Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles #1) – Marissa Meyer | Discussion + Review

Cinder Book Cover Cinder
The Lunar Chronicles #1
Marissa Meyer
Dystopia, fantasy, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Feiwel and Friends
January 3rd 2012
Hardcover
395

 

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.

Cinder Booktalk

Cinder is the first book in The Lunar Chronicles tetralogy which is a retelling of Cinderella. Forgive me if this is all over the place. It’s a discussion so bear with me if I don’t make sense every now and then. I introduced Cinder and The Lunar Chronicles in another post so there will not be a letter of introduction in this one. Please note that this discussion will not be free of spoilers. If you haven’t read Cinder, please bookmark this page (Cinder discussion) and come back after you’ve read the book.

I came across Cinder while scrolling through my amazon recommendations and ordered it just because it was on sale. I will admit that I did not expect much from a Cinderella retelling. Cinderella is actually my least favorite fairy tale princess after Aurora (the sleeping beauty). This book honestly surprised me in terms of depth and political intrigue.I was expecting a sappy romance with a mostly predictable storyline. Expectations weren’t too high, then. I’ve been a fool, letting it sit on my shelf for months.

Cinder

Since you have read Cinder, you guys know what I’m talking about when I say that this book was hard to get into. Immediately, the biggest flaw of the book hit me in the face: Predictability. The introduction bored me because the setup of the story wasn’t a big surprise. It took me three tries. I wasn’t bored, really. It was interesting. Just not interesting enough.

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The book really picked up its pace, in my opinion, after Peony got quarantined. I read it in a single sitting after that. Cinder is quite faithful to its fairy tail roots. From the evil step-mother to the dropped shoe. Which reminds me, in the beginning, I was thinking about how pleasant it was that one of her adoptive sisters is nice but then I realized that there are still two evil sisters in the story now that Peony, bless her sweet soul, is dead. Queen Levana is the second one, sort of? Technically aunt but close enough. Come on, you see it, don’t you? Okay, just me reading too much into the wrong things. Fine!

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Moving on…

Characters

Let’s begin with the main characters in the book…

1. Linh Cinder

Strong, intellectual, beautiful, sarcastic, cyborg and a Lunar princess with bioelectric powers. What’s not to love?

2. Queen Levana

I hate her! I absolutely love the fact that I am able to loathe her! We have a powerful villain in her and I don’t see her going away before the end of the series. I laughed out loud when Cinder saw through the glamor and said something like – you really aren’t beautiful. Like gurl you’re about to die and that is what you care about? And such an obvious observation to begin with. She’s so full of herself, she would not even look into a mirror to face her own reflection. Living a life filled with her own lies. Of course, she’s ugly. Outside, as much as she is inside.

If her glamor ever comes off, she’s getting Rakhi Savant’s face in my head.

Cinder

With or without glamor, what do you guys think? Is she going to be able to marry Kai and continue with her let us fcuk these Earthians up plan?

3. Prince Kaito

I’m a sucker for strong willed and dedicated characters. None of his moves come as a surprise. He’s is honorable, handsome, and righteous. The perfect Emperor. Also here we have a question Kai asked Cinder, foreshadowing the end…

Imagine there was a cure, but finding it would cost you everything. It would completely ruin your life. What would you do?

Did you notice?

4. Iko

Iko honestly gave me all the feels. While Peony’s fate was foreseeable, Iko’s ‘end’ came as a slap on my crying mess of a face. The good thing is that she’ll probably be getting a real body in the next book and I’m so excited about that!

Prince Kai! Check my fan, I think I’m overheating.

5. Dr. Erland

He is the definition of gray in this novel. From the beginning to the end, I couldn’t decide if everything he did was for ‘the greater good’ or straight up shady. Turns out, he’s a lunar himself and has spent a lifetime looking for Selene. Whoever could have guessed? Not me. I believe that in the next novel, Cinder will find an ally in Dr. Erland and maybe even a friend?

6. Linh Pearl

She reminds me of all the middle school brats I put down ‘back in the day’. No, really. She loved Peony, no doubt but she was obviously mean to her. And she is mean to Cinder. I hope we don’t get to see any more of her. Such an ignorant little beeatch.

7. Linh Adri

Adri takes all of Cinder’s earnings! Adri doesn’t believe Cinder has emotions! She sold Cinder for research! She made Cinder give back the foot she had earned! Adri dismantled Iko! Adri is despicable!

