Thursday, 24 April 2014

Cinder (Lunar Chronicles #1) by Marissa Meyer

Description from 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.

Do you ever get the feeling after finishing a book that why on Earth haven't you picked it up earlier even though people have constantly been praising it?? Well, that's me at the moment!  I was aware of the fact that Cinder was a retelling of Cinderella, but somehow I imagined the whole novel to be completely different. Most of us know the infamous story of the poor Cinderella under her stepmother's cruel regime, so at least I was expecting the story be rather predictable - but it wasn't! There were twists and turns that made me gape, and I absolutely loved some of the modifications Marissa Meyer had decided to make to make the story her own. 

I'm not even sure where to begin with this review! First of all, I loved Cinder. So much. In the future, some of the people who have been gravely injured are made into cyborgs - half-human, half-robot. These half-mechanical humans are looked down to as they aren't seen as fully humans; they are unnatural beings. Cinder happens to a cyborg which of course makes her life twice as hard, as if it wasn't difficult before. I love how Cinder nevertheless is never bitter, but wants to look the bright side of the things and even shows a little rebellion from time to time. She was such a sympathetic character and I can't imagine a person who doesn't feel for her. However, she isn't exactly damsel in distress as Cinder is also very resourceful and smart which made me like her even more. One another thing was highly appreciated as well. Even though characters like Kai see her as pretty, I liked that her appearance wasn't compared to an ultimate beauty - sometimes the author used phrases like "mousy hair".  I find authors too often to make the heroines look like beauty queens and it's a nice change that (at least for a while) the heroine might look like an average girl. 

I already mentioned the cyborg theme, but I just need to talk about the technology part even more! I loved how this retelling takes place in the future, and how well Meyer was able to depict the setting without tumbling or overdoing anything. The author makes the readers to be absolutely sure that the world in which Cinder lives is so very different from ours. There aren't cars anymore but they are replaced by hover cars, cyborgs and robots are part of everyday functioning, the world has faced World War IV, the good old plastic ID cards are forgotten and digital chips embedded under your skin have taken their place. The small details like these make the world building very believable and it absorbs you straight into it without you even noticing. However, even though there are lots of technology included, it was nice also to notice that this element wasn't overwhelming - there were enough to see the world in which Cinder lived in your mind, but it never took the spotlight away from the actual story. 

Kai. Kai. Kai. Kai. KAI. Yes, Kai. He and Cinder were so great together, and there were no insta-love (even though they obviously found each other attractive)! Kai was so wonderful as even though he was a prince he still got his feet on the ground without losing his oh-so-glorious charm and sass. I loved the fact that he had no preconceptions of Cinder even though she was a second-class citizen and a mechanic. Kai in fact was more of surprised and impressed by the fact that so young woman had a such reputation of being the city's best mechanic. He was also rather persistent with Cinder, at various levels, but I liked the fact that Cinder pushed as well. There were undeniable chemistry between them but they don't act on it - just like people in real life. Despite the fact that Kai is a prince and Cinder a mechanic living in the future, their relationship felt very real and realistic with a good-pacing which still makes me smile. I can't wait to see what will happen to them in the next instalments! 

I really loved the way Meyer had decided to write this retelling! There are lots of parallels to the original story but with interesting twist of the author (spoiler): the glass shoe for example being her prosthetic mechanic leg, and how from the two evil stepsisters only the first one was really mean and the other one actually really nice and caring. Like I already mentioned, I was rather sure that I could predict all the events that were about to come, but this wasn't really the case. Of course the novel being a retelling, some of the things you can see coming, but there were so much included which just made me gasp and read some of the chapters again just to make sure if that just really happened. I haven't read that many retellings, but I have to say that Meyer really has raised the bar high for the next authors who will decided to write the next big retelling stories. Cinder was just so amazing with the sci-fi twist and the addition of Lunar people - so interesting. 

There really isn't anything bad that I can come up with this novel - so many things were just so superb that even if there were some things that I didn't like I would just overrule them with all the amazing things. I think the hype around the book is well deserved, even though I can see why Cinder isn't everyone's piece of cake. But it definitely is mine - another favourite series acquired! 


  1. I adored this book too-great review!

    1. So good! I have no idea why I hadn't read it earlier - silly me. :)


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