Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles #1) by Marissa MeyerPublished March 28th 2013 by HMH Books for Young Readers
Genre: Fantasy, Fairytale retelling
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Reviewed on March 11, 2015
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.
If you came for a gushing review for Cinder, you won’t find one here. You don’t even know how sorry I am because this was one of my most anticipated books since— forever! I wanted so badly to love this book. So bad and now I hate myself.
Let me point out why I don’t love this book before I move onto the good stuff:
I was 80 pages from the end when I realized the story was already ending so soon, which left me baffled and disappointed and voicing my thoughts, “That’s it? I read 387 pages for this. I put up with the leisure pace for this.” It felt like nothing was happening in the book. Of course, things did happen, but the events passed by like a trivial blur in my life. Why? The story was so very, very, very predictable. What Cinder is. What Dr. Erland is. Etc. Usually, I don’t mind when the author can’t avoid putting subtle hints here and there, but the problem is it took out all the excitement. I rephrase: The book didn’t deliver the excitement I wanted. The dread of danger, yes. But I wasn’t thrilled to experience all these twists and turns in the story because once again— the predictability is a tad too obvious and made the story dull.
I wasn’t— am not— attached to any of the characters. Not even Cinder, the poor cyborg of an evil stepmother who I’m supposed to root for. As far as any feelings between Cinder and I go, I only pity her situation. She’s sort of pathetic and dense to me. She’s not exactly stupid, but she’s not smart either. She’s not even in between. She’s somewhere in a place I don’t like to talk about, a place I call “limbo.” I mean HOW CAN SHE NOT PUT ALL THE PIECES TOGETHER? It doesn’t take Sherlock to solve the puzzle. Even my seven-year-old niece is capable. The amount of time it took for Cinder to discover her true identity is unreasonable and I guess it's because the author wanted some dramatic opening to reveal the dramatic plot twist in a dramatic ending, which always lead to an anticlimax. I don’t approve.
Regarding the ending: when the BIG SECRET (sarcasm intended) was revealed, this was my reaction: I impulsively threw the book down on my bed and shouted 7 in the morning while everyone was still sleeping, "This is so fucking stupid! I hate this!"
Anyways, back to characterization: Other than the fact that being a cyborg doesn’t make Cinder special to me and that I can’t blame her for her naivety, she is a good character with sensible qualities: loyalty, willpower, and she’s shy which is cute.
Now, with Kai, I hardly feel anything for him. He was simply there. The only way he stands out is he’s a prince, for one. Secondly, he’s not full of himself, considering princes are portrayed as arrogant and almighty and YA heroes tend to be assholes. Thirdly, he admits to feeling too immature, naïve, and green to be emperor and do what’s best for his country. With all the weight on his shoulders, it’s admirable that he hasn’t caved in under the pressure. Yet.
For me, the only truly interesting character would have to be Levana, who I absolutely fucking hate. If I was a cyborg, my brain would be fucking wired with imaginative endless swearing because I would curse the heavens and hells for the existence of Levana. I think she made it to my “top ten hated villains” list and this is only the fucking first book.
Another issue I have with this book: The scientists said there is one ingredient of the antidote which can only be found on the moon. How do they know it’s from the moon? I mean, I know it’s obvious it has to be from the moon, but how do they know what is on the moon besides what their satellite cameras pick up? It’s not like Levana would let Earthlings walk on the moon, collect samples, and do research on the Lunars and their resources. How the hell are you certain?
The creativity deserves an instant five stars. A fairly original retelling of Cinderella with a futuristic setting and a cyborg Cinderella . . . Definitely cool and refreshing!
(If I had to put a face to Cinder, it would be Hyoyeon’s.)
Way to think outside the box! However . . . Cinder is a daring retake that fails to OWN the fairytale.
Conclusion: I am underwhelmed by Cinder and hope the next book Scarlet proves to challenging and captivating and restores my faith in The Lunar Chronicles. Originally, I would have rated Cinder 3 stars for the humor and my meek enjoyment. Ultimately, I decided on 2.5 stars.
Some of my favorite quotes:
“Even in the Future the Story Begins with Once Upon a Time.”
“I'm sure I'll feel much more grateful when I find a guy who thinks complex wiring in a girl is a turn-on.”