Let me just start with a disclaimer: I’ve never been a Sci-Fi fan. Not of adult or young adult, or even sci-fi movies. I’m not sure why, it’s never been my thing.
The only time I had ever read a sci-fi novel and not only finished but also enjoyed it was Rick Yancey’s The Fifth Wave. I absolutely love that series, and have been eagerly anticipating the finale for over a year. My aversion to young adult sci-fi fiction is what kept me from reading Cinder all these years, even though I’ve heard glowing reviews by book bloggers that I fully trust. Then, one day I saw it at the bookstore for $5 and said well why the hell not? And so began my love affair with Marissa Meyer’s beloved series. Because while I used to have an aversion to YA sci-fi, Cinder cured me of that. Very quickly.
Cinder is the story of a girl who is part human and part cyborg. Pretty cool, am I right? Even better, she’s a cyborg mechanic, and spends her day tinkering around various robots, with the assistance of her own house robot, Iko, who I couldn’t help but picturing as Eve from Wall-E. Then one day the prince of her country, Prince Kai, who asks her to fix his beloved personal assitant robot. And so begins Marissa Meyer’s totally awesome take on the classic fairytale CInderlla, to which she gives her own little intergalactic twist.
I was never really a fan of Cinderella as a young girl. I preferred Snow White (mostly for the dwarves), and Beauty and the Beast (which is probably why I love A Court of Thorns and Roses so much). As a result, I’ve never really taken any interest in modern retellings/adaptions Cinderella. It was one of the many things that held me back from picking Cinder up for three years. However, when I did, I soon realized that this was a very loose retelling. Yes, there is an evil step family, a poor girl falling for a prince, and a…ahem…shoe being left behind at the ball. However, there’s also a plague killing humans, the threat of invasion from the Lunar people, a treacherous Lunar queen also vying for Prince Kai’s attention, and a whole slew of other things that combine to make this book delightful and unique. I did not expect to love this book as much as I did.
Spoiler alert, I’ve already read the other two books in the series. So while writing this review, I do have an idea of what the other books in the series are like, so I feel just in my critique of the main characters of Cinder. All that being said, I wasn’t a big fan of Prince Kai. I think this was the first time I’ve ever loved a book, yet disliked the hero. I can’t quite put my finger on what I disliked about him, but he just didn’t sit right with me. He seemed to play the martyr far too often for my liking. He also seemed weak, and let people push him around quite often. He also refused to look past Cinder’s mechanical attributes once he discovered her “secret”. When comparing him to Wolf from Scarlet or Captain Thorne from Cress he was nowhere near as charismatic or interesting.
Cinder, on the other hand, was amazing. Here we have a girl who struggles with being accepted in her family due not only to her status as a stepdaughter/sister, but also has a cyborg that society has decided is unnatural and wrong. Yet despite all this, she remains brave and steadfast. She also loves her friends and one sister fiercely, and shows this through her loyalty and the sacrifices she makes for them time and time again. Cinder has joined the ranks of badass and kind female heroines in young adult literature, which seems to be an emerging and refreshing theme. Props to Marissa Meyer for keeping the trend going.
I’m giving this book 4/5 stars because when compared to the other two, it was not as spectacular. That being said, it was still and incredible book, and I highly recommend it to any reader of young adult novels. If you’re normally avoidant of sci-fi books, do yourself a favor and make an exception. Make it soon, too, because the conclusion Winter is released TOMORROW (11/10), and it is going to be 800+ pages of pure awesomeness. So pick up Cinder (and Scarlet and Cress) the next time you’re out!