Author: Marissa Meyer
Publish Date: Oct 27, 2015
CC Rating: 5/5
Summary & Review:
Cinder, considered by some as the kingdom’s best mechanic, is also a cyborg. She used to be 100% human, but after a car accident in her childhood, Cinder’s life could only be saved by installing a few mechanical parts. While this sounds like it’d be useful, in reality, most consider cyborgs to be sub-human and they face despicable conditions in the city—including a mandatory “lottery” to choose cyborgs for medical testing in hopes of finding a cure to the deadly plague sweeping the city. So when handsome Prince Kai himself shows up at Cinder’s booth, asking her to repair a broken android, Cinder instinctively covers her metal parts so he won’t know.
As soon as the prince enters Cinder’s life, it seems everything gets ridiculously complicated: Cinder’s sister contracts the plague, the warmongering Lunar queen decides to pay a visit, and Cinder learns more about her heritage than she’s happy to admit.
Right from the beginning, Meyer introduces the futuristic world of New Beijing, where cyborgs and androids walk the streets and a colony of people live on the moon. While a modern reader might assume cyborgs would be loved in society because of their superior anatomy, they’re actually considered second-class citizens. As a result, Cinder’s life gets really complicated really fast. Meyer doesn’t hesitate to stack on the problems for her main character and the world in general, which kept the plot fast-moving. Honestly, I was impressed by how she juggled so many major plot points: the plague, the Lunar queen, the cyborg struggle, along with the personal complications of Cinder’s life.
As far as character and relationships, Cinder is driven by consistent motivations and doesn’t always make the best choice—something that I admire in a character, and makes for a tenser plot line. I especially liked the growth of her relationship with Prince Kai, since it moved at a reasonable speed and was filled with realistic doubts and hesitations. Overall Meyer’s futuristic play on Cinderella made for a highly enjoyable read that was difficult to put down.
Creative Writing Analysis: Writing a Short Story Extra
At the end of Cinder, Marissa Meyer includes a short story (at least in my version of the book). It’s a bit of an origin story for Cinder and an event that’s talked about throughout the novel, but not something absolutely necessary for us to read in order to understand what’s going on. Basically, it’s a cool little extra for us readers.
At the same time, it was probably really helpful for Meyer to write, too. It was an important moment for Cinder and by writing it, she was able to pinpoint exactly what happened and how Cinder felt at that time, even though it happened years before the main plot.
I’ve recently finished writing a short origin story for one of my own WIPs. It was an event that I knew vaguely what happened, and the details weren’t too important to know for my main plot, but I started the origin story more for fun than anything else.
But as I wrote, I learned more about the characters and their emotions—things I had no idea about before writing it. I went in thinking it would be fun, but it ended up really educational for me.
Likely this short story won’t ever be published, but it wasn’t a waste of time. When I go back to my main plot, I’ll have a deeper understanding of the characters involved in the short story. It was also a great way to help me escape the writer’s block I had fallen into!