Cinder by Marissa Meyer

One of the four novels I finished over Spring Break–and the only one that counted for anything other than pure pleasure reading–was my pick for the “Science Fiction and Fantasy” category of the 2012 Mixing It Up Challenge that I pledged to complete at the beginning of the year. The following was my reaction to the mere thought of that category: Ugh. However, I knew it would be a fairly easy genre to check off my list, albeit not the most enjoyable.

While scouring a few of my favorite book blogs, including Forever Young Adult, I read many positive reviews for a new Cinderella story, Cinder by Marissa Meyer. This Cinderella story, however, has something that Ella Enchanted does not: cyborgs. And androids. And Lunar queens. However, the cover intrigued me–not because I’m a shoe girl (I know, I know… I’m turning over a “woman” card)–but because the femininity of the cover led me to believe this book was written more for my demographic than Lord of the Rings.


So, after completing my latest Bailey Weggins pleasure read, I cracker open Cinder one evening, in Florida, before bed. I read the first half of page. And closed the book. “Don’t like it?” B asked. “I just can’t do it,” I replied. “I’m less than one page in, and am already rolling my eyes at the cyborg reference.” I put it down immediately, and pulled out a different novel I’d brought along–a failsafe Meg Cabot young adult novel.

But, laying there under the covers–well, the sheet, since we were staying with senior citizens in Florida who turn on the A/C but leave it at 85–my guilt overcame me. Reluctantly, I got out of bed again, returned the Cabot novel to my carry-on, and pulled out Cinder once again. You have to read a sci-fi, Katie, I told myself. You might as well just get it over with.

Well, suffice it to say, I’m glad that I decided to stick with this read, because within 20 pages, I was hooked. The next morning, relaxing on the beach, I looked at B and said, “You know a science fiction author is good when you read a scene involving cyborgs, androids, and Lunars, and you don’t even stop to think about how unrealistic it is. I just bought the whole thing, like, yeah, that totally makes sense.”

The plot of the story is basically this: Cinder is a teenage girl living in a city known as New Beijing. This novel is set way, way, in the future–after WWIV, when apparently all the countries on Earth are going to bond together and live in peace and harmony, and our new enemy will be our Lunar neighbors living on the moon. So, anyway, Cinder is a cyborg, meaning she’s a human with some robotic replacements, including one of her feet. (Ooo! Ooo! Cinderella reference!) She lives with her legal guardian (evil stepmother) and her two sisters (Peony and Pearl).

A horrible plague is demolishing the population of New Beijing, and when it strikes Peony down, the evil stepmother sends Cinder off to be a scientific guinea pig to find a cure for this disease. No guinea pigs have ever survived the tests, until Cinder, which of course makes her a very valuable asset to science and society. Why she is immune, and how can this information be used to save the millions who are dying?

Cinder becomes entwined with Prince Kai, who is soon to become emperor, when his childhood android needs repair. (Oh, I forgot to mention that Cinder is a reputable mechanic.) In her work on the android, Cinder figures out that Queen Levana, the Lunar queen, has been plotting and spying some pretty evil stuff. Prince Kai is a smidgeon away from having to marry Queen Levana, as it seems to be the only way to dispel her plot to war with Earth.

Then there’s a ball, etc., etc. (It’s a Cinderella story, remember?)

I (gladly) admit that I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I was bummed to find out that the next installment in this four-book series (known as the Lunar Chronicles) is not set to be released until 2013. And, yes, I’m going to be the sci-fi dork at the bookstore that day, ready for round two. So, Ellie at Musings of a Bookshop Girl, thank you for inspiring me to push my literary boundaries this year. Were it not for the momentum of the Mixing It Up Challenge, I would never have picked up Cinder, and found this new series that I can’t wait to enjoy!

Oh, and I totally predict that this series is bound to take off and be the next Hunger Games. I even envision a series of movie releases in the future.