Everybody and their mother seems to love Marissa Meyer’s “Cinder.” They call it innovative and original; they call the characters creative and unique; they call the world brilliant and stunning. Maybe I’m in the minority, maybe I’m blind, but the best part about this book is the fact that Cinderella is a cyborg.
Considering you learn that in the first two pages, I’m not that impressed.
“Cinder” takes place in the futuristic New Beijing, a city where humans and androids live in harmony. There’s a plague corrupting and killing humans everywhere and a strange race called the Lunars watch the Earth from — you guessed it -— the moon.
Our protagonist is Cinder — yes, her name is actually Cinder — a mechanic cyborg still alive only due to the mercies of her unkind step-mother and relatively indifferent step-sisters. After Prince Kai brings her an android to repair, Cinder is accidentally thrown into a political struggle that could end in war. It doesn’t help that she finds Kai attractive and that Kai has no idea she’s a second-class citizen.
I’ll give Meyer this: her main characters are quite interesting and they’re the only thing that really make the story worth reading. Cinder is adaptable and clever in a story that she doesn’t deserve, and Kai has the adorability factor that a fairy-tale prince needs.
There’s not much else worth noting. While the world is interesting in concept, it’s missing key points in its world building that just left me scratching my head and wondering, ‘now, how does that work?’
Though the book is still rather predictable. Everything is laid out to be figured out within the first few chapters and an especially attentive reader could figure it all out quickly. An oblivious reader would have it figured out halfway through the book where the mysteries are practically spelled out in giant bold letters.
I was especially grieved by the Lunar people. I have never been more disappointed in a villain set. They were bland and unoriginal. I felt like readers were supposed to fear them simply because they were set up as the villains, not because they were actually scary in any way. They never came across as real characters.
All in all, I give a big vote of “no” to this book. The protagonist deserved a better story than she got.