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.
First sentence: “The screw through Cinder’s ankle had rusted, the engraved cross marks worn to a mangled circle.“
Guys, this book was a pleasant surprise. I hadn’t expected to like it because whenever somebody recommends me a YA series, I don’t find myself loving it as much as others do, but Cinder is a different case. I was sucked into the world and had to know what happened. I do dislike some things in Cinder, but my likes exceeds those dislikes. I was struck by so many overwhelming feelings that I couldn’t identify until the end. Cinder is a great retelling of the old classic Cinderella. The story is very familiar, but still different and unique, especially since Marissa Meyer is a gifted storyteller. The concept of futuristic fairy tales intrigue me, and why shouldn’t it? Who would’ve thought that I would enjoy a book that has a cyborg? Cyborgs, everyone! Androids, friendships, technology, political struggle, a female character who is a fabulous mechanic, all the good stuff! Surely, makings of a good story, right? Yes, absolutely!
- The fairy tale influences + sci-fi elements –
You should know that I never like reading fairytale retellings because I don’t find them interesting or innovative. They usually bore me. However, I am blown away by how different, yet familiar Cinder‘s story is to the Cinderella story. Every time there’s a section that’s reminds me of Cinderella, I love the way Marissa Meyer incorporates the sci-fi element (which she does beautifully). I like that Cinder isn’t strictly based on Cinderella. I can see a bit of Sailor Moon in the story and that fills me with so much joy. Who knew a cyborg would be a great character in a fairytale? Not me. It works so well.
- Technology + mechanics –
Me + technology + mechanics = ???? I’m extremely clueless when it comes to anything to deals with having to fix an electronic device or a vehicle. Usually, when I read those, I zone out because I don’t find it interesting. However, I was strangely fascinated by the descriptions of Cinder fixing the androids or taking her foot off and replacing it. I guess I liked seeing what fixing it entails? My face was practically glued to my book when I read any technological + mechanical stuff that Cinder did. I love the idea of Cinder as a mechanic. I don’t think I’ve ever read a book where the female character is a mechanic and that is sad because fixing things can be interesting.
- Friendships –
Always love them! I love that Cinder actually has friends. She isn’t by herself; she has Peony, her stepsister, and Iko, her stepfamily’s android. Peony is a sweetheart. I love that she accepts Cinder for who she is and never treats her differently or badly because Cinder isn’t fully human. And Iko is just a ball of enthusiasm and positivity. She gets excited about things and can feel emotions (which she shouldn’t be able to but she has a glitch). She’s really good to have on your side, especially when you are just bitter about your life or the world. Because she’s an android, she has extremely simple logic. At times, she gets annoying because of her optimism, but she’s hilarious. I find it awesome to see that Cinder has people/android who love her.
- Cyborgs/Androids + Humans + Lunar interactions/conflict –
The interactions between cyborgs, androids, humans, and Lunar’s are truly fascinating. In my review of Glitches, I talked about my fascination with androids/cyborgs and humans, and I’m happy to see that the interactions are expanded in Cinder. You get to see the difference between Iko, an android that has feelings, and a med-android who strictly does what’s in its program. I like that the political struggle between Luna and the Commonwealth is very realistic and relatable. The things that happen in the book happen in the real life too. You see countries try to maintain peace with each other (some with and some without success). You see people escape from their country because of an oppressive regime (in Cinder, Lunar people and shells escape to Earth because of Queen Levana). All the interactions are what I see in everyday life in the news.
- The familial relationships –
Strangely, I find myself interested in the dynamics between Cinder and her stepmother, Adri. Yes, Adri’s treatment of Cinder makes me incredibly angry. Every time she or Pearl, Cinder’s older stepsister makes disparaging remarks about Cinder, I want to punch them in the face. Despite my anger towards them, I find their relationship complex. I understand that it is easy to blame the person who seems to be the center of all the shit things that’s happening in your life. That’s what Adri’s doing. She projects onto Cinder because that’s the only thing she can control – her feelings – when she can’t do anything to prevent her husband and daughter from contracting Letumosis. Also, she needs Cinder to provide for the family; Cinder is the only source of income. It makes me feel bad for her. I wonder what that means for Adri when she no longer has a punching bag or a source of income.
