Review: Cinder by Marissa Meyer

CinderTitle: Cinder
Author: Marissa Meyer
Series: The Lunar Chronicles #1
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Genres: Young Adult Fantasy Science Fiction
Links:

Blurb:
Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl.

Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.

My Review:

This book has a very interesting premise – a modern twist on a classic fairy tale. Intriguing, right?

While I liked it, I didn’t love it; though, I’m interested enough to continue the series as I want to see where the author takes the story from here.

Cinder is a sought-after highly skilled cyborg mechanic in New Bejing. While she feels emotions, she often can’t express them (she can’t cry or blush though the latter is a major bonus point in my view.)

Her step-mom is a prize cow and her eldest step-sister is a nasty piece of work. Cinder is close with Peony, her younger step-sister, and she is fond of her android assistant Iko.

Cinder crosses path with Prince Kai and they strike up a friendship which develops into a flirtation and possibly something deeper. Cinder suffers from huge self-doubt as a result of her cyborg status and she goes to great lengths to hide her true nature from Kai.

Character development is strong and Cinder is a likable MC. Some of the scenes at the end were difficult to read, but that’s only because the emotion was dripping off the page and it was easy to cringe at the awkwardness of it all. These scenes were very well executed.

The writing is good, but there was nothing stand-out about it for me. I thought the pacing was a little off in the middle and I found myself skimming some sections. It reminded me a little of the Legend Series by Marie Lu in parts (A love-interest Prince who becomes Emperor and has to juggle a minefield of global politics, technology-driven future world, and a crippling plague that forces the Emperor to make some difficult choices.)

I really enjoyed the technology of this future world and it was right up my street.

The biggest issue I had was with the plot; I felt it was too predictable. I figured out Cinder’s true identity pretty early on and that took away from my enjoyment of the story.

The plot, flow, and writing, all improved in the last quarter of the book and the last few chapters, in particular, were brilliant.

There is no way I’m not continuing with this story given that ending and I’ve already started Scarlet.

Actual Rating: 3.5 Stars

Why I love Science Fiction

The Oxford Dictionary defines Science Fiction as, “Fiction based on imagined future scientific or technological advances and major social or environmental changes, frequently portraying space or time travel and life on other planets.”

I’ve been an avid science fiction fan since I was a little girl, though it is fair to say I was mainly into films and TV shows back then. I can still remember going to the cinema to see the ‘Empire Strikes Back’ when I was only 8 or 9, and I was hooked on the Star Wars series from that point. My mom loves to recount tales of how I used to hide behind the sofa, with a cushion obscuring my face, as I braved glimpses at Dr. Who on the TV. She says I refused to allow let her switch it off, though it clearly terrified me! (On a side note, excellent parenting Mom!!)

I’ve been a voracious reader my whole-life, and I exasperate my husband as I constantly have a book in my hand or my trusty kindle by my side. However, I only got into reading science fiction as an adult. A Brave New World by Aldous Huxley was one of the first classic sci-fi books that I read, and it is still up there at the top of my list of all time sci-fi greats. Written in 1931 it describes a frightening vision of the future, and I think Mr. Huxley was ahead of his time in his thinking, and analysis. I also love The Hunger Games series; those books just blew me away.

When I first started writing fiction, in my early thirties, I wrote lots of chicklit/romance, and I secretly harbored an ambition to write crime/thrillers. Mostly because those were the genre’s I was reading back then. Around this time, I commenced employment with an IT company and my interest in technology piqued. Then I got sucked into the YA genre, and I’ve read lots of dystopian science fiction and for me, and my writing, it was organic from that point.

In 2010, the CEO of the company I work for gave me a book to read called the 2020 Workplace. It is written by Jeanne C. Meister and Karie Willyerd and is intended for human resource professionals like myself. Essentially it is about innovative ways to attract, retain and develop the employees of the future. It describes the future workplace in some detail and draws an analysis between technological advancements of the last ten years, and planned developments for the next ten years. To see how far we have advanced in such a short period is breath-taking, as is visualizing the future and how far we will develop technologically in my lifetime. While this book added value in my corporate life, it also set my creative juices flowing.

I love imagining what the futuristic world will be like, and trying to second guess how technological and medical advancements will shape the culture and society of the future. The universe is vast, and so much is still unknown and unexplored and as a writer, that opens up limitless creative opportunities. I am particularly enamoured with stories that are set in space and those involving alien races—I think it all stems back to my early childhood obsession with the Star War series. To think that regular space-travel is being realized during my life-time is truly incredible.

A good science fiction story for me (whether it is a book, TV series or movie) has to strike the right balance between technology and human emotions.  Particularly, showcasing how human nature evolves and deals with advances in technology and medicine, and the impact of that on human relationships and their environment. Unless it has a good mix of those things, it will not hold my attention for long. In writing True Calling I’ve tried to achieve these aims, and completely given in to my reader-sci-fi-geekiness.

I don’t think I’ll ever tire of science fiction stories and with some interesting new releases coming to our cinema screens and bookshelves soon, I know I’ll have plenty to indulge my passion.

Star Wars