We have the ability to love each other, no matter our differences. To help each other, no matter our weaknesses.

I first came across Cinder by Marissa Meyer in 2012 at a time when I’d been dejectedly hopping from disappointing book to disappointing book in search of a new read that I would actually enjoy. As it goes, I just wasn’t in the mood for another re-read of a book I actually liked. I couldn’t quite tell you why this was the case, but I was just at a point where I couldn’t bring myself to enjoy much of anything. As a result, I was searching for something to improve my mood in any place I could. And, if truth be told, I had no real intense desire to bother reading Cinder anyway.

Mirrors have an uncanny way of telling the truth.

Finding Cinder was wholly accidental. Scarlet was already out and, from a cursory look at the covers, my initial reaction was to assume the entire series would be just as disappointing as the last book I’d read. Though beautiful, those covers did look very much like they were advertising books to a 12-year-old market. I think it was the color.  

If you’ve ever spent a lot of time reading middlegrade books, you’ll notice that color is something they’re pretty good with. So, while I did find it visually appealing to look at, I was ultimately comparing it to all those young reader books that I’d never actually fallen in love with.

My expectations for Cinder were pretty low. Granted, from the summary the book did sound fantastic. Cyborg Cinderella? Sign me up! However, I had misgivings. These were based largely on previous experiences finding a plethora of cool looking and sounding novels vastly disappointing. But I had nothing better to read and I was in need of some new material. So, I got both Cinder and Scarlet. And I was fully expecting to come away thinking they’d been okay reads, but were nothing amazing, or hating them entirely. 

“I hope our paths will cross again.”
“Really? In that case, I guess I’ll keep following you.”

It feels somewhat silly to say it, but Cinder was pretty life-changing for me. In the strangest of ways, it genuinely gave me new energy. I’d found the series at a time I’d been really struggling and, not to delve too deeply into the matter, been very depressed. I started writing again after reading this book, something I had been avoiding for quite some time. Sophomore year of college was hard for many reasons and Cinder made it a little easier. I’ve sometimes wondered if this explains why I feel so close to the series so many years later. Still, I don’t think I’d still be rereading it at least once a year if that were the case. Besides, I’d only read the first two books.

Cinder begins with a young cyborg girl and a job. Readers are thrown into the desperate times of an earth ridden with plauges. The first, a very real and deadly disease. The other, tyrant Queen Levana of the moon. It’s reasonable to assume, simply by knowing this is a Cinderella retelling, that you have a basis for where the plot will go. It doesn’t take long to figure out what the plot twist near the end of the book will be. However, knowing this does not detract once from how amazing the story, the characters, and Meyer’s superb writing truly is. And I remember being absolutely blown away the moment I learned that this was her debut novel. 

“I am not worth starting a war over.”
“Actually, you are.”

We soon meet Prince Kaito of the Eastern Commonwealth. His first act is to deposit his malfunctioning android unceremoniously atop cyborg Cinderella’s mechanic’s booth. He enters with a desperate and almost painfully idealistic hope, quickly marking him as someone precious. Despite the ever present threat the Moon Queen presents to both his country and planet Earth, he is kind-hearted and optimistic. Admittedly, he is also quite naive.

A plague tears through the population of the planet, setting the scene for the dire situation the world is in. And naturally, no Cinderella story would be complete without the awful stepmother, stepsister, and quirky sidekick. We meat each one early on and they are all written beautifully. 

Meyer blends her story together with perfect pacing, something I’ve noticed can be quite difficult for authors to achieve. Her characters are exceptionally developed and easy to love. Meyer’s story is so well written with characters so fantastic that the predictability of a fairy-tale retelling literally becomes completely irrelevant. The differences between the material that inspired the story and the final product to truly capture and amaze readers. 

I’ve always loved this story. I couldn’t tell you which re-read this was for me, though I’m well into double digits at this point. Reading this book has always evoked positive feelings in me. In fact, I often feel that a part of me has been left behind when I turn the final page.


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