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on 8 January 2012
Marissa Meyer delivers a knockout with her story about Cinderella as you've never seen her before. 'Cinder' is a futuristic take on a traditional fairytale which is both inventive and truly original. I was incredibly excited about this book prior to publication even though I wasn't really sure what to expect from it. I started it one evening planning to read just a couple of chapters but ended up becoming so immersed in the story that I stayed up half the night reading. This is only Meyer's debut novel but it's ingenious and imaginative and an astounding and fascinating book that I ended up loving.

It's the first book in the Lunar Chronicles quartet which will be followed by other fairytale inspired tales including 'Scarlet' (Red Riding Hood), 'Cress' (Rapunzel) and 'Winter' (Snow White and the Seven Dwarves). I think I would have cried if I hadn't known that there was more to come!

'Cinder' is set in New Beijing where cyborgs and androids live among the human citizens. I thought the mixing of an old and well known fairytale with a futuristic backdrop was brilliant and so clever. Cinder herself is not your normal heroine, she's half human and half cyborg and is 'owned' by her step-mother Adri. Cinder is also a gifted mechanic and it's this occupation which leads to her meeting the handsome Prince Kai who is ignorant of what she really is. I enjoyed seeing the friendship between Kai and Cinder blossom and although Cinder keeps the fact that she's a cyborg secret from him, they share a number of intimate moments which leads to a level of trust and mutual respect to grow between them. I also liked the fact that the Prince isn't a snob and wants to get to know Cinder even though she isn't of the same standing as him. One obstacle in their path is the sinister Queen Levana of Lunar who sent shivers down my spine and literally drips evil off the page.

Meyer has assembled an engrossing and imaginative cast of characters, my favourite whom was Cinder herself. She's incredibly gifted and immensely loyal to the people she loves and cares about, including her android friend Iko and her step-sister Peony. She can be unconventional at times, stubborn and headstrong but I adored her and was rooting for her throughout. She often doesn't care about her own well being, as long as she can protect her friends and family.

One of the plot lines in the book involves the search for an antidote to Letumosis, a plague like disease which is rampant in the city and deadly to anyone who contracts it. This was really interesting and brings Cinder into contact with Dr Erland who holds the key to a number of secrets about her past as well as to her future happiness.

Many of the hallmark features of the Cinderella fairytale were here but always with a slightly quirky spin on them. For example, instead of a glass slipper there's a cyborg foot and instead of a pumpkin there's a hover car. There's also an evil stepmother and a wicked stepsister, plus a handsome Prince and a huge ball.

Although I did guess the big reveal quite early on in the book, it was still shocking when it eventually came and has set the stage brilliantly for the second book in this amazing series. I'm eager to get my hands on the follow-up and I only hope we won't be kept in suspense for too long.
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on 3 April 2014
Well. I feel sort of underwhelmed. This book seems to be quite popular and has been recommended to me numerous times. I guess I just expected more. Not to say that this a bad book, but I feel sort of meh about it.

First of all, let’s list the things that this book has going for it, because there were a few things that were potentially redeeming qualities.

First of all the book was well written, it was an easy pleasant read.

Second, the idea was great. I love fairy-tales and have developed quite a liking for all sorts of retellings. So Cinderella crossed with cyborgs sounded like a wicked idea. The other good part was that the Cinderella element was woven in quite well. There were a few times where it was obvious that the reader was meant to think that “Ah, this is the part from Cinderella”, but mostly it was very smoothly linked to the rest of the story, which by the way was intriguing.

Now there were a few things that bothered me. Sort of like a splinter under your skin, but less pleasant.

The cyborg/android part. Very underwhelming. I was hoping this book would have more of a sci-fi element, but it sounded like someone had read one too many smart-phone manuals. All the robotics parts seemed very hurried and not properly researched. And come on, Cinder fixed up an old-time (which means our time) car and we did not get even one scene where she actually worked on it!

Cinder. At the beginning of the book, I really liked her. I thought she was witty and fun. But she became one-dimensional very fast. I mean how can it be that she has never been interested in where she came from? Especially if all people carry ID-chips that should give her info, but presumably doesn’t? How can someone be so uninterested in themselves?

Kai. Well, I’ll give you that, he is like a real prince from the early Disney movies. As in absolutely brain-numbingly boring! I meant he is meant to be a ruler and he sounds like he sort of looks at everything like a bystander and keeps going: ”Aww, that is really not working out for you, is it?” Also, how he keeps saying to Cinder that he doesn’t want special treatment and then goes “Hey, I am a prince, give me special treatment.” Just give me a break.

