Hello Bookish Buddies, and welcome to my review of Cinder by Marissa Meyer, the first book of the month from the YA Blogger’s Book Club on Goodreads! I’ve had so much fun reading and discussing this book with the group, so I highly encourage you all to join. We have two books of the month for next month, When Dimple Met Rishi and This Savage Song, and I hope to read both of them. I think we should be voting on next month’s books soon, so I suggest you join so you can vote too!
Now as for Cinder, I feel like everybody and their mom has read it by now, but I’ll post the Goodreads synopsis anyway, because I feel like it makes the formatting of my book reviews look nice.
Sixteen-year-old Cinder is considered a technological mistake by most of society and a burden by her stepmother. Being cyborg does have its benefits, though: Cinder’s brain interference has given her an uncanny ability to fix things (robots, hovers, her own malfunctioning parts), making her the best mechanic in New Beijing. This reputation brings Prince Kai himself to her weekly market booth, needing her to repair a broken android before the annual ball. He jokingly calls it “a matter of national security,” but Cinder suspects it’s more serious than he’s letting on.
Although eager to impress the prince, Cinder’s intentions are derailed when her younger stepsister, and only human friend, is infected with the fatal plague that’s been devastating Earth for a decade. Blaming Cinder for her daughter’s illness, Cinder’s stepmother volunteers her body for plague research, an “honor” that no one has survived.
But it doesn’t take long for the scientists to discover something unusual about their new guinea pig. Something others would kill for.
Okay so I loved this book. I knew I would. Firstly, it was set in an Asia inspired world as opposed to an American or European type of world. This book made me realize exactly how sick I am of American and European worlds. I hope to be reading about a lot more different locations in the near future. And also, Meyer’s writing wasn’t info-dumpy at all. She slowly introduced her world naturally and it was epic, but there’s also so much more to find out hopefully in the next books.
Next, let’s talk about the characters. I loved Cinder. She was really sassy and badass. Cinder has made me notice just how rare it is that my favorite character is the MC, but this is one of those rare books where the MC is my favorite character. The rest of them I could do without. Yes, even dreamy Prince Kai, but I’ll get into more on him later. Dr. Erland can stay, I liked him, and I also loved Peony… Anyway, although a lot of the characters were unlikeable (i.e. the villains), they were really well fleshed out and it was awesome.
I also thought the romance was really well done. It didn’t seem instalovey or forced to me. It just made sense in all of the right places and Cinder didn’t let it take over the whole story. And plus, it wasn’t even all that present, which, in my opinion, is the best way to write a romance.
However, my issue with Kai is that he seemed like that world’s version of a racist. In the Cinder world, there are people that have been in serious accidents that get turned into cyborgs because there is no other way for them to live. Once they get turned into cyborgs, they are seen as lower and not human. This brings up a deep philosophical debate, because clearly seeing from Cinder’s point of view, the fact that her brain is part mechanical does not influence how she feels emotions, but it might for other cyborgs. I’m thinking way too deeply into this, but at what point is the line drawn between human and robot? And also, there’s Iko, who’s a totally adorable robot who has a personality all her own. But the thing is, she’s programmed, so does that make her less than human? Anyway, the way Kai looks at cyborgs disgusts me because you really see through Cinder’s eyes and she seems no different than a human, other than the fact that she can access the internet through her thoughts. But does that really make her more robot? Anyway, I’m gonna move on before this entire review becomes an existential crisis.
Coming off of that, the science in Cinder seemed completely legit to me. I’m a stickler for scientific accuracy in books, and everything in Cinder seemed reasonable to me. Even the moon people’s fancy powers. I don’t know if I was just tricked by the word “bioelectricity,” which I am now realizing is not a word because of the dashed red line beneath it, but it seems legit if you don’t think too deeply into it. I do believe something like their powers is possible, if only with really advanced technology, which they seem to have.
However, the one thing that made me take off a star was the plot twist. It would have actually been more of a plot twist if the plot twist hadn’t happened. It was that obvious of a trope. But the rest of the story made up for it.
I also loved that this was a Cinderella retelling, because it had so many illusions to Cinderella but it also had feminism, badassary, a plot, it made sense, all unlike Cinderella. If you haven’t noticed, I like to hate on old disney movies. They’re not my thing.
Welp, I didn’t expect my existential rambling to be that long. Sorry. Anyway, I gave Cinder a 4/5 stars overall.