Cinderella, But She’s a Cyborg | “Cinder” by Marissa Meyer [Retrospective Book Review]

Even in the Future the Story Begins with Once Upon a Time.

Title & Author: Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Series: The Lunar Chronicles (Book #1)

Length: 448 pages

Genres: Fantasy, Science Fiction, YA, Fiction

Release Date: January 3, 2012


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.

My Review

Then: ★★★★✯ • 4.5 / 5 stars

Now: ★★★★☆ • 4 / 5 stars

She was a cyborg, and she would never go to a ball.

I love this book so much. I first read it like… around five-ish years ago, I guess? Cinder was originally a 4.5 star rating, but then I read its sequel, Scarlet, which I liked even more, so I bumped it down half a star after I read that one. But it was 4.5 / 5 for a time.

(Glancing over it again, I still think it’s a 4 star book today, by the way. But it did change at one point, so that’s why the star ratings are different.)

Anyway, the book’s main character is Linh Cinder, a futuristic version of Cinderella, but with an actual personality and also happens to be a cyborg. I liked how smart and good with mechanical stuff, which was nice to see in a female character, and I really like how it tied her being a cyborg.

Prince Kai is TLC’s version of Prince Charming (he doesn’t have a name in the original version, to my knowledge). And he also has a personality. This is also a much less insta-lovey version of the original fairytale, which was also nice. I really liked how active he was in the plot, and how he had his own POV chapters.

It’s not just a sci-fi retelling of the classic story though. There’s definitely been a few other kinds of alterations here. Like Cinder’s stepsisters Pearl and Peony. Pearl is a pretty standard interpretation – she’s kind of a bitch. But Peony isn’t, and she and Cinder are actually quite close. I adored how sweet their relationship was. Cinder’s stepmother, Adri, is also closer to her original character, but she also has her reasons, even though she’s still a bitch.

My favorite alternation – and character, incidentally – was Iko, Cinder’s android BFF. She’s the definition of “being extra” before being extra was a thing. She’s sassy and funny. And let’s not forget horny. Very horny.

Cinder twisted up her lips. “Do you think it could have a virus?”

“Maybe her programming was overwhelmed by Prince Kai’s uncanny hotness.”

This quote here encapsulates the humor vibe for this book pretty well. (And this series, now that I’m thinking about it.) But there are series parts to the plot as well.

Dr. Erland is another character that I rather like. I liked his dynamic with Cinder, and how she kept sassing him. Erland is also a gray character, at least for most of the book, and you didn’t really know whose side he was on until the very end.

My favorite part of Cinder, though, definitely had to be all of the little bits of foreshadowing littered throughout the book for its sequels. An important character from later in the series has a cameo here, and another character here was introduced, whose name is a clue to their future role. And all kinds of other stuff.

Before I move on to my criticisms, I also wanna mention how good the writing is. Not only is the dialogue absolutely fantastic, but the prose and descriptions are also really great. I love the way that Marissa Meyer writes.

Vanity is a factor, but it is more a question of control. It is easier to trick others into perceiving you as beautiful if you can convince yourself you are beautiful. But mirrors have an uncanny way of telling the truth.

I didn’t really have any gripes with this novel, except for a thing or two. The first is that I wasn’t super into Cinder (the character). I didn’t hate her or anything – not even close! – she just seemed kind of like a generic sort of protagonist. I preferred Scarlet (the character), introduced in book two, as a protagonist.

The other thing is a bit spoilery, so if you don’t want to be spoiled skip this paragraph. *SPOILERS* I didn’t like how Peony was fridged. Though it wasn’t as soon as some fridgings I’ve read, I wish she had more time on the pages. *SPOILERS END*

So yeah, I definitely recommend Cinder to anyone and everyone, especially those who love the original fairytale. I love how the whole series flows together, and how it appears like the entire thing was mostly plotted out before all of the books were out. But yeah, read this book.

Thanks for reading and have a wonderful day/night!