Review: CINDER (Lunar Chronicles #1)

CinderBy: Marissa Meyer
Publisher: Feiwell and Friends
Year: 2012
Genre: Sci-Fi
Rating: 3/5
Buy it here!

Official Description
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.

Spoiler-Free Thoughts

For the first time in a long time I can firmly say that a book was a solid 3/5. I really liked this book, but I didn’t love it. It was gripping enough to hold me the whole time, but I wasn’t ever completely hooked on every word. Not being too familiar with the original Cinderella fairy tale (*gasp*, I know) probably lessened the impact of the story for m, but I found the book highly enjoyable all the same. 

CINDER follows the story of cyborg mechanic Cinder as she is volunteered to be tested on to find a cure for the deadly letumosis disease in New Beijing. Her story (as well as the expanded story of the world) is very interesting, and the writing is extremely engaging, but for me this book was lacking that final… final something. I don’t know exactly what, but I felt like this book just needed a little something more.  

As I said, though, this book was very good, and I’m excited to get to the rest of the series! 

(Rest of review contains spoilers!)

Full Review

A lot of reviews I’ve seen of this book seem to dislike Kai, complaining that the chapters from his viewpoint are too political and boring, that his character isn’t charming at all. I disagree I think that his chapters, while politic all, are very entertaining. Maybe that’s just me being a fan of politically driven novels (especially politically driven sci-if and dystopians), but I thought the world holding in Kai’s chapters was one of the strongest aspects of the novel. Kai becoming emperor after his fathers death added an entire new layer to the book, and his conferences with Torrin and Queen Levana made me more eager to read on than some of Cinder’s chapters. 

Cinder herself was somewhat of an annoying character in my eyes. I liked her enough to root for her, but some of her actions had me rolling my eyes and cringing (see: returning to the palace after the Doctor told her not to…) I didn’t understand her motives at some points, because they seemed to come out of the blue. She found a car, took it home and fixed it, and planned to run away? Understandable, but not built up enough for me! And talking about her character; the ‘Cinder is Princess Selene’ plot twist was one of the most obvious plot twists I’ve ever read! As soon as it was mentioned that people believed Selene was still alive I knew th she was Cinder. 

There were two real ‘deaths’ in the novel and both of them were fairly sad. I never thought that Peony was really going to die, but I’m glad that when she did Cinder was composed and rational enough to give the antidote to the other kid who was suffering from the disease. And then when Cinder found Iko’s removed personality chip… That was the saddest scene for me! 

And finally, I have to comment on the main antagonist: Queen Levana. The discussion of the Luna society was what extremely interested me, and Levana’s personality and attitude completely fits that of an evil dictator villain. 


In the end, I did very much enjoy this book. It was entertaining enough to keep me interested from beginning to end, but it was still missing a factor for me. Credit to Marrisa Meyer though for taking such a well-known and much-loved fairy tale and adapting it into this highly enjoyable sci-fi retelling! I can’t wait to get to the rest of the series!



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