Cinder by Marissa Meyer

cinder ★★★★☆
A Novel by Marissa Meyer
2012 / 387 Pages

Marissa Meyer’s debut novel introduces readers to Cinder, an adopted cyborg who is renowned for her mechanical repair abilities.  Hated and abused by her step-mother and step-sister, Cinder just wants to find a way to escape New Beijing forever.  But when the handsome and kind Prince Kai enlists her services to repair his beloved cyborg, Cinder finds herself in a very difficult position.  Prince Kai seems to be falling in love with Cinder, but she cannot let him know the true nature of her existence.  After all, cyborgs aren’t exactly respected in New Beijing, but Cinder knows that she is more human than robot.  Or is she?

When Cinder’s other step-sister (the nice one) falls prey to a deadly plague, Cinder becomes involved in medical testing and research designed to eradicate the disease that has already claimed thousands of lives.  But during the process, Cinder finds that she may not be an average cyborg after all.  In fact, she may be more extraordinary than anyone ever could have imagined.

A modern retelling of the Cinderella story, Cinder presents a dystopian alternative to the happily ever after tradition. While the plot is somewhat predictable, the book is still incredibly engaging and fast-paced.  I read the majority of it in one sitting, and as soon as I finished, I knew that I would soon need to get ahold of Scarlet, the sequel.  What has now been deemed The Lunar Chronicles, the story of Cinder is the first in a series of dystopian, sci-fi-spiced stories that feature other beloved fairy tale characters such as Little Red Riding Hood, Snow White, and Rapunzel.  While Cinder was originally geared toward a young adult audience, I’ve seen the book shelved in both adult and young adult sections of bookstores.  And I will happily admit that I enjoyed the novel just as much as any teenager would.

Folk tales and fairy tales have been retold in so many different ways, but as far as I know, Marissa Meyer’s version is quite unique.  It definitely won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but with elements of science-fiction, humor, romance, and mystery, Cinder’s strange and bizarre reboot would likely make Charles Perrault and the Brothers Grimm very proud.

About Karli Cude

Karli Cude, previous moderator of Hooked Bookworm, is an avid reader and former bookseller. She graduated from the University of Tennessee with a B.A. in English Literature in 2010 and completed a Master’s degree in Library and Information Sciences in 2013.