Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Book Review: "Cinder" by Marissa Meyer


I missed the boat at Netgalley to request an ARC of Cinder, but I had heard great things from my blogging friends who had a chance to get their hands on it. The hype in my head was overwhelming and I pre-ordered Cinder on my Nook and started reading the first chance I could! I was worried that I was over-hyping myself and would be unable to remain objective (either for the better or the worse) while reading it. Turns out, I was so immersed in the story there was no need to worry!

The Scoop: (Goodreads)

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.

In this thrilling debut young adult novel, the first of a quartet, Marissa Meyer introduces readers to an unforgettable heroine and a masterfully crafted new world that’s enthralling.

My Take:

So.. Cinder is Cinderella meets the Terminator with a splash of The Hot Zone plagues and quarantines for good measure. Cinder is a cyborg, which at first concerned me in terms of love-interest ickiness (not so sure about robot/human love play).

But, as it turns out, Cinder is only 36.28% non-human. Due to a horrible accident when she was younger, her foot, hand and some internal parts were replaced by hi-tech mechanical ones. So, not so creepy, more like prosthetics, that's fine, right? Well, not according to society, where a person with any percentage of robotics is deemed as property and plummeted to second-class citizen status faster than you can say unbridled discrimination. Thus, the setup for our tale.

I defy you to discriminate against this little fella!
Cinder is a great mechanic who is oppressed by her wicked step-monster/owner, has a fun android BFF (love her!), gets in hot water and meets a prince (natch). The premise, in and of itself, is an intriguing one, but the premise alone could not have sustained the book without Meyer's excellent pacing, plotting and world building. Cinder's relationships are developed organically and you grow to hate/love/kinda like the people in Cinder's world right along with her.

Don't think this is what Walt had in mind...
The story does hold a couple of twists (most you will get right away) and my figuring them out didn't really annoy me (like it usually might) just because I was more intrigued by how the various characters would react once they found out.

My only criticism would be that Cinder has fallen into the YA reader-manipulating pitfall of ending a book right in the middle of a major plot-point, thus insuring that the rabid reader will stand in line for the sequel. I will be one of those people (if a bit resentfully), but I wish this madness would stop. It is possible to write/edit a YA novel and wrap up the main story while keeping enough carrots dangling to keep the reader anticipating the continuation of the tale. This just seems like a device for a book that is not as well constructed as Cinder is. The merits of the Cinder alone would have prompted readers to seek out the sequel, the gimmick is unnecessary. If anything, it makes me not want to recommend this book to my friends until the sequel has come out so they won't be hanging on tenterhooks like I am.

If Stephenie Meyer had ended New Moon right after Bella's cliff-diving scene, I might have been a little ticked off.
Overall, I think Cinder is a great book and I really wish I just had the whole series in my hands right now.(Four books are already planned - one each year with a different storybook mashup added in).

Final Verdict:


  1. I'm so glad to know that it ends on a cliff-hanger. This is such a pet peeve of mine, at least in a first book of a series. Write a good story and I'll pick up the second book. Writing a cliff-hanger just makes me angry. Darn it, I was really looking forward to this one. I'm probably going to read it towards the end of the year so that the sequel is closer to release. Also - I somehow missed the cyborg part of this plot :) Thanks for the review.

    Megan @ Read It, See It

  2. I bought this one today, and I'm very excited to read it.

  3. I love this review, Steph! I was kinda tee'ed off at the ending, too. I wanted to know everything, now! But this was a fab book and I'm glad you enjoyed it. I was like you with the twists. I figured out the BIG one right away. Usually that would annoy me; instead, I was SO hooked into the story that I didn't even let it bother me.

  4. Megan & Mrs Q. I think you will love it, but if I could've waited, I would have.

    Molli - I did overall love it. Like you, I just really am ready for more! Thanks for the retweet, btw!!

  5. This book is on my list and it sounds fantastic. I am so intrigued by the cover every time I see it. Thank you so much for this review and for mentioning that there will be 4 books in the series and that it ends on a cliffhanger. Now I will move it down on my TBR list- so that I won't have to wait so long to find out what happens next. I like to be excited for the other books in a series- but waiting a year for each is a bit hard for me. Awesome review (loved the pictures too).


    1. It really was great, but yeah, if you can wait, do it.


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