Review: Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Cinder sucked me in with its awesome cyborg-Cinderella protagonist and evil moon people and fast-paced storyline, and I stayed up late just to finish it BUT THAT ENDINGGGG AHHHHH! I seriously kept turning the last page back and forth, thinking that the pages in the last half of the book MUST have been torn out by some really mean people. Not a fan of cliffhangers and loose ends, since it makes me feel like I lost sleep for nothing. So when will I start reading Scarlet? Soon, my friends, very soon…

Title: Cinder
Author: Marissa Meyer
Series: Lunar Chronicles #1
Publication Date: January 3, 2012
Category: (Young Adult) Fantasy / Dystopia


Linh Cinder is the best mechanic in New Beijing, and she also happens to be a cyborg with an evil stepmother. When the handsome Prince Kai comes to visit her shop and requests that Cinder fix his android, Cinder is inevitably thrown into the political turmoil between the Eastern Commonwealth (along with the rest of Earth) and the moon, where the powerful and mind-manipulating Lunars live. Meanwhile, Cinder’s stepsister has been infected by the fatal plague that has spread across Earth, and Cinder’s grief-stricken stepmother volunteers Cinder to be a test subject in hopes of finding a cure before it’s too late. Throughout the tests and the politics, Cinder learns more about herself and her past than ever before, and I don’t know how this story ends because THERE’S A CLIFFHANGER. (Not that that makes me angry or anything. Hmph.)


Cinder is a heroine whose life seems to be worse than that of Cinderella. Cinderella at least shows up at the ball all pretty and made up; Cinder is stuck with grease-stained clothing and a metal foot. Cinder is vulnerable despite her metal-ness, and she still stammers shyly when she talks to the prince and gets embarrassed and stuff, so she’s not that badass (except for that time she crashed her car while heading to the ball). I feel bad for Cinder most of the time because she’s helpless in the sense that she doesn’t get to decide who she is or what she does – her life is basically the way it is because of her past.

Oh, and I’m not a big fan of Prince Kai. He has his own troubles, and sometimes he’s sweet… but somehow, in my mind, he remains a shallow Prince Charming who likes The Girl but doesn’t really understand The Girl. So I think that Cinder should give up on him and grow some balls and save the world herself. (Which might happen, we’ll see? Like I said, THERE’S A CLIFFHANGER. Hmph.)

I can sympathize with Cinder, but my favorite character has to be Iko, Cinder’s little android friend who acts more human than robot. She has some of the best airheaded-teenage-girl-esque lines ever, and reminds me of a girl version of R2-D2.

Iko rolled to her side, clasping her metal grippers over her chest. “Prince Kai! Check my fan, I think I’m overheating.”

The plot is pretty awesome too – I loved the integration of intergalactic beings in the story, and things were starting to fall in place and I was so ready for more action BUT THEN THE BOOK ENDED. I was so disappointed! One of my pet peeves is cliffhanger endings where the story just screeches to a halt. Still going to read the next book, but hmph. (See? I can’t even review Cinder properly because I’m still dying from that ending. Ugh.)


It was nice to see elements of the original fairy tale in Cinder, and Meyer was able to incorporate a unique dystopian setting and a dramatic plotline to make this a captivating read. But that ending… sigh. Anyway, if you like fairy tale fantasy and sci-fi elements in your stories, Cinder is worth a try. If you’re bothered by cliffhangers like I am, prepare yourself.


20 thoughts on “Review: Cinder by Marissa Meyer

  1. (Massive spoilery ahead… Uh… Yeah.)

    That ending killed me, a big Iko fan. I mean, seriously, if you are going to kill someone off DON’T KILL OFF THE ADORABLE LITTLE ROBOT FRIEND! THAT’S JUST CRUEL! KILL OFF A HUMAN, I DON’T CARE, JUST DON’T KILL OFF LITTLE ADORABLE ROBOT FRIENDS!

    Ahem. Now that I got that out, lets talk about Cinder (the character). I have to agree with you about her life being more terrible than Cinderella’s. Even after the ball, nothing went well at all, which made me incredibly mad, because I spent the entire book wanting to smack every single person who hurt Cinder in any way in the face. Hard. Like, so hard that they fly in the air and land as a fidgety mess like those glitchy video game enemies.

    “She still stammers shyly when she talks to the prince and gets embarrassed and stuff, so she’s not that badass (except for that time she crashed her car while heading to the ball).” <– Eh, I sitll think she is pretty kick butt. She has two sides: the one that is like Cinderella, and then that one side that is very strong and will try anything to save the day. And I also sort of thought that Cinder's Cinderella-like side was cute, soooo.

    Prince Kai. Yeah, I liked the blooming romance between him and Cinder in the book, but while I liked his character a lot (more as a book friend than a book boyfriend), and really wanted the two to kiss, I can't say that I would like Cinder to be with him permanently. She deserves better (and the chance to save the day all by herself).


