May 27, 2012

REVIEW: Cinder by Marissa Meyer

The Debut novel by Marissa Meyer, Cinder is the first in a collection of fairytale re-takes and the first book of the Lunar Chronicles.

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.


I was really excited when I received a copy of Cinder to review thanks to Penguin, and I have finally gotten around to reading it; and I am so glad that I did!

Cinder is described as being a re-take on the fairy tale of Cinderella, which, for me is what I thought was clever about it. Meyer manages to incorporate elements of the classic fairytale, sometimes twisting and changing them to fit the story; while at the same time building an amazingly unique world that has a life of its own.

The plot is imaginative and cleverly intertwined with all elements of the novel to create a complex, futuristic, semi-dystopian world brimming with characters reminiscent of old and new archetypes. 

The beginning of the novel sets up a dilemma, slowly but steadily dropping clues throughout the novel. Some obvious, some more subtle, but I did find myself predicting some of the plot events quite early in the book. Here I was thinking that I had figured out the direction the story was going to take, when Meyer sprung more intriguing twists to the plot; this is what made it so enjoyable. When you think that you know what's going to happen, you are suddenly dropped into a new situation full of secrets of its own. 
I did find thought that there was a lot  going on, enough to be spread between probably one and a half books. But I think that was half the charm, the complexity of the plot was what made it all work; if it had been simplified or split in two, the moment where it came together wouldn't have worked as well, and you would have been left on a huge cliffhanger. 

Cinder is like an owner leading a cat to food. The biscuits are laid out, you find yourself eating them on the path to the bowl of food (metaphorically!), but you are soon taken on a more exciting path - past the cake, to the ice cream and sprinkles. (Cheesy, I know, but it demonstrates my point.)

I loved the relationship that Cinder had with Iko and how Cinder dealt with her 'family'. While I was frustrated at some times by the relationship between Cinder and Kai, the touch of realism is what made it believable. I know what you're saying: how can a prince falling in love with a mechanic/ cyborg/ girl be considered realistic? Well, that's where the series of events comes to play.
I didn't find myself saying: "Oh! You're in love now? Okay!??" 
However, this doesn't make it a romance book - not at all! So don't be put off by the little romance that there is in the book.

I was satisfied with the ending; it revealed some secrets, played out others, and managed to tie up the novel while leaving it open for a sequel at the same time. 
One of the things that I really liked was similar to what Nomes over at Inkcrush said:
 As with most retellings, the characters have a defined role to play (as in: the role of the evil stepmother, the shallow sister, the arch nemesis, the charming prince). I loved watching out for plot elements that matched the classic Cinderella story and enjoyed the twists Meyer gives them (ie, instead of Cinder losing her shoe at the ball ~ she loses her (cyborg) foot. In some places, characters are little more than their role, but in others, Meyer succeeds in going further than the stereotypes and layering her characters, so you feel their unique hopes, dreams, aches, love and loss. I loved the relationship between Cinder and her (nice) step-sister, Peony, and Iko (Cinder’s android bestie). Prince Kai had his moments too, he was charming, sure, but it is not an overly romantic kind of book. 

If you're 13/14 - 19 years old, a girl or a teenager, then Cinder is a must read for you!


I know this review is a bit long, so I shall sum it up for you in a few dot points:
  • Plot: "intriguing twists to the plot"
  • Character Relationships: "I didn't find myself saying: "Oh! You're in love now? Okay!??""
  • Ending: "revealed some secrets, played out others, and managed to tie up the novel while leaving it open for a sequel at the same time. "
  • Fairy Tale Re-Take: "Meyer manages to incorporate elements of the classic fairytale, sometimes twisting and changing them to fit the story; while at the same time building an amazingly unique world that has a life of its own."
  • Check out Nomes' review.

You can also check out some cool links here:

An funny post by Marissa Meyer about being a crazy shoe lady and the upcoming novels!



2 comments:

Ashley @ Book Labyrinth said...

I freaking adored this book! Loveddd it like woah. The characters and the imaginative re-telling despite the groundwork being there was so well done. Can't WAIT for Scarlet to come out.

Romi said...

I'm so glad you liked Cinder- personally I couldn't get into it, but it's great when others can!

Thank you so so SO much for your awesome comment! I really appreciate your inspiring words and they make the process of transcribing and revising all the more joyous, hearing people congratulate ect. It was really lovely of you to come and comment! x.
And Now I'm almost done revising! Just a few more days! It's so exciting!
Romi.xxx

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