book review: cinder



Cinder by Marissa Meyer is a book i've seen almost everywhere in the book community on Instagram. I finally have all of the books, which are all modern retellings of classic fairytales like Cinderella, Red Riding Hood and Rapunzel. I joined a readalong for Cinder with my Bibliomaniacs friends and finished reading it a few days early. It is quite a unique young adult dystopian book, especially because of the science fiction element to it. Apparently it's also a fantasy, making it even more different to other YA dystopian books nowadays. I'm rating this book 4.4 out of 5.

In case the title didn't already give it away, this one is obviously a retelling of Cinderella. It's set in a very futuristic post-World-War-IV world full of advanced technology and androids. Cars have been replaced by hovers, paramedics have been replaced by med-droids, and humans can become part-human, part robot. They call these people cyborgs. Cyborgs are considered as second class compared to normal humans. Although everything is so advanced, scientists still have not discovered a cure to treat the deadly plague called letumosis. A teen cyborg mechanic named Cinder is approached by Kai, the prince of the Commonwealth, to fix his broken android. Prince Kai has his own politicle struggles when he needs to prepare himself to become the new Emperor of his country. Throughout the book, Cinder discovers many shocking surprises about herself as her life intertwines with Prince Kai's, and they both find themselves facing a common enemy; Queen Levana, the ruler from the planet(or moon?) Luna who insists that Kai marries her for a peaceful alliance between their planets.

First of all, i have to credit the author for being so creative in twisting the classic Cinderella fairytale. I found myself being familiar with some very "Cinderella" parts of the plot, and got really impressed when something doesn't turn out the way that I thought it would. Marissa Meyer has to be applauded for her incredible descriptions of the world she created. Her world-building is undeniably impressive, with decent amount of scientific, mechanical and cultural elaborations to make the story feel more realistic. I like the Asian culture being put into the book, with the names and food and city descriptions.

The story starts off by capturing the reader right away. You'll realise from the first page that this isn't going to be something you probably have read before. All the cool modern technology and concept is really intriguing. As you indulge further into the book, you'll discover more about the current world, and even some things out of it. I have to admit that it was a little tricky to buy the whole new-species-on-another-planet thing but it worked well with the story and the plot. Queen Levana is obviously a parallel to the evil queen in Snow White. The fact that more than one fairytale intertwines in this story is pretty awesome.

I really enjoyed reading something quite different in this genre. There are a lot of plot twists which are just really fun to discover and the ending will make you want to read the next book. The main thing that i liked about this book is the incredible world being described and the wonderful attempt at a fairytale retelling.

I did have a few issues with it too, but i can't really explain it in the non-spoiler section without giving anything away. All i can say is that it still could have been better if there was a little more...emotion in the book. I am a reader that mostly gets impressed with the ride of emotions that books let me have. Unfortunately, some parts really lacked emotion that there was no intense emotion by the end of the book for me to hold on to. Some parts of the book were sad, but i really couldn't feel emotional when reading it. I know Cinder is a cyborg and all but a bit more emotion couldn't hurt. The only somewhat-intense part was towards the end, which wasn't enough for me. Also, i don't think Cinder was a very likeable character. Nobody really was, except for maybe Prince Kai. And Iko.

***SPOILER SECTION**

I don't like Cinder, but i don't dislike her either. I was a bit confused at first whether a cyborg was a full robot without emotions or whether they were part human, part robot. She didn't display much emotion especially during intense times that really required it. An example of this is the scene where Peony died. I couldn't feel sad but i really wanted to. Perhaps the author could have replaced the lack of emotional description with sharing more sweet memories between the two characters. I quite liked Peony, and her death didn't have enough closure for me. Also, Adri and Pearl didn't seem THAT sad either, which really bothered me. And OMG i was quite annoyed with the lack of emotion after Iko's android body got destroyed. Cinder seemed completely fine that she still had Iko's personality chip but like, I was the one who was going all "NOOOOOO" when i realised Iko died(physically).

I would have liked more display of emotion(or at least in thoughts) from Kai after his father died. He was sad for like fifteen seconds and basically moved on. It was described that the prince was very close to the emperor, so it bothered me that we hardly got evidence for this.
It did shock me how he reacted when finding out about who - or what - Cinder was. I thought he would be a typical character who would immediately just accept it and not care because he can overlook those things, but it seemed that I was quite mistaken. In a way, i thought this was good as it was probably quite realistic that one wouldn't just immediately be okay when finding out the person you have feelings for isn't exactly human. I'm glad it isn't a Twilight. It was heartbreaking of course, because they did seem quite cute together. I do hope it ends well for them in the other books. Perhaps he would grow to realise that it didn't matter if she was Cyborg or lunar. It's gonna be interesting when he finds out that she's the person he has been looking for all this time, he princess who can overthrow Queen Levana's throne.

Alright, let's talk about the plot twist at the end. I TOTALLY SAW IT COMING. I totally predicted that she was going to be this Princess Selene! They kept talking about her that it just made sense that Cinder was her. It did seem a little out of the blue at first, but the doctor's explanation linking how they were the same person was convincing enough. It made sense that she had lost some limbs during the fire and needed all these mechanical surgeries to survive. It just seemed too coincidental that everything happened the way it did at the most strategic time, but hey it's a story so i'm not complaining.

I'm just a little curious about one thing. Does Cinder look Asian? I'm assuming most of the citizens in the Commonwealth does, especially the royalty. It just bothered me a little that she ends up being Princess Selene, who i'm assuming should not look Asian if she is a lunar. I know she's adopted and all, but i guess not everything was described that clearly. I couldn't really imagine what Cinder looked like, to be honest.

***END OF SPOILER SECTION***

I'm not sure if i would read this particular book again, but i definitely will continue reading the other books in this series. If you're planning to read it, just prepare yourself with the other books available as well because the ending is not one you will rest well with. You'll want to pick up the next book to find out more of what's going to happen. I think this book would be pretty good as a movie, i hope it'll happen some day.






2 comments:

  1. Def gonna get my hands on tht book :) anyway can i know where do u usually buy your books online. I think you've mentioned it in one of ur vid but i kinda forget . Thnks in advance! ^_^

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    1. thanks for reading! i usually buy my books online at @bookaliciousmy and @debookroom on instagram. but you can also access them on the web at debookroom.com and bookalicious malaysia on facebook :)

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