{#CatchUpClub} Review: Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

So this review is for the first ever book the #CatchUpClub read! And I'm so glad to have been one of the bloggers who formed this little club because now, I've finally read this AWESOME book. It's just so awesome. Did I say it was awesome? Read about all of its awesomeness in my review! (Someone please gift me a thesaurus.)

Cinder (Lunar Chronicles, #1)
Title: Cinder (Lunar Chronicles #1)
Author: Marissa Meyer
Publisher: Feiwel and Friends
Date of Publication: January 3, 2012

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.

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My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I don't even know how to start this review because I was seriously speechless after I read Cinder. I had nothing but exclamation marks to type. So I guess to buy some time, I'll thank people first. Thank you to Emily for pushing this book for the first ever #CatchUpClub read-along and to Yasmine, Jessica and Katie for all forming and hosting this #CatchUpClub with me. I treasure this idea, this event and all of you. So on to the review!

People have been urging me to read Cinder for the longest time. I generally love retellings, however, I am not much a fan of Cinderella. I was wary of that. Maybe because I played one of her evil stepsisters in a play when I was in elementary but that's a superficial reason. While I love Disney Cinderella's dress the most, I wasn't a fan of Cinderella because she was such a weak character in my opinion. If not for her fairy godmother, I think she'll still be scrubbing floors and being trampled upon by her stepmother and stepsisters. I don't like reading about weak heroines.

Which is one of the reasons why I loved Cinder. Cinder is such a strong heroine and I'm not talking about physically strong or being badass. She's no pushover, she rebels, she dreams and she's her own person with her own thoughts. While Cinderella might be the poster child for pragmatism, Cinder does everything to break away from her current situation and to live a better life. You go, girl! Women empowerment! Not only that but she's a great mechanic! Her own talent/skill! Moreover, she's kind-hearted, funny and spunky.

That's another thing that I want to read in my retellings. They change what I don't want in the original and they own it. Cinder doesn't have a fairy godmother who sweeps in and solves all her problems. She is her own fairy godmother. WHAT A BREATH OF FRESH AIR. That's what I'm saying that she's a strong heroine. Sure, Dr. Erland seems like a guide to her and he kind of helps her but Dr. Erland still puts the decision in Cinder. Cinder is still the one who springs into action. I LOVE HER.

Admittedly, the only other Cinderella retelling I read is Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine and I loved it. Mostly because of Prince Char. He might be the earliest book boyfriend I had. He had substance, depth and is so not like the two-dimensional, knight-in-shining-armor who will lift Cinderella out of her distress in the Disney version. And in here, Prince Kai elicited the same swoon and sighs from me. Prince Kai was flirty, cute and such a joy to behold and read. He doesn't look down on non-royalty, I mean, he falls for a mechanic and invites her to the ball! He loves his father, his country and even though he might say he's not mature, he is.

I wouldn't call what happened in here a love story or a romance for the books because nothing happened (YET). But oh, the joy of reading Cinder and Prince Kai interact. They were so shy and they're second-guessing each other. THEY WERE SO CUTE. Babies, come on, make some babies! I need all the cuties in my life! Plus, it was like I was living vicariously my celebrity/rockstar/royalty fantasy through Cinder. It's the prince and he likes you! What, a girl can dream! And yet where they left off things broke my heart. Broke it.

As for the other characters, I basically love everyone on Cinder's side and hate everyone that is not. But the great thing about Cinder is that one of her stepsisters, Peony, is actually good. Once again, a thing I appreciated with this retelling. And while Adri and Pearl were so not nice to Cinder, the emotion Adri displayed makes you kind of understand that in a perverse way, she just really loves her daughter and husband. Sometimes, grief clouds your judgment. Not to say that I'm defending her but her characterization and actions make sense. Iko! Iko is so funny and I love reading about her. As for the villains, GAH, die! I hate them with a passion. So manipulative and those scheming liars!

Now that I'm done with the characters, let's get to the nitty gritty of the whole novel. Let's start with the world building. WOW. WHOA. This is such a different Cinderella retelling, so different I tell you. First, it's set in "New Beijing" so it's in Asia! ASIANS REPRESENT! The planet has gone into World War IV and now, there are six united countries all over the world. Marissa Meyer just about overhauled EVERYTHING in the Cinderella tale. Characters, setting, plot, EVERYTHING. And it wasn't hard to imagine because while far off into the future with all the technology we don't have, it was still grounded in reality. The same problems ravage the country - poverty, overpopulation, epidemics - if we got it now, they got it there.

Marissa Meyer also paid attention to detail, without going overboard. We know a lot about this world but this world still has so much to explore. We've only seen the Eastern Commonwealth and there's Africa, Australia, the UK and the US. I cannot wait to see the whole world that Marissa Meyer thought of.

