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Book Review: Cinder by @Marissa_Meyer

Cinder is the first book in The Lunar Chronicles. The second, Scarlet, released this year.

CinderCinder, 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.

If you can’t tell from the name, Cinder is a new spin on the fairy tale Cinderella. But this version is definitely not Disney’s. Try sci-fi Cinderella on an intergalactic scale with a deadly virus and aliens set in New Bejing.


Before you groan and write it off as “another fairy tale” know the Cinderella story isn’t used as a crutch. Instead, Meyers uses it as a spring board to launch a completely different story. Only a skeleton of plot points from the tale are used, and that’s mostly in first quarter of the book.

Cinder is cyborg, a human with over 30% robotic parts. Robots are called androids, and people die faster from the plague than anything else. Cinder’s stepmother signs her over in a cyborg-draft to be part of experiments to find a cure the rampant virus.

The pumpkin is a beat-up orange car, the closet thing to a fairy godmother is a scientist, and while Cinder doesn’t lose her shoe, she does lose . . . well, you’ll see.

Some complain the ending is a predictable. I think this is mainly because we are familiar the fairy tale and know what to look for.

If you appreciate what Once Upon a Time does with fairy tales, then you’ll want to read this book. If you prefer the more tied and true version of the tale, you probably want to stick with Disney.

Talk with your teens/parents (these are taken from Meyer’s website):

  • Cinder has many unique abilities—the ability to detect lies, to download information directly into her head, to overlay her eyesight with helpful diagrams, etc.What cyborg skill would you like to have today?
  • What is the importance of beauty (real or deceptive) in Cinder’s world? Compare the perceived beauty and/or ugliness of Queen Levana and Cinder and how this has effected how they’re treated by those around them. How is this similar or different from the way beauty is treated today?

Check out Meyer’s blog here.
Follow Meyer on Twitter here.
Friend Meyer on Facebook here.

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