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Cinder: Book One in the Lunar Chronicles by…

Cinder: Book One in the Lunar Chronicles (edition 2012)

by Marissa Meyer

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
2,3433752,683 (4.1)1 / 308
Title:Cinder: Book One in the Lunar Chronicles
Authors:Marissa Meyer
Info:Feiwel & Friends (2012), Hardcover, 400 pages
Collections:Your library, Read but unowned
Tags:science fiction, fairy tales, dystopia, young adult

Work details

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

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English (370)  Italian (1)  Spanish (1)  French (1)  All languages (373)
Showing 1-5 of 370 (next | show all)
[Cross-posted to Knite Writes]

This book was a fun read, I thought, but it had a pile of issues.

While the pacing of the book is pretty quick and never drags, the plot itself leaves a lot to be desired. The foreshadowing is so overdone, so obvious, and so often repeated that none of the major “twists” actually end up a surprise. Especially the main twist at the end — I’m not even sure why it was set up to be a “big reveal” at all, given the sheer amount of time spent discussing the topic beforehand.

On a different note, many areas of the story were sorely underutilized. Parts that could have been exciting action sequences were reduced to short asides, and far too many interesting occurrences were glossed over over in summary form to make room for scenes that didn’t add much to the story. Worst of all, while the story moves fast, for sure, it doesn’t really move anywhere — most of the plot didn’t push the story forward, and as the book wound to a close, I realized (with horror) that Cinder suffers from the dreaded “prologue book” syndrome. This book basically acts as a minimal effort setup for the “more exciting” sequel instead of standing on its own as a strong, well-designed novel.

Overall, I found the plot of Cinder lackluster and poorly constructed.

The characters didn’t do much for me either. Many of them fell under the banner of absolute good or evil, and the ones who didn’t were either minor characters or woefully inconsistent in their presentation. Cinder, as a protagonist, was all over the place — sometimes, she came off as capable, other times far too childish and naive for her age (and her apparent life experience). Kai, as a love interest and a Prince, fell flat for me — he was too often used as a mechanism to get a more in-depth look as Levana. His actual personality and development were compacted into too few scenes, and he had very little emotional depth.

Finally, there was Levana — the evil queen. And that’s all she was. Evil for, apparently, evil’s sake. My least favorite kind of villain. I found her presentation…not particularly compelling, to say the least. She could have been far more complex and interesting, but instead, she was cast as the default “pure evil” bad guy.

So, poor plot and poor characters. Yikes. But it does get worse:

By far, my biggest problem with this story was the world-building. Excuse me: what world-building? All the world-building in this story was tissue-paper thin. Everything was superficial. What could have been the sort of brilliantly vibrant and weird future society that the most imaginative of SFF books explore was instead reduced to a few key pieces of technology (androids, cyborgs, future cars) and some throwaway lines about altered country boundaries, a fourth World War, and a plague.

I was so disappointed by the lack of proper world-building in this story — because the premise sounded excellent. And I could see the foundation for a ton of awesome world-building throughout the book…but it never came to fruition. It all fell to the wayside in favor the breakneck pacing and the frivolous plot details. In the end, the book leaves the reader with a very indistinct picture of the world — and an even more indistinct picture of the weird Moon society supposedly threatening the world. I would have really loved to learn the history of that. But I didn’t get the chance to.

All in all, this book is definitely a case of “Cool idea! Poor execution.” Obviously, a lot of imagination went into creating the ideas behind this book, but most of those ideas were never fleshed out in the actual story. As a result, the book failed to impress me on pretty much every front.

Really, the only redeeming quality of this book is that, at its core, it’s a fairly quick, fun read. It’s not horrible, really. But it just doesn’t do, well, anything, to stand out and become a great book. ( )
  TherinKnite | Oct 7, 2014 |
Such a great story! While this is based on the Cinderella story, there is so much more to it. Themes of racism, inequality, fear, disease, oppression... We had a wonderful time discussing it in our teen book club, and I look forward to our club discussing more of the books in the series!

Highly recommended.

From Book Obsession: http://bookobsessiongpl.blogspot.com/2014/09/kearstens-book-club-cinder-by-maris... ( )
  kayceel | Sep 30, 2014 |
3.5 stars.

What I appreciated:
Solid writing
The political dilemmas
A heroine with brains and skills
The natural (i.e. unforced) romance
It's Firefly/Serenity meets I, Robot. I loved both.
Great characters (Iko is a very human-like robot with an adorable personality and the stepmother as the villian is someone you can sometimes sympathise with.)

What I didn't like:
Did it have to be a retelling of Cinderella? It lends far too much predictability to the story, making certain things too obvious to anyone familiar with the fairy tale. It led me to spot things as early on as 11% in and get frustrated by how slow the heroine gets to the same conclusions I did.

I had to figure out for myself what it meant to be a cyborg through Cinder's experiences but I have no idea if she's "normal" compared to others considering her unique programming and her being Lunar. This lack of knowledge also made it difficult for me to understand how human the cyborgs were, despite the law's dim view on the matter.

The cliffhanger. I'm not opposed to it here exactly as it wasn't painful but the ending left me empty and asking "was that it?" And knowing the sequel doesn't just follow Cinder but introduces Scarlet (a.k.a. Little Red Riding Hood), I'm a little wary about how things will progress.

