Cinder by Marissa Meyer (5 Stars)

Cinder: The Lunar Chronicles Series #1

By Marissa Meyer

 

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312641894
  • Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
  • Publication date: 1/3/2012
  • Pages: 400
  • Sales rank: 720
  • Age range: 12 – 17 Years
  • Lexile: 790L (what’s this?)
  • Series: Lunar Chronicles Series, #1
  • Product dimensions: 5.80 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 1.50 (d)
Summary: A play on the Cinderella story, Cinder is a cyborg in New Beijing. Cyborgs are basically second class citizens, so her adopted mother treats her like dirt. The great thing about Cinder is that she is an expert mechanic, so she has some freedom to run her own booth at the market. While she is working, the prince, Kai, drops in to have her fix his android. It is apparently a matter of national security. Shortly after the prince leaves, there is a plague sighting in the market which closes everything down. Once Cinder gets home, she walks in to find her two stepsisters getting brand new dresses for the ball. The slight shift from the Cinderella story is that one of her stepsisters is actually a sweetheart. After the fitting, Cinder and her stepsister go to the junkyard to find spare parts. While there, Cinder’s sweet sister breaks out in spots, showing that she has the plague. This is one of the turning points of the story. After this, Cinder’s life is sold into plague research and she finds out all sorts of new things about herself. It still has aspects of the Cinderella story, but strays more to make Cinder an intriguing character that you can’t wait to find out about. Her relationship with Kai blooms with short, interspersed run-ins, and the villain presents herself. The villain is Queen Levana of Luna. She wants to marry Kai to become empress, and will do just about anything to have those wishes come true. If needing to know what happens between Levana, Kai, and Cinder doesn’t make you interested in reading, then you need to know that there is a killer of a cliffhanger at the end. It is wrapped up enough that you don’t think the book was worthless to read, but definitely makes you crave the next installment of the series.

My thoughts: I’ve already strayed into my thoughts a bit. I really enjoyed this novel. I was skeptical going in and had put it off for a while. I’ve read a lot of re-imagined fairy tales and some are just not worth the attention. This one definitely is. It strays away from the typical tale enough that you don’t really know what is going to happen, but stays close enough to the tale that the fairy tale elements are in place. The good thing about me putting it off is that I have less of a wait for the next novel. There are only two criticisms that I have.
First, there are parts that are extremely predictable. Cinder’s true identity is like a neon sign flashing above her head. I can’t imagine any reader being surprised about who she turns out to be. This didn’t both me that much. There are a lot of very predictable novels that are still entertaining.
The second bit of criticism bugged me more. There is not enough world building for me. The setting is described a little, but part of the fun of science fiction and fantasy is being transported into another world. I was disappointed by how glossed over the setting was. Luna and the Lunars are barely described. Also, Earth has changed and I want to know what I should be thinking about while the story is going on. I think that Meyer spent more time developing Cinder and her personality than the world around her. Since Cinder is a very good character, this holds the novel together, but I’d like to care more about the surroundings in the future books. There are four more and I’m not sure that just loving Cinder is going to hold my interest through the story if I can’t fully picture where I am.

* 5 Stars

 

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