Hello, faithful readers! I’ve decided to start a monthly book review post to keep you updated on what I’m reading, my take on those books, and my recommendations (or warnings!). They will be spoiler free in case you’ve never read the book, but I’ll provide as much insight as I can! To start this new tradition, I’ll be reviewing Marissa Meyer’s debut novel, Cinder.
I’ve been a little behind on my reading these days. I haven’t read anything for… dare I say it… a few months! Other than short stories and “textbook” type books to sharpen my writing, I’ve not delved into the pages of the world of literature in far too long. Thus, I decided to create an immense list of everything I want to read, and this happened to be the one that struck my interest the most. Here I am, now, catching up on everything the entire world seems to be reading but me.
Cinder is the first installment of a series titled The Lunar Chronicles. It is a sci-fi retelling of the classic fairytale of Cinderella, taking place in a whole new atmosphere. How enticing already!
To sum up the first book, we follow Cinder, a cyborg living in New Beijing as a mechanic. She is surprised by a visit from Prince Kai himself, who has heard of her skills, and is asked to fix his android. Though he tries to play it off as a meaningless request other than sentimental reasons, there seems to be an underlying secret he won’t share.
With the ball nearing, Cinder finds herself being neglected as her stepmother and stepsisters prepare for the big event, all the while she is given false promises. However, beyond the pleasures of every day life, there are great tribulations that are only getting worse. With a disease known as Letumosis taking its toll on Earth and the threat of war with the moon race known as Lunars growing imminent, Cinder is catapulted into the midst of it all.
Now, let me break it all down into the process of reading. Day 1: My package arrived, and I could now start. I did not delay, and within that first sit down I’d read almost half the book.
Needless to say, it’s an easy read and pretty engrossing. You start of highly interested by the futuristic world of New Beijing, which is a refreshing location as apposed to the typical use of America in most YA, dystopian-type novels. While this story is not dystopian, per say, it has hints of it throughout and gives that lingering feeling that anything could happen.
I’ll admit, I haven’t read anything sci-fi before, other than some classics. I am thoroughly enthralled by cyborgs, however, and even attempted my own cyborg story (which may or may not be worked on in the future). Something about the merge of humans and electronics is a fascinating idea… one I’d never want to happen, but still fun to create worlds upon. This was a simple, entertaining introduction to the genre for me, nevertheless.
If I had to choose a favorite part—which in saying this I technically am choosing—I’d say the character development gets me good. I’m a sucker for great characters. Everyone is individual in this story, and you are painted a clear picture of each person. Perhaps some physical details are missing or aren’t always caught, but the quirks of each character are unique to themselves. I won’t spoil anything, but there’s some heart tugging in this. (Also, in case you haven’t checked it out, Marissa Meyer does have a list of character descriptions here).
Marissa’s style is nice, might I add. I’ve found that I’m somewhat picky when it comes to a writer’s voice. Now, granted, this won’t always stop me from reading a story, but if the way they write jolts me from the story or leaves me rereading a sentence (and not because it was mind blowing!) I tend to discount it as “just okay.” I couldn’t quite pinpoint it for you, but I’ve noticed a lot of YA writers have these odd sentences, like they were hacked to pieces and then strung back together. It makes me grit my teeth at times, but I was able to breathe a sigh of relief that she doesn’t have that quality in this story, other than perhaps an odd sentence or two that sounded ever so slightly childish when voiced in my head.
I’m no professional, I know. I write in choppy sentences myself, but when it reminds you you’re reading from a book while trying to stay comfortable in your bed instead of drawing you deeper, it’s not my favorite. To each their own. I am but one opinion in a sea of a million.
Some—if not all—of the story was predictable, I will say. Not too many crazy twists that will send you shooting through the roof. Oh well, who’s to say it needs it? Yes, we all love a good plot twist, but the story is just starting, folks! In this book it was easy to spot anything coming, but there’s time for much more to happen along the way, and I’m willing to find out what!
As far as fiction goes these days, it’s hard to sift through the mess at times. My preference when it comes to content is a story full of emotion, meaning, constant development, and never-ending cliff hangers that keep you turning the pages to the very last one. All the while remaining clean.
On a scale of 1-10, how would I rate this story when it comes to being clean or not? I’d give it a 2. There’s probably two swear words used throughout it, a couple references and snarky comments made in regards to crushes and attraction, an almost kiss, and one brief kiss.
Of course it has the typical romance that develops when they make eye contact, though it is sort of a development that’s hinted at more than blatantly shouted from the rooftops. I suppose Meyer has the excuse of retelling a classic fairytale.
I would not call it an action-packed story. At all. It leans more on the emotional intensity than the physical, which was executed well being that it kept me reading to the very end. Not a violent story whatsoever, with just a couple scenes of fighting. Also, Drugs and smoking aren’t indicated, and only medications are applied to situations of illness.
In summary, you should read it if you haven’t. I’m still in the dark completely on what happens in the following stories, though I do know the premise of each one. With book two in my hands, you will hear more from me next time when I’ve finished Scarlett, and perhaps another one given the time I have until the next monthly book review.
How about you? Have you read Cinder and The Lunar Chronicles? Tell me what you thought of it in the comments below! No spoilers please.
Also, check out Marissa Meyer’s website for fun content, Q&A, and a bit more about the author. Fun fact: she and I live about forty-five minutes apart! I feel a bond forming already…