Author: Marissa Meyer
Genre: Young Adult
Pages: A lot.
Release Date: January 3rd, 2012 (Cinder)
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Holy moly me-oh-my.
If you’re looking for a series to invest your time and emotion in, I have found the books for you.
As a 22-year-old, I felt a little weird reading a series most 14-year-olds are reading, but I figured “hey, you’re never too old to read young adult”. So I purchased Cinder because who doesn’t love a good fairytale? I hadn’t heard too much about the premise of the series, but I’m not sure I would’ve picked it up if I had. Here’s my best attempt at a synopsis that makes you want to read the Lunar Chronicles.
Picture this. It’s the 126th year of the Third Era. The Third Era began after the end of World War IV. Advances in technology have been made. There are people that live on the moon. There are hovers. There are cyborgs and androids. Although they sound similar, cyborgs are different from androids because they are actually humans that may have robotic prosthesis organs or body parts that help them stay alive, when they may otherwise not be able to. The setting is New Beijing in the republic of the Eastern Commonwealth. Prince Kaito rules this particular province. Most of the nations have similar political systems as they do today.
Our main character throughout this series is sixteen-year-old Linh Cinder. She’s a cyborg mechanic (and a good one at that) who works to make ends meet for her stepmother and two stepsisters. Her reputation brings Prince Kai to her local booth to fix his royal android for him. While she goes to work, she is distracted as her stepsister is infected with the plague that has spread in the last couple of years throughout the commonwealth. Angry and confused, Cinder’s stepmother volunteers Cinder to do plague research against her will and they find out just how unique Cinder is.
In one sentence… this series is Once Upon a Time meets Star Wars.
An incredible premise for sure. I am impressed at the retelling of these classic fairytales. This is one of the most creative retellings I have read/seen. The world that Meyer has created is one for sci-fi and fairytale fans alike. Who would have begun to thought of something like this?
However, I’m disappointed to say that I was often left wanting more.
Reading young adult as a genre, it’s common knowledge you’re typically not going to be reading a novel with strong prose. Now, I’m not implying that all of Meyer’s writing was terrible. There were sentences or paragraphs I would stop to read over again and appreciate the language. For the most part though, Meyer seemed to be cliche and sloppy in her syntax.
“I’m sure I’ll feel much more grateful when I find a guy who thinks complex wiring in a girl is a turn-on.”
More angsty and embellished than comedic.
And really… that’s what the whole series was. Angsty. Just like Cinder, Scarlet starts off with few details, history, or setting of the scene. With such a fascinating world here, Meyer could have done so much more with the setting, history, rules of this society, and even the interests and personality of her characters. As Scarlet begins, she is constantly annoyed, throwing frequent fits of rage that seem unwarranted. We aren’t clued into why it is exactly that she is so hostile. There’s little to no information on the relationship her and her grandmother have. There are details misplaced throughout the remainder of the series, but this just makes it harder to read when you’re trying to move forward with the development of the plot.
Why is she so passionate about defending this crazy cyborg? Why does she stand on top of a bar and scream? Why is she so hostile to her grandmother (who is the one person to take her in after her father drank his life away)? And all of that just goes away when she spends a day or two with Wolf?
Speaking of the plot and characters, while there are certain distinct characteristics each character has, for the most part they feel empty. Winter was probably my favorite, resembling somewhat of a Luna Lovegood type – she seemed to be the most unique. Even with her, we are left with little information as to who she is as a person, what her dreams are, what her desires are, etc. What was her relationship with her father like? Was she once close with Levana? Again, there are many unanswered questions.
Without giving too much away, the ending was again disappointing mainly because it wasn’t realistic. I suppose with this being a retelling of a fairytale, fairytales are predisposed to end with happily ever afters. Who doesn’t love a good one? However, I believe there needs to be some credibility or sense of realism to every story. It just seemed far-fetched and after the build up of the entire series, everything seemed to resolve in a chapter and then we get a brief glimpse into what their lives look like once the conflict has been resolved.
In short… I’d say this is a wonderfully fascinating story with the potential for so much more. The storyline alone leads me to give it three stars because it takes heaps of imagination to come up with this world Meyer has created. However, I’d have to deduct two for the writing and lack of depth and detail. I’d definitely still recommend this series to someone looking for a light-hearted read. Or anyone that loves fairytales.
Read on, bookworms!