Cinder : Book One of the Lunar Chronicles

4.13 (814,813 ratings by Goodreads)
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The #1 New York Times Bestselling Series!

Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth's fate hinges on one girl. . . .

Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She's a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister's illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai's, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world's future.

Marissa Meyer on Cinder, writing, and leading men
Which of your characters is most like you?
I wish I could say that I'm clever and mechanically-minded like Cinder, but no--I can't fix anything. I'm much more like Cress, who makes a brief cameo in Cinder and then takes a more starring role in the third book. She's a romantic and a daydreamer and maybe a little on the naïve side--things that could be said about me too--although she does find courage when it's needed most. I think we'd all like to believe we'd have that same inner strength if we ever needed it.
Where do you write?
I have a home office that I've decorated with vintage fairy tale treasures that I've collected (my favorite is a Cinderella cookie jar from the forties) and NaNoWriMo posters, but sometimes writing there starts to feel too much like work. On those days I'll write in bed or take my laptop out for coffee or lunch.
If you were stranded on a desert island, which character from Cinder would you want with you?
Cinder, definitely! She has an internet connection in her brain, complete with the ability to send and receive comms (which are similar to e-mails). We'd just have enough time to enjoy some fresh coconut before we were rescued.
The next book in the Lunar Chronicles is called Scarlet, and is about Little Red Riding Hood. What is appealing to you most about this character as you work on the book?
Scarlet is awesome--she's very independent, a bit temperamental, and has an outspokenness that tends to get her in trouble sometimes. She was raised by her grandmother, an ex-military pilot who now owns a small farm in southern France, who not only taught Scarlet how to fly a spaceship and shoot a gun, but also to have a healthy respect and appreciation for nature. I guess that's a lot of things that appeal to me about her, but she's been a really fun character to write! (The two leading men in Scarlet, Wolf and Captain Thorne, aren't half bad either.)
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Product details

  • 12-17
  • Hardback | 400 pages
  • 150 x 211 x 36mm | 499g
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 0312641893
  • 9780312641894
  • 5,541

Review Text

Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the...
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Review quote

"Singing mice and glass slippers are replaced with snarky androids and mechanical feet in this richly imagined and darkly subversive retelling of 'Cinderella.'" --BCCB

"This is one buzzed novel that totally delivers." --Stacked Books Blog

"I absolutely loved Cinder. Marissa took a well known story and created an amazingly fantastic new twist, making this it an all together new story." --Between the Covers Blog

"Cinder is loads of fun--mostly due to seeing a familiar story play out in a new setting, but Cinder herself is also a tough, smart, mouthy, resourceful heroine, so spending almost 400 pages with her is completely enjoyable--and I'm totally, totally looking forward to the next one in the series." --Bookshelves of Doom

"Terrific." --Los Angeles Times

"Author Marissa Meyer rocks the fractured fairy tale genre with a sci-fi twist on Cinderella." --The Seattle Times

"Debut author Meyer ingeniously incorporates key elements of the fairy tale into this first series entry." --Horn Book Magazine

"What they [readers] do not know until they begin turning the pages of this fable-turned-dystopian-science-fiction novel, is that Meyer's embellishments create a spellbinding story of their own." --VOYA

"First in the Lunar Chronicles series, this futuristic twist on Cinderella retains just enough of the original that readers will enjoy spotting the subtle similarities. But debut author Meyer's brilliance is in sending the story into an entirely new, utterly thrilling dimension." --Publishers Weekly, starred review

"Fairy tales are becoming all the rage, with the TV shows Once Upon a Time and Grimm spinning them through a modern filter. The 26-year-old Meyer's debut novel Cinder, though, combines a classic folk tale with hints of The Terminator and Star Wars in the first book of The Lunar Chronicles young-adult series due out Jan. 3."

"Cinderella is a cyborg in this futuristic take on the fairy tale, the first book in Ms. Meyer's planned 'Lunar Chronicles' series." --Wall Street Journal, in a round-up called After Harry Potter: The Search for the Magic Formula

"This series opener and debut offers a high coolness factor by rewriting Cinderella as a kickass mechanic in a plague-ridden future." --Kirkus Reviews

"There's a lot of moving parts in this fresh spin on 'Cinderella, ' the first in a four-book series." --Booklist
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About Marissa Meyer

Marissa Meyer was born and raised in Tacoma, Washington, home of Almond Roca and Stadium High School, which was made famous when Heath Ledger danced down the stadium steps in 10 Things I Hate About You. Marissa didn't actually go to Stadium High School, but she did attend Pacific Lutheran University, where she earned her bachelor's degree in Creative Writing. She still lives in Tacoma, now with her husband. Cinder is her YA debut.
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Rating details

