book review for cinder by marissa meyer

Magan: Cinder by Marissa Meyer

book review for cinder by marissa meyerCinder by Marissa Meyer
Publication Date: January 3, 2012
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Pages: 387
Target audience: Young Adult
Keywords: fairy tale retelling, Cinderella, Beijing, future setting
Format read: ARC from Jess at Gone With the Words (Thanks!)

Summary: Set in Beijing, Cinder is a futuristic retelling of the classic Cinderella fairy tale, in which she’s a mechanic with a metal foot and arm, classified as a cyborg.


You know those books you see pop up a TON on review blogs? You read incredible reviews for the book and add it to your TBR list on Goodreads, but somehow it takes you months to pick it up?

Yup, that was me with Cinder.

I sincerely wish a blog had blatantly stated SKIP EVERYTHING ELSE AND READ THIS NOW. I absolutely loved Cinder that much. So, this is me telling you to stop what you’re doing and read Cinder immediately.

Fairy tale retellings are a popular thing right now. It’s such a great way for us big kids to relive the stories we used to adore as children, but with a shiny new twist on things. Cinder was precisely that for me – unique and artistic, fresh, and oh-so-good.

Meyer took a lot of creative liberties and didn’t follow the original Cinderella to a T. It’s set in the future and our beloved Cinder is a cyborg, a human that’s been “fixed” by having a foot and an arm replaced with engineered, metal ones. Her step-mother is as atrocious as ever, but the circumstances are different. Cinder is adopted into the family by her step-father (who does, as in the original, pass away). She’s one of the best mechanics in town and undertakes as much work as she can to provide the cushy life her step-mother has grown accustomed to.

Cinder is a mere sixteen years old, but she’s tough and unbreakable. (I suppose having a wretched step-mother can callous you.) I loved her hard core attitude and the way she fumbled over her words when she was in the presence of Prince Kai when they first met. Kai isn’t your stereotypical arrogant/conceited/egotistical prince. He’s a little quirky, very funny, kind and tender-hearted. He was so sweet and immediately had my heart swooning.

Part of the brilliance of Cinder was that the entire cast of characters felt so fully developed. I connected and sympathized with Cinder, but my love wasn’t just for her. All the layers of Kai were peeled back, allowing us to see him for more than just a prince. (I wrote a list of moments I adored with him: when his father passes away, when Cinder arrives at the ball, quiet moments with her in the elevator, and meeting Cinder for the very first time at the festival.) But Meyer didn’t stop the amazingness with the primary characters. She gave Cinder an opinionated, original robotic friend, Iko and the sweetest, most innocent younger step-sister, Peony. Iko and Peony helped show us more than Cinder’s abrasive, distrusting side.

Oftentimes, I dislike when I can guess where a plot is headed (I like to be outsmarted by the author). Something I’ve learned to really like about Meyer’s writing is that she gives her readers just enough subtle hints without spoiling it entirely. Instead of feeling let down that I guessed the ending, I felt a rush as my suspicions were confirmed because I felt like I knew something Cinder didn’t know. I do think Meyer is intentional in the little breadcrumb hints she leaves along the way – she builds anticipation by allowing us to know things and be surprised when the truth is revealed to the characters.

I could go on and on about  my love for Cinder, but I hope you’ll take my word for it and pick it up soon. You’ll want to be prepared for the sequel, Scarlet, to come out in February! (This time we get to meet Little Red Riding Hood!)

[Do you enjoy listening to audiobooks? Cinder is also available as one from Macmillan Audio. Enjoy a sample of the first chapter by clicking play below or visiting this site!]

(I’m serious — read it now!)

Goodreads | Buy on Amazon



25 thoughts on “Magan: Cinder by Marissa Meyer

  1. Tara says:

    I was the EXACT same way with this book! I bought it at a signing ages ago and just recently got around to reading it. Why did I wait so long?! Now I’m just super anxious for Scarlet (hurry up February)! Such a great review Magan 🙂

    • Magan says:

      Tara, it was totally YOUR review that screamed READ THIS RIGHT NOW to me. I had no choice but to pick it up after I read your review. (Thanks for that!) I hope you L.O.V.E. Scarlet!

  2. Holly says:

    I am the same way! I actually still haven’t read Cinder! I always add books to my “want to read” list, but for some reason, when I go to the bookstore, I pick up 10 other books, except the ones on my list! But I’ll definitely have to pick Cinder up now! This was such a great review! 🙂

    • Magan says:

      Holly, I decided yesterday when I went to the library that I’m going to create a modified TBR list on Goodreads — one that includes WANT THIS NOW books so I don’t have to scroll hopelessly through my list when I’m searching for things that strike my fancy. Please, please read Cinder soon!

  3. Rachel @ hello, chelly says:

    I felt the same way about this book! I read it recently too and I wish I had read it much much sooner.

    I also agree about guessing where things were headed. Usually I prefer being surprised.. but in this case, when my suspicious were correct I wanted to jump up and down in excitement. I loved being right, loved Kai, him and Cinder, so many to list.

    Great review 🙂

    • Magan says:

      Rachel, YES — exactly YES to what you said. Maybe because it’s written in third person I felt like I knew more than the character did and it was kind of like keeping a secret? I dunno. Something about having the knowledge in advance just worked for me!

  4. Karen says:

    I feel bad that I didn’t like this one as much as everyone else did. I didn’t dislike it – I just wasn’t as captivated as others seem to be.
    Having said that, I’m still interested in Scarlett to see where the story goes.

  5. VeganYANerds says:

    I so know what you mean and this book is the same for me, I’ve seen it around on so many blogs but part of me just didn’t think it was for me. However I do like the idea of a Cinderella re-telling that is original and the fact that the characters are well done makes this appeal to me. Great review, Magan, I promise to read this sometime soon!

  6. Kristen Evey says:

    “You know those books you see pop up a TON on review blogs? You read incredible reviews for the book and add it to your TBR list on Goodreads, but somehow it takes you months to pick it up?

    Yup, that was me with Cinder.”

    This is still me. I even bought it. It’s sitting on my bookshelf looking pretty and enticing. It’s not that I don’t want to read it. I do. I want to read it A LOT! But, I want to savor it and don’t want it to be over. Haha. Doesn’t make sense, but, there it is. I keep telling myself once I’m done with my library books I’ll read it, but then I keep checking out NEW library books. Sigh. I will read it soon, I swear. Great review, btw!

  7. Alexa @ Alexa Loves Books says:


    Seriously, I fell in love with Cinder, and I’m so glad that you convinced me that I should read it straight away. It is BRILLIANT. (And thanks for lending me Scarlet – equally brilliant!)

    Everyone needs to listen to you and just read Cinder NOW.

  8. Jess C says:

    I also enjoyed Cinder. At first I thought Meyer was trying to trick us by making us think we knew what was happening, but I was to swept up by the story to notice.

  9. Jamie says:

    I think I need to read this one because of your review PLUS so many of my most trusted bloggers are here in the comments raving! I just didn’t think it was a ME book.

  10. Lori says:

    I agree with everything that you said! I was pretty apprehensive going into Cinder. Cyborgs and Cinderella? Uh..what? But OMG it works! I was swept off my feet. I’m so anxious for Scarlet now.

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