Author: Marissa Meyer
Series: Lunar Chronicles
Publishing Date: January 3rd, 2012
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
My rating: 3 Stars
Initially, I wasn't going to read this book, maybe because I was a bit wary of a cyborg-Cinderella story. I mean, a cynic like me who hears rumors of a dystopian novel set with robots, technology, kingdoms, and BEIJING would immediately have expected something subpar. But I looked at that cover, and I thought that I should get it just to stare at it. I still can't stop staring at it. The reflections on the shoe and the metal bones. AHHH. That is some serious case of cover-love.
For this review, I'll start with the characters.
Cinder: Cool. Awkward. Another one of those ugly-but-pretty girls. Prone to strange acts of embarrassment, like hiding herself behind her hair while she gasps? I don't know. Meyer's description needs some improvement.
Kai: Cute. Immature, but of course he's never been taught in etiquette because he's a prince! No, he just suffers from some foot-in-mouth syndrome sometimes. Other than that, he improves towards the end, and his reaction to the situation is about the only one that made sense. Although he needs to stop inclining his head and making his hair fall into his eyes. He's going to go blind soon if he doesn't get a haircut.
Peony: Meyer is just too cruel. Peony is the sweetest character ever. And I feel like she had more potential than what she was given. To be honest, it felt more like she was more engineered to die and give Cinder something to fight for than anything else.
Pearl and Adri: Honestly? Bitches. Both of them. I was hoping for something that would make them understandable, and Meyer seemed to have been going in that direction in the beginning of the book, with all the stuff about Adri seeming guilty about sending Cinder away. But nope. They're just bitches. Which was quite a disappointment. Like Meyer sort of wanted to change things up but got lazy or forgot.
Dr. Erland: I quite like this guy. He's funny. Strangely enough, I thought he was the evil one, and his ulterior motives were some of the few things I didn't immediately realize in the beginning.
Queen Levana: Perhaps even bitchier than Pearl and Adri. Definitely more diabolical. However, I think Meyer spent a little too much time talking about Levana being evil instead of showing that she was. Because of this, her actions seemed more wooden, and I could only manage a "huh, did she just ruin all their lives?" at the end.
Not a very exciting cast of characters (with the exception of the Doctor. He was awesome.) or even witty dialogue, in my opinion, but something that redeemed this was the idea. CINDER is possibly one of the more original books I've read, which is ironic considering the fairytale it revolves around. It had so much potential, but Meyer only pulls off half of it. I loved the idea of the Lunars, since moving to space is a big deal in the world of science. That an author would consider exploring the ramifications shows capacity for creativity. The unfortunate thing is that Meyer starts off with a predictable plot, and an equally predictable set of characters. Despite the fresh idea, this book seems to be only a shell of what could have been amazing. The setting of New Beijing in the midst of all this stuff about "dystopian America" is actually nicely done. I can't complain too much about her world building--despite passing off a disease as something with no cure, no origins, no nothing, she does explain, albeit blatantly obviously.
That was what knocked off a star for me. How blatantly obvious everything is, even from the beginning. I basically read 200 pages just to have everything confirmed for me. It would've been nice if Meyer had thrown in a plot twist or two to spice things up. The ending was intended to be cliffhanger-y, but I just said "meh," then booted up my computer to write this review.
The other star is for the mediocre cast. The three stars are for the brilliant idea and the cover, maybe even for some of the cute scenes between Kai and Cinder that made me laugh. I liked her entrance into the ball. Also, this book kept me reading, despite everything, and that's always important.
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