And the biggest one. This was the single most predictable big surprise ever. I usually do not mind spoilers, because I am more interested in the story than the climax. But this was obvious from the very beginning and it was very easy to see how it will all work out. I mean try to throw some twists and turns into it. Give a little spice. This felt like walking into the same wall repeatedly and expecting it to turn into a door! It was a good but poorly executed idea.

I do not regret reading this, but I’m quite happy to put it back on my shelf and go find something juicier. Three stars. And that feels kind of generous.

---

This review is also on my blog:
[...]
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on 4 January 2012
4½ Out of 5
Cinder is the best mechanic in the kingdom. She's also a cyborg. A plague is sweeping through the land of New Beijing. A manipulative alien queen is trying to force young Prince Kai into a marriage alliance, threatening his kingdom with war. Cinder is stuck in the middle of it all, trapped by loyalties and her growing feelings for Kai. When the truth behind Cinder's mysterious past is revealed, it changes everything. Caught between love and hate, freedom and war, Cinder's actions could change the future forever...
Cinder, Cinder, Cinder. Where do I start? How do I describe the pure awesomeness that makes up this book? Imagine the Cinderella fairy tale. Now imagine it in a futuristic world, where Cinderella is a cyborg in a kingdom on the brink of war with a non-human race with freaky powers. There's also an incurable plague sweeping through the land. And throw in a gorgeous prince with an irresistible smile, just for luck... Ah, Cinder... loved it!
Cinder herself was someone I liked straight away. She was funny and sarcastic, as well as being totally awesome, with some really cool cyborg powers! Cinder was just a really sweet person, who didn't deserve any of the bad things that happened to her. She was also the perfect heroine: kickbutt, strong, witty, caring and not perfect. She was real. I loved her, and seeing her grow into herself.
And Prince Kai (our very own Prince Charming) was really sweet and kind and down to earth. And drop-dead gorgeous, obviously. I found him really funny and brilliantly sarcastic. And you just know that he would do anything for his people from the moment you meet him. I loved him: I mean, forget Prince Charming, I want me a Prince Kai!
Now, I just have to mention Iko, a little android with a unique personality. She was so cute! And funny. She was like a totally juvenile (and freakin' hilarious) teenage girl. I never thought I could love a little robot as much as I loved Iko!
The Lunas, the ones New Beijing was almost at war with were terrifying! They were more-than-human-humans, with freaky mind-controlling powers. They were the perfect `bad-guys', for lack of a better word: scary, imposing with an evil, manipulative queen...
Now, while I am aware this is a book, that the things in it are fantasy, the way the cyborgs were treated... it made my blood boil. They were taken, against their will, and used as guinea pigs. Treated like slaves, second class citizens. It was a brilliantly crafted mirror of what has happened in the past in some cultures.
Before I say anything else, can I just say: I loved this world! Cyborgs, androids, dashing princes, evil stepmothers. It has seriously got to be the best Cinderella twist EVER! And it was just insanely addictive, with a killer ending that has left me desperate for Book Two!
Although I managed to guess a few twists, I loved every turn Cinder took. I loved the plot, I was never bored. I was on the edge of my seat, unable to put it down. I fell in love with all the characters - the amazingly strong Cinder, the adorable Iko, the sweet Peony, the gorgeous Kai. I adored the relationships: the horrid one between Cinder and her stepmother, the amazingly slow and beautiful one between Kai and Cinder, the teacher-student bond between the brilliant Dr Erland and Cinder. I just loved every moment of Cinder and I've been left desperate to know what happens next. I need to get back into Cinder's world!
The writing was amazing. It was written so younger kids will love it, and instantly get stuck in, but so older readers can see some parallels between their world of the future and our past. Discrimination, plague, wars, forced alliances. Somehow Meyer managed to effortlessly weave the old with the new, the young and the old, the future and the past, science fiction and fantasy. O was just sucked in, absorbed in the story. Cinderella has been given a new lease of life in the brave Cinder, a kickbutt awesome heroine who most definitely trumps Disney's princess. And she felt real. Like I knew her, which is even more important for me. Meyer nailed it! In other, shorter words.
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Cinder is an orphan who was adopted by Garan when he was travelling in Europe and he brought her home to live with his family in New Beijing. Her stepmother Adri never wanted a new addition to the family and since Garan's death shortly after he returned with Cinder she has made her stepdaughter's life a misery. Cinder is a gifted mechanic - thanks to her cyborg abilities - and she is forced to work at the market to earn the money that the family need to survive.

