Cinder: Original, yet very predictable {spoiler-free review}


by Marissa Meyer

read from 24 to 30 July 2016

my Goodreads rating: ★★★☆☆

actual rating: 3.5 stars

Cinder by Marissa Meyer is divided in four books. I absolutely loved the first one: it was very promising and unique. Unfortunately, the rest didn’t live up to my expectations.

The writing style was good. I loved the third person perspective, but didn’t think the multiple POVs were necessary. Besides Cinder, our main character, we also get to read some chapters from a doctor and the prince’s POV. None of the characters had a lot of depth, even Cinder. When something bad happened to one of the characters, I felt nothing. I have no idea what anyone’s personalities are like.

Which brings me to the romance. Why were Kai and Cinder attracted to each other? I honestly have no idea. I’m not a big romance fan and while reading, the romance did bother me. At first, I praised the books for the female friendships. We don’t see that enough and I loved it. But as the story went on, the other female characters ‘disappeared’: Cinder only had interactions with Kai anymore. I did like the pairing at first, but the prince really started to make me angry: he couldn’t take no for an answer! No means no. It doesn’t matter that Cinder was lying about the reasons why she said ‘no’, he should have accepted her answer either way.

This is a loose retelling of Cinderella: when Cinder goes to the ball, she’s definitely not the prettiest girl there. And I liked that. Still, this book was so predictable. There’s a huge revelation in the final chapter and I already predicted it before I had even read one hundred pages. And that makes me sad, because Cinder really did seem original at first. But it contains a lot of the same tropes I see in a lot of YA fantasies, so it was easy to predict what was going to happen.

In my review of I’ll Give you the Sun by Jandy Nelson – the book I read before this one – I mention how much I hate secrets in books. They cause unnecessary drama that could have been avoided if the characters were honest. Unfortunately, this is also the case in Cinder.

The ending was disappointing. For some reason, I thought every book in this series was going to focus on another main character and their stories were going to intertwine in the final instalment. But, Cinder’s story is definitely not over.

I suspect Levana is going to be the main villain throughout the entire series. While she’s definitely a villain, her powers don’t seem that powerful as they made them out to be: Kai was always angry whenever he was around Levana. Why didn’t she brainwash him? It doesn’t make any sense if that’s her power!

It’s just a detail, but I want people to be aware of this: there’s a transphobic joke on page 100:

“I don’t know. I don’t actually remember anything from before the surgery.”

His eyebrows rose, his blue eyes sucking in all the light of the room. “The cybernetic operation?”

“No, the sex change.”

The doctor’s smile faltered.

“I’m joking.”

Dr. Erland reassembled his composure.

I know this might seem like an innocent joke to some, but I was so happy when I thought Cinder was transgender. Trans people barely get any representation. By making this joke, it implies that sex changes are funny, and they’re not.

I will definitely continue this series, because I’ve heard Cinder is everyone’s least favourite. And I’m very excited to read Wires and Nerve, the first of two graphic novels set in the world of the Lunar Chronicles. I absolutely loved Iko, so I’m looking forward to January 2017.


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