- To like Prince Kai –
I wanted to like him, but I was pretty meh about him. Sure, I liked seeing Kai’s struggle with being an emperor and seeing how his inexperience makes him feel insecure. I like that he wasn’t a cocky guy, who thought he knew all the answers. He’s still a kid who wants to do good for the Commonwealth while trying to prevent a war from happening. However, I didn’t feel any spark for this guy or any spark between him and Cinder. I thought his interactions with Cinder were okay. I didn’t find myself falling over my feet for Kai, which is truly disappointing. I think it’s because I don’t find his personality very interesting. I didn’t like the way he treated Cinder at the end, but his reaction is perfectly understandable especially since it’s a major betrayal to him. Kai hasn’t done anything that warrants my devotion, or Cinder’s attention.
- For the book to be less predictable –
I wasn’t surprised by any of the big reveals. Usually, I do not pick up on obvious hints and foreshadowing of where the plot is going, but with Cinder, I knew early on what was going to happen (which Marissa Meyer noted at the Fierce Reads event that readers are suppose to know right away) and it took me out of the book. I think I really wanted a more suspense that the book didn’t give me. It bothered me that something was revealed in the synopsis, which I would rather preferred to find out in the book because I don’t like the overwhelming feeling that comes from knowing that something bad will happen. That anticipation is the worst feeling for me (but it’s really good tactic).
Yes, retellings of fairy tales can be boring, but I assure you, Cinder is not. Four words: sci-fi fairy tales! Marissa Meyer weaves the retelling of Cinderella (which also has a hint of Sailor Moon) beautifully. You also get cyborgs, androids, political struggle, a life-threatening disease called Letumosis. When I finished this book, I became overwhelmed by all the fairytale influences and whatnots because I finally identified it (yeah, late reaction, I know). It’s a good introduction to Cinder’s plight. You should go read it (just so you can get to Scarlet, which I hear is 100000 times better than Cinder and I have to agree).
Yesterday, I went to the Fierce Reads event. IT WAS FRICKIN’ AWESOME.
It was a fabulous event. I arrived an hour early, before the staff at the bookstore even set up the chairs. I spent my time browsing the store, and when they finally set up the chairs, I took a seat in front of the four chairs (that the authors would be sitting). I was actually an arm away from the authors. (See, at the bottom picture, literally an arm away. Such a great seat!) I had been initially worried and nervous about talking to people because I feel awkward, but the people there were friendly. A woman, whose name I forgot (sorry!), let me read her Cress ARC before the event and the seven chapters that I read, frickin’ amazing. I need that book in my life!
When the event started, each authors introduced themselves and their books. We have –
Leila Sales – author of This Song Will Save Your Life
S.A. Bodeen – author of The Compound and The Fallout
Marissa Meyer – author of Cinder and Scarlet
Alexandra Coutts – author of Tumble & Fall
(In the order of when they introduced their books.)
This was the first Fierce Reads event that the authors did not have a moderator, so they decided to ask questions to each other that they wanted to know and then opened the questions up to audience.
Question: What Hogwarts House would your character be in and why? Or which House would you pick yourself in? (Asked by Leila Sales)
Marissa Meyer (MM): Cinder and Scarlet would be Gryffindor because they’re no-nonsense, take no prisoners, willing to get the job done, and brave. Marissa would most likely be a Hufflepuff.
S.A. Bodeen (SAB): Eli, the main character in The Compound and The Fallout, would be mistakenly put into Slytherin because Eli’s considered the bad twin. He has done bad things and people would most likely judge Eli for what’s on the surface.
Leila Sales (LS): Elise would be put into Slytherin because she thinks she’s terrible because she “has been feed negative ideas of herself over the course of her life from her peers and would have a negative self-imagery of herself.” And terrible people belong in Slytherin, especially if Gryffindor is for brave people, Ravenclaw for smart people, Hufflepuff for nice people, and Slytherin is for terrible people.
Alexandra Coutts (AC): All three characters would be in Gryffindor because they would have to be brave to go out into the world despite an asteroid coming.
