Book Review: ‘Cinder’ by Marissa Meyer

UPDATE 2/29: We added a clip from the audiobook for your listening pleasure toward the end of the post!

The Cinderella story has been done to death. So many different takes have been done,  ranging from books to TV to movies to plays. It’s practically endless. But we all still love it. And I’m at complete belief that no one will ever tire of Cinderella. It’s a fairy tale so widely adored. Despite the fact that I do believe it’s overdone, I still love it. So, it comes as no surprise that I was intrigued by Marissa Meyer’s new book Cinder. When I thought I had seen almost everything stemming from the Cinderella story, I see Cinder. In Meyer’s retelling of the classic fairy tale, Cinderella (or Cinder, as she goes by) is a cyborg.

Yes, you read that right. She is a cyborg. Living in a futuristic dystopia, cyborgs are treated as second-class citizens. Cinder is property of her stepmother. As it usually goes, her stepmother makes Cinder work in a booth at the market as a mechanic to provide money for her and her stepsisters. Luckily, Cinder is a brilliant mechanic and is pretty successful with her business, as long as people don’t mind her cyborg status. There’s a deep prejudice against cyborgs from humans, which you find out early on in the book. However, later, you find out that there is an even deeper prejudice against Lunars, aliens from the Moon.

Oh yes, there are some aliens in this story as well, and they aren’t nice. The Queen of the Lunars wants to marry Prince Kai, the heir to the Eastern Commonwealth. But Prince Kai knows that the Queen only wants to marry him in order to obtain authority and eventually invade Earth. One day, he travels incognito to Cinder’s booth so she can fix his own cyborg. Cinder recognizes him right away, and Kai asks her to keep his visit a secret. It’s immediately obvious that the Kai is smitten with her, but she dismisses such notions, believing that if he knew she was a cyborg, he would lose interest. As with any proper Cinderella, there is a ball coming up. One that Cinder must keep convincing herself that she doesn’t want to go to. So will Cinder go to the ball? And what secrets will she uncover until then?

Well, I’ll answer that last question. A lot of secrets and revelations come out, which made this book an exciting read. While I predicted the major secret at the very beginning, it was still an interesting story getting there. The plot is paced well. It’s quick and keeps you interested all the way through. It might have been a little too quick in the beginning. The reader is instantly immersed into this world, and it takes a while to figure everything out and how it works.

The author did a great job of making this Cinderella her own. A cyborg Cinderella? Who would ever come up with that? She creates a great and likable character in Cinder. She’s smart, witty and tough. What I also loved was how the romance was played down. The biggest element of Cinderella is usually the romance. She meets the Prince, falls in love, and happily ever after. That doesn’t happen in Cinder’s case. While there is romantic tension between her and the Prince, it isn’t the big story. This is Cinder’s story. She may fall in love with a prince, but her mission is way bigger than that. And I hope the second book carries on with Cinder’s mission. I heard that the second book will be called Scarlet, an follow the Red Riding Hood tale. Let’s hope these two characters cross paths, because I really want to see what happens to Cinder next!

Cinder, the first book of the Lunar Chronicles, is a great start to a series. It really gets you into this new world, and I hope that the second book goes a little more in-depth with the science-fiction element of it. Who expected that I would ever recommend a Cinderella story to someone looking for a good sci-fi read? I certainly didn’t, but I glad I am.


Rating: 4.5/5 stars

If you really need further convincing, listen a great clip to the audiobook here: Cinder Audiobook clip

Cinder is now out in bookstores. Support our site and purchase Cinder from our TYF Store, powered by Amazon. (You can also purchase the audiobook here!)

Book info:


Publisher:  Feiwel and Friends (January 3, 2012)
Length: 400 pages, Hardcover
Source: ARC
Series: Book 1 of 4
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Science Fiction, Dystopia
Completed: February 2012


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