Series: The Lunar Chronicles, #1
Released: January 3rd, 2012
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Rating: 4.5 stars
Word Rating: I know, finally
Reviewed by: Blythe
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.
So, I finally read Cinder. Does this mean I could sit at the cool table now? It totally means I could sit at the cool table now, right? Because it should helped that I absolutely loved it, too. Despite all the hype, I had very little knowledge of what Cinder was actually about--other than that it was about a cyborg Cinderella. Which is more than enough to get anyone's attention, I think. But other than that, I knew absolutely nothing; I saw the little blurbs for the other novels in the series, and saw that they took place in France, the desert, and on the moon, respectively, and I was honestly so confused as to how that could possibly be tied together into one coherent plot.
Brilliantly, that's how. As I'm writing this review, I've already finished Scarlet and plan on starting Cress as soon as I wake up tomorrow, but the amount of thought Marissa Meyer put into this world and her characters is staggering, evident, and above all, impressive. Cinder, the eponymous MC, is badass, and just as relatable as a cyborg could get. (Which, as it turns out, is a lot.) Soon into the novel I was fully engaged in Cinder's character (because I love her for all her insecurities and badassery) and story, and was extremely engaged in Meyer's world and the fantastic world-building she brings forth in Cinder.
There is a lot going on in Cinder, and a lot of it had occurred before the novel really begins, so Meyer had a lot to introduce us to in her world and of course, had to do so without it feeling like info-dumping. I'll admit that at times I felt some portions of the world-building were info-dumps and a bit awkward, but as a whole, I was really impressed. We've got a massive plague wiping out people across the globe, an entire race of moon people and their tyrannical (read: absolutely terrifying) Queen Levana, and all of the political aspects between Queen Levana and the Prince of New Beijing, Kai. So there is definitely a lot to establish as an author and take in as a reader, but Marissa Meyer does it with a deft hand so that it never feels truly overwhelming.
Also, the side characters are just amazing--from love interest and all-around-awesome Kai, to the adorable Peony, to the absolutely wonderful Iko, to the again, terrifying Queen Levana. They're all really well formed/developed and all have their own distinct personalities, which isn't something you can always say for side characters in other novels. (Although admittedly many of the above characters are a bit more than side, really.)
I don't think there's much more to say about Cinder, because I'm pretty sure most of anyone who would be reading this review has read the novel already, and surely you know how awesome it is. The writing is strong, the character and relationship development are delightful, and the world-building is spectacular. Developing shocking plot twists may not be Meyer's forte, exactly (even though I'm not sure the twists in Cinder were intended to have a great amount of shock value), but I can say with a good amount of certainty having read also Scarlet that pretty much everything else is.
But again, most of you already know that. And if you don't, you should definitely get on that. You're seriously missing out.