Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Cinder by Marissa Meyer: Review

Cinder (Lunar Chronicles, #1)Title: Cinder
Author: Marissa Meyer
Publisher: Puffin
Buy This Book: Amazon / Book Depository

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.

A modern retelling of Cinderella set in a futuristic, dystopian world with androids, cyborgs, space travel and an alien race living on the moon. How can you not want to pick up this book and read it? All the reasons it intrigued me were all the reasons I hadn't picked it up. I wasn't quite sure how it would work or if it even would. But, once I started blogging, I began to see glowing review after glowing review. Over time I realised just how much hype was surrounding this book and that scared me too. I fear I became a victim of Skyscraper Syndrome, meaning that the hype had sky-rocketed my expectations and there was no way for the book to deliver the kind of earth shattering awesomeness that I had come to expect of it. But, trust me, that's not to say that this isn't an utterly fantastic, brilliantly written and unique read that I loved because I did. It just wasn't everything I thought it would be even if I can't even pinpoint exactly what I was looking for. I wasn't left feeling soul-crushingly disappointed but it just didn't live up to the ridiculous expectations caused by the hype. I HATE HYPE!

The story takes place in New Beijing after World War 4, Cinder is a cyborg who works as a mechanic and runs her business at her local market. A plague is sweeping through New Beijing and there is no known cure, despite testing being carried out on cyborg's in order to try to find one. Cinder's path crosses with Prince Kai, the Emperor's son, when he acquires her services to fix one of his androids. Over the course of the book their paths will cross numerous times and Cinder will be drawn into Kai's world and the problems facing New Beijing. I absolutely loved the setting, Meyer really brings it to life and I could easily picture all the different locations. The world building was definitely one of my favourite things about this book and I loved all the different locations I was taken too, I felt like I was really there.

I want to start by talking about the issues I had with the book. I usually save those till the end but I really want to rave about all the things I loved at the end, I don't want to end this review on the negatives. My main and biggest issue with this book was the big revelation. To me it kind of ends up feeling like what revelation because the big reveal was glaringly obvious from the very beginning of the book. I am certain that anybody reading this saw it coming pretty early on and yet the author waits until the very end to reveal it. It actually infuriated me because I felt it should have either been revealed sooner or it shouldn't have been made so obvious to us as a reader. I personally feel like it should have been as much as a shock to us as it was to Cinder. That would have been a great reveal at the end, instead it's annoying to just see Cinder being kept in the dark when we're already aware of what's coming from the beginning. The wait for that to finally be revealed really annoyed me for the entirety of the book and I wanted to hit Dr Erland because he just kept avoiding it.

The characters were something I especially loved about this book because there were so many of them to get to know. That was one thing that helped him me understand why people raved about this book so much, Meyer knows how to write characters. Cinder is fantastic, she's a character that I came to love almost instantly. She has a distinct personality and her sense of humour was one that worked really well for me. Her android Iko was another character that had so many funny moments. Her character was adorable and it was understandable why Cinder relied on her so much and felt true friendship with her. I have to admit to feeling like other characters were lacking a little in character development and I never really felt like I got to know them. This is a long series though so I feel like there will be time for that in later books.

Adri plays the role of Cinder's evil step-mother but it was too extreme for me. I know that this is a retelling of Cinderella and an evil step-mother is expected but I just wish she felt more realistic. But Adri just seemed to be evil for no reason, like she had no true reason to be as horrible as she was. I wish we had been given more back story for her or been able to clearly see why she acts the way she does. But I just felt like she was evil because that was the role she had to play. Peony, who is one of Cinder's step-sisters and the one she gets along with, was a sweet character but I wanted to get to know her better too. I knew Cinder cared for her because I was told a lot but I don't think I was shown that enough. I wish we could have seen more interactions between her and Cinder so that I could come to know and care for Peony too, sadly I didn't.

Prince Kai was an interesting character as well but I feel like we barely scratched the surface as far as he was concerned. I like the fact that the story switches between characters and it's not just told from Cinder's perspective but I still feel like I didn't get to know Kai very well. At this moment I can't really tell whether he will continue to be a love interest for Cinder or not in the other books. Romance doesn't really play a key role in this story, at least not in my opinion. I never felt much of anything between Cinder and Kai but maybe we will in the books to come.

