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On a Book Bender

Cinder by Marissa Meyer {Amanda’s Reviews}

in ESR: 9, Review: Amanda, Science Fiction, YA
Cinder by Marissa Meyer {Amanda’s Reviews}Cinder by Marissa Meyer
Series: Lunar Chronicles #1
Also in this series: Scarlet, Cress
Genres: Fairy Tales & Folklore, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Pages: 448
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
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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.

 Needed Scarlet immediately upon finishing Cinder.

My Thoughts on Cinder

My original interest in this book really only came about because Marissa Meyer was at a signing with Leigh Bardugo (whose book I wanted). I knew others had loved Cinder, but I wasn’t really sure it would be my thing. (Cyborgs? Ehhh. Fairy tale retelling? Meh.) Wrong. WRONG! Oh, was I ever WRONG. Cinder hit all the right spots for me, and had me staying up until 1am in the morning to finish the book during a reading slump.

If, like me, you turn your nose up a little at cyborgs, stop. Sometimes I can be kind of an ass about my reading preferences. The conversation in my head goes something like, “Cyborgs? Pooh. No. Fairy tale retelling? Pooh. No.” Well, I’m an idiot. I should not have pooh-poohed this book, because it rocked me out of a reading slump and that’s something that isn’t easy to do. Whatever I thought I didn’t like about cyborgs or fairy tale retellings was a bunch of mumbo jumbo. In fact, as I found myself talking with the boyfriend about this book, I realized it was one of those rare books that actually got a “Cool” response from him rather than a polite “yes, I’m listening to you ramble about books I don’t care about” nod. Cyborgs are cool, y’all.

Unless, of course, you’re a cyborg in New Beijing. Then you’re not cool; you are considered a sub-standard creature. I actually enjoyed this aspect. A lot. Human society has always been plagued by the desire to oppress one group to prove the superiority of another (i.e., you can’t be superior if everyone is equal). Setting up Cinder as a cyborg was a good parallel to the actual Cinderella story, and it also gave the book an added element of tension and suspense. Cinder may be a retelling, but Marissa Meyer has woven such a unique story that it only builds on the original and creates something that is completely its own.

While there were certain aspects of the plot and book that were relatively predictable, I found that this was no real detriment to the overall story. I mean, come on. It’s a retelling. The plot has to go a certain way, you know? And you have to have elements of the story that hold somewhat true to the original story. I enjoyed watching how Cinder discovered these parts that were obvious to me as a reader. I wanted to find out how it all fit together at the end. Reading this was like putting together a puzzle. We know what the puzzle should look like, but the individual pieces are new and somewhat unfamiliar to us. With each piece we add to the puzzle, our excitement builds; we want to see how our individual pieces turn into the full picture.

What did shock me about Cinder, however, was the ending. My word, THE ENDING destroyed me. Not because of what happened, mind you, but because of where it ended. I got all flaily and needed Scarlet RIGHT AWAY. So, in short: Cinder rocked. Don’t let your preconceived notions stop you from considering this book. It is more than a retelling; it is more than a story about cyborgs. And I loved it. *flails*

About the author: Amanda, noun: 1. Creator of On a Book Bender and Bout of Books. 2. Editor at The Path of Least Revision. 3. Lover of language and books. 4. Drinker of wine, coffee, and vodka. 5. Idea wrangler and wielder of words.

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  • Celine November 26, 2012, 6:30 am

    I was exactly the same about Cinder. I had seen it on so many people’s blogs, but wasn’t that interested. Then I found it in a Dutch bookstore, read the first page and was immediately hooked. I can’t wait for Scarlet to come out (:

    • Amanda @ On a Book Bender November 26, 2012, 9:58 am

      I’m so glad I’m not the only one who was skeptical about this book! February can’t come soon enough!

  • Amy @ bookgoonie November 26, 2012, 6:30 am

    Agreed. Even though you know most of where the book will go, it was still fresh and a joy to follow. I was lucky enough to have the audiobook. The narrator really added that extra magic making it feel like it was playing out on the big screen. The Ending!!!! Scarlett is coming soon. ;D

    • Amanda @ On a Book Bender November 26, 2012, 9:59 am

      It was also kind of fun to see where the deviations from the original story line were, too. The ending was pretty unpredictable, though.

