Title: Cinder (Lunar Chronicles #1)
Author: Marissa Meyer
Date Read: 18/02/2015 – 24/02/2015
According to GoodReads, this book was on my TBR shelf for almost exactly three years. A friend of mine started reading it and that made me think I really should get around to it myself. After all, I love fairytale retellings and who could resist cyborg Cinderella, right?
For a start, I think I maybe made the mistake of beginning this book in the wrong mindset. The book I had read immediately before this one was quite a mature, dark urban fantasy/horror novel, and maybe plunging into YA sci-fi immediately wasn’t the greatest idea. While it was very readable (I knocked it over in a couple of afternoons), it’s also quite predictable. I had worked out who certain characters were (but didn’t know they were) by about chapter three. I also didn’t feel any particular investment in any of the characters. They all had pretty awful things happening to them, and I certainly sympathised, but I didn’t feel any real investment in them.
This improved in the last quarter. The stakes got higher, characters confronted each other, and there was finally a bit of action. I actually think Queen Levana, the villain, is one of the best-crafted characters in the book, and seeing her finally interact with Cinder as well as Prince Kai, was really good.
The world-building is interesting, though I always felt it was a bit superficial. I wanted to know more about cyborg technology, about the robots they use, about New Beijing… I have read reviews written by people who know more about Chinese culture than I do, and they have also pointed out that as an Asian civilisation, New Beijing and by extension, the Eastern Commonwealth, do not ring true. I had a gut feeling as I was reading that this was the case.
Cinder and Prince Kai are pretty stock-standard YA leads. I don’t really have much to say about them, other than it is exciting to meet a female YA lead who is a mechanic by trade. We need more of that! I am going to read the next book in the series; while it is based on Red Riding Hood and I don’t generally enjoy adaptations of that story, the following two books in the series are based on Rapunzel and Snow White respectively, and I’m pretty keen on that, as neither of those are stories that get retold very often.
I can totally see why this book is so popular with the YA crowd, and I am hoping I will enjoy the subsequent books. Now that a lot of the world-building is out of the way, that allows the rest of the series room for more story, and I hope that’s what I get.