Book Review: Cinder

"Even in the future, the story begins with Once Upon A Time."


I love when my kids give me book recommendations.  Last week I found this waiting for me from my daughter.What a great review.  I had to jump in!


As Ellie mentions in her note above, Cinder by Marisa Meyer, is a retelling of the Cinderella story, but with some decidedly modern twists.  To begin, the Cinderella in this story, "Cinder," has lost much of her body ( replaced with mechanical parts) and most of her childhood memories.

The stepmother is a guardian, but just as evil as you'd expect and Cinder has one good and one evil "sister."  There is a prince in the mix, a palace, and a festival.  However, much of the rest of the plot has been refreshed for the better.

Most notably, the heroine is strong, capable, and sassy. The book is filled with fast-paced dialog between the characters. For instance, Cinder has a conversation with a doctor; when he makes an observation, she has a witty retort.

“Speaking of eye surgery, do you realize you’re missing tear ducts?” “What? Really? And I thought I was just emotionally withdrawn.”

At one point Cinder meets the Prince (before the ball) and isn't terribly impressed.

“Instead of looking like a royal heartthrob, he just looked crazy.”

During the entire story, while Cinder becomes smitten with the prince, she doesn't wait or live to be rescued. Instead of the typical damsel in distress approach, the plot shows a more pervasive threat which, in the light of today's social media, seems prescient.

“Vanity is a factor, but it is more a question of control. It is easier to trick others into perceiving you as beautiful if you can convince yourself you are beautiful. But mirrors have an uncanny way of telling the truth.”

The point of the quote above doesn't feel as disjointed as it may read in isolation, but adding context might spoil the read and you (and your kids) would enjoy this engaging jaunt. Unlike the dour messages of so many dystopian novels, I'm glad to have my kid reading this kind of story.

Thumbs up indeed.