      • Amy @ bookgoonie November 26, 2012, 11:49 am

        I’m so excited to see how she intertwines the new fairy tale with the Cinderella story line.

        • Amanda @ On a Book Bender November 26, 2012, 11:53 am

          It should be interesting! I think it’ll add another layer to the re-telling. Which is goood. :)

    • SaraO@TheLibrarianReads November 26, 2012, 5:10 pm

      I’ll second that I got the audio from Bookgoonie…which was AMAZING…and then my puppy promptly ate the CD’s. Like no evidence except for half a disk not consumed, ate it. May or may not have admitted this to Amy previously. Ooops. I’m coming clean because I totally owe her an audiobook…*sheepishly backs away*

      • Amy @bookgoonie November 26, 2012, 8:11 pm

        *giggling* It really isn’t a big deal. I have it ripped to my itunes and I’ve already listed to it. You don’t owe me anything. I was thankful that I won the audio and enjoyed sharing it with my reading buddy.

  • Mary @ BookSwarm November 26, 2012, 6:53 am

    CINDER most definitely did ROCK — and SCARLET is one I begged the publisher for (and most likely won’t get…oh well. I’ll just have to wait with bated breath!). Love how there’s the cyborg twist and the subtle fairy tale elements woven throughout. Masterfully done.

    • Amanda @ On a Book Bender November 26, 2012, 10:01 am

      You and I can wait together. FEBRUARY is so FAR away! I think the cyborgs really did make this book.

  • Mandi Kaye November 26, 2012, 7:34 am

    I honestly had no intention of reading this one. I think it’s on my TBR list – but it’s so low on the priority list that I’d never get there. But you just brought it way up to the top. It might even get read in the next few weeks thanks to this review!

    • Amanda @ On a Book Bender November 26, 2012, 10:03 am

      Did you pooh-pooh Cinder like I did? I was pleasantly surprised by this book. I hope you are, too!

  • Paul R. Hewlett November 26, 2012, 7:34 am

    Sounds like a great book. Funny, I just finished reading a review copy of a fairy tale as well for a book blog hop. I’ve really never seen much about books like this and then I read one & you write this glowing review. Thanks for posting. I will have to put this on my “to read” list.

    Paul R. Hewlett

    • Amanda @ On a Book Bender November 26, 2012, 10:10 am

      Awesome. I hope you like this one, too! It really surprised me, but in a good way. :)

  • Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal November 26, 2012, 8:35 am

    The pooh-poohing still makes me giggle.
    Scarlet! 2013! We’ll be there!

  • Felicia November 26, 2012, 8:58 am

    I have it on audiobook so I will get to it some day :) It does sound like it was a total WIN! I love those :)

    • Amanda @ On a Book Bender November 26, 2012, 10:12 am

      Yes! I don’t remember there being a lot of angst in this, either, Felicia, so it may be a good YA read (listen) for you! :)

  • Ashley Prince November 26, 2012, 9:08 am

    I’m so glad you loved this book! It’s one of my favorites and I can’t wait to read Scarlet.

    • Amanda @ On a Book Bender November 26, 2012, 10:13 am

      Me, too! I’m glad I got over myself and read this. Scarlet is definitely on my most anticipated list for 2013! :)

  • Rummanah November 26, 2012, 9:13 am

    I totally poohed this book when I first heard about it. I mean a cyborg Cinderella? Could it really work? I was scared it would go all techie on me and I would have no clue, but I was very wrong and pleasantly surprised by this. I didn’t think the ending was a huge cliffhanger, but I’m definitely curious to see how everything works out especially given with 2 other fairy tale heroines introduced.

    • Amanda @ On a Book Bender November 26, 2012, 10:16 am

      Yes! I think the ending caught me by surprise because I was expecting a clear resolution. And… well, you know what happened. Can’t wait to see what’s next. :)

  • Jenny November 26, 2012, 9:34 am

    “I realized it was one of those rare books that actually got a “Cool” response from him rather than a polite “yes, I’m listening to you ramble about books I don’t care about” nod. Cyborgs are cool, y’all.”

