Book Review: Cinder by Marissa Meyer

9 Jan

Title: Cinder

Author: Marissa Meyer

Series: Lunar Chronicles, book 1

Genre: Dystopian YA, Science Fiction YA, Fairy Tale Retelling

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Published: January 3, 2012

Challenge: Debut Author Challenge

Source: NetGalley

Summary: 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 have been having CRAZY good luck with the books I’ve been reading so far this year! I don’t think I’ve ever read this many amazing books back to back to back like this before, and I probably don’t need to tell you guys twice that it’s surprising but AWESOME. And if I read more books this year that blow me away like Marissa Meyer’s debut, CINDER, did, well then, color me giddy. Because this was one of most engaging, clever, imaginative, well-written, fun, and thrilling books I’ve read in awhile, and it’s set the bar WAY HIGH for not only other dystopians, but all other books I’ll read this year. FOR REALSIES.

There aren’t many things about CINDER that I didn’t like. In fact, I’m having a hard time putting the awesome into words. I picked it up and then couldn’t put it down. The action and pacing were excellent. The characters and conflicts and relationships were all fully realized and well-rounded and dramatic. But perhaps I should start with the world, which was imaginative, interesting, and just…GAH! Awesome. I loved the idea of people living on the moon. How often has the idea of humans needing/deciding to establish a colony in outer-space been a topic of conversation? I’ve definitely heard it mentioned before, in a not-joking way. So the thought of humans not only eventually going to live on the moon, but the idea that they would gradually become something OTHER than human, evolving into this race of creatures who are science-magical, was ingenious. And–BONUS!–they used their gifts for EEEVIIILLL and were CREEPY and MALICIOUS. Queen Levana is an excellent villain because she is unrelentingly threatening, devious, vengeful, and powerful. I wanted to punch her in her fake face (you’ll understand this when you read the book. Also, you’ll probably want to form a line behind me for the punching part).

The society on Earth was also mind-blowing. Following the Fourth World War, all of the countries and continents on the planet joined together to form the Earthen Union and have not fought since. I loved this idea, but in different hands it could have been slightly unbelievable. Marissa Meyer made it AWESOME instead by making it seem to me like the planets of Battlestar Galactica: real in a way that I recognize, but futuristic in a way that I don’t. I must confess, though, that I’m not usually a fan of bioelectrics, wires, nuts, bolts, hovercraft, and the like. My brain fights against understanding science. But I loved this aspect of life in CINDER. It made everything seem shiny and new, and was certainly nothing like any fairy tale retelling I’ve ever read before.

Speaking of the fairy tale angle, let me just state right away that this is one of my MOST favorite kind of books to read. I love how fairy tales can be molded and reshaped to tell the same story in different ways. But I would also have to add that if–IF–I had any complaint about CINDER, it would be that I was able to figure some things out WAY before they were officially confirmed in the book on account of knowing not just the Cinderella story, but the way fairy tales work in general. I’m usually terrible at this, by the way. But CINDER is SO STINKIN’ GOOD that figuring things out ahead of time only amped up my interest in the story. And things didn’t necessarily end the way I thought they would, either, and that made me even more impressed with Marissa’s version of events.

“But Amy,” you might say. “What about the KISSY-FACE parts?!?” My bad. I’m getting to it, I swear! But first, let me express my NEVER-ENDING LOVE for our girl Cinder. She’s smart, funny as hell, and loyal. But her life kind of sucks, and I found myself instantly in her corner. Her stepmother, Adri, and her stepsister, Pearl, are heinous and nasty and they treat Cinder with outright distaste and prejudice (cyborgs are looked down upon in New Beijing). When they get what’s coming to them? Can’t wait for that. Thankfully, though, Cinder has friends in Iko, her android bff, and Peony, her other stepsister. Iko is sooo awesome! She’s spunky and fun and loyal. And Peony is so young and friendly and excitable and lively.*Sigh* I loved them both to the ends of the Earth. In fact, with the exception of the obvious nasties (Levana and the Lunars, Adri and Pearl), I loved ALL the characters. They were real and had great depth and made me feel the feelings. 

Prince Kai is, without a doubt, one of the best characters in CINDER. I loved him and how well he and Cinder balanced each other. And he’s certainly swoony and flirty and adorable, but I admired him more because he was strong, determined, compassionate, and sincere in his thoughts and actions. His interactions with Cinder were fun, and you could tell that their feelings for each other were growing slowly and naturally. I LOVE THIS. Maybe there could have been a little more payoff, but I’m really pretty satisfied because I can’t wait to see where their relationship goes. I’m totally invested in them together, as individuals, and in the world in which they live. There’s going to be DRAMA for sure, but it’s going to be GOOD, I just know it!

CINDER was one of the best introductions to a series I can remember reading recently. For serious. I went into it a *touch* worried that the harder science-fictiony parts would present a bigger obstacle to my love, but that was silly of me, guys. Putting CINDER down was incredibly difficult, especially when things really started rolling along. This story–one of the most creative and clever fairy tale reimaginings EVER–gripped me tight and wouldn’t let me go. The conflict in this book is so juicy and political and fraught with danger that I know things are probably going to get worse for everyone before they get better. But OH MAN. I’m PSYCHED to know what the future holds for everyone, and I promise you will be too. Don’t miss this one, friends. Pretty please?


8 Responses to “Book Review: Cinder by Marissa Meyer”


  1. Recommend a…Book You Read This Year | coffeeandwizards - July 23, 2012

    […] Amy @ Tripping over Books […]

  2. In My Mailbox (39) « Tripping Over Books - August 5, 2012

    […] Meyer. Another book that I loved to bits and pieces, but didn’t have a finished copy of. CINDER was outstanding. One of my favorite books of this year. I love the world and the characters and EVERYTHING. I […]

  3. Top Ten Tuesday (41) « Tripping Over Books - August 21, 2012

    […] (The Lunar Chronicles #1) by Marisa Meyer. I LOVED THIS BOOK SO HARD. I’m not hugely into sci-fi as a rule. I can appreciate it for sure, […]

  4. In My Mailbox (50) / Stacking the Shelves (5) « - October 27, 2012

    […] Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer (February 5, 2013 from Feiwel & Friends). Guys, CINDER was one of the best books I’ve read this year. The world is amazing, the characters are top-notch, and the cleverness and creativity is super. To […]

  5. Top Ten Tuesday (51) « - November 13, 2012

    […] right now and DYING because it’s so outstanding, and it’s making me remember how much I freaking LOVED CINDER. It was so fresh and engaging and clever. I could definitely get behind reading this on a […]

  6. Top Ten Tuesday (55) « - December 11, 2012

    […] debut author I just couldn’t leave off. Not only because CINDER absolutely knocked my socks off and is one of my favorite books of the year, but because I’ve […]

  7. Top Ten Tuesday (56) « - December 18, 2012

    […] still can’t believe that CINDER is Marissa Meyer‘s debut. I can’t even. It’s basically perfect. I can’t […]

  8. Peace Out, 2012: End of Year Book Survey « - December 28, 2012

    […] Ok, then I will! First, though, I’m going to say that, by and large, I adored lots of books that I read this year. I feel like if I read a book that was the first in a series, I was made a fan for life. I am going to break it down into categories in a sec because I have way too many favorites that I want to share with you all, but I’m going to offer these two books right here as my tied for number 1 most favorite books of the year: Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson and Cinder by Marissa Meyer. […]

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