Cinder by Marissa Myer is a book I purchased after feverishly scouring the internet for a more unique novel than what my collection holds. I came across Cinder on Goodreads, it wasn't a recommended novel but after looking through recommendations and then clicking on novels that were recommended from my recommendations and then their recommendations and so on and so on, I ended up at the bottom of the rabbit hole and this lovely start of a series is what I found.
The cover was possibly the most appealing thing to me when I first saw it, with its dainty white cyborg foot in the shiny ruby red shoe and the silver gothic story telling writing, I just felt like it was a great book cover. Reading the summary however, I have to be honest; I wasn't instantly grabbed by it. I know a lot of short stories, long stories, novels, movies, TV shows, etc. have used fairytale retelling and it does usually work out well, there haven't been too many times that I've been disappointed by fairytale retelling but at the mention of Cinder being a cyborg from New Beijing and her handsome prince being named "Kai" I was a little thrown off. I felt maybe it would be a teen novel with all the promises of something great but never truly delivering.
But can I just say - I WAS WRONG. Cinder is a fantastic retelling. The story sucks you in from the get go, there's no putting it down, there's no "I'll only read one chapter tonight", you keep reading because it's just that good.
I personally felt the story itself is very open to the traditional Cinderella tale, you can see the inspiration leaking through the words and the basic story line does play out in a very Cinderella kind of way, but it doesn't make the story in the least bit boring and I must admit whilst it is VERY 'Cinderella' the ending does have a very different and unique twist. One thing I particularly like is that Cinder is smart, not because she's a cyborg, not because she's a mechanic, she just has common sense. Cinder pieces things together quickly; she picks her battles well but like any teenager of course is oblivious to the cute boy liking her. I particularly like that while she wasn't in your face brave she did stand up for herself, which was obviously unlike the traditional Cinderella in which Cindy was a doormat.
I think my biggest pet peeve about the novel would be the supporting characters. Linh Cinder feels like a very well fleshed out character whilst others such as her stepmother Adri, stepsister Pearl, and dare I even say Prince Kai all seem very cookie-cutter.
Adri is your typical bossy, daughter obsessed, controlling, selfish step mother; while Pearl is your vindictive, self-obsessed, fame hungry, typical Cindy type of Step Sister. It would have been nicer for them to have a bit more depth and uniqueness, maybe even breaking away from the traditional Cindy roles the characters previously play.
Kai though, maybe not so much like Cinderella's prince, he is more modern but he still has that young-adult love interest generic-ness to him, just you know without all the brooding/dependency issues.
One character I particularly took a fancy to was Dr Erland. I wanted to know more, see more of this character, I won't delve into any spoilers but the Doctor just had a uniqueness, he wasn't a traditional role in the Cinderella story, he wasn't a fairy godmother figure, and I hope, no, I pray that the second novel will plunge into Dr Erland more.
To keep it short, Marissa Meyer has created a fantastic young adult novel, it starts off a little heavy, loading you with a great deal of information so you have a basis and understanding of the world that Cinder lives in but the novel is fun, easy flowing and a fantastic read. If you're looking for a traditional story without the damsel in distress type of female role, then this may just be the book for you. It has everything a sci-fi girl could want, Romance, robots, cyborgs, a little bit of action. Meyer has definitely done a great job at providing a good start to what I hope will be a fantastic series.