Reviews for Cinder
Booklist Reviews 2011 October #2
There's a lot of moving parts in this fresh spin on "Cinderella," the first in a four-book series. First, we've moved from a fairy-tale kingdom to a post-World War IV future in New Beijing. Plagued by her stepmother and shunned by society for being a cyborg, Cinder keeps her head down as the city's best mechanic until she catches the eye of the dashing Prince Kai. He's got matters of state to worry about, though, including an incurable plague and the ever-present threat of war from the moon-people, known as Lunars. The over-the-top, spiteful cruelty that dogs the heroine from all sides is a little too cartoonish to take seriously when retrofitted from fairy tale to science fiction, and it's best not to ponder things like why such a technologically advanced civilization would get into such a tizzy about a fancy-dress ball. Still, readers will enjoy lining up the touchstones from the old favorite, and Meyer brings a good deal of charm and cleverness to this entertaining, swiftly paced read. Copyright 2011 Booklist Reviews.
BookPage Reviews 2012 January
A cyborg Cinderella
Just when you think that every possible approach to fairy-tale retellings has been heavily trod, along comes Marissa Meyer, who boldly sends her retelling of Cinderella into a futuristic new realm.
Meyer’s Cinder is a cyborg, only 64 percent human, her other 36 percent reconstructed from robotic parts after a horrible childhood accident. She was adopted soon after, but her beloved stepfather has died from the plague that is ravaging New Beijing, and her stepmother is nowhere near as sympathetic. Now, on the eve of the ball sponsored by Prince Kai, Cinder’s beloved stepsister Peony has succumbed to the deadly disease, and Cinder herself has been conscripted as one of the cyborg guinea pigs for the scientists trying to find a cure. But Cinder’s artificial parts might be hiding a secret from her past—and perhaps also the key to her future.
Meyer cleverly includes enough elements of the original Cinderella story to keep fans of fairy tales happy, but she simultaneously makes the story entirely her own, constructing a futuristic, dystopian world that is complex enough to stand on its own. The good news is that Cinder is just the first in a projected Lunar Chronicles quartet, with futuristic takes on the tales of Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel and Snow White still to come. Copyright 2012 BookPage Reviews.
Horn Book Guide Reviews 2012 Fall
With no memory of her life before becoming a cyborg, teenage Linh Cinder (who lives with her stepmother and two stepsisters) is forced to earn the family's living as a mechanic. Her life changes after an encounter with New Beijing's Prince Kai. Meyer ingeniously incorporates key elements of the fairy tale into this sci-fi Cinderella story.
Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2012 #1
Sci-fi meets fairy tale in this futuristic Cinderella story blending androids, hovercrafts, and netscreens with royalty, a ball, and an evil stepmother. With no memory of her life before becoming a cyborg, teenage Linh Cinder lives with her guardian stepmother and two stepsisters after her adoptive stepfather's death. She's treated as subhuman and forced to earn the family's living as a mechanic, but her life changes after an encounter with New Beijing's Prince Kai. Kai and Cinder are drawn to each other, even as she hides her cyborg identity and feelings from him, believing they can never be together. Soon Cinder is involved in finding a cure for a plague that's decimating Earth's population and also helping in Kai's search for the missing heir to the Lunar throne, who (unlike the current, brutal Lunar queen) he hopes will be sympathetic to Earth's plight. Debut author Meyer ingeniously incorporates key elements of the fairy tale into this first series entry. Early foreshadowing makes the cliffhanger ending involving Cinder's true identity rather predictable, but the novel is full of enough twists and turns, complex characters, and detailed world-building to redeem itself. While nearly the entire Cinderella story plays itself out here, Cinder's unfinished journey, together with Meyer's vivid sci-fi world, will leave readers anticipating the next installment. cynthia k. ritter
Kirkus Reviews 2011 November #2
Although it packs in more genres than comfortably fit, this series opener and debut offers a high coolness factor by rewriting Cinderella as a kickass mechanic in a plague-ridden future. Long after World War IV, with a plague called letumosis ravaging all six Earthen countries, teenage Cinder spends her days in New Beijing doing mechanical repairs to earn money for her selfish adoptive mother. Her two sisters will attend Prince Kai's ball wearing elegant gowns; Cinder, hated because she's a cyborg, won't be going. But then the heart-thumpingly cute prince approaches Cinder's business booth as a customer, starting a chain of events that links her inextricably with the prince and with a palace doctor who's researching letumosis vaccines. This doctor drafts cyborgs as expendable test subjects; none survive. Cinder's personal tenacity and skill, as well as Meyer's deft application of "Cinderella" nuggets--Cinder's ill-fitting prosthetic foot (loseable on palace steps); a rusting, obsolete car colored pumpkin-orange--are riveting. Diluting them is a space-fantasy theme about mind-controlling Lunars from the moon, which unfortunately becomes the central plot. A connection between Cinder's forgotten childhood and wicked Lunar Queen Levana is predictable from early on. Despite the simplistic and incongruous-feeling telepathic-enslaver theme, readers will return for the next installment in this sharp, futuristic "Cinderella" tale. (Science fiction/fairy tale. 12-15) Copyright Kirkus 2011 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.