I love fairytale retellings so as soon as I heard that Cinder gives Cinderella a futuristic sci-fi twist I knew I wanted to read it. I was caught up in the story from the moment I picked it up, Marissa Meyer has created a detailed and interesting world and one that I would have been happy to spend much more time exploring (yay for the fact there are going to be 3 more books in the series, although it's going to be a long wait to get my hands on them!). Set sometime after the fourth world war Cinder lives in a world of cyborgs, androids and hover cars. There is a worldwide deadly plague that is causing terror amongst the population, one with no survivors and that the scientists seem no closer to curing. I did find myself thrown out of the story a couple of times by the use of unfamiliar terminology but that was something I got used to and it didn't stop my enjoyment of the book.

What I loved most was Cinder's character, she is much stronger and less of a push over than poor Cinderella ever was. She may be treated terribly by her stepmother and her stepsister Pearl but she has a plan and she is determined to escape from their clutches. She is prepared to work hard, she doesn't sit around feeling sorry for herself and although she is a social outcast she still has confidence in her own abilities. I loved her relationship with her younger stepsister Peony who also happens to be her only human friend. Peony was the only member of Cinder's family that I didn't find myself wanting to slap or push off the top of a very tall building. She was a sweetheart and it was so nice that she didn't conform to everyone elses prejudices against cyborgs. I also loved Iko, their friendly household android with a faulty personality chip. Cinder, Peony and Iko together never failed to make me laugh with their crazy conversations. I liked Kai and I enjoyed the slowly developing romance with him and Cinder. I loved how flirtatious they were with each other and I really enjoyed the few chapters that we had from Kai's perspective. It would have been nice to have seen more from his point of view though because we didn't get to know him as well as I wanted to.

I haven't even mentioned the evil Queen Levana who is the ruler of the Lunars (the population on the moon). She was a ghastly character with some scary abilities and she has her sights set on taking over earth too! The plot is complex, there really are a lot of different things going on and I felt the pacing was great. I was never bored while reading, I enjoyed the world building (even though I am left with questions) and although I'd guessed one of the main twists there were still plenty of things that surprised me. I was a bit disappointed that we are left with such a huge cliffhanger ending though. I don't mind a bit of a tease for the next book but considering we have a year to wait for the next installment I really would have liked a few more things to have been resolved. Cinder is a strong debut and one that I would highly recommend to anyone who likes fairytale retellings and futuristic science fiction. I will be first in the queue to get a copy of the second book Scarlet (which is a retelling of Little Red Riding Hood) when it comes out next year!
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on 21 September 2013
Thank you forever, Marissa Meyer, for this book. Not only was it an extremely creative and enjoyable sci-fi retelling of Cinderella, but I was craving good young adult sci-fi for so long, and now I finally have found a great one.

I knew about this book for a long time, kept seeing the title on Goodreads, but something just kept holding me back. Though the idea (Cinderella is a cyborg) sounded interesting, at the same time it kind of gave me chills. But being a sci-fi fan, I finally decided I should check it out. And now I only regret not having read it sooner.

This book is awesome. First off, the world building is of the quality that reminds me why I love sci-fi. Just the whole concept of the Fourth World War destroying much of the world and the remaining countries unifying under new governments - brilliant! So believable and interesting. A plague, cyborgs, androids, hovers, ID chips, port screens - *sings* what a wonderful world. Having read so much YA recently, I don't know when I last read a book that truly took total advantage of the world the author created. But this world was beautiful, and that truly engages you to keep reading.

Cinder is an awesome heroine. To be honest, the Cinderella fairy tale was never one of my favorites. I especially just found her to be really boring. But Cinder is not that. She is strong, courageous, snarky, and stands up for what's right. Marissa gave her a really unique voice that I loved to read.

Kai somehow made the dreamy prince character even more dreamy. I really, really appreciate the times when the book sort of shifted to his point of view so we get that political angle in there. That really added a wonderful extra dimension to the story. And I love that there was no romantic melodrama - the romance really stayed on the side, which really fit the story.

The only thing I can say that's less glowing is that the big time sekrit reveal was the most obvious thing in the world. Especially when everyone and their mother is recommending this to Sailor Moon fans. *cough* I knew the second it was mentioned, around page 40 or something. That's not to say that it was less enjoyable to read, but the "must reach the ending" drive was kind of lacking.

But that all being said, I can confidently say this was a brilliant set up for the rest of the series. I'm eagerly awaiting the sequel, Scarlet, and anxious to return to this beautiful, interesting, and creative world.

