Good day Dear Readers,
So today I am going to be reviewing ~ Marissa Meyer’s debut novel: Cinder.
Cinder is the first book in The Lunar Chronicles, and is published by Feiwel and Friends, a division of Macmillan Publishers in 2012.
Do you love science fiction? Do you love Fairytales? Are you a young adult genre fan?
If you answered yes, than you’ll enjoy reading Cinder, a unique twist on the classic fairy-tale Cinderella.
I only came across it at my local bookstore in 2015. I will be honest with you Dear Reader, the book cover caught my attention and therefore compelled me to buy the book (as most book-cover’s make me do) *giggle. Something about a girl’s foot being bionic tickled my fancy!
However, attractive the book cover is I was pleasantly surprised by the way the story was written and Marissa’s unique twist of these classic fairy tales. This Novel was her debut Novel and received warm reviews.
The Wall Street Journal wrote that the book was an “undemanding and surprisingly good-natured read”.
Cinder was a New York Times bestseller!
Considered a young adult romance novel with dystopian and science fiction themes how can a story like that go wrong? Well, it could have! But Marissa wrote a rich set of characters in an amazing setting that pulls at your imagination and heart strings. You will sometimes forget that this is based on Cinderella’s story as the story drives you into new and fascinating situations and locations.
Fairy tales inspire the imagination in each generation and I personally believe the story can never grow old. I adore the classics: Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel and Snow White. So thank you Marissa for indulging your fancy and making these old stories come to new-life. If it wasn’t for your participation in a 2008 NaNoWriMo writing contest focusing on a futuristic “Puss in Boots” we would never have received The Lunar Chronicles.
Let’s meet the main character in this Novel, Cinder:
CINDER (LINH CINDER)
Birth date/place: Luna; December 21, 109 T.E., Sagittarius
Race: Lunar (mixed ethnicity—Asian/Caucasian?, tan skin, even more tan from walking everywhere)
Eye color: brown
Hair color/style: straight, fine, brunette, just below shoulders; often wears messy ponytails
Build: 5’8”, slender, few curves, almost boyish
Glamour: similar to Channary’s, breathtaking, she’s tempted to hide her cyborg parts but tries to fight it.
Style of dress: comfortable and utilitarian
First book: cargo pants, T-shirts, dirty gloves, boots, messenger bag, occasional tool belt
Ball: Peony’s silver dress, Pearl’s white velvet boots that lace over the ankles, stained white silk gloves with seed pearls on hem that Kai gave her Prison: White cotton jumpsuit, bulky and loose, no shoes.
Gloves: Cinder wears gloves exclusively for first book, usu. work gloves, but also thinner cotton gloves when not working. Kai gives her above-the-elbow white silk gloves with seed pearls on the hem for the ball.
Cyborg characteristics: “Her control panel, her synthetic hand and leg, wires that trailed from the base of her skull all the way down her spine and out to her prosthetic limbs. The scar tissue where flesh met metal. A small dark square in her wrist—her ID chip, the metal vertebrae along her spine, or the four metal ribs, or the synthetic tissue around her heart (two chambers made primarily of silicon mixed with bio tissue), or the metal splints along the bones in her right leg. Ratio: 36.28%.”
Has a latch in the back of her head that opens, revealing control panel beside brain (no brain tissue can be seen behind it).
Can’t blush because it keeps her from overheating, but she can sweat. Can’t cry because tear ducts replaced with prosthetic eyes.
Prostheses: steel in first book. Left leg to mid-thigh (calf includes hollow compartment), left ankle attached via screws and red and yellow (and multicolored) wires; left hand to wrist.
New limbs (beginning at end of book one): new hand and foot. Plated with 100% titanium, fingers include: flashlight, stiletto knife, projectile gun, screwdriver, universal connector cable. Twelve tranquilizer darts are stored in palm.
Linh Cinder is a cyborg living in New Beijing. This takes place after World War IV. Cinder lives with her stepmother Linh Adri and her two stepsisters, Pearl and Peony. Cinder is a mechanic and runs a booth in the market place. Cinder is often with her trusted companion Iko, the family android. Iko’s malfunctioned personality chip makes her (or it) more human-like and definitely more interesting.
As the reader, you will be pushed forward in time into a futuristic dystopian world, were humans and androids crows the streets, a deadly plague called “letumosis“ plagues the earth, and the Eastern Commonwealth is at the center of it all trying to rule and save it’s people, from the impending threat of Queen Levana the ruler of the Moon and her people the Lunars. Prince Kai the son of the King, Emperor Rikan. Kai will struggle between who to believe has he encounters Cinder and slowly discovers her identity, undenounced to even Cinder herself. One thing Cinder does know is that she does not want Kai to discover she is half Cyborg.
The story will unravel a non-stop science fiction adventure and Cinder will encounter a bunch of interesting characters, one of which is Dr. Erland, a Doctor who works at one of the labs. His role in Cinder’s life will become pivotal as he helps her understand and maintaining her cyborg self, all while keeping her secretes safe from the public.