Question: What has been your favorite highlights so far on the Fierce Reads tour? (Asked by Marissa Meyer)
SAB: Being able to hang out with the other authors on the tour.
LS: Getting to meet teenagers. (She’s usually surrounded by adults, but interacting with teenagers is the best.)
AC: Getting to read during flights.
MM: A teenage fan gave her a necklace that was made from wire to form the words ‘Cinder’ with a card that read “Thank you for all the daydreams.”
Question: If Square Fish (an imprint that makes the paperbacks at Macmillan) wants to cut 20 pages of your book, what scene would you cut out? Or is there a character you would cut? (Asked by S.A. Bodeen. Very tough question for all the other authors.)
LS: Everybody thinks her book is short, so it’ll be hard to cut anything.
MM: Probably minor characters.
AC: She doesn’t know who, but knows she wouldn’t cut out Gretchen, who is AC’s favorite character, even though readers do not like Gretchen and call her ‘Wretched Gretchen.’
SA: Her answer is that Square Fish would have enough money to publish her entire book. (Hahahaha. :D)
Question: If you weren’t writing and editing for a living, what would you do? (Asked by Alexandra Coutts)
MM: Tell people how to live their lives (like Blake Lively – lifestyle curator).
LS: Event planner.
SAB: Social studies teacher.
AC: A jazz singer.
Question: To S.A. Bodeen, did your job influence the way you created the male POVs?
SAB: She doesn’t know if that influenced her. She finds it pretty amazing that boys like her book and are enjoying reading because of it.
Question: What research did you do for your book?
AC: For her first book, Wish, she moved to San Francisco for four months (because it’s set there). For Tumble & Fall, she researched about asteroids and watched visual simulations of what would happen if an asteroid hit the Earth.
MM: Spaceships, moon colonies (+ how that would work), mind control + actual scientific theory on how you would control people, and cyborgs. Her favorite research moment was when she and her husband got underneath an old Mustang, and he pointed out what everything was.
SAB: For The Compound, she researched how to build an atomic bomb. For The Fallout, she researched Doomsday preppers. For The Raft, she went online to look at rafts and survival kits.
LS: Went to dance parties to see what people were wearing and how they were dancing. Read things about how to DJ and the technicalities of it.
Question: Is there a scene that you wanted to change if you had more time to work on it?
SAB: People wanted a sequel to The Compound. She got an idea and drafted up an outline, wrote it, and sent it to her editor. Her editor sent back the first 150 pages and told her to scrape the other half, so S.A. had to rewrite half of the book.
AC: The whirlwind romance. People felt it was too fast. Alexandra would make it clearer that Sienna and the boy were responding to what was going on around them (the impending doom).
MM: She wished she made it more obvious that readers are supposed to pick up on the big reveal. (Readers felt she was trying to hide the big reveal, but she didn’t intend that. She wanted the suspense to come from knowing the secret and how it’ll unfold for the characters.)
LS: Pleased with her book.
Question: What is your writing process? And has that process change from book to book?
MM: She’s very chronological writer – never deviates from beginning to end. However, for her third and fourth book, her process changes because she has more characters (+ their subplot) to add, so she finds it easier to jump around more.
LS: Writes chronologically + a perfectionist as she writes. She won’t leave blanks. (ie. If she wanted a teacher to be of Indian descent, then she’ll sift through lists and won’t move on until she figures it out.) (That is totally like me!)
SAB: Really lousy drafter. She gets it out fast. She’s a good reviser.
AC: A combo. Outlines a lot. Very linear. Writes in order. She won’t skip ahead. She can’t move on if something isn’t what she wants it to be.
Question: When you sit down to write, do you have any particular rituals you have or items you need?
LS: Will not write without chocolate chips nearby. Doesn’t have to be in arms reached. She wants it there because she can potentially eat them if the going gets rough.
SAB: A hot drink with her favorite mug.
MM: Something to sip at, usually water (or glass of wine in the evening). Has to wear socks because cold feet distract her.
AC: Has to wear something comfortable – pajama-esque.
