Cinder – Marissa Meyer
Fans of Marissa Meyer laughed at the premise of Cinder (the first novel to The Lunar Chronicles). Cinderella, re-imagined as a cyborg, it couldn’t work, surely? Incredibly, Meyer pulls it off and Cinder is an exhilarating read from beginning to end.
Set in a dystopian world after the disastrous consequences of the fourth World War, humans and androids live harmoniously in the crowded streets of New Beijing – that is unless you’re a cyborg.
Cinder, although a brilliantly gifted mechanic, is a cyborg and therefore classed as a second-class citizen. Owned by her step-mother, she is blamed for her beloved stepsister’s sudden illness, resulting in her being thrown into experimentation for the cure to a deadly plague.
As her life becomes intertwined with the handsome, soon to become Emperor, Prince Kai’s, she finds herself at the centre of an intergalactic struggle and forbidden attraction. Finding out she’s immune to the plague, with Kai pushing her to attend the ball with him, she continues to conceal that she is cyborg out of fear. But when the ruthless Lunar people come to Earth, awaiting their moment to announce a war, Cinder finds herself caught between duty and freedom.
Only Cinder can uncover the secrets of her own past in order to save the world’s future.
We have the ability to love each other, no matter our differences.
Marissa Meyer’s Cinder is stunningly written. She has succeeded in creating a high fantasy world that is exciting, completely unique and utterly engrossing. The world itself is brilliantly relatable, and although dystopian, easy to imagine. This ensures that the reader is immediately gripped from the moment they delve into New Beijing. The addition of new technologies and inventions is a clever nod to many scientists’ ‘vision’ of the future, with hovers (flying cars) and androids described wonderfully. The unique use of combining ‘normal’ aspects of life for the reader and the new dystopian world of Cinder is perfectly fused, and easy to understand.
Although a high fantasy novel, Cinder is almost completely character driven, with little explanation about the world they live in. Meyer, luckily, has created electrifying characters that readers of all ages are able to truly connect with.
Cinder herself, is the flawless balance between badass, and the innocent, neglected teen who has only felt abandonment until meeting Prince Kai. Because of this, it’s impossible for the reader not to want to desperately protect her from the villains.
Her sidekick/best friend, Iko is a delight. A faulty android with an overactive personality, she is bubbly, fun and extremely dim-witted, providing the novel with some beautifully placed tender moments, paired with outrageous humour.
Prince Kai is so much more than the “handsome” prince. Even from the first meeting, it’s clear to the reader that he would accept Cinder for who she is – regardless of the prejudices of his people. This creates a bond between the reader and Kai immediately, as we instantly feel connected to him.
Even minor characters such as Dr. Erland and Peony are brilliantly developed and easy to love.
Cinder is full of characters to fall in love with, but the handful of villains that Meyer has created are mesmerisingly terrifying. The character of Queen Levana is particularly frightening. As a Lunar, she is able to make herself beautiful, and has the ability to control an Earthen’s (the name of Prince Kai’s people) minds and emotions. This results in harrowing reading, with her targeting innocent palace workers with suicide attempts as she pollutes their minds.
Surprisingly, Meyer avoids the cheese surrounding the original story of Cinderella, by adding interesting and clever twists to the story that is so well-loved.
But it isn’t just these twists and subtle differences that really set this novel aside from its inspiration. It’s the refreshing aspect that the romance is not the most important aspect to the plot. The novel is centred more closely around Cinder’s acceptance of herself, despite the world’s prejudice. This dazzling alteration brings the old-fashioned fairy tale up to date, and adds masses of intrigue to the world Meyer has created.
Forget boring Cinderella and the fairy godmother, delve into the dark and twisted dystopian world of Cinder and fall head over heels in love.