I can’t resist a good fairy tale retelling. Throw in some sci-fi elements, and I can hardly believe Marissa Meyer’s Cinder has been out for 4 years already and I only just read it. At least I don’t have to wait for the sequels. Scarlet, Cress, and Winter here I come!
The plot was at times predictable (none of the twists surprised me and I guessed them well before the reveal), but it didn’t hurt this story. Meyer’s characters and narrative style are a joy to read, and wanting to know how everything happened kept me reading after I’d already guessed much of what would happen. It’s a solid story line that keeps just close enough to the original fairy tales to qualify as a retelling while putting a unique spin on the Cinderella story.
Cinder and Kai (the two main characters) have some great dialogue. I really liked that their attraction develops naturally and isn’t based on a lust-at-first-sight sort of thing. They respect each other and are strong characters in their own rights (I’d have been willing to read a story about either of them without the other). I’ve noticed that I often struggle developing secondary characters in my own stories, but Meyer doesn’t have the same problem. Her supporting characters are a wonderful part of the story (Iko is my favorite).
From a fantasy writing perspective, I really enjoyed the way Meyer handled her world-building. Information about the world unfolds naturally as the story progresses. There are no info-dumps or lengthy descriptions to bog the story down, but we are always given the information we need to make sense of what’s going on.
Goodreads rating: 4/5 stars. I’d recommend this story to anyone who enjoys clever fairy tale retellings or light sci-fi.