    Now if that’s not the mark of a winner of a book, I don’t know what is:) Also, I love that you used the world “flaily” when describing the end of Cinder. Win. Wasn’t this one fabulous? I so adored and I definitely had a minor freak out when I reached the end and realized there was no more for me to read. I can’t wait for Scarlet. I need it immediately:)

    • Amanda @ On a Book Bender November 26, 2012, 10:18 am

      Yes! If my non-reader boyfriend can be interested in the book, that’s a win in my book.

      I was so flaily at the end of this book, Jenny! The ending caught me by surprise and it was the middle of the night when I finished and I just… flailed all over the place.

  • Kristilyn (Reading in Winter) November 26, 2012, 9:53 am

    Like I told you before, I started this, but put it down around the 50 page mark — not because it was bad, but I just wasn’t in the mood. After your review I need to pick it up again! Even if that’s just to know what this ending is! :)

    • Amanda @ On a Book Bender November 26, 2012, 10:20 am

      I actually finished Cinder in the middle of a reading slump, so I think that says something. But if you’re not in the mood, it’s probably not something that should be forced. (It’s good, though. I promise.)

  • Smash Attack November 26, 2012, 12:05 pm

    I love flaily Amanda. I’m sad that I still haven’t read this one, but it does sound damn interesting. Bring on the cyborgs and oppression, I say! I’m glad it brought you out of a reading slump. No fun, those.

    • Amanda @ On a Book Bender November 26, 2012, 1:06 pm

      I’ve been getting flaily more often. Or maybe I’m just reading more flail-worthy books lately. :)

  • Sarah (saz101) November 26, 2012, 8:10 pm


    I can’t even explain how happy it makes me that you loved this. And loved it so much you got flaily.


    It’s… I don’t know. Despite being a self-professed sci-fi nerd, I wasn’t interested in this. Despite the 5 star reviews, and the opinions of all my fave bloggers saying it was amazing, I wasn’t interested. And then I read it.

    And… I was so surprised at… well, what you said: how much more it was. It’s not just cyborgs, and it’s not just a fairytale retelling, and OMFG. AMANDA. THE DEPTH. I was surprised at how much… more this book was than I expected it would or COULD be and I’M SO EXCITED YOU LOVED IT ♥

  • Leanne Yang @ Escaping With Books November 26, 2012, 10:54 pm

    I thought the same thing as well! I absolutely LOVEDCinder!! I loved the way it was retold but also how it was its own world as well! I didn’t know I was going to love it so much, I stayed up even later than you, 3AM!!! And yes, the ending… OH MY GOD, LOL.

    • Amanda @ On a Book Bender November 27, 2012, 9:00 am

      YAY! I’m really glad I’m not the only one who wasn’t sure about this book beforehand. (It makes me less like than ass.) The ending still makes me all flaily. *flails*

  • Hanna @ Booking in Heels November 30, 2012, 5:07 am

    I didn’t realise the last two titles in the series had been released already!

    I really need to get round to reading this – I’ve had it on my TBR since… I don’t know, March? I’ve never heard a single negative thing about it, but other books kept getting in the way.

    • Amanda @ On a Book Bender November 30, 2012, 9:56 am

      Scarlet doesn’t come out until next year. I think I neglected to add in all the release dates on my book order. *head desk*

      This was on my TBR list for quite some time, too. I would have kept passing it over, too, if it hadn’t been for Kelly. I’m glad I picked it up!

  • Kristin @ My ParaHangover December 2, 2012, 7:34 am

    OMG – I had not a clue that you poo-poohed this one! I’m so stoked it got you jazzed about books again. I had no clue about the ending and if I had known, I probably wouldn’t have read it just on that notion – I hate those endings. B/C I completely and utterly flailed right there with you! And that was almost a whole year ago.

    I totally loved this book, though!!! But there was plenty of WTF-ing going on in the house the day I ended the story…

    Awesome, awesome review!!!

    • Amanda @ On a Book Bender December 2, 2012, 10:14 am

      I pooh-poohed it before I picked it up. But I got sucked right in afterward! AND THE ENDING! That was the kind of ending that makes you go a little crazy, isn’t it?

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