So, after realizing that the two of us were two of the only people to NOT have read this book that everyone kept raving about, Lauren and I decided to do a readalong for Cinder by Marissa Meyer. We wanted to know if the book was really worth all the hype and five star reviews! Now that we’ve read it, it is quite plain (to us, anyway), that the praise was indeed warranted. We wanted to link to each other’s thoughts, so have both posted our reviews today. To read Lauren’s, you can click on the banner above, or just go HERE!
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 don’t know if I’m the only reviewer to do this or not, but when a book gets so much hype, the way Cinder has, I tend to be reluctant to read it. I don’t want to be the black sheep, the one person amongst my friends to NOT like it, so I just avoid it all together. But since the release of the second book, Scarlet, and AGAIN seeing nothing but praise for it, I realized I really needed to just bite the bullet and read the book. And now that I’ve finished, I seriously could kick myself, because the story was indeed worth everything it has gotten!
What kept turning me off of this story was the sci-fi elements boasted by the summary. People on the moon? Cyborgs? Intergalactic struggle? WHAT? As striking as the cover is, I just wanted no part of it whatsoever. But upon starting the book, what I found instead was a character I really felt for: one who has been dumped on her entire life for something that is completely not her fault or her doing. I absolutely adored the way Meyer took the tale of Cinderella and turned it on its head, while still keeping with the story’s main themes and making it recognizable to the readers (like myself) who adore fairy tales and their retellings. For me, it was the creative aspects of this that actually made it the most enjoyable.
Of course, simply calling this a retelling does it a disservice. What the story is made up of is a little sci-fi, a little dystopia, a little fairy tale, a little mystery, a little kick-ass female lead character, and a (not-so) little swoon-worthy male lead. It basically has all the aspects of a story that I’m going to love, and I can firmly put Cinder in that category. I loved unapologetic Cinder, who does the best she can with the family (and life) she’s been given. I loved that one of her sisters, Peony, actually really cared about her. And I loved that Prince Kai couldn’t help but be intrigued by her. What I hated was the fact that Adri and Pearl’s feelings for cyborgs colored Cinder’s own opinion of herself, and that society chose to blame the cyborgs themselves for their “disformaties” when it didn’t sound like most of them made the choice to have the surgery themselves. Talk about punishing the person for circumstances out of their control!
Cinder was written in a style that’s just made to keep the reader reading. Lauren and I read three chapters a night, and sometimes it was SO hard to put that book down for that day, because each chapter seemed to end with it’s own little mini cliffhanger that makes you want to keep turning its pages to see what happens next. Particularly once you get close to the end, and everything with Kai and Levana starts coming to a head, the book just screams to be read and read until it’s finished. But at the same time, I’m glad I only read a little at a time because it made the book last longer, and allowed you to think about what you’d read for a bit before diving in again. It was like savoring that last bite of chocolate cake; the story melted in your brain and allowed all your feelings to bubble up to the surface. As someone who tends to consume books rather quickly, this was a nice feeling!
And I would be remiss if I didn’t give Kai a little love in this review. I adored him from the very second he appeared on the page, not only because of his strength, but also his frustrations. I loved the chemistry between him and Cinder, and I loved that he wasn’t afraid to embrace it, while she very much shied away from him. I have a feeling Kai is going to have to face a lot of things throughout this series, and I just can’t help but pull for him to get a happily ever after. He definitely deserves the title of swoon-worthy hero!
Utterly compelling, with fascinating characters and situations populating its pages, Cinder is definitely one of my all-time favorite stories. Even though you can basically tell where the story is headed – it IS ultimately a fairy tale retelling, after all – there is still a fabulous sense of mystery surrounding everyone that just pulls you in and grabs hold. I absolutely cannot WAIT to dive into Scarlet and see how Cinder’s story continues, and what Meyer has planned next for her and Kai!
EXTRAS: First off, if you haven’t yet taken a look at Margot from The Real Fauxtographer’s “fauxto” inspired by the book Cinder, you really need to! Go HERE to see her amazing work!
Cinder is also available in audiobook form, narrated by Rebecca Soler. Esther from Macmillan Audio was nice enough to send me a clip to include in my review, so click HERE to listen to an excerpt! You can purchase the audiobook of Cinder on Amazon here.
SCARLET READALONG: Lauren and are going to do a readalong for Scarlet, the sequel to Cinder, probably starting sometime next week. If you would be interested in joining us, let me know! We mostly chat via DM on Twitter about the book, but could figure something else out if others wanted to join in!