    • OMG yes, but I think I read some spoiler-not-spoilers about Iko making a comeback in one of the sequels, so that’s partly the reason why I want to keep reading! (Eep, I kind of feel sorry for the future fidgety messes, haha…)

      Cinder does have two sides, and personally, it’s comforting to see that she’s not overly shy or badass, because then she’d be bipolar and contradictory and characters like that do not sit well with me. I’ve seen badass heroines who turn to mush when they meet The Boy, so I guess I’m trying to say that I’m glad Cinder’s a more balanced character?

      SHE DEFINITELY DESERVES BETTER. And your comment reminds me of the “Frozen – A Musical feat. Disney Princesses” on Youtube that I watched recently, and now I’m totally a fan of Cinder saving the day all by herself!

  2. I’ve had this book on my TBR for *ages* but haven’t gotten around to it yet … now I’m scared … I HATE CLIFFHANGER ENDINGS! It’s a pet peeve of mine when authors write what is basically just PART OF A BOOK and then publish it and act as though it can stand on its own (Robin McKinley, I’m looking at your ‘Pegasus’ STILL SO BITTER) How many books are in this series now?? Three?? Are they still cliffhangers? Are there more coming?!?! This is why I usually read books that have been published at least 50 years… I don’t have to worry about waiting for the next installment! 😀

    • Ahhh, I can definitely relate, Sarah! (Should I not read Pegasus then? lol…) Yup, three books in the series now, and I’m still too pissed off to get the next book, and also partly because I’m scared of another potential cliffhanger. And I agree, oldies are the best. Need to read more books from before the 50’s (OR start screening each book for cliffhangers)!

      • Thing thing is, I LOVED ‘Pegasus’! It was brilliantly written, a fantastic story; I loved the characters; the world-building was perfect … and then it just STOPPED IN THE MIDDLE OF THE STORY. And when you look it up she’s basically like, “Oh yes I was writing this book and then I was like Whoa this is so long it’s going to be at least two volumes! But I guess I’ll go ahead and publish the first volume and then go write some other stuff and wait like five years before publishing the second volume and oh by the way it may actually be three volumes instead of two silly me.” Gah! So, in short… read at your own risk, lol. At least ‘Cinder’ has some sequels published! Do you have any idea if it’s a trilogy (and the series is complete) or if this is going to keep dragging out over more books (and I should wait until they’re all published before getting emotionally involved)????

        And as an aside, if you’re ever at a loss as to what pre-1950’s books you should read next, let me know. I’m the girl who’s haunted library book sales and the like for years and years and YEARS and I have quite the collection!

        • LOL that’s unbelievably cruel. Goodreads says that the second book is supposed to come out this year, so… I’m going to wait it out. Yeah, I’m definitely feeling better about Cinder now, since there are at least sequels published. I know Winter (featuring Snow White) is coming out next year, but I’m not sure if that’s the last one or not. I’m so tempted to just stop now and pick it up again when the series is done, if it’s ever done…

          And YES PLEASE, I’d love some suggestions! (I’m imagining Sarah-the-library-book-sale-ghost, and it’s cracking me up!) I need to stalk your blog more thoroughly soon, but I know that I haven’t read most of what you’ve read, so I’m up for anything you recommend! 🙂

          • haha well if you’re *super* brave and want to to send me an email, I will be more than happy to ramble on about older books everyone should read (because I said so!) I’m sure I’ll get way too carried away to limit myself to whatever the appropriate length for a comment is (which I’m not sure, exactly, what that limit is, but I’m pretty sure that if I start talking about book recommendations, I’ll exceed it) – (and if you’re not okay emailing me because I might be a amazingly clever sneaky murderer who lures people into emailing me by promising them wonderful book recommendations and then in some really brilliant manner manages to trace your email back to who you are as a real person and where you live and then uses that knowledge for evil purposes … well, I understand that, too!)

    • True – but what if the next book has another cliffhanger??? D: I need to read some more reviews and find out if it’s safe to read, haha. And good luck with choosing your next book, Michelle! I like reading books in my comfort zone, but I also have moments where I want to read something different. Let me know what you find! 🙂

  3. I was a little bothered by the cliff-hanger ending too! I expected the romance plot line to be wrapped up at least, with the bigger political issues to span the other books. I enjoyed the romance with Kai, but I think that’s mostly because I love Cinder. Now that you point it out, I can definitely see what you’re saying about Kai! He’s a much flatter character than Cinder. Iko, on the other hand, is completely awesome 🙂

    • Yes, Cinder had a little too many loose ends for my liking. And we should start a Iko fan club! 😛 I wish she had more scenes, but the ending gives me hope that we’ll see more of her in later books. Did you get a chance to read the other books? (If you did, can you tell me if the next one also has a cliffhanger ending? If it does, I WILL BE ANGRY.)

  4. I hated that ending too! And I’m not a big fan of Prince Kai either, but I do also love Iko. I think I’ll hold out reading the sequels until all the books in the series are published. 😛

    • We totally have an Iko fan club on this thread, haha. And thanks, Lea! I’m kind of scared about starting Scarlet and Cress… any potential cliffhangers that I should know about? 😛

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