Posted by : Deborah Takahashi Saturday, June 14, 2014

Plot Summary:
Cinder knows what it's like to be an outcast thanks to the daily reminders from her stepmother, Adri, and stepsister, Pearl. The reason why Cinder is an outcast is not just because of her poor status, but she's a cyborg. Although she may not posses the fancy clothing and comforts like her adopted family, Cinder is good with her hands and can repair any mechanical object out there. In fact, she is so well known for her skills, Prince Kai brings his old android to her for repairs under the guise that his royal mechanics didn't have the abilities to fix it. Granted, Cinder can tell is someone is lying, she agrees to the Prince's demands because how can she refuse? Meanwhile, as everyone get ready for the Ball, Cinder is hoping her stepmother would allow her to attend as long as she completes her "chores." What should have been a simple fix, turned deadly when her stepsister, Peony, whom she loves and adores, follows her to the junkyard and contracts Letumosis (Earth's deadliest plague since the Bubonic Plague). In an effort to rid herself of Cinder, Adri volunteers Cinder for plague research and she is whisked away against her will. When Cinder meets Dr. Dimitri Erland, she notices that there is something very different about this man. What should have been her destruction, Cinder learns something so shocking and unbelievable, it changes everything she has known about her family and herself. Amidst this discovery, the Emperor has died from Letumosis, and the Lunar Queen, Levana, has decided to move in swiftly to forge an alliance that Prince Kai is against, but, if something isn't done, Earth may no longer be at peace with the Lunar Kingdom.As for Cinder, she finds herself caught between her feelings and her reality, which have not only caught the attention of Levana, but may find herself in serious danger.

Critical Evaluation:
I absolutely loved how fast-paced, and creative, this story is! Not only is it an ingenious ides to take a classic fairy-tale and turn it into a Sci-Fi, it gives readers another perspective on the meaning of the tale. Cinderella, as we all know, had been enslaved by her stepmother and the only was she could be rescued is through the help of her fairy godmother, a beautiful dress, glass slippers, and a handsome prince. Granted, everyone has heard a million different versions of this story, this take on the "damsel in distress" is quite the opposite because this damsel must rescue her Prince and their people. Cinder may be slave, like Cinderella, but, after her involuntary testing, her fate is in her own hands because no one expected her to survive, which kind of threw a wrench in everything. Another nice spin on the tale is that Peony, who not only adores her, but is relying on her to save her; Cinder may have carried a variety of responsibilities before, but saving Peony's life forces Cinder to do things she may have never wanted to do before (i.e., agree to continue the plague testing in order to find a cure and searching for the lost Princess). Although Cinder finds an ally in Dr. Erland, there is something about him she can't quite figure out (he has an uncanny ability of lying) and Prince Kai has actually taken an interest in her, but pushes him away because she fears that he might reject her because she is a cyborg. Despite the impending doom on mankind, I just love that this story still identifies the fact that Cinder is a teenager who is trying so hard to find her place in this world while dealing with issues like love and acceptance. Clearly, Cinder has a lot on her shoulders and, unfortunately, she is going to have to figure it out on her own with a little help from Iko (the family droid), Prince Kai, and Dr. Erland. This is a high-energy, fast-paced race to save the world from a tyrant and to help a cyborg regain her memories and finally find her place in this universe.     

Information about the Author:
According to her website:

One of my first spoken words was “story” (right along with “bath” and “cookie”), my favorite toy as an infant was a soft, squishable book, and I’ve wanted to be a writer since I first realized such a job existed.
When I was fourteen my best friend introduced me to anime and fanfiction—over the years I would complete over forty Sailor Moon fanfics under the penname Alicia Blade. Those so inclined can still find my first stories at Writing fanfic turned out to be awesome fun and brought me in contact with an amazing group of fanfiction readers and writers. As Alicia Blade, I also had a novelette, “The Phantom of Linkshire Manor,” published in the gothic romance anthology Bound in Skin (CatsCurious Press, 2007).
When I was sixteen I worked at The Old Spaghetti Factory in Tacoma, Washington, affectionately termed “The Spag.” (Random factoid: This is also the restaurant where my parents met some 25 years before.) I attended Pacific Lutheran University where I sorted mail that came to the dorm, carted tables and chairs around campus, and took writing classes, eventually earning a Bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing and Children’s Literature. Knowing I wanted a career in books, I would also go on to receive a Master’s degree in Publishing from Pace University (which you can learn more about here). After graduation, I worked as an editor in Seattle for a while before becoming a freelance typesetter and proofreader.
Then, day of days, someone thought it would be a good idea to give me a book deal, so I became a full-time writer. CINDER is my first novel, though I have an adorable collection of unfinished ones lying around too.
I now live with my husband and our three cats (Calexandria Josephine, Stormus Enormous, and Blackland Rockwell III), who go in and out, in and out, about eight hundred times a day. My favorite non-bookish things include Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, re-watching episodes of Firefly, and playing all manners of dress-up.

Teen Sci Fi, Teen Fantasy, Teen Romance

Reading Level/Interest:
Grades 8 & up

Books Similar to Cinder:
Awards & Recognition:

“Singing mice and glass slippers are replaced with snarky androids and mechanical feet in this richly imagined and darkly subversive retelling of ‘Cinderella.’”—BCCB
"This is one buzzed novel that totally delivers." —Stacked Books Blog
"I absolutely loved Cinder. Marissa took a well known story and created an amazingly fantastic new twist, making this it an all together new story." —Between the Covers Blog
"Cinder is loads of fun—mostly due to seeing a familiar story play out in a new setting, but Cinder herself is also a tough, smart, mouthy, resourceful heroine, so spending almost 400 pages with her is completely enjoyable—and I'm totally, totally looking forward to the next one in the series." —Bookshelves of Doom
"Terrific." —Los Angeles Times
“Author Marissa Meyer rocks the fractured fairy tale genre with a sci-fi twist on Cinderella.” –The Seattle Times"Debut author Meyer ingeniously incorporates key elements of the fairy tale into this first series entry." --Horn Book Magazine 
“What they [readers] do not know until they begin turning the pages of this fable-turned-dystopian-science-fiction novel, is that Meyer’s embellishments create a spellbinding story of their own.”–VOYA

"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. –Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
“Fairy tales are becoming all the rage, with the TV shows Once Upon a Time and Grimm spinning them through a modern filter. The 26-year-old Meyer's debut novel Cinder, though, combines a classic folk tale with hints of The Terminator and Star Wars in the first book of The Lunar Chronicles young-adult series due out Jan. 3.” –

“Cinderella is a cyborg in this futuristic take on the fairy tale, the first book in Ms. Meyer's planned ‘Lunar Chronicles’ series.” –Wall Street Journal, in a round-up called “After Harry Potter: The Search for the Magic Formula”

“…this series opener and debut offers a high coolness factor by rewriting Cinderella as a kickass mechanic in a plague-ridden future.” –Kirkus“There’s a lot of moving parts in this fresh spin on “Cinderella,” the first in a four-book series.” –Booklist

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Deborah Takahashi
Pasadena, CA, United States
My name is Deb and I am a Librarian who absolutely loves to read and recommend books to teen and tween readers. In this blog, you will find reviews on a variety resources ranging from books, movies, video games, and much more. Please feel free to leave any feedback, especially book recommendations!
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