Review: Cinder by Marissa Meyer (Spoiler Free)

Cinder by Marissa Meyer
Read: August 8 – August 21, 2012
Other Information: Owned book, hardcover, 387 pages, Book club selection

Book Blurb: Cinder wouldn’t fit in at a formal ball, anyway. Even if she did find dress gloves and slippers that could hide her metal monstrosities, her mousy hair would never hold a curl, and she didn’t know the first thing about makeup. She would end up sitting just off the dance floor and making fun of the girls who swooned to get Prince Kai’s attention, pretending she wasn’t jealous. Pretending it didn’t bother her.

Although she was curious about the food.

And the prince did know her now, sort of. He had been kind to her at the market. Perhaps he would ask her to dance. Out of politeness, Out of chivalry, when he saw her standing alone.

The precarious fantasy crashed down around her as quickly as it had begun. It was impossible. Not worth thinking about.

She was a cyborg, and she would never go to the ball.

My Opinion: Cinder is quite a romp through various different fandoms. It has influences of Sailor Moon, a dash of Twilight-esque teenage romance, and of course the weaving of the classic fairytale of Cinderella. Overlay it all with some spaceships and voila! Cinder by Marissa Meyer.

Overall, I enjoyed the book. Even at almost 400 pages, I think I would have devoured it in almost one sitting if I wasn’t held back by the book club stopping points. The story moves quickly and is engaging, even if it is entirely too predictable. I made several predictions in the discussions for book club, and every single one of them turned out to be right. It was nice to be right, but it was also somewhat disappointing. There was one page that kind of ruined the entire plot for me, because the foreshadowing was so heavy-handed.

The characters were fairly one-dimensional. Cinder is very average, she has no motivating factors other than to get away from New Beijing. Queen Levana is one of those villains who is just singularly evil. She has no motivation that is clearly defined, she has no redeeming factors, not even remotely. The surprise for me was in Prince Kai. He didn’t conform (not in this book, there is still time in the series) to the stereotype of leading male. He had some depth, and instead of just being a teenaged boy, he took on the mantle of responsibility as an adult and did what was best for his country, even though it didn’t agree with his personal wishes. Iko was hands down the best character ever. I loved her.

The prose was really light on descriptives. It made the story flow faster, since there wasn’t a lot of time spent on the minutiae of what people looked like, but I find myself craving more information about Cinder, Peony and Kai. In the city of New Beijing, are most of the inhabitants Asian, or are there a fair amount of Caucasians as well?

The story itself was interesting. I don’t really see how it gained anything from being interwoven with Cinderella, though. I think Marissa Meyer probably just really enjoyed Cinderella, and decided to weave it in. Cinder would have done just as well without it. Though it likely would have been called something else. It also felt like there were a lot of things that happened for no other reason than to bring Cinder and Prince Kai together. The things I wished had been expanded on like the history of the world, the Lunar colony and the lost Lunar princess were all kind of skipped over. Instead we had Cinder and Kai, and then some letumosis (read: modern plague) thrown in for good measure.

Bottom Line: A quick read that, in spite of its shortcomings, I thoroughly enjoyed. Very much a YA read lacking in depth, but that also works for it.


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