Welcome to the Five Things series, where I make a small review of a book that I read by listing all the things that I love or hate about them. For my first post, I chose Cinder by Marissa Meyer because I just finished reading it! I wasn’t very interested to read Cinder at first, because I’m not a huge fan of fairytale retellings – I feel like writers of these books aren’t creative enough to create their own characters and stories. But I finally gave in and read the first book of this series because of a book club I’m in.
Cinder is the first book in the Lunar Chronicles series and it’s a retelling of the story Cinderella. But the difference is that Cinder is a cyborg living in a futuristic Beijing. Well, I won’t elaborate the rest of the story but if you haven’t read the book yet, you might find some small spoilers in this review.
Things I Love About Cinder
One. It’s Not Just a Fairy Tale Retelling.
Going into the book, I didn’t expect much because I’ve read and watched a lot of retellings that are crap and I don’t have a high expectation for this book. But boy was I surprised. Of course, there are a lot of aspects in the story that were connected to the original story. But there were also so much more than a story about a girl with a stepmother who falls in love with a prince. In Cinder, so many different aspects are introduced and I must say it’s one of the best retellings I’ve ever seen/read.
Two. The World.
It’s not rare that you see young adult novels set in the future. In fact, it has gotten a little bit overused. But in here, the setting is in the future but it is also located in Beijing. Not to mention, there are robots flying around, cyborgs, droids, and hovercrafts! I like how Marissa Meyer introduced us a little to the world, although I was quite disappointed that she didn’t really explain much about the history of the world she created like what happened in the third and fourth world war, how was the countries divided, and the geographical and political aspects of this new and futuristic world. But everything is so different and unique that it makes the story much more interesting.
Three. The Romance and How It Wasn’t Too Emphasized.
Sure, in the original story the main plot was about the romance between Cinderella and the Prince. But in here, the prince is just a minor character and their romance wasn’t the main part of the story. I quite liked Prince Kai and I didn’t really like the whole relationship between Cinder and Kai, I didn’t get the whole tingly and bubbly feeling I usually do when I read a couple falling in love. But despite all that, I liked how their relationship wasn’t the whole insta-love and there wasn’t a love triangle in the story (although Levana might get involved a little bit, it’s not like the part where a girl must choose between two boys). So I’m kind of thankful for that.
Things I Hate About Cinder
Four. The Predictable Plot.
One of my weak spots in books are their plots. I am immediately in love with books that have an amazing storyline with great twists and turns. Unfortunately, Cinder did not have these. Sure, the story was enjoyable and there were a lot of action and intriguing moments but most of the time, they were predictable and not surprising for the readers. Like the great reveal of Cinder’s personality at the end of the book, or her decision to go to the ball after spending most of the book not wanting to, it’s partly because of the whole fact that this is based on a fairy tale but also partly because of the poor execution from the writer. Another thing that bothers me and affects the plot as well is how Marissa Meyer writes the scenes. Sometimes she moves on to another situation and doesn’t let the characters really feel the emotions. Like when a particular character died and Cinder would feel sad for a moment, then something action packed happens and she’d suddenly forget it for most of the story.
Five. The Secondary Characters.
I really liked Cinder in the book. She’s brave, but she also cares for other people. But I didn’t really like any of the minor characters in the book. For me, Prince Kai isn’t a very original character. Sure he’s attractive and handsome and charming, but he’s not really set apart from other male characters I’ve known from other books. Same goes for the other characters, like Levana who seems like the stereotypical villain who is good-looking and just wants to rule the world. And for Cinder’s friends, Iko and Peony, they’re both uninteresting and unsophisticated that I didn’t feel anything when they died. They didn’t leave a huge impression to me and I’m pretty sure that in a year I’d probably forget both of their names. So I was quite disappointed with this aspect of the book and it’s why I didn’t give this book a 5 stars.
So, in conclusion, Cinder is a very interesting and unique story and unlike any other retellings. It has an amazing setting and the main character is so badass. But it has some weaknesses that just ruins the story for me. In the end I gave this book a three out of five stars because of that.