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So… Cinder wow.  Awesome read.  Awesome remake.  Awesome story.  Didn’t love the cliffhanger ending, but it worked well enough that I’m willing to not hold that against the novel. I’ve been trying to write this review for days, but I couldn’t get over my initial “wow” reaction long enough to cohese something else to say. I’m super excited to see how this series develops, and am already trying to figure out when I’ll have the time to go back and read Cinder again.  It was one of those books that by the end you’re so desperate to find out what happens next that you end up racing through and then having to go back and sort out how it all worked.

I think my favorite thing about the novel was how unbelievably real the world Marissa Meyer (the author, since I didn’t mention that before) created actually became.  Cinder is a cyborg, looked down on by society as well as by her stepmother and one of her step sisters. There were times that I wished Cinder would shove her metal cyborg hand straight through her mothers face, and I’d have to stop reading for a moment to calm down before I shouted something rude.  Out loud.  At the book.

That is what this story does to you.

The development of the secondary characters is equally top-notch.  You really begin to hate Adri, as much as you love Peony and Iko. They’re all real, and believable, and none is perfectly good, perfectly evil or perfectly capable. What’s even better, story-engagement-wise, is that Meyer is not afraid to make you love them, then take them away, sometimes permanently.  Another thing she’s great at… world building. In Cinder, Meyer provides just enough setting development for the universe to be real and vibrant, without the story turning into one long series of scene descriptions.

I’ve seen some reviewers complain that the story is overly predictable… Come on people, it’s Cinderella for heaven’s sake!  Yes, it’s somewhat predictable in its overall flow of events, but I would argue that it’s fresh enough to keep a reader invested in the story. Alternatively, I’ve seen complaints that it’s too far removed from the Cinderella fairy tale.  In addition to scratching my head at this dichotomy of these perceptions, I find myself asking, “If you’ve already read a story where the whole plot is solely centered on a hardworking, abused girl finally winning her prince, why do you want to purchase and read it again???!!” I think one of the best things about Cinder is the balance its found between retelling a favorite fairy tale and creating something exciting and new.

TL/DR: I LOVED this book, cannot wait for the sequels, and am so glad I picked it up.  I’d heartily recommend it to just about anyone, and have been since I finished it!

Fairy tales are more than true; not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.

~GK Chesterton


I’m counting Cinder toward the 2012 Speculative Fiction Challenge hosted by Baffled Books and the 2012 Science Fiction Experiment hosted by Stainless Steel Droppings.