814,813 ratings
4.13 out of 5 stars
5 45% (364,781)
4 33% (271,140)
3 15% (123,068)
2 4% (34,645)
1 3% (21,179)

Our customer reviews

Cinder is an amazing retelling of the Cinderella fairytale (in case that wasn't obvious). I'm not even sure I can explain just how great this book is, I loved it from the first page to the very last. When a story has cyborgs, princes, androids, aliens, a deadly plague that's bound to wipe out the human race, it's bound to be spectacular. Linh Cinder is a strong female character, her problems and insecurities only leading to her becoming even stronger. It's the first time I agree through and through with all of the character's decisions and ways of handling matters. You can also easily connect not just with her, but with the side characters as well. For example, there's a little child who appears briefly in the book, but it's one that definitely leaves an impression. The villain is absolutely fascinating! Queen Levana is an extremely powerful enemy, one that you should never ever cross. The entire Lunar race is so enjoyable to read, from their abilities to their quite large family tree :) There were a lot of plot twists that you could easily predict, however this just makes you want to keep on reading to see how everything unravels. And it wouldn't be Cinderella without a ball, right? That was by far my favorite scene from Cinder, so much was going on that I just couldn't put the book down. *Favorite quotes "Even in the Future the Story Begins with Once Upon a Time." "Prince Kai! Check my fan, I think I'm overheating." *Rating Characters: 5/5 Main character, side characters, every single person mentioned is amazeballs!! - except Adri, of course - Romance: 4/5 While I absolutely loved it, I wanted much much more (which I'm hoping we'll get in the sequel). Pacing/Length: 4.5/5 Don't get me wrong, the beginning of the book was interesting too, but in the end you were just getting your face slapped with constant action and plot twists and did I say action?! I'm well aware a book can't be all about that - and that's why the beginning was a tiny bit slower - , but the change was so quick that you can tell from where it started to get really good. Cover: 5/5 In love with it. Always have been, always will be. Plot: 5/5 DAMN this story is more
by Ioana Culcea
Marissa Meyer has completely blown me away with her debut book, Cinder. Full of the familiar details we associate with Cinderella - a handsome prince, a wicked stepmother and a seemingly unattainable ball - but told in such a new and different way that the story becomes fresh and exciting! Linh Cinder is a cyborg - a human who has been surgically repaired with mechanical parts - and this makes her both a second-class citizen and the property of her legal guardian and stepmother - Adri. Working as a mechanic in New Beijing alongside her android companion Iko, Cinder dreams of a life of freedom for her, Iko and Peony - the stepsister she loves. Her thoughts of escape quickly crumble as Peony catches the fatal plague Letumosis and Adri has Cinder's body "volunteered" for plague research, blaming Cinder for Peony having been infected. Cinder is a wonderful protagonist. She's sarcastic and full of witty one-liners: "If you excuse me, I'd better go try to earn my keep so you might actually blink an eye the next time you find a convenient way to get rid of me." She knows the treatment of cyborgs is unfair, but she doesn't complain about it. She feels such passion that I can't understand how anyone could question whether she was human, especially when it comes to the people she loves. She's selfless - sacrificing her dignity and her pride to do what she knows is right, and she never takes the easy way out. She grows to care for Prince Kai, which fuels her guilt over withholding that she is a cyborg. I loved watching Cinder's journey, and the many discoveries she makes about herself and her past along the way. I truly felt my heart ache for her with every accusation thrown at her by Adri - whether it was being blamed for her stepfather's death or being told her emotions weren't valid (because she's incapable of feeling). I admired her strength with coming to terms with her past and what that will mean for her future, and her resilience in the face of multiple obstacles. I loved watching her relationship with Prince Kai develop from mere astonishment at being in his presence, to the banter and teasing of a blooming crush. Watching Kai try harder with each of Cinder's objections was entertaining, and his complete bafflement over her rejection to his request(s) that she accompany him to the ball was endearing. Trusting Cinder with the information she uncovered in his android was a risky move, but it was nice to see him open up honestly, without the censorship that comes with being diplomatic. I really enjoyed that Cinder didn't spend a lot of her free time thinking about Kai's physical appearance, and that when she did spare a minute for him, it was with concern for his well-being. It was refreshing to see a romance that had chemistry and spark, but that wasn't all-consuming for either person involved. I also loved the supporting characters. Iko is sassy and charming and hilarious! I laughed out loud