I really wanted this to be a 5-star read and perhaps if Cinder was an all-encompassing stand alone without the Cinderella link (and the associated predictability), it would've been. ( )
  Cynical_Ames | Sep 23, 2014 |
The Basics

Cinder is a cyborg living under the thumb of her wicked adoptive mother. In the world she lives in, she's considered barely human, and she dreams of a day when she can be free. When her sister falls ill with the mysterious plague that has befallen New Beijing, Cinder discovers she might be the cure. Mix in a ball and a prince, and her life gets pretty complicated.

My Thoughts

This book is beloved, so I am not going to be too popular on this one. Where do I even start? There was so much wrong with this story that I can't even find a place to begin. Yet let's try.

Problem the first: the world building in this book is atrocious. That really is its worst problem, I feel. Such random information is plopped into the story without proper expansion on the very important whys, making this possibly the thinnest, softest science fiction novel ever written. Disregard the idea that maybe you need some science in your science fiction story. How about just some proper history for this future world? A third and fourth world war are both mentioned, but not how they started or who was fighting who or how it's possible that our planet could even remotely survive two more world wars. It's like she's never heard of nuclear weapons.

There's a colony on the moon (already there are so many problems with that) where everyone apparently has super powers (and it gets worse), and there is no explanation as to how that happened. Are we to assume they fiddled with their own bodies in a lab until they became crazy psychics? HOW? How even are these powers meant to work? She throws out things that sound more like magic than science but insists they are science and yet never elaborates. No, I didn't find that mystical and charming. I found it downright irritating.

Why does New Beijing have no cultural identity at all? Is that a byproduct of the wars? Why are cyborgs hated? It seems to me that the cyborg technology in place is meant to be a futuristic version of replacing lost limbs. Would people genuinely rather see the disabled in wheelchairs than with cyborg parts? Why? It's never said cyborgs are dangerous, so why are they discriminated against? When you can't even properly illustrate a social construct in your world, you're not even trying.

I walked away with so many questions that I knew would never be answered. There was not going to be a sequel that bound all this together and made me realize the depth of the story, and I could tell. This book exists on "rule of cool", the idea that if it's cool enough, it doesn't need any depth. I felt that every time I was demanding answers of this book that it was telling me to shut up and enjoy the ride, but if it's not a very good ride in the first place, I can't do that.

There needed to be something here to latch onto, and there wasn't. No well-developed characters I cared about. A thin story. Generic, unimpressive writing. It wasn't even fast paced. We also have the boring, blushy romance with a male lead that I felt absolutely nothing for, who even managed to make himself seem like a total tool by the end of the story. And a cliffhanger that was frustratingly unnecessary, seeing as how the first book didn't hook me enough to want to keep reading.

With the amount of vitriol I'm spitting, why not one star? I can't believe that I might actually be giving a book a pity star, but I think I am. It's so bad, it deserves my sympathy.

Final Rating

2/5 ( )
  Nickidemus | Sep 18, 2014 |
This is an obvious case of how having very high expectations of something sucks.
Cinder is a fairytale retelling of Cinderella, only in the future, and Cinder doesn't go to the ball in a pumpkin, but in a car from our own days. And she's a cyborg. And part of her is a robot. And there's no godmother. But the mean stepsisters and stepmother are in the scene aswell, followed by the awesome prince Kai who is fascinated by Cinder for like - absolutely no reason.
I loved the setting this was put in. The main plot is without a doubt, a breathe of fresh hair and originality. This was probably the book I was most excited to read - like - ever. Because it touches a subject I, as a child, and even now adore. Fairytales. The Disney princesses were a huge part of me growing up, and when I hear about a story set in the future with robot Cinderella, I must read it. The beggining didn't motivate me one bit. If I wasn't so eager to actually give it a go I would have probably dropped the book. I started getting into it after a while. I got used to the writing style and managed to follow the narrative, which sometimes would surprise me but at others bore me. And I must admit, throughout the whole book, you just know what will happen. YOU KNOW.
Cinder wasn't much of a likeable character, not to me at least. Her attitude regecting everything around her was getting on my nerves. Don't escape Cinder. Stand up for yourself. Don't constantly weep (although she couldn't, I know that's all she would have done). I believe in you. You have potential...
There were good aspects, of course. So much creativity was put into the story, it's just a shame it maybe wasn't handled the best way. Nevertheless, I can't wait to order the following book in the series, Scarlett. This series has much more to give and I can't wait to take a look at all the new adventures! ( )
  sarafwilliams | Sep 13, 2014 |
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For my grandma, Samalee Jones, with more love than could ever fit into these pages.
First words
The screw through Cinder's ankle had rusted, the engraved cross marks worn to a mangled circle.
Book One: While her sisters were given beautiful dresses and fine slippers, Cinderella had only a filthy smock and wooden shoes.
Book Two: There was no bed for her, and at night when she had worked herself weary, she had to sleep by he hearth in the ashes.
Book Three: "You want to go to the festival, all covered in dust and dirt? Be we would only be ashamed of you!"
Book Four; The prince had the stairway smeared with pitch, and when Cinderella tried to run away, her left slipper got stuck.
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Book 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.

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As plague ravages the overcrowded Earth, observed by a ruthless lunar people, Cinder, a gifted mechanic and cyborg, becomes involved with handsome Prince Kai and must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect the world in this futuristic take on the Cinderella story.… (more)

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