Double Monster Review: Cinder

Double Monster Review: CinderCinder by Marissa Meyer
Published by Feiwel & Friends on January 3rd 2012
Pages: 387

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.


Cinderella was one of my favorite fairy tales growing up. It seems that every time a new retelling comes out, I just have to jump on it. Cinder was no exception. Look at the cover! Plus we are getting a Cinderella with cyborgs! Was so excited for this one.

Cinder is a fully imagined retelling of the classic Cinderella tale with plenty of science fiction add-ins. One of the first things that I noticed about Cinder was how different it felt from every other version of Cinderella I have ever read. But strangely familiar to another one.1

Cinder lives in New Beijing. A futuristic world that captured my imagination right away. But left me feeling like there was something missing. Wait, I know! It was the Asian flavor. New Beijing is filled with hints of the Asian culture that never get fully realized. It is like Meyer started to go down that path, but half way there decided that it was best to stay almost a vague as possible.

This comes through the most with our MC, Cinder. A cyborg who is presented as basically everything but being of Chinese decent. I found it odd that most of New Beijing's citizens are at least hinted at to be of Chinese decent, yet our MC clearly seems not to be. While her ethnic background does not deter from the story, it was issues such as these that bogged me down as I read Cinder.

True,Cinder is a fully imagined retelling of the classic Cinderella tale. But Meyer seems to never let the story go into its fullest potential. It is almost as if the story got stuck trying to conform to the classic tale so much that it lost its sparkle somewhere along the road. Or maybe Meyer just bit off a little too much. Cyborgs… people from the Moon / war with the people of the Moon… A lunar virus… and the classic tale? Just putting all that together seems a little much.

Final Verdict:

Cinder may have its flaws, but I still loved this book anyway. Was definitely a book that kept me turning the pages till the very end. And with so much left unfinished, I am desperately hoping for a sequel.2

A science fiction fairy-tale? Count me in. Besides the shiny beautiful cover, the plot really captured my attention and I couldn't wait to read it. I'm a lover of fairy tales and I've found myself enjoying more science fiction lately than I remember ever liking.

I was captivated by the story. A cyborg, Cinder is an orphan who lives with her guardian and two step sisters. One of them is sweet and loving, the other is mean and vicious. And of course, her guardian blames Cinder for the death of her husband. Cinder's earth has been taken over by the plague and they are looking for the cure any way they can. Add in a prince, who shows up incognito and needs his personal android repaired, Cinder cannot help but say she'll look into it. She's a mechanic at the market to make money for her family and is treated for the most part like dirt compared to her step sisters.

Beyond the cinderella plot, there is another larger plot, one that involves politics, war and a marriage proposal that the Prince highly objects to. The moon is it's own political sphere with beings that have biological powers that can control humans and even other Lunars (as they are called). The queen wishes to become Empress of Earth, but to what end – peace or war?

There's so much in this story, that it could never be a standalone, which means, no happily ever after – just yet. I love the characters, from Cinder's android Iko to Cinder and the Prince himself, they stand out and help you pull into the story.

Final Verdict:

Definitely a series I will be looking forward to more of in the future. It will drive me crazy to find out what happens next, but patient I must be.


1 Spoiler: Read at your own risk. Girl from the Moon. Boy from Earth. The whole time I was reading Cinder it amazed me how much it reminded me of Sailor Moon. After reading the book, I found out Meyer use to write fan fiction for Sailor Moon, so I guess it all makes sense.

2 According to sources at this time, Cinder is Book 1 of the Lunar Chronicles. While I originally thought that Books 2-4 would be more of Cinder and her adventures… it appears for now that this is not the case. Each follow book seems to tackle a new fairy tale. And while I am all for that.. I just want Cinder's tale to get completed.

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64 responses to “Double Monster Review: Cinder

  1. karen Maldonado

    How can I not want to read it, when you just mentioned Sailor Moon, one of my favorite anime/manga ever!!!

  2. RhiannonPaille

    Well I keep hearing so much about this book I might buckle under the pressure and buy it. I hate it when I get roped in like this but hopefully the book delivers! From the reviews, I should have nothing to worry about. Right?

  3. Aimee

    I keep reading such good things about this book. I really want to read it. But, can I handle a no happily ever after?! I hope so. Thanks for your review!

