Thursday, September 20

Cinder: Book Review


Marissa Meyer

Feiwel & Friends
January 3rd 2012
Young Adult | Fantasy
Fairytale Retell

Official Blurb -

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.

Marissa Meyer on Cinder, writing, and leading men
Which of your characters is most like you?
I wish I could say that I'm clever and mechanically-minded like Cinder, but no—I can't fix anything. I'm much more like Cress, who makes a brief cameo in Cinder and then takes a more starring role in the third book. She's a romantic and a daydreamer and maybe a little on the na├»ve side—things that could be said about me too—although she does find courage when it's needed most. I think we'd all like to believe we'd have that same inner strength if we ever needed it.
Where do you write?
I have a home office that I've decorated with vintage fairy tale treasures that I've collected (my favorite is a Cinderella cookie jar from the forties) and NaNoWriMo posters, but sometimes writing there starts to feel too much like work. On those days I'll write in bed or take my laptop out for coffee or lunch.

If you were stranded on a desert island, which character from Cinder would you want with you?

Cinder, definitely! She has an internet connection in her brain, complete with the ability to send and receive comms (which are similar to e-mails). We'd just have enough time to enjoy some fresh coconut before we were rescued.

The next book in the Lunar Chronicles is called Scarlet, and is about Little Red Riding Hood. What is appealing to you most about this character as you work on the book?

Scarlet is awesome—she's very independent, a bit temperamental, and has an outspokenness that tends to get her in trouble sometimes. She was raised by her grandmother, an ex-military pilot who now owns a small farm in southern France, who not only taught Scarlet how to fly a spaceship and shoot a gun, but also to have a healthy respect and appreciation for nature. I guess that's a lot of things that appeal to me about her, but she's been a really fun character to write! (The two leading men in Scarlet, Wolf and Captain Thorne, aren't half bad either.)

Recipe for making this book:
1 Fairy Tale Compendium
1 generous dollop Sci-Fi (A few cyborgs and some space travel)

Place in blender and frappe.
Serve up with a red shoe.

For entire series:
Repeat above directions four times with different dressings.

My favorite scene in the whole book involves a greeter. He is witness to a shocking sight and just stands there stunned and disgusted. Meanwhile Cinder acts like nothing is wrong and goes about her business. It just cracks me up.

This book didn't live up to the hype for me. I think when I read a fairy tale retelling I want to gain a deeper knowledge into the mind of the characters. Especially since there are no surprises in how it will all turn out. There is quite a bit more development into the Prince in this version of Cinderella but it is still lacking somewhat. I just wasn't swept off my feet. Someone should give that Prince a good beating. Some sense in that thick skull of his wouldn't hurt. Which is just so sad since he starts off so promisingly.

He is so deluded and knows nothing about what is going on in his kingdom. Illegal Lunars, plague caused by Lunars, and so on and so forth. I have very little confidence in his ability to rule the kingdom. I do like Kai even though for an Emperor he isn't very wise. He comes off naive and blind. All this can be chocked off to his age, a flimsy excuse, and his circumstances, ailing father, still a stretch.

Cinder had nothing remotely like a fairy godmother. She was a train wreak when she showed up at the ball.

Iko is hard to accept with her emotions. They are really extreme such as getting the hots for the Prince, wearing make up, and wishing to attend balls and go dancing. 

I don't even know what some of the words meant. Thurmatage? Is there a geek society that understands this lingo or is it just made up?

My biggest beef with the whole thing is the ending. Come on, we all know how it should end. Who hasn't heard the Cinderella story before? The ending definitely falls short and leaves you hanging.

Alright, there is one other thing that really bugged me. It gives off the impression of being about Cinderella. But really it felt like it was more the story of The Little Mermaid
  • Voice manipulation
  • Princess
  • Prince
  • Wicked Witch (Trying to marry Prince)
  • Interspecific romance
Throw in a shoe and a not so nice step-sister and it becomes a mix of Cinderella and The Little Mermaid. Except for the fact that neither of those endings matches up with the ending of Cinder. It was more like an ending interrupted. In fact if you have ever seen the movie Everafter you will get a better idea of what happens with this ending. The ending felt loose and unfinished. More than likely this is due to my prior knowledge of the Cinderella tale. We all know how it should have ended. All this other fancy stuff is just prolonging it. The question is will it be worth it and does it work.

The view the people have of cyborgs is rather sad. It would be like grouping all recipients of organ donations into a leper colony. As if they really asked to be anything but whole and hardy. Are these people really that daft? Apparently so.
I am hoping the next book brings more story and less wow factor. Please ground me somewhere and allow me to connect with the characters. The most I got out of it was a strong desire to visit Asia. It sounds really pretty.

Sexual: Mild
Violence: Moderate

Moments Divine:
"Besides," said Peony, hopping off the trunk, "the rumor that he's looking for a bride at the ball is a lot better than what the other rumors are saying."
"Let me guess. Prince Kai is actually a martian? Or no, no-- he had an illegitimate child with an escort, didn't he?"
"Escort-droids can have children?"
"I'm sure I'll feel much more grateful when I find a guy who thinks complex wiring in a girl is a turn-on."
"Do you intend to always let your adviser make your decisions for you?"
"No," said Kai, allowing a cold smile. "Eventually, I'll have an empress for that."