8. Linh Peony

She’s the sweetest character in the series. I  bawled my eyes out when Cinder was a few minutes too late and had to cut out Peony’s chip from her wrist. Had to shut the book for a few hours after that. I couldn’t take it!

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9. Sybil Mira

Spoiler for Cress. I think.

I don’t know why but for some reason, she gives me Ianthe (That red priestess beeatch from ACOMAF) vibes. She’s planning to fcuk Lavana over, mark my words.

10. Konn Torin

I don’t blame you if you don’t remember who this guy is. Konn Torin is the most believable authority/advisor figure in all of ya fantasy that I’ve ever read. He’s good at what he does and much like Kai, he is motivated and just. I like this character.

11. Emperor Rikan

I’m so happy that the emperor in this book was a nice person who genuinely wanted the best for his country. I loved that Kai and Rikan had a close relationship and that koi looked up to his father as a Monarch. This is very refreshing in the wake of recent ya hits. No teen drama in this one, no sir.

Plot Points

In this section, I will not be discussing what the book is about as much as a few plot points and how I felt about them. I’ll try to list the points as in the order of occurrence in the book but I hope you will find it in your heart to forgive me if I derail.

Okay so, we’ve discussed how the opening scenes were very predictable and kind of disengaging but when Cinder came back home to Adri and Pearl, she quickly discovered that they blame her for Peony’s condition. Adri didn’t believe that Cinder could feel since she could not cry which is ridiculous!

Do your kind even know what love is? Can you feel anything at all, or is it just… programmed?

She’s a cyborg, not a full-on robot! Maybe it’s the Westworld effect but I don’t think even Iko deserves to be treated like that.

At the palace, when Dr. Erland rejected that older male patient, I thought that he was a nice person and was only doing all this under the Emperor’s orders. Which is why I got so confused when he did not give a fcuk about Cinder’s protests. Not in a way that said sorry-i-gotta-do-what-i-gotta-do but oh-my-god-this-is-so-exciting-we-are-going-to-have-so-much-fun. It was very disturbing to read.

The man sacrificed hundreds of cyborg lives to look for a Lunar princess who, as far as he knew, could be dead in a ditch somewhere. What was his motivation, really? Revenge for his shell infant’s death or the greater good of the Earth and the Moon? Gray, gray, gray! I don’t know whether I want to pat him on the back or stab him in the gut.

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Dr. Erland made an observation during his first scan of Cinder.

“…You know, lots of
female cyborgs are left infertile because of the invasive
procedures, but from the looks of it, I don’t suspect you will
have any problems.”
Cinder sat on one of the exam tables, chin settled atop
both palms. “Lucky me.”

FORESHADOWING!

Cinder

and Cinder throws it back into his face saying…

I’m sure I’ll feel much more grateful when I find a guy who thinks complex wiring in a girl is a turn-on.

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Really? Do male cyborgs not exist in this universe? Am I missing something? One thing that I did not miss was that CINDER IS SELENE. I know it since Kai mentioned it for the first time which was around page 120. I totally get it if you missed it but to me, it was just too obvious. I’ve been reading YA long enough to just know.

Some conspiracy theorists thought the princess had survived and was still alive somewhere, waiting for the right time to reclaim her crown and end Levana’s rule of tyranny, but Cinder knew it was only desperation that fueled these rumors. After all, they’d found traces of the child’s flesh in the ashes.

Cinder’s foot, I assume.

Lunars in this book. If you are confused about the concept, Lunars are not human but they used to be human centuries ago. They’re basically a society that had evolved from an Earthen Moon colony centuries ago. They have the ability to detect bioelectricity in others and control it as well. Making others see and think as they please.

Now, if you’re an average human being, you must be thinking… what the heck is that? You might have googled it but it’s altight if you havn’t. I got you.

Cinder

So that was useless. This is what wikia.com had to say…

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If you’re still confused, check out this page on Bioelectrical Manipulation.

Moving on, raise your hand if you cringed when Kai insisted that they address each other on first name basis.

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Like, you guys don’t know each other! You’re the crown prince! Get a grip!

They did get to know each other later on and our young Emperor started crushing on Cinder HARD. Hard like the wrecking ball Miley rode into the brick wall that was her Hannah Montana image, and I lived for every single dialogue.