when she wheeled in, dressed up in Adri's pearls and lipstick, pretending she was at the ball. My heart seized up in my chest when Adri told Cinder she had left some spare parts on her bed that couldn't be sold and thus were useless, and I cried real tears for Cinder who couldn't. Queen Levana (and the lunars in general) was so creepy, never knowing what was hiding under her projected illusion of beauty. Her ability to manipulate a large, enraged and protesting crowd into believing she was worthy of being their empress was both impressive and frightening and knowing that everything she does has an alterior motive kept me in suspense of her next move. Dr. Erland is mysterious and slightly crazy, but you can't help but feel drawn to him. He has this quality about him that is simultaneously both exasperating and captivating, making you soak up every word he says - it's like he holds the secrets of the universe, but wants to leak them to you slowly instead of just blurting out what he knows. So frustratingly good! The world-building was fantastic, and actually incorporated the entire world! After WWIV, the remaining Eartherners came together to form a united front, joining together in an alliance of peace. All that remains is getting Queen Levana of the Lunar planet to commit to the alliance - something the leaders of each area are trying to accomplish together. It was easy to picture New Beijing, a bustling city filled with new technology and old traditions, and the idea that a nuclear war lead to the destruction of life as we currently know it is completely feasible. The plague that has affected both Cinder and Kai personally is a world-wide pandemic, leaving no region untouched. Everything was just different enough that it didn't take a lot of suspension of belief to achieve the type of world Cinder lives in, which really helped me capture Meyer's vision. I loved everything about Cinder. I did see the twist ending coming, but even that wasn't enough to curb my excitement over hearing it revealed or the lingering suspense left with the open ending! Brilliant characters, a fast-moving plot and a completely fresh spin on a classic tale has left me eager for more!show more
by Pretty Little Reader
I've wanted to read this book for months! The cover rocks. I finally got the chance, and it was amazing. I loved this book!! 5 Stars! Warning: I almost gave it 4 stars because I was so mad that the ending left me hanging so badly, but once I calmed down I realized I loved the read so much it deserved 5 stars. I'm dying to read the next book! I haven't been this into a series in awhile. I don't read sci-fi so I didn't know what to expect. I wasn't expecting it to be a new favorite that's for sure. I loved the world of New Beijing. It was intense and heart breaking. The plague was terrifying and hopeless. Cinder was a cyborg which meant she was human but had machine parts added by scientists after an accident of some kind. The human citizens looked down on the cyborgs. Some felt they should have died in whatever accident made them need cyborg parts. They felt it was unnatural and basically were scared of them. Cinder lived in fear that people would discover she was cyborg. Her "family" hated her for it. Cinder's best friend was her droid Iko, a robot. Iko was unique with her personality. I loved it! She had a crush on the Prince. My favorite quote by Iko was after meeting the Prince. "Prince Kai! Check my fan, I think I'm overheating." (pg. 14) Prince Kai was great! I think I'll stop here so I don't give away any of the amazing twists and turns throughout the book. Cinder took me on an amazing ride. I laughed. I cried. I screamed. I sighed. It was more
by Clean Teen Fiction
4.5 stars. Cinder is retelling of the classic Cinderella story, but with a fantastic sci-fi twist. Since I love retellings, I've been looking forward to this one and it was even better than I expected! Kudos to Marissa Meyer for making our futuristic Cinderella a cyborg which may sound weird, but it totally works for this book. The novel is set in New Beijing, a city rebuilt after the fourth world war. The world building is awesome and when I read about the setting of New Beijing, I could not help but think of scenes from one of my all time favorite sci-fi movies, Blade Runner. While Cinder is not dark like Blade Runner, there are the hovercrafts, Asian influences and androids that remind me of Cinder. A big change from the original fairytale is instead of one villain, there are two. Adri is Cinder's stepmother but she is really the wife of the man who adopted Cinder. He died shortly after the adoption and Adri has hated Cinder ever since. Adri is bitter, petty and does her best to put Cinder down. While we hate Adri for bullying Cinder, the real threat is from Queen Levana, ruler of a race of people with paranormal abilities who inhabit the moon. Levana is evil, manipulative and cunning with plans to rule Earth, but she needs to marry Prince Kai to put her plans into motion. Cinder is a very likable character. She has a bad home situation that she desperately wants to escape from, but of course, her destiny is more entwined with Prince Kai and the Lunars than she can ever imagine. There is more to Cinder than meets