies for the stilted postings. I’ve been reading like crazy for the entire summer, but for some reason writing reviews of the books I’ve read has felt like a Mission Impossible 1000. However, I believe that the only way to get through a writing slump is to write, as hard as it is. So here’s trying. ]

EBOOK; 400 P.

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.

Cinder is the first book in a YA science fiction and fantasy series that took the book blogging world by storm a few years ago, and I believe the final book in the series is coming out at the end of this year. So after a few years of dodging the hype train, I decided to buy the first book for my e-reader and see for myself. Call it my attempt at hyped YA books part 251 – Throne of Glass didn’t really hook me earlier this year, so my expectations for Marissa Meyer’s debut novel were moderate.

Cinder is a retelling of Cinderella with a sci-fi-fantasy twist. It’s set in New Beijing in the far future where technological development has introduced a new life form – cyborgs. The eponymous main character, Cinder, is one of them: rescued from a deathly car crash as a small girl, she was saved, transformed and adopted by a scientist and currently living with her stepmother and stepsisters. However, due to cyborgs holding a second class citizen status in the society, she is forced to slave for the family. Cinder works as a mechanic in one of the trade markets, dealing with various technical problems, until one day the heir to the throne, Prince Kai, arrives to her stall with a very particular and secret task. In the heart of the mystery lies the mysterious Lunar people and their ruthless ruler, Queen Levana.

Although fairytale retellings aren’t really my go-to genre, I really enjoyed Marissa Meyer’s take on Cinderella. The science fiction elements of the story complimented the basic structure of the classic fairy tale and allowed me at times to forget that I knew parts of the story. Reading about the society of New Beijing, the technological development, the environmental crises and epidemias was really fascinating, and I also appreciated how Meyer didn’t shy away from the questions of status between humans and cyborgs. Cinder presented an interesting main character and the other characters also had their charm, but in the end, I wished that Cinder had been a completely original work. The failing of fairytale retellings  in my opinion is that they have to follow a certain script, which restrain a promising idea from developing and fleshing out further. Nevertheless, Marissa Meyer’s writing is engaging and the book reminded me what it’s like not be able to stop reading, but to keep going. I got immersed in the world of Cinder, and after finishing the book, I instantly craved for more. Although the book is by no means without a fault (I wish I could have skipped some of the end chapters), I’m honestly looking forward to reading the second and the third books in this series.

I’d recommend Cinder to readers who enjoy fairytale retellings and are not averse to science fiction elements in the story. As someone who for long didn’t think sci-fi to be for me, it’s surprising that I enjoyed those the most! The hype around this book is for a reason.


“Do your kind even know what love is? Can you feel anything at all, or is it just… programmed?”


4 thoughts on “Review: Cinder by Marissa Meyer (Lunar Chronicles #1)

    • Thanks for commenting! Yes, it’s definitely a good sign if the author can make you forget that you already know the story. If you’re interested, maybe you should try the first one and see what you think?

      • yeah, I’ll be checking it out. she gave her copies away, but I’ll probably swing back into the thrift store (love that place) soon enough and they’ll probably have more copies.

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