The writing was also well-done. Each chapter changes in focus while being in the third-person perspective. But it didn't feel jarring and everything flowed smoothly. AWESOME STUFF. Additionally, I always was scared that Cinder will feel familiar because HELLO, it's a retelling. But no. Adrenaline coursed through my veins as if I was there too. Surprise here, twist there. It kept me on my toes and it slapped me with the realization that retellings can be so unexpected. I thought some elements would feel cheesy and corny but no, I never felt that. Sure, I felt like I know where it was going but heck, apparently, I didn't know where it was going.

The ending! It made me I-NEED-SCARLET-NOW-WHERE-IS-MY-MOM'S-WALLET-I-NEED-TO-STEAL-MONEY but it wasn't because I was disappointed or left in a cliffhanger so bad. It was wrapped up where it should have been but in a way that will make you want to read Scarlet NOW. Lastly, the cover! Confession here: I didn't really know the plot to Cinder. I didn't even know she was a cyborg to start with! I just know that it's a Cinderella retelling. But woah, THAT cover is beyong gorgeous and it PERFECTLY suits the story. Props to the cover design team!

Cinder takes the tale of Cinderella to unfamiliar territories, with unlimited surprises and twists abound. If you think everything has been done and again with Cinderella retellings, read Cinder and think again.

About Marissa Meyer

I live in Tacoma, Washington, with my fiancé and our two cats. In addition to my slight obsession with books and writing, I'm big on road-tripping, wine-tasting, and hunting for antiques. I'm represented by Jill Grinberg.

Website | Twitter | Facebook


  1. Hahah! Great review Dianne! This was SUCH a good idea and I'm so excited to continue doing it! I definitely fell in love with the storyline behind Cinder. I love the idea of Lunars and I can't wait to see where Meyer takes them next. In fact, I ran to the library to snag Scarlet!


    1. I know! I'll be reading Scarlet for sure when the paperback comes out! (I can't afford the hardcover as of the moment.) And I love #CatchUpClub! Looking forward to reading more with you girls! <3

  2. Totally liked the storyline! Great review, Dianne! :)

  3. Yay! So glad you liked it! I am with you that the romance was so fun - what are those other girls thinking? :)

    1. As much as I love swooning and almost fainting from the romance, I also like slow-building romance and the dance, as much as it's sometimes cringe-inducing and embarrassing to read. But I do get their opinions but let's band together against them! Haha! Hope I can read Scarlet soon!

  4. I loved Cinder almost as much as you did, but I actually loved Scarlet even more (I didn't think it was possible and I never love books in a series more than I love the first one). I agree with the girl power part of the book - she's such a STRONG girl, not like some of the wimpy Disney princesses.

    1. Oh my, stop making me want to sell my soul to buy Scarlet. Haha, kidding. You just made me all the more hellbent on reading Scarlet asap! Though I think I have read trilogies wherein the second book was the best. Catching Fire? Breaking Point in Kristen Simmons's Article 5 series? And yes, wimpy Disney princesses, blegh. Thanks for dropping by, Jen!!

  5. I LOOOOOVED this one! It's such an interesting spin on one of my favorite fairy tales! Thank you for your review!

    Sign up for the End of Summer Read-A-Thon!

    1. And thanks for dropping by my review, Lisa! Cinder! <3 I'm afraid I might not be able to join your readathon because we'll be reading something for #CatchUpClub soon! But I'll try!

  6. Ooo, catching up seems like a really great idea! I probably should do something like that. I read this one a few years ago! Or maybe it was realllyyyyy early last year. I borrowed it from the public library. I liked it, but it wasn't something I'd read again. I probably won't continue the series - bu I wouldn't mind hearing spoilers. Glad I'm not in the Cress ARC frenzy! :D

    Fantastic review! Love you thoroughness ;)

    Alyssa @ The Eater of Books!

    1. I wouldn't be in the Cress ARC frenzy as well since I haven't read Scarlet! Most of my reviews are thorough, which makes my reviews really long. Haha! I do know it's intimidating to read but I'm a talkative person so I can't help it. Kinda sad you didn't love it as much but that's okay. I get though how it couldn't be for everyone. And yes, maybe you can join the #CatchUpClub as well! :)

  7. I am in the very tiny minority of people who have yet to read this book. It isn't because I don't want to, it is because of all of the hype I think. But now, I think that is just craziness because even people that I know that normally wouldn't like stories like this one, loved it. And it is sitting on my bookshelf, so I honestly have no excuses!!!

    1. Give it a try! You might like it, Jaime! :D


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