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

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

Genres: AU, Retelling, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Publication date: January 3, 2012
by Feiwel and Friends


Amazon | Book Depository

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.

Well, that was an unexpectedly good read! I was at first hesitant to touch this from the fact that the recent Dystopian YA novels I read were not that satisfying, and I didn’t want to be disappointed again, but thank goodness I braved my heart and tried this one, because it’s definitely better than many out there that I had the unfortunate chance to read.

I absolutely adored the writing of this book, especially the world building and the delivery of the political dilemmas that fortunately take place majority of the time (Which I really appreciate, as I’ve come across a couple of romance-heavy books who guise themselves as “Dystopian”). The author has written the world in such a way that I could actually picture it in all its detailed glory in my mind. Some writers overdo it with a lot of similes and sugar-coated words, but not Ms. Marissa Meyer. She has written in a manner that even though there may be pages of details, you still cannot get enough of it and want to read more. I believe this may be credited to the structured flow of the narration – natural and not forceful. The information is not imposed on the reader and that itself makes a lot of difference when it comes to the reading experience.

As for the dialogues, while the are not perfect, they still deliver. I haven’t encountered anything that made me cringe or roll my eyes. There may have been some cheesy interactions between the Prince and Cinder, but nothing to make a big deal of. Like the narration, they didn’t seem forced, and were actually natural, which can also be said the same for the romance between the two. It greatly annoys me when two people fall in love with each other quickly, because I know in real life that it takes time for people to truly know and love each other for who they are, so I was very happy to see that it wasn’t the case in this book – the escalation of their romance was slow, yes, but steady, and very… unpretentious? It made me appreciate Cinder more, especially when she found out some revelations about her true self and how this would affect the Prince’s perception of her… that totally pulled my heart strings and made me feel for her. *sniff*

One thing to consider here is that the first book is basically a retelling of Cinderella (Cinder, ahem?) in a… well… mecha-ish world. With cyborgs and androids and stuff. It’s a very cool concept, original even, and something actually hard to pull off properly because it depends a lot on the world building. Fortunately, since I’ve already stated that Ms. Meyer is an astounding writer, she was able to pull it off amazingly well. All the elements that are needed in a Cinderella story are there while they still, at the same time, remain faithful to the world Ms. Meyer has constructed. Yes, there are stepsisters and a stepmother who can be frustrating and condescending; yes, there is a Prince worthy enough to be swooned; yes, there’s the ball, the dancing, and the dresses; yes, there is the shoe that gets left behind… they are all there and MORE! I assure that this isn’t just a retelling, it’s a reconstruction of the fairytale that will leave you surprised and hungry for more! Usually, adaptations of original works can make people uneasy, but not this one. It went beyond.

The characters aren’t your ordinary characters as well (okay, fine, maybe the stepmother and the antagonists- evil are still evil), and Cinder is a heroine that anyone can sympathise with especially in regards to the conditions she was forced to grow up in, but she is also a character that can amaze anyone and inspire them especially on how she took the problems and revelations that life threw at her. She had lived a difficult life, but instead of giving in and succumbing to it, it made her stronger and a better person. She knew what she wanted and had her goal set at it. Her sidekick, Iko, was definitely a joy to read, too, as well as the rest – evil or not.

Now what I liked the best here are the political dilemmas. In my opinion, a dystopian cannot be called a dystopian without some form of politics, because dystopian basically means a reconstructed society. Back to Cinder, the politics here while predictable were still a joy to read, because, hey, at least there are some, right? But the best thing about it is the politics is NOT a background, it’s what MOVES the story. Basically, the politics IS the story, and Cinder, Prince Kai, Dr. Erland and the others unfortunately have been mixed up in it. Because of this and the chain of events that happened, the novel became even more exciting to me as it’s not just a matter of “what will happen to Cinder and Kai?” but also of “what will happen to the world?”

To wrap it all up, it’s a great Science Fiction, Dystopian novel and is meant to be read by people who want to know the ingredients to what makes an awesome Young Adult story. All the necessary elements are there with a bit more of sugar and spicy to make things thrilling. The ride is not over yet, though, and I impatiently wait for the next novel!

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A 21 years old Filipina who loves books, games, languages, and most especially, food. Secretly wishes to be an astronaut so she can explore the stars. Has a love-hate relationship with Philippine politics. To get in her good graces, offer her Foie Gras, Or shrimp. Or a JRPG. A YA sci-fi book works, too. You can follow her on twitter here: @kawaiileena


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  1. says

    I’ve read this book recently and ASDFGHJKJL! It really lives up to the hype. Marissa Meyer wrote such a brilliant book. And I kept on thinking about Prince Kai. *dreamy sigh* And I totally agree with you about Cinder and Kai’s romance build up. Yes, it was slow but it didn’t annoy me since Marissa made it so natural for them to interact and I was thankful that t’was not another case of insta love. :) Awesome review, by the way.