Book Review: Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Cinder by Marissa MeyerCinder by Marissa Meyer 
Published by: Puffin
Format: Paperback 
Source: Bought, Buy on Waterstones, Book Depository 
Goodreads: 4.14
Synopsis: 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.

I have mixed feelings about this book. A fairy tale retelling in a science fiction setting where the world is on the brink of war and there is an epidemic of an incurable disease and only the enemy has the cure… well that sounds interesting. It was interesting and I did read it all in one go but there was also a few things I just couldn’t quite get past. The story isn’t fleshed out, I feel like we only ever get a snapshots when we should be getting the bigger picture. It’s like an artist creating this beautiful sketch but not finishing it or becoming half hearted in the middle – reading Cinder felt like that I guess.

Linh Cinder

If we ignore the instant love aspect of this story, then I would say that Cinder has potential as a main character. The way she is written, her personality and the juxtaposition of her being a Cyborg human is interesting. However it isn’t explored deeply. How much of Cinder’s emotions are human and how much of her is Cyborg? She has wires in her body so is her brain entirely hers or is all her knowledge artificial intelligence? This changes the dynamic of a character and I was never really given enough information on Cinder, we are never really allowed to explore Cinder in a way that we can create an informed opinion. However I love that Cinder is independant, she’s a fixer and worker, she knows what struggle and hardwork are, she doesn’t make the best decisions – actually sometimes she makes downright stupid decisions but I kind of like that.

Setting

The story is set in a futuristic China, New Beijing. Except if I’m not mistaken, Eastern culture isn’t hugely explored. Establishing such a new world, with different people – this should be explored shouldn’t it? I think Meyer took a leap of faith and was bold, but maybe she underestimated the reader’s curiosity in wanting to know the world and the setting more deeply.

Predictability

I almost instantly guessed the plot twists. It might not be fair to call the twist, “twists” because this is a fairytale retelling and I knew the story of Cinderella so well everything in this just clicked into place because of prior knowledge. I kept on reading, I wasn’t bored, I just felt like I knew what was going to happen and for the most part I was right.

Instant love

I know this had to happen, we needed a Cinderella and Prince Charming type love but the instant love between Cinder and the Prince just didn’t work for me. It seemed predictable, I think this relationship could have been developed better. And was there need for love? Couldn’t they just have been friends? A retelling is to take the bones of something and rework them, did instant love really need to happen? There might have been more room for fleshing out the setting and Cinder’s character if not for instant love.

I did enjoy reading this story, but I don’t think I’m going to prioritise reading the other books in this series.

Have you read Cinder by Marissa Meyer? Does the rest of the series get any better? Let me know your thoughts!

Also for all things Feminism and Young Adult fiction you can subscribe to the #FeminismInYA newsletter.

  • I enjoyed reading Cinder, but the second book was a bit lower than this one. The third is better, and the fourth… well… I’ve stopped it because I haven’t much time to read big books at the moment (too big to fit my bag).
    I know what you mean by “I guessed the plot twists”. Same here. But I think you can’t really avoid this, especially in a retelling 🙂