Publisher: Puffin Books, 2012
Genre: Science Fiction, Fantasy, Young Adult
A forbidden romance…
A deadly Plague…
Earth’s fate hinges on one girl…
Cinder, A gifted mechanic in New Beijing, is also a cyborg. She’s reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s sudden illness. But when her life becomes entwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s she finds herself at the centre of a violent struggle between the desires of an evil queen – and a dangerous temptation. Cinder is caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal. Now she must uncover secrets about her mysterious past in order to protect Earth’s future.
This is not the fairy tale you remember but it’s one you won’t forget
With how popular this book is and with, even now, a high number of people talking about it, it would be hard that you wouldn’t have heard of this book. This is a Cinderella retelling in a science fiction/fantasy world. What I was expecting from this book is not what I got, and in a fantastic way.
What I was expecting was for this to be an average, fantasy/young adult romance where the main character makes unwise decisions in order to please a male that’s slightly (or full out) abusive, or starts off that way and turns out to be a “good person” underneath. These, if you haven’t noticed by my tone, are my least favourite tropes.
Cinder was absolutely nothing like that, though. Cinder was tough. She protected herself when she needed to, but wasn’t afraid to put herself into danger if it meant helping other people. She was mature and wise, but it was intertwined with thoughts and feelings every now and then to remind us that she is a teenager. A badass, headstrong teenager. I loved this book and that doesn’t happen frequently when I read non-diverse books in this genre.
The characters were great. Even if you took away their names, you’d be able to tell who was talking because each character had depth to them and were built. Cinder was of course my favourite, for all the reasons I mentioned above. I have strong opinions on male love-interests and the way they are written in young adult fiction, so I was worried about what to expect from Kai, but for the most part I actually quite liked him. He was sweet and mature. There was a scene where he was really pushy towards Cinder and that part I didn’t like because I firmly believe that when a woman says no, this is not something that means you can persuade her to say yes, it means no but he keeps doing this multiple times throughout the book. He also went down in my “I like him” books during the events of the last few chapters, which I won’t spoil.
The other characters (such as the stepmother, Pearl, Queen Levana) were just so evil. I found their actions to be shocking, like there was just no humanity left in them at all. Which is exactly what I expect from a fairytale retelling, a person is either good or bad and it’s very black and white, there is no mixture of humanity (even if it’s strongly swinging one direction). I’d have liked them to show signs of both, though. They were still somewhat enjoyable, and highly aggravating, to read though.
The plot was, surprisingly, really well done. It weaved together well. There were very few “oh, that was a happy convenience” and a lot more tragic and upsetting and therefore realistic turns of events going on, which I personally enjoyed. Things were clearly not going in Cinder’s favour most of the time, which is another trope I don’t like in young adult where they are just extremely lucky throughout the whole novel. There were several plot twists, as well, that I didn’t see coming but when I looked back on it I really should have seen coming and those are the best kinds of plot twists. It makes me want to read it again to spot where the foreshadowing points are.
There was also little bits in the book that I found really exciting, such as Cinder’s small foot. In the original story, Cinderella had very dainty feet and not glass slippers that made her so desirable. It was just a nice little thing to add in there.
There is also so much worldbuilding. Yeaaah.
The writing style was awesome. As is the way in science-fiction, there can be so much info-dumping that just ends up tiresome and boring to get through. Cinder didn’t have that. It flowed well, things were explained quickly and briefly, the writing wasn’t complicated and nor was it simple. It was very gripping, extremely fast paced and highly enjoyable.
- Great writing style
- Likable love interest
- An awesome main character
- Several awful and entertaining villains
- No info-dumping
- Realistic plot points
- Plenty of I-didn’t-see-that-coming plot twists
- Fast paced plot
- Cinder could be quite selfish at times
- There was a lack of diversity
- Limited to not backstory on the relationship between Cinder and her “adopted” dad
- Kai could be a bit of a jerk
Overall, this was a 4/5 read. I have been eying it up for a while and putting it off because I really didn’t think I would like it but I ended up loving it and can’t wait to read the rest of the series, even though I know plenty of people have said the rest of the series isn’t as good as this one and is told from different perspectives/re-tellings of different stories. Nontheless, I want to know what other stories the rest of the world can bring me.
Until next time,