f0zKg0J4zFLYz-Yq0aednQVqREE Once Upon a Prologue: ARC Review: Cinder by Marissa Meyert
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Monday, December 19, 2011

ARC Review: Cinder by Marissa Meyert

Cinder by Marissa Meyer
Pages: 387
Expected publication: January 3rd 2012 (Feiwel & Friends)
Series: Lunar Chronicles (1)
Final Rating: 4 of 5 stars
Further info: Goodreads | Amazon
Find the author online: Twitter | Website

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. 

My Review

In the first chapters of Cinder, debut author Marissa Meyer's intricately woven retelling of Cinderella, we meet Cinder, a cyborg with courage, heart, and spunk.  Meyer does a fantastic job of weaving in elements of the original story - the step-mother and two step-sisters, though one is less wicked than in Cinderella, and a handsome prince.  There's even a ball, which Cinder longs to attend, all the while fearing she won't fit in.  Cinder's vulnerability and the scorn she faces from those who know she is a cyborg rang true and valid throughout the book, and it was how she handled that ridicule and her fear of never finding a place she belonged that immediately endeared Cinder to me.  I connected with her in the opening pages of her story, and at the end of Cinder, I felt a strong kindship with the spirited heroine.  Cinder herself is loyal to those she loves, strong, and no-nonesense at times; she has a huge heart and dreams of escape, of a better life - something surely we can all identify with. 

The plot of Cinder moves along very nicely; I was never bored, and unlike some novels, where scenes are thrown in to pad the bare areas, or stripped to keep the pace clipping along, every word felt like it ought to be savored, and each scene felt as if it played its part and purpose.  In that aspect, this book was what I was looking for - it was a good length, but Marissa Meyer knew when and exactly where to stop in order to leave me hanging. 

The world building was lacking in some ways - World War 4 was alluded to but nothing more - leaving me wondering what happened to the world as we know it, and how New Bejiing rose to power.  The plague constantly worrying the leaders served as an effective ticking timebomb, never giving the reader time to forget the looming threat.  I also wanted to know more about the Lunars, though I suspect they'll continue to play into the sequel/s.  Levana, the Lunar Queen, was ice-cold and probably because I loathed her, I of course wanted to know more about her. 

At time, the similiarties to Cinderella were charming and easy to spot, but never obvious in an annoying way; rather, they added to the story, whether it was advancing the plot, or making a character sympathetic or non-sympathetic.  Marissa Meyer clearly put a great deal of thought and heart into her characters - most of them were very well-fleshed out, and unique.  There were a few whom I wanted to know more about, that I am sincerely hoping we will see a lot more of in the sequel/s. 

One thing that let me down slightly was that early on, I predicted the book's twist, which was somewhat disappointing, especially considering I usually try NOT to think about how a book is going to turn out - I prefer to be surprised.  To me, the twist was very easy to see coming, but that didn't detract much from my enjoyment of the book. Cinder was still a superb read. 

Marissa Meyer knows how to write a book, plain and simple.  Relationships were explored, her characters have genuine and fascinating voices and personalities, even though Cinder's point of view was the only one we saw.  We have villians, and quirky robots, a fun menagerie of non-stereotypes.  The interaction between Kai and Cinder left me wanting so much more, and while there was not much romance, there was enough of a bond developing between them in a slow-burn, that I was hanging on the edge of my seat during their scenes.  The two of them fascinate me, and I especially look forward to learning more about Prince Kaito. 

Overall, Marissa Meyer's stunningly driven retelling of Cinderella, CINDER, is a fascinating twist on a beloved classic, managing to at once remind the reader of the age-old rags-to-riches story while breathing new life into the children's tale, bringing it into a new demographic.  I finished Cinder over the course of about two nights, and I simply had to keep reading, in order to know what happened next to our heroine, whom I deeply admired.  Cinder and its characters will stay with me, making the wait until the sequel, titled (for now) Scarlett, oh-so-long.   


In accordance with FTC guidelines, I received this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  No money or compensation of any sort exchanged hands.   I review books with no intention of monetary gain; rather, I review books out of my love of reading.


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