Author: Marissa Meyer
Series: Lunar Chronicles #1
Genre: Young Adult, Dystopia, Romance, Science Fiction, Retelling
Release Date: January 3, 2012
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Although eager to impress the prince, Cinder’s intentions are derailed when her younger stepsister, and only human friend, is infected with the fatal plague that’s been devastating Earth for a decade. Blaming Cinder for her daughter’s illness, Cinder’s stepmother volunteers her body for plague research, an “honor” that no one has survived.
But it doesn’t take long for the scientists to discover something unusual about their new guinea pig. Something others would kill for.
First Sentence: The screw through Cinder’s ankle had rusted, the engraved cross marks worn to a mangled circle.
*Before Ashley wrote her review, I asked her to introduce herself. This is what she wrote:
I am Ash Ketchum from Pallet Town. I am ten years old and my dream is to become the world’s greatest Pokemon master.
Just kidding. My name is actually Ashley, so close enough. I was asked (bribed) to do this by Kelly, so here I am. Just to let you all know, I am not a book blogger. I’m not even a bookie. This is the first book review I’ve ever done except for those things we had to do in elementary school, but those don’t count, do they. Anyway, let’s start!
Personally, I don’t really like the cover of Cinder. It’s just a foot. The red high heel doesn’t really even have any relevance to the story. At first, I thought it had something to do with The Wizard of Oz, but it was Cinderella instead. The red shoes were a bit misleading to me after finding out that it was based on another story.
On the other hand, the cover did match the Cinderella theme. The shoe could represent the glass slipper that the original Cinderella lost when she went to the ball. The shoe isn’t just something totally irrelevant to the story. Also, the metal bones in the leg are significant in the story too. Cinder is an android and it is mentioned that she has metal in her. Although I personally didn’t like the cover, it still matches the story.
Cinder is a retelling of Cinderella. With that fact established, Cinder does a pretty good job at retelling Cinderella. You can easily find the similarities, i.e. Cinder’s “glass slipper” being her android foot. However, even though the similarities are pretty obvious given that you know the story of Cinderella, the book has its own plot line too, separate from Cinderella’s plot line. Instead of being centered on a prince and his ball, Cinder is centered on the conflict between Earth and Lunar and a deadly disease. That aspect makes the story unique in its own way, separate from Cinderella.
The characters of Cinder are decent (yeah I didn’t know how else to word this); they play the role they’re supposed to. However, I didn’t really connect with the characters like I probably should have. As I read, I did sympathize with the characters, but I didn’t really feel them.
Cinder might be one of the only characters I really felt sympathetic for, but that’s probably because she’s the main character. However, even though I sympathized with her, I couldn’t really say that I loved her as a character. She’s discriminated against for being different and I get that. However, that seems pretty normal given human nature. There was nothing really special about her, no offense. The only time I really felt anything for her was embarrassment near the end of the book when she was at the ball and just grabbed Kai. I don’t know about Cinder, but I was embarrassed for her (but then again, I suffer from second-hand embarrassment). She plays the role of the unliked, discriminated against person, but at the same time fights back, which makes her a more complex character. However, in the end, I still feel like she’s just playing out her role in the book.
So I have this feeling that I’m supposed to like Kai as much as Cinder does. But the problem is, I don’t. People are probably going oh-no-she-didn’t at this point, but yes, I just did. I didn’t find Kai likeable, not because he was a major jerk or anything, but because he seemed really one dimensional to me. He is portrayed as a stereotypical prince character. Kai is handsome and charming, the end. I felt like that was all there was to him. Okay, so he was willing to marry himself off to Levana, but he’s probably not the only one who would do that. People in high positions often marry for their social standing, not because they’re head over heels for the other. And okay, he tried hard to save his country and prevent war. But isn’t that every ruler’s job? I couldn’t see Kai past his stereotypical prince role. To me, he could have been just any other prince out there; there wasn’t anything special to him. (/flameshield on)
The other characters were okay as characters. Adri played the role of the evil stepmother. However, unlike Cinderella’s stepmother, Adri actually had her own reasons for doing what she did besides raging jealousy. Unlike Cinderella’s stepmother, Adri actually seemed to have feelings besides jealousy. She really cared for her own family and you could actually see that she was going through pain through all the times that Cinder heard her crying in secret. Pearl played the role of the evil stepsister. She is the typical evil stepsister type that tries to make someone miserable just because they can. Peony played a nice stepsister who came upon misfortune. Queen Levana was the evil queen that was missing from Cinderella since she was blessed with an evil stepmother instead. Levana plays a typical sneaky woman that tries to one-up others. She brainwashes others to get what she wants and is really self-centered. Overall, the characters seem stereotypical.
On a side note, why do some of the characters have Chinese/Asian names while others don’t? They live in New Beijing, which is China. Why are there people named Chang Sacha and then others named Adri or Garan? Adri, Pearl, Peony, and Garan do not sound Chinese/Asian to me. I can see where Pearl and Peony come from, but instead of naming them by the English words, shouldn’t they be named by their Chinese pinyin like Chang Sacha? Also, Adri and Garan do not sound Chinese/Asian. Cinder and Levana are okay since they come from a foreign place, but what about everyone else?
WRITING STYLE: 3.5/5
As mentioned before, I’m not a bookie and I don’t really read all that much. Because of that, I can’t really judge the writing style. As a result, I’m only judging the writing based on the fact that the writing is rather simplistic. It seems unique in its own way, but I can’t judge since I wouldn’t really know.
The pacing to Cinder is okay. The story isn’t rushed, but it isn’t really slow and boring either. The story is told at a rate that lets you stay in sync and get what’s going on. You aren’t overwhelmed by what’s going on and you’re also not tapping your foot in impatience (or at least I wasn’t). At some points the story did feel a bit rushed, but it wasn’t all that noticeable.
As explained in the character section, I didn’t really feel much for the characters, which in turn meant that I didn’t really feel the story as much. I only felt the feelings that I was supposed to feel due to the flow of the story, but other than that, there weren’t any special feelings. There was only the occasional “poor someone-or-the-other” and “oh that’s nice”, but that’s pretty much it.