The Lunars were a great part of the story and I was utterly fascinated by them. They are the alien race that live on the moon and they possess the power to 'glamour' people, which is very similar to the glamour that vamps have in True Blood. They can basically make people think and do what they want but also see what they want them to see. It's basically mind control and was really cool. The Lunar's are a threat to Earth because they are powerful and willing to do whatever it takes to get what they want. They are ruled by Queen Levana who was quite scary and she seems like the evil Queen from Snow White as no one can be more beautiful than her. I really can't wait for this story to get to the moon, which I am sure it's going to sometime soon, because that would be absolutely fascinating and I would love to see what Meyer does with it.

The writing is superb though and it's what made me know that I was going to stick with this series. There is something rather beautiful about it and it pulled me in to Meyer's world straight away. There were many aspects of the story that I wasn't 100% satisfied with but I knew that this was a world that I would fall in love with. I have to follow this wonderful series to the end and I can only see it getting better as the books go on. The whole book just feels so unique, like nothing I have read before. I hate the fact the hype left me feeling even a little disappointed in this because it does deserve all the praise it gets. It's a unique and superbly told story with great characters and excellent world building.


4/5 Butterflies

This really was a brilliant start to a series. My disappointment was due to this being beyond hyped up, I don't think any book could live up to that kind of hype. I loved how unique the story feels, even though it is a retelling of a well known story. Meyer definitely puts her own spin on it and it is superbly done. I can't wait to continue the series and see what she does with other well known fairytales. I have had such an easy time putting into words the things I disliked but I can't seem to be able to properly articulate why I loved this book so much. 


32 comments:

  1. I avoided reading Cinder for so long because of the hype and because I thought it just would not be my cup of tea, but then I read it and loved it!

    I agree about the secret, and while I realised before it was revealed, it still took me ages to work it out for myself, ha!

    Mands @ The Bookish Manicurist

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    1. I am terrible with books because I question everything a lot. Plus, as soon as details like that are mentioned I then pay attention to them. It just seemed that they wouldn't mention it if it wasn't important.

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  2. There is very little in this review I don't agree with. I totally see your point on the reveal, in fact, I 'accidentally' saw the last part of the chapter where it was written, but for me, it didn't effect how much I enjoyed it, to me, it was lovely to see Cinder learning more about herself and even knowing the facts personally, it didn't irritate me as much as it did you. The world, yes! Kai, yes! The friendships, yes! Everything about Cinder was one huge yes for me. I read Scarlet and was less impressed, but still, impressive. So worth it, right? :)

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    1. I think it just got to me the whole time because I knew and I was waiting for it to have an impact on the story, and then it just didn't. I guess I was expecting that revelation to play a role in this but it's obviously going to be something we see more of in the next book.

      I am actually really enjoying Scarlet at the moment, I think I might actually be enjoying it more. I'm not sure yet, it's a lot longer though and I do enjoy that.

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  3. I fully agree with everything you said in your review! I still gave it five stars because I loved the world building so much and the concept. I just over looked all the flaws because of how much I enjoyed the book as a whole. I can't wait to read the rest!

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    1. I am loving Scarlet so far, I definitely feel like I will enjoy it more as it goes on! :)

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  4. Great review!! I agree with you on EVERYTHING :) Oh and you rock! <3

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  5. I really do want to read this one but I think I have been avoided it because of all the hype. I hate it when I see and hear so much about a book and then have high expectations only to be disappointed later on by not liking it.

    I really do need to read this series, expectations or not.

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    1. I did really like it, it was just that I had some issues with it and it left me feeling a little disappointed. Plus, I always hate when everyone else seems to absolutely love a book and then I'm there like MEH!

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  6. I found it interesting that the hype turned people off. Something to think about. I haven't read this yet, but I plan to. The New Bejing setting is what captured my interest, but now your review has added to that interest. Thanks.

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    1. The New Beijing setting is amazing, I absolutely loved that part of it. Meyer brings the world to life and I felt like I was there myself. Hype is just getting a little annoying when it comes to books, especially when they end up disappointing.

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  7. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Charnell. :) Unfortunately, I couldn't get into this when I tried reading it a few months ago, however, I think I should pick it up again and give it a second chance.

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    1. I am enjoying the second book a lot more, if I am honest. Cinder was good but I wasn't 100% sold on it like everyone else seemed to be.