Recommended for: *conformist* fans of Sailor Moon, fairy tales, and science fiction.
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on 25 July 2012
I heard a lot of buzz about this book on the blogosphere and saw many positive reviews. As i love anything to do with Fairy tales, and have really gotten into the whole world of re-tellings I thought I might as well try this one. I ordered it at the library and thought it took a while to come in I was still excited when it did. Although at the same time, slightly apprehensive - is a robot Cinderella going too far?
I sat down to read this when I got home from work on Tuesday afternoon, it didn't grab me immediately but it did pique my interest. I liked how the world was set up and a mixture of characters are introduced straight away, it means you get to know them and how they all interact together and the world becomes more 3D.
I found myself believing in Cinder, who she was and what she stood for, I got to know her personality and quirks quite quickly and I found myself being drawn in further.
The plot is fast paced and at times it felt like the book just flew by. I would look and suddenly be 100 pages further along in what only felt like minutes.
I will say this book was slightly predictable in places too though. At most of what I thought were supposed to be the 'shock' moments I had guessed what was coming for a long time. The mystery Princess for example - I had it figured out by page 120, and it's 'revealed' in the last chapter of the book. No great shocker to me!
This book is a very enjoyable, fairly easy read that does capture your attention and in some places your heart. It's not the best book I've ever read, but it certainly has it's moments and I would recommend giving it a go.

I look forward to reading the next part in the series and have high hopes for Marissa Meyer.
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on 12 March 2012
I really enjoyed the futuristic version of Cinderella; I loved the new world, full of robots and new technology that gave the story a very unique feel.

Cinder is definitely a tomboy and I loved that about her, she wasn't into fawning over the cute prince and fancy dresses she was much more interested in mechanics and anything that would gain her freedom. I liked her character's independence and how she had her dream of escaping but she was willing to put this in jeopardy for others; it made her likeable and relatable in my opinion.

I liked how old and new fused together with little parts of the original tale cropping up every now and then, I think it was the right balance for a retelling, where it didn't have to be exactly like it's classic counterpart.

The only problem I had with Cinder was, for me, it wasn't a compulsive read. It was not one of those books I stayed up until the early morning to read - I still wanted to know what happened and see where the story would eventually go but it didn't have me hooked.

Two interesting additions from the original story were the plague, it makes you think of the devastating effects illness can have on the population of a country and the classification of cyborgs as secondary citizens - to find a cure to the plague there is a cyborg draft, offering up cyborgs as guinea pigs; showing how differences (such as having metal limbs) are used against people. Cinder's step - mother was the epitome of intolerance that is breed with ignorance, with her believing cyborgs to be cruel and uncaring (Oh the irony!)

I loved the introduction of the Lunars, the creatures from the moon who possess incredible mind control abilities - Queen Lavana (The queen of the Lunars) was your typical tyrannical evil antagonist who had an unaffected scorn towards the humans of the Earth; it surprised me how much I liked the Lunars, I know they're evil but they are intriguing and I can't wait to learn more about them!

As far as romance goes, there isn't a lot and (surprisingly) I liked it that way. The scenes between Cinder and Prince Kai seemed genuine and well placed but weren't the focus of your attention. But I loved Cinder's friendship with her other sister Peony and with her

That was my favourite thing about the story- That Cinder, despite being confused as to who she is, where she came from and where she fits in, sticks to her guns and tries as hard as she can to get away from her wicked step - mother and doesn't need the help of a fairy god mother to do it.

Cinder, Marissa Meyer's debut novel, is a modern fairytale with a kick that I'd certainly recommend.
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on 12 March 2012
Cinder is cyborg and (cut the niceties) a slave. Her stepmother can't stand her and keeps her around as a source of income, which she makes as a mechanic at New Beijing's weekly market. Iko, an android with a programming error that gives her a lively personality and Peony, one of her stepsisters are her only friends. While removing her too-small foot and waiting for Iko to return with a new replacement she meets Prince Kai. He's looking for the girl everybody says is the best mechanic to fix his android Namsi for so-called sentimental reasons. Cinder's cyborg abilities senses His Imperial Highness isn't being truthful, but any reason why he's lying couldn't be very important. Right?

Cinderella is a cyborg! What isn't cool about that and the possibilities it brings to a very well-known story, which makes it new all over again.

I think I'm one of the few that wasn't a fan of the original Cinderella story as well as a lot of fairy tales as a child, but after reading the synopsis for CINDER I knew I'd love it and I do to the point I wish it was the original story. Personally, I don't see CINDER as a retelling. There are definitely moments you sense what book was the inspiration for the story, but Marissa Meyer has a unique take and doesn't follow the guidelines of the original story, which makes things unpredictable. There is also a lot more suspense and action than the story that inspired it. The fact the relationship between Cinder and Prince Kai is still developing and not instantaneous is another of the differences that I really enjoyed.