Question: Do you do anything to bribe yourself into writing? (Asked by Marissa Meyer)
SAD: Get an iced-coffee from McDonald’s.
LS: Going out for ice cream. (If the store closes at 10pm and if it’s 9pm, she has to write or she won’t get ice cream.)
MM: Doesn’t put off bribing herself. She “seduces” her computer having chocolate and lighting a nice candle. :D
Question: What is your favorite book?
MM: Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen
SAB: The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón
LS: The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
AC: To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf (and also, Just as Long as We’re Together by Judy Blume)
- Leila said she doesn’t have marketable life skills and created an “I don’t have any marketable life skills” Facebook group in college.
- Marissa worked as a typesetter and a proofreader.
- S.A. was a social studies teacher. She also taught a middle school geography class that had 18 boys and two girls.
- Leila loves the song “This Old Heart of Mine” by the Isley Brothers.
- S.A never intended for The Compound to have a sequel.
- S.A. has a favorite mug that says “Live long and prosper.”
- The ending of This Song Will Save Your Life took Leila a lot of rewrites.
- Marissa has a tattoo on her upper back – a stack of books. When she got published, she wanted her tattoo to be a stack of books. She got it a month or two after Cinder came out. Four of the stacked books represent The Lunar Chronicles books and the one on top is everything that will come in the future.
After the Q&A section, it was the signing! (I was so glad that I purchased my books beforehand because I would’ve have to wait in line.) I got an “I Love Iko” pin (and I would’ve gotten “Big Bad Wolf” if I had known there was one). When I got my books signed by Marissa, I was sooo overwhelmed. We talked about Sailor Moon (which was awesome because she loves Sailor Moon, and Sailor Moon was an integral part of my childhood) while she signed my books. I also took a picture with her. :DDDD
Because I couldn’t buy the other author’s books (which I really felt bad about), I made them sign my Moleskine and got a picture taken with each of them. I was pretty much all over the place, but I am extremely happy! It was a fabulous event. Meeting all the authors made me love them to pieces!
(From left to right: S.A. Bodeen, Alexandra Coutts, Marissa Meyer, Leila Sales)
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.
In Glitches, a short prequel story to Cinder, we see the results of that illness play out, and the emotional toll that takes on Cinder. Something that may, or may not, be a glitch…
First sentence: “Are you ready to meet your new family?”
Man, I am completely hooked.
In Glitches, Cinder, an eleven-year-old girl with mechanic limbs, is taken to New Beijing by her new stepfather, Garan, a man who she isn’t related to, for a new life. There, Cinder meets her new stepmother, Adri, and her two stepsisters, Pearl (who is the oldest and isn’t featured heavily in the novella) and Peony (who is the youngest and welcomes Cinder with open arms). We get to see how the household
adjust don’t adjust to Cinder and then, something tragic happens.
The Lunar Chronicles world is extremely fascinating, especially seeing the dynamics between the humans and androids. I think it’s interesting how an android is treated like they’re a second-class citizen (or someone who is disposable) even though they are apart of the family. To be treated like that, is that just? It certainly brings up the issue of a specific glitch that both Cinder and Iko, an android that Cinder put back together, share — whether androids/cyborgs/machines feel emotions. I like that Cinder is exceptionally skilled at fixing things, not housework. I’m just imagining what she could do for the family. Eek. So many things.
After I read this novella, I had so many questions. I wonder why Garan, Cinder’s stepfather, decided to take Cinder in. I feel like it’s more than wanting another child or even wanting a child to have a place they call home. I don’t know if the first book will address it, but I certainly hope so. Is Adri’s dislike for Cinder because the family has to spend more money that they don’t have to provide for another person/being or because she views androids/cyborgs as not human (so they shouldn’t be treated that way)? What was Garan doing to contract letumosis? What was he planning to unveil at the Tokyo Fair? Lots of questions, people! (Tell me some will be answered in Cinder).
I can’t wait to start Cinder. I know my BFF (and everyone here) will be excited that I have started the series. Go read this novella if you haven’t. It’s extremely short and worth every bit of your time. If you don’t, my android friend will arrive on your doorstep and force you to read it in its presence. You will sweat bullets.