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Book Review: 'Cinder: The Lunar Chronicles' by Marissa Meyer

Cinder is a unique and refreshing twist on a beloved fairytale classic — and I am OBSESSED.

A young cyborg named Cinder works as a mechanic in New Beijing, where letumosis, a fatal, contagious disease, is destroying the population. She lives with a brutal stepmother and two stepsisters: Peony, who is very friendly, and Pearl, who is selfish and cruel. Cinder meets Prince Kai for the first time when he brings her an android to fix, and though it’s not exactly love at first sight, it’s clear that they have an instant connection.

They tend to cross paths time and time again, but little does Kai know that he is falling for a Lunar (Lunars are not exactly on good terms with the people of Earth. In fact, they are determined to start a war).

Cinder only learns the truth about her mysterious past when she is drafted by her stepmother to help find a cure for letumosis. She not only learns that she is Lunar, but also that New Beijing’s fate rests in her hands.

The story was beautifully written and I immediately fell in love with Kai’s character. He embodied grace, kindness, and professionalism at such a young age, and I kept thinking as I read that Kai’s father would be very proud of him. Despite the fact that he almost lost his temper around the Lunar Queen (which is perfectly understandable), he acted like a true leader. He seemed very tense and stressed all the time, except for when he was with Cinder. And in turn, Kai always brought out the best in Cinder.

Cinder’s stepsister, Peony, was such a sweetheart and one of my favorite characters. It really broke my heart when she passed away, and like Iko, she had gone way too soon. I feel like Peony and Iko were the only two people who loved Cinder for who she was and kept her going, so having lost them both, I really admired her strength and will to move on. Also, if I were in her shoes and I had to deal with Adri and Pearl, I probably would’ve lost my mind.

Speaking of Cinder, it was very easy to relate to her. Her lack of confidence and self-esteem was off-putting, but considering how cyborgs were treated in her society (and how much everyone hated Lunars), I understood why. I wish she weren’t so quick to assume that Prince Kai would hate her if he knew the truth. After all, he was falling in love with her and he really cared about her. I think it would have been smart of her to face Kai and tell him the truth on her own. That way, he would have respected her honesty. He wouldn’t have been so offended and disappointed to hear it from someone else. He wouldn’t have suddenly assumed that Cinder was using her “glamour” powers on him the entire time.

From the moment that I first read about Princess Selene, I knew that this would be Cinder. Finding out that Cinder was Lunar after she visited Dr. Erland was only confirmation that I wasn’t thinking too far ahead. It was a bit too easy to put the pieces together, considering the fact that 1. Cinder knew absolutely nothing about her past and 2. No one had a clue where Princess Selene ended up or who her caretakers were. But this aside, I really enjoyed reading how the story played out. I know that the last chapter was meant to be a big, shocking revelation, but since I knew about Cinder all along, it didn’t have that effect on me. In fact, I was way more excited to read about what Cinder would do after she realized who she was. Would she still run away? Would she stay and protect Kai? Would she face Levana?

Unfortunately, these questions were left unanswered because the novel ended with Cinder planning to escape. But even though I was left hanging, it was encouraging to see that Cinder finally accepted the truth about herself and understood why she had to get away.

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