CINDER is a fascinating and richly imagined futuristic sci-fi fairy tale and I'm really looking forward to the next book in the Lunar Chronicles series.
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on 31 December 2011
My favourite part of Cinder was the world that Meyer has created to tell this fascinating story. The history of this futuristic universe is rich and thoroughly developed, which makes the sci-fi completely believable. The historical aspect of the novels was introduced by being woven into the story, and didn't feel out of place or forced.

The links to the fairytale of Cinderella were prominent, and yet they were not over the top. Cinder lives with her wicked stepmother and her two stepsisters. She has to work as an engineer to feed the whole family, while her stepmother spends her hard earned money on luxurious items. The prince is also present throughout, and we even have a mouse like in the Disney movie (kind of).

I was very intrigued by the Lunar colony, and I enjoyed reading about how those people were living. I loved their evil yet beautiful queen, and I cannot wait to see what happens with her in the next books in the series because she's a fantastic antagonist - and also pretty scary!

Cinder was a brilliant female lead. She was strong, reliable, and she doesn't give up. She's also able to look after herself, which is a great quality to have. She doesn't rely on her stepmother, or anybody else, which also adds a lot to her story. Cinder tries to hide her situation - or her cyborg-ness - from Prince Kai, and I was holding my breath waiting for him to find out about her. I felt so much love for this character, and I would have hated for her to get hurt because society doesn't accept cyborgs like her.

I wasn't too fond of the love interest, Prince Kai, because I didn't feel as though he was as well developed in comparison to Cinder. This left me a little bit disappointed, although that is probably because as a reader I was spoilt with the awesome Cinder, and I had very high expectations. Nevertheless, Kai is still pretty awesome, and it was really interesting when I had the chance to read from his point of view.

I absolutely cannot wait for the sequel to this novel. I look forward to seeing what Marissa Meyer can do next with both Cinder, and the other fairytales that are going to be woven into the upcoming stories. I'm dying to know where Meyer will take us next. She is a brilliant writer and I would recommend this book to everyone!
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on 15 March 2016
The internet has failed me. For YEARS I have seen the Lunar Chronicles books pass and while everyone seemed to love them, no one really told me why. And that's why I didn't read them until now. AND HOW I LOVED CINDER. Next time, please let me know when I'm blatantly ignoring a book series that I could be falling in love with - it's what the comment section of this blog is all about after all!

Cinder is the story of the future world where a cyborg mechanic named Cinder meets the prince of her country in a most crucial historical time. Cinder is, like her fairytale namesake, stuck with a stepmother that hates her and one evil stepsister, but surprisingly also one nice one. When the prince asks her to fix something for him, she's suddenly thrown into a major medical problem which is basically the future version of the plague. Mechanics aside, the real problem is is whether a cyborg can help a human being, and a prince at that, save the world.

Now the first 50 pages of CInder had me in belief that fantasy isn't for me and that I wouldn't enjoy reading this book after all. We're introduced to Cinder and for me, the whole "she's not like other girls" vibe was just laid on too thickly. We get it. YA narrators are never like other girls and are special little snowflakes. But then again, they are not because they do things other girls will do and most importantly, what's wrong being like other girls? That pet peeve put aside, I struggled through these pages and after them, I was completely hooked.

I'm still on the fence of Cinder as a character. She shows some amazing moments, but sometimes she just read too generic for me. I like the play on the original Cinderella character; not only is Cinder poor, she's also a cyborg while the prince is a human which is something just not done in that world. It made the divide between the two characters bigger and more believable when Cinder insists on constantly lying to the prince. However, at times I felt that Cinder was just kickass just to be kickasss. It was fake and out of character, but since there are more books in this series, I'm very excited to read them so I'll get a better grasp on her as a character.

A character that I did fall in love with is Lunar princess Levana who is just AMAZING. She's mean, cunning, intelligent and beautiful - exactly everything I want my villain to be. She doesn't hesitate to do whatever she needs to do to get what she wants and she manipulates absolutely everyone in the process. I loved how brutal she is and I can't wait to read more about her story in the other books.

Overall, this book was far from perfect. Cinder is an average character and the big plot twist at the end is something most readers will see coming before the halfway mark. However, I LOVED this book. I can see all its flaws and I can discuss them and yet I still absolutely adored it. It was just so much fun to read and so easy to escape in the world that Marissa Meyer created. This book really transported me from my own life to Cinder's and I think that's an amazing achievement for any book - so just for that reason, I can't give this less than 5 stars.
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