Cinder – Marissa Meyer
*Warning – may contain spoilers*
Author: Marissa Meyer
Publisher: Puffin Books
First published: 2012
Blurb: A forbidden romance.
A deadly plague.
Earth’s fate hinges on one girl…
Cinder, a gifted mechanic in New Beijing, is also a cyborg. She’s reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s sudden illness. But when her life becomes entwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s she finds herself at the centre of a violent struggle between the desires of an evil queen – and a dangerous temptation.
Cinder is caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal. Now she must uncover secrets about her mysterious past in order to protect Earth’s future.
This is not the fairy tale you remember. But it’s one you won’t forget.
History of my copy: As mentioned in my review of Throne of Glass, Cinder and the rest of The Lunar Chronicles are books that are hugely popular in the Instagram book community. Because of this, I knew I had to give it a try.
It is now custom in my family to buy a new board game each Christmas to play over the festive period and throughout the year. This year, to save having to pay postage, my mum allowed me to get Cinder as it wasn’t on my Christmas list.
I will admit that after my disappointment with Throne of Glass, I was a little bit apprehensive about this book. However, despite how predictable the book is (which is expected as a version of Cinderella), I really did enjoy this one!
Plot: I’m sure almost everyone is familiar with the story of poor old Cinderella, the burden of her step-family, who strikes lucky and ends up falling in love with the Prince to live happily ever after. As based on that story, there are, of course, many parallels. There’s the outcast, Cinder, who is both cyborg and later revealed to be Lunar, hated by her stepmother and Pearl (although adored by her other stepsister Peony). There’s the beautiful Prince Kai. There’s the ball and ‘pumpkin ride’ (Cinder’s rescued car), and there’s the infamous ‘glass slipper’, although in this case it is Cinder’s too small foot.
On top of the fairy tale likeness of this book, there is the deadly plague and the imminent war with the Lunars, giving twists to the familiar story in each and every chapter.
Setting: Another fantastic thing about this book, is that it is set in the futuristic New Beijing after the fourth World War. This really does transform the traditional fairy tale into a whole new story where technology has really advanced, and where wars with alien species is a real possibility.
Characters: This is one of the few books where I have genuinely loved the main female character. Much too often they are written unrealistically and too perfectly, yet Cinder remains relatable, funny and really gets you to feel for her. She also represents how stereotypes are all to present, even in the future. Cyborgs and Lunars are outcast for what they are, before people even know who they are.
Moving on to another main character, I will admit that I don’t like Prince Kai too much. Although I will praise Meyer for avoiding the trap of ‘perfect’ female characters, she has created the generic flirty, pretty boy that just gets on your nerves. Yes, his thoughts are well constructed and there certainly is a charm to him, I’m just getting sick of boys who just need to flash a smile to get a girl to fall in love with them.
One of my favourite character in this story isn’t a person at all, but is Cinder’s droid Iko! She is funny and sweet, kind to Cinder and has her heart (or personality chip I suppose?) in the right place, even if she should probably think before she speaks sometimes. I was as devastated with her ‘death’ as I was Peony’s (which means I shed a tear or two), but I can’t wait to see Cinder put her chip back into another droid to bring her back.
To read or not to read: Read. Although, as mentioned before, the story is rather predictable (for example, I guessed the real identity of Cinder quite early on in the book), it is also different enough from the original fairy tale to keep you hooked, wanting to find out just how the events will play out. I really do recommend this book, especially for anyone who loves stories with a twist.