Monday, 2 January 2012

Review: Cinder by Marissa Meyer

In One Line: Guess what?! Cinderella is a Cyborg!
Genre: Sci-fi meets fairytale
The Gist:
So Cinder is a cyborg. That means that her human bits have been intertwined with robot bits, and in the society of New Beijing, way in the future, she’s barely regarded as being human at all. Her horrible guardian puts her to work as a mechanic, treating her terribly whilst giving her own two daughters everything and anything they want. There’s a big ball coming up, organised by the dreamy Prince Kai, and Cinder can’t go unless she finishes all her chores. See what’s happening here? It’s Cinderella! It’s actually Cinderella! 
But there are also some unexpected things going on in this book. There’s a killer plague, a dying Emperor, and most bizarrely, an evolutionary spin-off human species living on the moon, who have psychic powers and a crazy-evil queen. But don’t worry, it’s still Cinderella. Almost.
The Cover:
It’s beautiful and sophisticated, and has a dark edginess that I find intriguing. But I don’t get the red heel - especially after reading the book. It’s important that you know this, just in case some of you see this cover, have a total stiletto fetish and clutch the book to your heart in the understanding that red high heels will feature prominently. They do not. In fact, there are NO RED SHOES throughout the entire book. I repeat, NO RED SHOES. 
Why You’ll Love this Book:
  • Cinder has the cutest android sidekick called Iko, who is so bloody sweet and gorgeous. Iko is all girlie and cute, where Cinder is all grime and grease-paint.
  • Because she’s got cyborg bits, Cinder has all these handy compartments in which she can hide stuff, like wrenches, and vials of antidote and ID chips. If I had handy compartments in my calf or fingers I would totes use them for lipstick and my Oyster card and bobby-pins. I would never need a handbag again.
  • Cinder has serious chat-swagger. Despite her tortuous and neglected life, she knows the art of sarcasm and uses it to fine affect. 
  • Prince Kai. He’s kind of dumb, and falls in love with Cinder for apparently no reason whatsoever, but I don’t care, because he’s a proper Prince like Disney used to make. In my head he was Prince Eric from The Little Mermaid. And that’s OK.
  • It’s not set in America! And I love this book for that. New Beijing is all future-oriental chic, and it is such a relief to find a book that does not believe that America is the centre of the world. 
  • There’s a human spin-off species living on the moon! Who are psychic! With an evil Queen! It’s wacky and bizarre, and made me think of old black-and-white sci-fi b-movies, but I loved it. I just loved it. 
  • It’s Cinderella!!!

Why You Might Not like this Book:
  • I’ll be the first to admit that I am a complete sci-fi nut. I am an open and proud Star Trek geek and spent many of my teenage years reading Assimov and Saban. But many of you out there are not. Sci-fi is like marmite - you either love it or hate it. So, I’m pretty much certain that many of you just won’t click with this book.
  • Whilst I loved it, I have to say that the whole moon-people sub-plot is beyond zany and was completely unexpected. 
  • Queen Camilla of the United Kingdom. QUEEN CAMILLA. Of all the names in all the world, why this one? As a British reader, it just stood out to me for all the wrong reasons. I’m surprised that the UK editor didn’t change it.
  • The killer plague just wasn’t scary enough. It makes you go blue, and then you die. Even though I wanted to, I’m not sure that I totally bought it. 
  • Am going to give you a small little cliff-hanger warning. Because personally, I’m a little tired of cliff-hangers, and even if there are sequels galore to come, it doesn’t mean you can’t have a perfectly rounded story in one novel. So if you’re like me, then you may find the ending frustrating. 

The Hypersomnia Test:
It kept me awake on the tube going in to work - which is normally my prime sleepy-time. Anything that engages my brain enough to stop me falling asleep on the tube is a winner!
The Final Verdict:
Please give this book a chance - even though you’ve probably never read anything like it, and think the idea of space-ships and androids is just plain silly, please read this, because it’s a rare escapist treat of a book. I can’t wait to see how Meyer will develop this world in future novels, and I can’t wait for the opportunity to see further into her vision. Long Live Science Fiction!
Further Reading:
Ash by Malinda Lo
Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce
The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter

Buy Cinder here!


  1. I cannot wait to read this! Even more so after reading your review! :D

  2. I thought they were just being funny when they said Queen Camilla. I didn't even click it might have been pure ignorance on the author's part about how it could be taken in the UK.

    You are totally right about the cute side kick