Here are some of the exchanges just to refresh your memory…

Kai cleared his throat. Stood straighter. “I assume you are going to the ball?”
“I-I don’t know. I mean, no. No, I’m sorry, I’m not going to the ball.”
Kai drew back, confused. “Oh well… but… maybe you would change your mind? Because I am, you know.”
“The prince.”
“Not bragging,” he said quickly. “Just a fact.”
Kai tilted his head, peering at her as if he could see right through to the metal plate in her head…”I think you should go to the ball with me.”
She clutched her fingers…”Stars,” she muttered. “Didn’t you already asked me that?”
“I’m hoping for a more favorable answer this time and I seem to be getting more desperate by the minute.”
“How charming.”
Kai’s lips twitched. “Please?”
“Why?”
“Why not?”
“I mean, why me?”
Kai hooked his thumbs on his pockets. “So if my escape hover breaks down, I’ll have someone to fix it?”
I know this is stupid, but part of me felt like if I could come see you today, if I could convince you to go with me tonight, then maybe I could still change things. It’s dumb, I know. It’s not like Levana cares if I, you know, might have actual feelings for someone.

Cinder

New book boyfriend alert!

I love how Marissa Meyer explained everything that was happening in the book. I love it that she didn’t info dump us at the beginning and just took her time explaining everything through Cinder’s cyborg retina google thingy. It’s soo cool how she can access everything she needs in her retina lens. We need a product like this in our lives. Google needs to launch something like this ASAP!

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ASAP.

Jokes apart, I really liked how Marissa Meyer explained the origins of Letumosis and how it Lunars were the ones who brought it with them to Earth. I liked the shell theory and how they were killed because they could not be controlled through the queens Bioelectric powers. I’m so glad that Cinder is not a shell and that her powers were just repressed through a chip in her neck which acted out every time she got hot and bothered (sic). This means that she’ll be doing cool bioelectric shet in the next books!

Do lunars have some kind of Lunar detectors in their brains? Because how else was Queen Levana able to spot cinder in a crowd of thousands? Why was she there in the first place? Dr. Erland specifically asked her to stay away from the palace because if spotted, the queen would most definitely kill her. But oh no, Kai and the android are more important. Even if going to the castle could mean death. Livelihood VS life, Cinder!

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How thick does a character need to be to not get that? I couldn’t figure out why she thought, later on in the book, that going to the ball would be a good idea. Knowing that Levana would be there. Even if you’re there. Why would you dance with the prince? Why would you kiss him in front of everyone? I don’t get it. This girl had a death wish!

I loved it when Levana asked Kai to round up all Lunars in his city and Kai simply unleashed the sass…

Right,’ said Kai, ‘that’ll be no problem in a city of two and a half million people. Let me just go dig out my special Lunar detector, and I’ll get right on that.

And when she tried to belittle Kai using her mind games…

That you prefer to rule through fear rather than justice? So sorry, Your Majesty, I’m afraid I already knew that about you.

I loved how the epic Cinderella climax went down in the book. Taking all the main elements but altering them enough to fit the story just perfectly. I could completely relate with Cinder as well as Kai when he discovered that she was Lunar and a cyborg. My heart broke for them and what they had to do next.

Love does not cloud these character’s judgment. It was not love that motivated Cinder to go to the ball. It wasn’t love that made her kiss the young Emperor. Kai chose his country over love. He truly did believe that marrying Levana was the best course of action and so did his advisors. They discussed sacrificing their lives for the benefit of thousands. I was the honorable thing to do. The logical course of action.

The truth stung but I’m glad that everybody kept their wits…

She kept her head high, even as her eyes stung, even as panic filled her vision with warnings and precautions.
It was not her fault he had liked her.
It was not her fault she was cyborg.
She would not apologize.

I’m excited to read the next book. I hope you’ll join me on this journey.

Soon, the whole world would be searching for her–Linh Cinder.
A deformed cyborg with a missing foot.
A Lunar with a stolen identity.
A mechanic with no one to run to, nowhere to go.
But they will be looking for a ghost.

Overall I would give this book an A- (on a scale of C- to A+).

If you love fairy tails, fantasy, science fiction and, most of all YA… pick this one up.

PS: When Cinder kissed Kai and Kai just stood there. Think about that for the rest of your day/night.

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  • Anshul Shokeen

    This looks ultra interesting.!

    • Ishita

      Yeahh I agree

  • Thanx for introducing me to this series! xD