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Teen Blog

Helping everyone who loves young adult fiction find their next favourite book

Cinder by Marissa Meyer - A Review

Readers, you may remember my Q&A with the  fabulous and talented  fairy tale re-telling author, Marissa Meyer.. 

To re-cap, I have known this gifted writer for over ten years, after meeting through a mutual love of a nifty little series you may have heard of called Sailor Moon.  Once you have read Cinder it won’t surprise you to hear that Marissa, who wrote under the penname Alicia Blade, was considered one of the Sailor Moon Community’s fan fiction "greats." Marissa honed her craft through years of dedication, hard work, and with the participation of fans.  Her blog is a mighty centre of documented organization to behold! 

Fast forward to present day where we sit poised as a nationwide retailer, to share this incredible novel with you all.  Here’s my review. 

What Makes a Re-telling Great 

The appeal to reading really great fanfiction is exactly like reading a retelling of any classic tale:  The idea that all of your favorite things about a book, TV series or movie (or all three!) are gathered into one place and arranged anew so that you have the delight of seeing someone else’s answer to the question: “What would I have done with this story?”

 I’m not sure it’s possible to describe the delight I felt reading Cinder, knowing Marissa, and seeing how it gathered into one place:

  • A love of fairy tales.
  • A delight for awkward romance.
  • A penchant for richly humoured sci-fi.
  • A gift for highly delicious snark.
  • A dash of Sailor Moon (but of course!)

 It was a fangirl and friendship supernova of reading which I will now attempt to describe to you in four parts:

The Series…

Cinder is book one in a four book series called The Lunar Chronicles which intertwines four fairy tale retellings set in the distant future. Ripe with second-class cyborg citizens, a deadly incurable plague, a dashing and quirky prince, space travel, android sidekicks, a royal ball and some saavy sinister villains:  the exquisitely powerful and disturbingly dangerous Lunars (residents of the moon who command incredible powers of the mind) and their Queen who is determined to rule the Earth. 

The Story…

Linh Cinder is a mechanic and cyborg complete with a wicked, resentful stepmother and two step-sisters, Peony, gentle and kind, and Pearl, cruel and selfish.  Cinder hammers out a living in the landscape of future Beijing where a mysterious plague has no cure and the politics between the Emperor and the Lunars grow more heated and intense by the day.  When Prince Kai comes looking for the best mechanic in New Beijing to fix his beloved android, Cinder finds herself inextricably drawn into the tapestry of royal politics as she catches him in a lie about the secrets his android contains.   And when Peony falls ill, Cinder is thrust into the heart of the mysterious plague, the mystery of her own origin unraveling to reveal a terrifying destiny beyond her wildest imaginings. 

The Love Story…

Cinder is the kind of altruistic, morally grounded heroine -  always practical first and fanciful privately- that is truly enjoyable to read in the forum of romance.  She is definitely the straight-lace to Prince Kai’s heart-first approach to reason, and the ensuing dialogue is filled with charm, heart, and tasty sarcasm.  Cinder is pulled further and further from the no-nonsense destitute of her everyday life and closer to places she must decide from the heart of who she truly is, and Prince Kai is increasingly bound by the duty of his title and pulled further from his heart.  Watching these two thrown together, working together, turning to each other, and best of all rescuing each other, makes the story come to life inside this fairytale in a way that will linger in all the best places in your heart ever after.

The Writing Style...

This was a book with constant momentum propelling you page to page.  The style was incredibly tight, each line, each action, even the descriptions all contributed to moving the story along in some way making it a page turner you can't put down.  It wasn't until I was done the entire book that I really reflected on this.  It has the suspense of Divergent, yet the fairy tale quality of Entwined, the saucy dialogue of Joss Whedon's TV series Firefly and the epic world building of something three or four times its size as a novel, like Star Trek.  I'm not sure how she got it all in there.  I think it was magic, which is also in the book.  Gosh. 



Basically, to sum up, if you are any combination of the persons below, you will enjoy this book: 

  • A person who enjoys fairy tales.
  • A person who enjoys sci-fi.
  • A person who enjoys romance served with a side of snappy dialogue.
  • A person who enjoys mystery.
  • A person with a Sailor Moon fan tucked away in their heart, yearning for a little moonieness back in their life.
  • A person in search of a book with something special about it that is nearly impossible to describe but you always know straightaway if it is there and babble sometimes senselessly to all you know about it once it’s found.
  • A teen.
  • A grown-up.
  • A teen grown-up or a grown-up teen.
  • This means you.

Read the first chapter of Cinder here.  Order your copy here.  


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