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  8. I'm usually angry at Kai....for some reason or the other. He's SUPER nice, but also thick-skulled. GAH. JUST LOVE HER ALREADY KAI. *ahem* Adri? *shakes fist* She really really frustrated me, which I guess is awesome writing. I really loved this book, although I didn't have to suffer with Skyscraper Syndrome because I read it before the hype. But I toootally get how reading it now would be kind of hard. But, still! 4 stars is a pretty good rating! I hope you like Scarlet. Ma favourite.

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    1. He definitely is. Yes, I think I'd rather it just be made clear if he's the love interest or not because he doesn't seem very 'interested'. I know he has a lot to deal with and everything but still ;) I did really, really enjoy it but I just had some issues with it. Mainly that whole revelation part that bugged the crap out of me.

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  9. It took me a long time to read Cinder because I thought it sounded stupid. But I was pleasantly surprised and really liked it! I think Scarlet was a much stronger book though, so I hope you enjoy that one more!

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    1. I am enjoying it way more than the first, I didn't even think Cinder was bad but I do feel like all the hype made me judge it a lot more harshly than I probably should have. It had a lot to live up to. I went into Scarlet with less expectations and I am loving it so far! :)

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  10. I agree with you on Kai -- the poor guy really doesn't get much stuff to do, even through the third book, but I'm a huge fan of this series and can't wait for the last book!
    Jen @ YA Romantics

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    1. Aww, I'm sad we don't get to see much more of him in the next books. Sounds like he doesn't get much of a chance to develop. Oh well! :)

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  11. I've had this on my tbr pile since it came out but yep the hype has kept me from jumping in. Such high expectations are so hard to live up to. But it does sound great! Glad you enjoyed it even with the little blips :)

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    1. It is a very enjoyable book and the sequel is absolutely amazing, I have become hooked by Meyer's writing and her amazing characters.

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  12. Oh man! Someone bought me the third installment to this series (not knowing it was the third and not the first) so I have to read the first and second! This review just makes me all the more excited to do just that!

    Check out my book review: http://olivia-savannah.blogspot.nl/2014/05/a-thousand-splendid-suns-book-review.html

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    1. I hope you end up absolutely loving it, it is a great start to the series and the sequel is even better.

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  13. We just read this for book club and discussed it last night. The book was just meh for me, but others seemed to like it. Good and fair review. I was bored with the book though, so I understand your points.

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    1. I thought it was good but it didn't really wow me like I thought it would. I am finding the sequel a lot better though and hopefully it's a series that gets better as it goes along.

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  14. I absolutely love this series. I didn't hear much about the hype, it was actually recommended to me by a few cousins, so I didn't have the hype to compare it to. I ended up loving it and the series is absolutely fantastic. Meyer has a definite talent with words. That's another reason why I love these books, she writes superbly.

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    1. She really does, I am absolutely loving Scarlet at the minute! :)

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  15. I love these modern retellings and I really liked Cinder. I feel like it's such an intriguing plot twists with the whole cyborg thing. Although I also wish we would learn more about Prince Kai. And now that you mention it, it does seem true that Adri's mean to Cinder for no real reason. Maybe she's just looking down on her. Either way, I still love how the fairy tales are twisted onto the whole series. :) Great review!

    Cindy @ In This World of Books..

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    1. Thank you! I think the hype got to me but I'm also having a hard time concentrating on books at the moment. I wish we learnt more about Kai too, but we see him even less in book two and I lost interest.

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  16. I hate when the hype makes you disappointed in a book, that's definitely happened to me before. It didn't happen with Cinder, though. I loved it. You're right, the reveal wasn't a surprise, but I'm not sure it was supposed to be given all of the hints we're given. So that didn't bother me. Loved Iko, and I actually loved Prince Kai. With the step-mother, I just thought her actions were all due to her prejudices against cyborgs. She didn't see Cinder as human (which doesn't make sense, but it seemed like most of the people in the book felt the same way). Glad you still enjoyed it even with the things that bothered you. ~Pam

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    1. I just wish we weren't given so many hints and then had to wait for Cinder to find out. Either have the reveal earlier or don't give us all the hints. Although, after reading book two it makes more sense. It's called the Lunar Chronicles so it makes sense that they all end up being Lunar characters.

      Prince Kai, liked him at first but I've lost interest. He's barely in book two and I don't feel he has enough feelings for Cinder.

      Adri just bothered me, I wanted her to have more of a back story and more reasons for acting the way she does.

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