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Cinder: This Isn’t a Fairy Tale Reimagining. It’s a Great Piece of Science Fiction

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

The young adult genre is a strange category of books. It’s very hard to define as it constantly seems to be in a tug a war of fresh original scifi fantasy and cheesy teen romance. It seemed recently the cheesy romance has been winning the battle and I have been losing interest because of it. So when I got a free copy of the young adult novel Cinder a couple years ago, it was basically a paper weight for the longest time. I thought it would just be another badly written cheesy romance based on the premise of scifi Cinderella. But as I was on a tight budget in 2020, I decided to give it a read. Here is my review of Cinder by Marissa Meyer.

So what is it about? It s a set in the far future of New Beijing. A mechanic is visited in the market one day by the great prince Kai. He asks this lowly mechanic Cinder to fix his android and he seems to be very attracted to her. The story then very loosely follows the plot point of Cinderella. And I mean very loosely. Cinder is a girl who had been in an accident and rebuilt with a few synthetic limbs. Cyborgs are shunned by society and this allows her to fit in the template of Cinderella well and there is a ball. But that is where it ends. In this story there is a plague spreading across the Kingdom. The queen of the moon kingdom trying to pressure the prince into an agreement and if he won’t give, she will go to war with Earth. There are experimentations on Cyborgs to find a cure, so Cinder must keep herself secret. Also there’s an overarching mystery about who Cinder is. She woke up with no memory after her accident as a child when she was rebuilt.

So the good and bad? Let’s start with the good. To call this a reimagined fairy tale is selling this book short. It may have been a template the author began with, but it quickly evolves into its own thing. It is a well told original scifi story bordering on the epic. The characters are well developed. Even the prince was layered. I was so glad to see he was not just a pretty face for girl to chase like in so many other YA novels.

The bad? The detail is a bit lacking. And then there’s a plot hole. Cinder was partially rebuilt as a child but it baffles me. How could she grow up without having to have those parts replaced again and again? It would cause so many health problems. I can just imagine growing lungs trapped inside of a tiny rib cage that did not grow along with everything else. I know it’s not picky, but I wish this was all addressed somehow. Hopefully it will be explained in future novels. Also the book just cuts off at the end. It doesn’t feel like a cliffhanger. It just stops.

Overall, this is a wonderful scifi tale that swings for the fences and scores a home run. The story is so imaginative and fun. This is not the run of mill young adult romance. This is a fantastic scifi tale that is completely worth your time.

5 Smoothies out of Five

Overall Rating: This Isn’t a Fairy Tale Reimagining. It’s a Great Piece of Science Fiction.


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