For What It's Worth

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Review: Cinder (Lunar Chronicles #1) by Marissa Meyer

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. (YA)

Review:

Cinder is one of those books that had me hanging on every word one minute but then I was able to set it aside for a few days the next.

It starts out fantastic when we are plunged into the crazy cool world of futuristic New Bejjing and meet a truly unique protagonist in Cinder.

"The screw through Cinder's ankle had rusted, the engraved cross marks worn to a mangled circle. Her knuckles ached from forcing the screwdriver into the joint as she struggled to loosen the screw one gritting twist after another. By the time it was extracted far enough for her to wrench free with her prosthetic steel hand, the hairline threads had been stripped clean."

“I’m sure I’ll feel much more grateful when I find a guy who thinks complex wiring in a girl is a turn-on.”

At first I was utterly enchanted with this retelling of Cinderella. Who wouldn't be? Cinderella as a gifted mechanic cyborg with a metal foot replacing the glass slipper, her Prince Charming - Kai, forced to rule his country before he is ready, a dash of dystopian with a steampunk vibe in a plague ravished New Bejjing plus a potential war with the Lunars from the Moon Empire.

Then about halfway through the blending of genres weighed down the story. The dark gritty overtones that I enjoyed early on clashed with the pivotal lead up to the "ball". It felt forced to me. As in Cinderella, the ball is where all the various threads are tied together and it felt like no matter how bad things were getting around them people kept getting sidetracked by this ball as a chance to snag a dance with Kai. There are a lot of interesting concepts going on that I felt didn't have the time to be fully explored in this novel. Particularly the alien Lunar people. I also didn't feel like the author utilized the setting of futuristic Bejjing very well. Aside from a few references to things like bonsai and emperors  there wasn't much to immerse me in this unique culture and setting. I almost felt like the story was taking place in the US at times.

There is a big mystery as to who or what Cinder really is but most readers could guess the truth very early on with the heavy dose of foreshadowing. I'm not sure if that was the authors intent but it took away some of the mystery and interest for me as a reader.

The story is told mainly from Cinder's point of view with occasional chapters from Kai and other characters POV's. Everyone is quite likable/interesting. Kai and Cinder have a slow blossoming relationship which was nice but almost everyone was just ok in my opinion. I wasn't irritated by anyone but there wasn't anyone who stood out for me either except for Iko, Cinder's funny cyborg BFF.

The ending really amps things up and is a bit of a cliffhanger but a tolerable one. I particularly liked Kai's reactions to the fallout out from the ball. It wasn't your typical YA hero response but was more realistic to me.

Rating: 3 out of 4 I honestly can't say anything bad about the story or the writing. Cinder is a good book that I think will appeal to most readers but for some reason it just didn't grab me and hold my attention. I would probably read the sequel at some point just to see where the story goes.

Listen to the first chapter of Cinder below! Read by Rebecca Soler and available at audible.com



Marissa Meyer: blog | Twitter
Source: Provided by the publisher - Feiwel & Friends for my honest review
Buy the book! Amazon

19 comments:

  1. I've heard great things about Cinder. It's nice to read a review that isn't just raving. Isn't it frustrating when a book everyone else loves isn't 100% for you? I'm not sure how I'll feel about it but I can see the genre getting in the way a bit.

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    1. I think it was a good book - it just didn't blow me away as much as it did for others. Still worth reading :-)

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  2. Glad you enjoyed this read, I've heard lots of good things about it. Not too sure if its my cup of tea or not as I'm usually not too keen on the retelling of my childhood favourites ..... still, never say never, I may well give this one a chance.

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    1. The retellings have been fun but I haven't found one that worked really well for me mainly because they seem to mix up to 5 genres in one book & it gets to much imo.

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  3. I am intrigued, and at the same time I do not know. Tricky. But it sounds cool, lol, I am so torn

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    1. I think it's worth giving it a try. A lot of people really loved it. I can be a fussy reader :-)

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  4. Wonderful, Karen. I totally get where you're coming from. I did guess some thIngs early on which really excited me, but now that I read your review, I realize when those things were actually revealed, I was less excited because I already knew.

    I'm interested in the next book, but I'm also a little wary now that I know it's going to mix in another fairy tale character. It makes me wonder if it will be too cluttered and how the rest of Cinder's story could possibly be played out.

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    1. I think the BIG reveal was so obvious that she probably meant for it to be that way but it took some of the mystery away for me but still it is a super cool concept.
      That sequel makes me a little nervous too. There is so much left up in the air at the end of Cinder.
      Thanks for your comment - I know you enjoyed it - I read your great review for it the other day.

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  5. I just finished Cinder and will be reviewing it on my blog next week. I probably liked it better than you seemed to, though. I guess I kind of figured out who/what Cinder is about halfway through...maybe a bit later, but it didn't ruin the story for me. Maybe because I haven't read a lot of this genre, but the whole thing fascinated me. I can't wait for the next one! I enjoyed your review.

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    1. I have been reading a few of these retellings and multiple genre in one books recently so maybe that played a part in it.
      I really loved the whole idea of Cinder being a cyborg and the dystopian elements.
      I'm not even sure why but I lost interest when we didn't learn more about Kai and the Lunars and the story veered more towards the fairy tale side. I did like the ending though so I would probably check out the next book.

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  6. Great, honest review. I actually have a comment on the foreshadowing bit about Cinder. I figured "it" out in the first forty five pages. =/ I was a little sad about it, but at the same time, I was really interested in seeing where the author would take Cinder on her journey.

    The sequel actually scares me a bit. I don't know if there will be any more of Cinder's story. From the synopsis, it doesn't sound like it. But I don't know.

    Again, great review.

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    1. That sequel makes me nervous too. So much was left hanging for Cinder and Kai but maybe the people who help them will be from a different fairy tale?? I guess that could be cool. I just hope the story isn't spread too thin.
      I didn't love Cinder but I enjoyed it enough to see what happens next.

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  7. I was initially drawn to Cinder b/c of the cover (shallow, I know). Once I read the synopsis, I had a strong suspicion this book is not for me. I'm not the biggest fan of dystopian to begin with, but when you add all the other pieces, it just sounds like too much for me.
    Great review, as usual!

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  8. Wonderful review! I can't wait to read this one I just bought it last week. :D

    Giselle
    Xpresso Reads

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  9. Yeah, it sounded intriguing but a gritty sci-fi dystopian cyborg fairytale rebbot with an Asian setting seems like it might be straining the limits of plausible genre-crosses.

    Love ya!

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  10. Great review! I'm going to a Marissa Meyer signing on Thursday but I haven't read it yet.


    bookluvrmindy
    Magical Urban Fantasy Reads

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  11. Thanks for the review. I don't think this one's for me though.
    Ann

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  12. OMG yes! LOVED LOVED LOVED Cinder. Cliffhanger and all. The queen is such a good villain, i like her! can't wait for the next 3 books in the series :))

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