Book: Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles #1)
Author: Marissa Meyer
Original Release Date: 3rd Jan 2012
Genre: YA/Fantasy/Sci-Fi/Fairy Tale Re-Telling
Rating: 4 out of 5
Blurb: 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.
I’d seen this book in the shop quite a lot before I was convinced to buy it, and boy am I glad I did! It wasn’t until I made my blog that I saw the huge hype surrounding this series, and being a massive sucker for anything Disney, I decided it was time to take the plunge and just order this book.
I was a bit apprehensive at first, one because of all the hype surrounding this series (but I did read that this isn’t the best in the series, it gets better) and two because Cinderella as a cyborg in a futuristic Beijing? Like that’s gonna work! But it really does. Meyer puts a twist on some of the well known characters that we have come to love and I wasn’t sure I was going to like them but she pulls it off.
I love how Meyer transforms Cinderella’s mice helpers into the character of Iko, especially as she was my favourite character! I really enjoyed how she encouraged Cinder to take chances with Kai, and I felt like Meyer had written her to be the reader. It felt like whatever I was screaming at Cinder in my head, Iko would say. Cinder herself was an enjoyable character to read about, mainly due to her built in lie-detecter. Other than that she felt a little bland to me, I didn’t connect to her as much as I did Iko and Kai and I’m not particularly sure why. I hope her character gets a bit more development in the future novels and I start to connect with her more. Now Kai, oh Kai how you made my heart flutter! I haven’t had a new book boyfriend for quite come time now but I looked forward to Kai’s chapters a lot more than I expected to. His attraction to Cinder wasn’t really explained, even when we were reading from inside his head, but I didn’t even care. Normally that is something that would really irritate me about a novel but I all I cared about was getting to Kai’s chapters and seeing if he made it through his next interaction with Queen Levana. I liked having Queen Levana as the villain, it added more depth to the story as the evil step-mother (Adri in this case) wasn’t the sole enemy. I think it added to Cinder’s need to escape, and was also an extra barrier between herself and Kai. Although Queen Levana was an interesting character in herself (and I really want to read Fairest now to learn more about her) I think she developed Kai’s character more than her own in this novel. She gave Kai more personality and made him more than just the pretty prince at the end of the story.
Meyer didn’t sway much from the original tale of Cinderella in plot points, which I know some people weren’t happy with but I felt it added a sense of familiarity to the novel. Although we were being thrust into this new world there was still something recognisable about it because we knew the basic plot of the story, but it still didn’t feel boring and like I was reading the same story I’d read a thousand times. And it meant that when Meyer’s threw in a plot twist it was even more unexpected, but she ruined that a little bit by leaving really obvious clues that meant I guessed them almost straight away. The ending was still a surprise, and even though it wasn’t exactly a plot twist it was still fast paced, and had me on the edge of my seat needing to know what happened next. It wasn’t the ending I expected, but there were no revelations or big reveals either.
The writing style wasn’t anything to shout home about, but it had an ease to it that meant you could sit there for hours on end, read half the book and not even notice that the time had flown by. To me, that shows the skill of a true writer. The focus wasn’t on her writing style, it was on her plot and her characters, and yes beautiful prose and great but they aren’t always necessarily needed. I liked feeling like I wasn’t reading one of my university books that I have to trudge through, and some of the things written in those are beautiful and elegant but they’re still difficult to get through, whereas this book wasn’t. It flowed really well, which meant I flew through it, something I’ve been struggling to do with books lately. I also loved the snippets of the Cinderella story in between each ‘book’, although I wasn’t quite sure why it was separated in that way, I didn’t particularly mind because it meant those lovely sections were included.
Being a die hard Disney fan had put me off reading this book for quite some time, could it really live up to the original? No, it can’t, but in my eyes nothing will be as perfect as those hard drawn films I grew up loving. But this book is still worth the read, even for the die hard Disney fans. It will make you think of the stories you love so much in a different light, and gives the characters you recognise a bit of a kick. I was scared I would compare it to the film and that would ruin the experience for me, but I soon realised that although the main plot points are the same, the actually story is completely different, and something extremely enjoyable in its own right.