Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Aug 7, 2013

This book is set in futuristic New Beijing, in the year 125 T.E., at time when humans, cyborgs, and androids all coexist.

Summary (no spoilers)
Prince Kai wants to get his android Nainsi fixed—by none other than the most gifted mechanic in New Beijing, Cinder! But while in the local junkyard looking for pieces of metal to use with her stepsister, Peony gets letumosis, or the plague as it’s known, a sickness that is spreading like wildfire across the Eastern Commonwealth. Adri sends Cinder to the cyborg draft, where scientists use cyborgs to test for cures for the plague. That’s when everything changes….

Cinder, the 16-year-old protagonist, is the most gifted mechanic in New Beijing, and an adopted cyborg from Europe with an ambiguous childhood.
Iko, Cinder’s android with a unique personality, is also Cinder’s best friend.
Peony is Cinder’s stepsister who is a victim of the plague. She is also the excuse that Adri has to get rid of Cinder.
Prince Kai is the prince of the Eastern Commonwealth, as well as being Cinder’s love interest.
Dr. Erland is the head researcher for the cyborg draft with a secret of his own.
Adri is Cinder’s stepmother who despises her cyborg stepdaughter.
Queen Levana, the Lunar Queen, who is an enemy of the Eastern Commonwealth.

This book is a modern retelling of Cinderella. As such, the plot at some points became a little bit predictable. However, I really liked how only one of Cinder’s stepsisters was mean, as opposed to both in the original Cinderella fairytale. Although I believe Cinder was a fantastic book, there were a few confusing parts. For example, once, Dr. Erland was explaining something to Cinder (I’m trying not to spoil too much), and Cinder just took a long time to process this information. Instead of coming off as being shocked speechless, however, Cinder just seemed a bit unresponsive.

Also, I wasn’t satisfied with the ending. I understand why Marissa Meyer made it into a series (with this subject matter, who could resist?), but I still expected some sort of closure. And so the ‘cliffhanger’ ending became more like a marketing gimmick, instead of a literary prop. And if the next book in the Lunar Chronicles, Scarlet, stars a different fairytale main character (namely, Red Riding Hood), how will there ever be enough space for Meyer to tell Cinder’s ending AND Scarlet’s story?! With a series like this one, with each book starring a different protagonist (while, admittedly, the same antagonist), I would have expected there to be a fifth and final book explaining what happens when the four girls join forces (as in the juvenile fantasy series Sisters Eight). I guess I’ll just have to read the rest of the series—when it comes out—to find out!!