Like the fairytale Cinderella, Cinder will also end up going to the Ball. We do see a romance blossom between Kai and Cinder, as he eventually invites her to escort him to the Ball, however we do not get any talking mice nor fairy Godmothers or enchanted pumpkins in this tale. Cinder is much more grittier, darker, sadder, a-star-wars-type of story. You can tell that the author was also heavily influenced by The Grimm Brothers’ story of “The Little Glass Slipper”.
Read the original story here: http://www.pitt.edu/~dash/grimm021.html
The Best Parts of this Novel
To some readers it may be the developing romance between Cinder and Prince Kai, it’s a case of opposites attract, her being from the lower class and him being Royalty. Cyborgs are treated as second class citizens which makes things even harder on the couple, not to mention Cinder’s big secret (which you have to read the book to discover).
For myself, the best parts of this Novel were illustrated between the relationship Cinder has with her younger step-sister Peony and Cinder’s endearing relationship with her android Iko. It’s not like the Disney Cartoon ‘Cinderella’ where she has a horrible relationship with her two step-sisters, in this novel Peony loves Cinder like a sister. Although, you do feel the animosity between Cinder’s step-mother and her other step-sister Pearl. Her step-mother finds Cinder a burden to her family and uses her as a house maid; also she is heavily prejudiced against Cinder for being half Cyborg. Her step-sister Pearl I find is jealous of her ingenuity and closeness with her sister Peony. You will discover that the relationship Cinder has with her younger step-sister is one of family, love and loyalty. All qualities that make a great young adult Novel and inspiriting to today’s youth. The same applies to Cinder and her friendship with Iko, even if Iko is a machine Cinder does not see her as such and that best-friend relationship blooms through the series. It’s just heart warming and interesting to see these two characters grow together.
“Something in Cinder’s face must have said enough, because Peony suddenly shrieked and lunged at her, wrapping her arms around Cinder’s waist and hopping up and down.
‘I knew it! I knew you liked him too! I can’t believe you actually met him! It’s not fair. Did I mention how much I hate you?’
‘Yes, yes I know,’ said Cinder, prying Peony’s arms off her.
‘Now go be giddy somewhere else. I’m trying to work.’
Peony made a face and skipped away, twirling amid the piles of junk.” ~ Cinder – Chapter 4 (page 39) Meyer
The Worst Parts of this Novel
First off, I really enjoyed this Novel and felt very excited that it was a series. I can’t state that I hated or disliked the story; it is like the Cinderella story but not really. I felt that basing this Novel as an adaptation was mostly a Novelty; at least that’s how I took it. It’s almost like a parody of what we know of the Cinderella story with sy-fy themes. This was all the craze in the book world when such popular Novels came out such as “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies” by Seth Grahame-Smith, that piggy-backed off the success from original novels of Jane Austen. I much rather would have liked the author to come out with an original idea instead of swinging it as BASED on a Fairy-tale. The entire world of The Lunar Chronicles is original enough, it didn’t need to be based on past themes, but I digress.
On a secondary note, I was not enthralled in the romance between Cinder and Prince Kai. It’s not that Meyer didn’t write well, I just did not feel the passion between them. The Chapter when Cinder and Kai first meet at the market is the only part that I felt their romantic chemistry. It’s probably because as a reader you don’t see Cinder and Kai interact a lot, and at the climax at the end of the story, you most certainly won’t feel the same feeling you did when you watched Disney’s Cinderella, (not to give away too many spoilers). There is a romance in this story, it’s just does not leave a very powerful impact. For me, the impact is discovering who Cinder is and was.
OWL BOOK RATING
Did Marissa Meyer create an interesting story? Yes! Did it have to be based on Cinderella? No! The image of Cinderella, her personality and demeanor did not translate to the character Cinder (the protagonist). My mind kept seeing a more sweet and delicate character as Cinderella as opposed to the tough, dirty and awkward Cinder. When I switched my mind set and looked at the story as is, and did not compare and expect the old Cinderella story, I started to really enjoy the Novel for what it is. The true villain is not Cinder’s step-mother Adri (again something you may expect based on the old tale) but Queen Levana . The Lunar story that will unfold is very interesting and reminded me a little of Salor Moon, a show that I read the author really admired and liked. Marissa really likes fairy-tales and her first short story was even based on “Puss in Boots” but with sci-fi themes. So it’s no wonder that she build her writing style based on these themes. There is a very comfortable place in the writing world for Marissa Meyer (being a New York Times Bestseller) and many people young and old will take a liking to her tall tales of sy-fy fiction with a fairy-tale twist! There is no Death star but the reader will be propelled into outer-space engines set to adventure!
Thank you for joining me today Dear Readers, please comment, rate and subscribe to my blog!
Stephanie Lise Groulx
❀ S.L.G ❀
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“Even in the Future the Story Begins with Once Upon a Time.”
― Marissa Meyer,
Love 4 the author ღㄨ
Web Site: http://www.marissameyer.com/
Graphic Novel: http://thelunarchronicles.com/