  4. *-* You make me want to read this story even more now. Although he seems to have changed the original story up a lot it still sounds like it has the feel of Cinderella but also a whole new story. Great reviews 🙂

  5. Dominique

    I like fairytale re-tellings as well so Cinder sounds really good to me! Definitely on my TBR list!

    Thanks for the review! 🙂

  6. What a terrific review! I love that you didn’t pull any punches when you mentioned the things that you didn’t like about Cinder, because this is the first even somewhat negative thing I’ve read about the book yet! I’m really glad that this is only the first book of many. I know you said that books 2-4 are going to be about different fairy tales, but it sounds like they leave way too many questions at the end of book 1 to NOT continue Cinder’s story in book 2! In any event, I can’t wait to read this book, and I thank you for the awesome review:)

  7. Charissa Jackson

    I keep seeing this book but the description just throws me off a bit and I am still debating on reading it or not. Although I keep hearing a lot of good things about it so I may just give in and give it a chance. Thanks for the review.

  8. Persephone

    Cinder is now at the top of to-read list because of Sailor Moon. I love Sailor Moon growing up. Can’t wait to read this.

  9. Little Sprites

    Thanks for the awesome review. I can’t wait to read this. It sounds very good.I have heard nothing but great things about it so far.

  10. Sarah E.

    I have been entering giveaways to win this left and right – it just sounds like such a good book. It’s not often there is a sci-fi book that captures my attention and a sci-fi fairytale? That’s unheard of!

  11. Krista

    Great reviews Kate and Kristen! That’s really interesting that the MC isn’t depicted as Asian. I’m glad you both liked it though. Looks amazing 🙂

  12. Mara80

    Thanks for this great review. This is on my TBR. The sci-fi part was weird to me too but I think I will read.

  13. I.S.

    You know, most of the review I read were not very detailed. However, this one is actually explain the book more too me, and I believe I will read it now.

  14. Charity (The Bookworm Fairy)

    This book sounds absolutely amazing! I love Cinderella stories and takes on Cinderella so this book makes me want to read it. Although I do admit that I think it is weird to add the cyborg twist to it.

  15. margie c {The Bumble Girl}

    Wow, sounds like a great read! Fairy-tale meets… Star Wars? lol, sorry, I’ll have to read it soon and find out! Thanks for a great review 🙂

  16. I had some of the same reactions, especially about the missing “Asian flavor” to the setting. I enjoyed the book, but wanted to love it more than I did.

  17. Kelly

    Thanks for the review. I didn’t know about the asian setting! I hope that Kate’s review doesn’t deter me from my own viewpoint of the book!

  18. janflora

    I’m very curious about this book. I love retellings of fairy tales too, but not usually into cyborgs etc. Yet, I keep getting drawn to it. Thanks for the reviews!

  19. Michelle @ The True Book Addict

    Great reviews, ladies. I love fairy tale retellings and I’ve been curious about this one. And thanks for the footnote about the ‘sequel’. That’s good to know!

  20. I’ve heard so much about Cinder and I’m dying to read it. I love that it sounds a little dystopian, but it isn’t. That it’s a combination of fantasy and sci-fi and romance and fairy tales. Cinder sounds like my kin d of heroine and though it doesn’t sound perfect, it still sounds incredibly compelling, I can’t wait to check it out. Thanks for the reviews!

  21. Tressa

    I have heard some mixed reviews on this one, but mostly positive even with misgivings (just like yours). I have heard it’s a cliffhanger, so I was thinking I might wait to read it until the next book comes out. Thanks for the reviews.

  22. Hmm. If the first book doesn’t end in happily ever after, I might stash it away and wait to find out if the sequels do before I read any. I was so disappointed in the Hunger Games trilogy ending I’d hesitate to suffer the same aggravation twice.

  23. I actually have a copy of this one my shelf to read and I wasn’t too sure about it – I am going to have to bump it up on my reading schedule now! Sounds good… although I am not a fan of an unfinished story, so hopefully we get a HEA in the next set of books! 🙂

  24. Sophia Rose

    I have had this on my wish list almost since I heard of it. I love the premise of blending fairy tale with dystopian.

    Thanks for the review!

  25. I love retellings of any fairytale, but this is one trhat takes it to a whole new level. That is why I want to read Cinder. Thanks for the review!

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