Library Journal Reviews Newsletter
Debut author Marissa Meyer cannot be faulted for lack of ambition. Her first novel sets the Cinderella story in a plague-stricken future and stars a cyborg mechanic, a handsome prince, and an evil alien queen. Sixteen-year-old Cinder supports her stepmother and her daughters as the best mechanic in the marketplace. When the heir to the throne comes to call and asks her to fix his favorite droid, she is struck by his charm despite herself. Cinder is no ordinary mechanic; her skills are hard-earned, as she keeps her own pieces and parts in working order. Attending the prince's annual ball is out of the question, especially when her beloved stepsister falls victim to the plague that is wreaking havoc in their kingdom. Things are not all smiles for Kai, the celebrity prince, either. He must broker a marriage deal with a despotic Lunar queen or be responsible for a war on humanity, especially vexing since he cannot seem to get a beautiful mechanic out of his mind. Meyer's combination of thoroughly engaging characters and complex world-building make it easy to understand why she does not plan to stop at one book: Cinder is the first in an anticipated series, stretching into 2015. Meyer's talent for mythical re-imaginings will be on display in the Classic Twists panel, along with graphic novelist Garth Hinds (whose The Odyssey I featured in a What's Old Is New¬† column)¬† and comic artist Sean Michael Wilson. -- "35 Going on 13" LJ Reviews 7/19/12 (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Library Media Connection Reviews 2012 March/April
Marissa Meyer's new book is the first cliffhanger in what promises to be a quartet. Following the traditional lines of the folktale, an orphan girl is badly mistreated by her horrible stepmother. Cinder's two stepsisters are obsessed with the Prince; the Prince somehow falls in love with Cinder. However, that is where the parallels stop. Set in New Beijing in the future, the world is inhabited by humans and cyborgs; Cinder is a cyborg. Cyborgs have second class status, but the Prince doesn't know that she is a cyborg. The Lunar Queen hopes to marry Prince Kai and form an alliance between the earth and the moon colonies. As Cinder learns more about the Queen's true motives, she also uncovers a startling truth about herself. This book is fast-paced and interesting subplots keep the story compelling. Though readers know the story of Cinderella, they will be surprised at this twist. Emily Cassady, Educational Reviewer, Dallas, Texas [Editor's Note: Available in e-book format.] RECOMMENDE Copyright 2012 Linworth Publishing, Inc.
Publishers Weekly Reviews 2011 November #1
First in the Lunar Chronicles series, this futuristic twist on Cinderella retains just enough of the original that readers will enjoy spotting the subtle similarities. But debut author Meyer's brilliance is in sending the story into an entirely new, utterly thrilling dimension. Cinder is a talented teenage mechanic and cyborg--part human, part robot--who has been living in New Beijing with a demanding adoptive mother and two stepsisters, ever since her late stepfather took Cinder in after a hovercraft accident. Several events abruptly turn Cinder's world upside down: a chance meeting with the handsome Prince Kai has her heart racing; a plague pandemic threatens her beloved sister Peony; Cinder learns she is immune to the plague; and the evil Lunar Queen Levana arrives on Earth, scheming to marry Kai. Though foreshadowing early on makes it fairly clear where the story is headed, it unfolds with the magic of a fairy tale and the breakneck excitement of dystopian fiction. Meyer's far-future Earth is richly imagined, full of prejudice and intrigue, characters easy to get invested in, and hints of what might await in future books. Ages 12-up. (Jan.) [Page ]. Copyright 2011 PWxyz LLC
School Library Journal Reviews 2012 January
Gr 7-10--This re-imagined fairy tale, the first of a quartet, is neither imaginative nor compelling enough to keep readers involved in the detailed plot. In New Beijing of the Eastern Commonwealth, citizens are plagued by a deadly disease called lutumosis and are in constant danger of being obliterated by a moon-dwelling population called the lunars. Cinder is a human with surgically implanted robot parts who lives with her stepmother, two stepsisters, and an android named Iko. She slaves away as a mechanic, working hard to fix robots, hovercrafts, and netscreens. One day a hooded stranger walks into her booth at the marketplace with a broken android. To her shock, it is Prince Kai. The teen is flustered by the handsome young man who is soon to be emperor but manages to hide her mechanical arm and foot, which would reveal that she is a lowly cyborg, and agrees to help him. Meanwhile her stepsisters, Pearl and Peony, are readying themselves for the ball, intended to help Prince Kai find a princess. After Peony becomes afflicted with lutumosis and is taken to quarantine, Cinder's stepmother volunteers her hated stepdaughter for research in a desperate attempt to save her. With the help of a strange yet kindly doctor, Cinder learns a shocking secret about her past that could help save Prince Kai's empire, if only she can figure out what it means. The author's skilled, concise writing style cannot save this lackluster tale that has way too obvious secrets. Die-hard retold fairy-tale lovers who are also fans of future worlds such as that in Scott Westerfeld's "Uglies" series (S & S) might enjoy this one, but otherwise it is an additional purchase.--Tara Kehoe, Plainsboro Public Library, NJ [Page 122]. (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.