Review: Cinder

Cinder by Marissa Meyer was released in the U.S. on January 3, 2012 in hardcover, audio and eBook formats. It is currently available to order in all formats at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Published by Feiwel & Friends, an imprint of Macmillan, the print edition is 400 pages.

Cinder is the first book in the Lunar Chronicles by author Marissa Meyer. The second book in the series, Scarlett, is due out in 2013, Cress will be out in 2014 and Winter will be available in 2015.

Cinder is one of the books that can be chosen for the 2012 Debut Author Challenge hosted by Kristi at

Goodreads description:

Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl. . . .

Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.

In this thrilling debut young adult novel, the first of a quartet, Marissa Meyer introduces readers to an unforgettable heroine and a masterfully crafted new world that’s enthralling.


Fairytales are supposed to have happy endings. And a Cinderella story is no exception.

But when the heroine is a cyborg who would prefer to save herself rather than be rescued by a Prince, things get complicated.

And when the Prince has more important things to worry about, like saving his country from a deadly plague and trying to forge an alliance with the leader of a cruel race of Lunar people, finding his Princess and falling in love seem trivial.

With time quickly running out, finding a cure and deterring a powerful and evil Queen who has her sights set on the Prince seem much more important than happiness.

So, unless there really is some kind of magic wand that can make all of it disappear, survival must win out over love.

So much for happily ever after. But then again this is not your average Cinderella story.


Cinder is the instantly captivating, wonderfully imaginative and immensely entertaining first book in the Lunar Chronicles. This clever retelling of the classic Cinderella story is even more enchanting than the original, offering more twists and turns, thrills and excitement.

It may start with a “once upon a time,” but this first book in the series won’t stop at “happily ever after.”

The fairytale will immediately draw readers in, but it is the charming, adorable and frightening new characters, the futuristic setting of New Beijing, the deadly threats in this new world, and all the fascinating changes and additions to this story that will keep readers utterly spellbound.

This enchanting story is at once familiar and strange. Cinder is a mechanic. Forced to work to support her stepmother and stepsisters, only the youngest who is kindhearted, she is hoping one day to gain her freedom.

Though freedom is not something so easily given to someone like her. Someone not entirely human. Cinder is a cyborg. Part human, part machine. Looked upon with disgust, she is not seen as an equal.

But when she meets the Prince, he only sees the girl, not the machine. And for a brief moment, Cinder can dream of a better life.

However, there are bigger problems in New Beijing. A plague that has been ravaging the planet has reached the city, attacking people close to Cinder and the Prince. And with the unsettling arrival of the Lunar Queen, there are far more important things to deal with than falling in love. Even if her not-entirely-human heart says otherwise.

Author Marissa Meyer has completely transformed this classic story. While still recognizable, giving readers that feeling of familiarity, the author altered the characters, the setting and the world to make it feel new and different and a lot more danger-filled and suspenseful.

By adding in the unexpected, giving the story a depth it didn’t before have, and creating such memorable characters, the author has breathed new life into this fairytale story with a book that will leave readers anxiously awaiting the next installment.

Cinder is a fast-paced, incredibly addictive start to this new series that is a must read for fans of strong heroines, handsome princes, evil stepmothers, wicked queens and for those who enjoy their fairytales with a twist.

Reviewer gives this book…

On a personal note:

I listened to it. I read it. I loved it. It’s a must read. And an absolute must read again.

Cinder is yet another book that I went into with mild trepidation. I heard great things about it, but I was uncertain if it would be a book I’d enjoy. I’m not a fan of reading science fiction and the idea of a series called the Lunar Chronicles set off all sorts of warning bells in my head.

And while the cover is intriguing – both beautiful and creepy – it, too, made me wonder if I would be able to read this book in its entirety. Even without having read the description, the mechanical leg and the title gave me some inkling of what this story would be about. And I just wasn’t sure.

My fears were completely unfounded. I absolutely loved this story. I could not get enough of it. And when it ended, I just wanted more. I still do.

It was warm and engaging, the characters were easy to connect with, the world was totally fascinating and having the fairytale as the foundation for this story kept me riveted.

I wanted to pinpoint where the similarities were. I wanted to see where the differences would lead. I wanted to find out if there would be a “happily ever after” ending for Cinder and Prince Kai.

I had both the audiobook and a printed ARC for review and I decided to listen to the audiobook version first and then read it. And I’m so glad I did.

I was instantly pulled into the story by the narrator. She brought life to the characters and made me want to know them better. She infused these characters with such personality that they were immediately lovable.

But even without the narration, this book was just so easy to love and was totally captivating. I couldn’t wait to find out if the story followed the same path as original fairytale. Would Cinder leave behind a glass slipper? Would she have a magical transformation that would allow her to dance with the Prince at the ball?

I love, love, love what the author did with this part of the story. But because talking about it would be way too spoiler-y, I just can’t.

I never thought I could enjoy a book where the main character was a cyborg. But Cinder is lovable and real and not at all the unthinking, unfeeling machine I thought she’d be.

Although the most adorable character was Iko, the android. She always made me smile, especially when she swooned over Price Kai. Who was definitely swoonworthy.

He was handsome and brave and strong and not in the least bit arrogant. Though he totally could have been.

And what an amazing job the author did with the Lunar Queen and her entourage. While I won’t say too much about them, I will just say that I love how the author connected them with the fairytale. And as far as personality goes – talk about seriously creepy.

I can’t believe that the wait for book two is a year. I have a million-and-a-half questions about what will happen next. And even though I don’t feel like I’ve been left dangling off a cliff, I do feel like I’m suspended in mid-air, holding my breath until I can dive into the next book in the series.

About the audiobook:

Audiobook: Unabridged Compact Discs

Length: 8 Discs/Approximately 9 hours

Read by: Rebecca Soler

Rebecca Soler is a fantastic narrator and simply perfect for Cinder. She brings a vibrancy and warmth to the story and characters that might not be expected at the outset.

She gave each character their own personality, making it readily apparent who was speaking. She did such a tremendous job distinguishing Queen Levana by slowing down and drawing out each word, giving her a regal air, as befitting an arrogant queen. And the accent she gave Dr. Erland was especially wonderful and so well-suited to his character.

Ms. Soler’s voice is easy to understand and follow and she keeps the pace of the story, allowing listeners to effortlessly engage with it. Each word is clear and concise, leaving no room for confusion, even in a noisy environment. And her tone is inviting, making it that much easier to remain focused on and connected to the story.



To listen to an audio excerpt, visit the publisher’s website, HERE.

To download the first five chapters of Cinder from Amazon (free at the time of this post), CLICK HERE.

To access all sorts of exclusive content, including a printed excerpt, or an audio excerpt of the entire first chapter, CLICK HERE and “Like” The Lunar Chronicles on Facebook.

To find out more about the Cinder blog tour in January, check out the schedule on the author’s BLOG.


Book trailer


This review is based on a digital audio file I received from Macmillan Audio and a printed ARC received from Feiwel & Friends, in exchange for my honest review.

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