the eye and it is easy to figure out very early in the novel. With Adri's verbal abuse and Cinder's insecurities over her cyborg enhancements, it's easy to empathize with her, especially when Prince Kai flirts with her and Cinder thinks she is not good enough for him. I don't feel that I got to know Prince Kai well enough in this book. A few portions of the novel were told from his perspective and we see that he is a nice guy who puts the safety and well being of his people before his own happiness. He is sarcastic, smart and completely swoon worthy. His friendship with Cinder is sweet and leaves room to grow and develop. I really hope we get a lot more of Kai in upcoming books because he has the potential to become one of my favorite book boys. Cinder does not end with a cliffhanger but leaves you wanting so much more! Cinder is an awesome debut novel and I hate that I have to wait until next year to read the sequel. This is one of my favorite retellings and I highly recommend it! Content: Kissing and some violenceshow more
by Novia Chang
I know I am late coming to the debut ball, but I am here now and I will join the masses who say that CINDER will rock you to the moon - and no, I am not saying this because the Lunar queen has brainwashed me. I envy Marissa Meyer for dreaming up such a wonderful Cinderella re-telling and creating a breathtaking world with a cast of characters that you will fall in love with. I love a heroine who does not mind getting her hands dirty and can talk shop, not to mention a prince who slums it among the commoners for a little slice of freedom. I am still curious to see how Cinder's cyborg-ness will factor into things; currently Marissa Meyer has used it to present some minor drawbacks which make Cinder all the more adorable when she interacts with Prince Kai. The story ends right before trouble can fully unfurl its nasty head, but CINDER leaves readers in a rock-solid happy place with a sense of satisfaction for how the fairy tale pans out. Of course, you will want MORE, but trust me when I say that CINDER will not leave you barely hanging on the cliff - you will hang for certain, you will ask for seconds, but you will feel safe in knowing that Book 2 will be SO worth the wait!show more
by theEPICrat
Judging by the comments I've read when I mentioned reading this one, it has LOTS of buzz! Since I try my darndest not to read other reviews before I'VE had a chance to read a review book, I can only go my own feeling on this one and say, "Well deserved!". I read this in one LONG sitting (which left me very tired the next day - I should learn not to start a new book for my nightly read). Linh Cinder is a 16-year-old mechanic at New Beijing's weekly market. Her guardian, Adri, relies on Cinder's income to pay her own bills and those of her own two daughters, Peony (14) and Pearl (17). Adri's husband Garan adopted the orphan Cinder when she was five and soon after contracted letumosis, a deadly "plague" for which there is no cure. Adri resents Cinder and, as in the old fairy tale, finds reasons NOT to allow her to go to the royal ball. Peony is Cinder's only human friend, but she also has a great sidekick named Iko, a witty android/ Kaito (Kai), the Crown Prince of the Eastern Commonwealth, the heartthrob of many a teenage girl, comes incognito to Cinder's market stall to ask her to fix his android Nainsi. Kai's mother died of the plague, and now his father, the Imperial Majesty Emperor Rikan, has contracted the disease. Cinder is not starstruck like most girls, and Kai takes a liking to her. Cinder knows it would never work, because she is a cyborg as a result of the hovercraft accident that killed her parents. Cyborgs are considered less than human, treated as property, and there is even a draft for cyborgs for testing for a plague antidote. Then comes a tale that mixes a bit of steampunk with a bit of dystopia and science fiction. A kick-butt heroine, a handsome prince, an abusive adoptive mother, a doctor determined to find a cure for the plague, villains in the form of "Lunars" who evolved from an Earthen moon colony centuries ago and now have the power to manipulate people's minds - all combine to create this wonderful roller coaster of a ride through a wonderfully-drawn, realistic world. I seriously wanted to SLAP Adri in so many places throughout this book. I figured out a central theme early on, but that didn't stop me from reading on. The villain, the Lunar Queen Levana, is spot-on creepy and manipulative. The romantic aspects are appropriately timed, which, sadly, doesn't happen in a lot of YA. Cinder is a girl that will make you root for her. You'll smile at Iko's sarcasm, gnash your teeth at Adri's actions, hope against hope that Cinder will be on time for ... (oops, can't tell you, THAT would be a spoiler for sure). In short, even if you're not a YA/sci-fi/steampunk reader, you'll still like this book, because it's a story about a girl who doesn't fit in, but has not let her spirit be broken. She has dreams and the will to make them happen, as well as the smarts to figure out how to do it. This is the first in a series by a debut author, and will likely be on my list of 2012 faves at the end of the year. Buy it, borrow it, definitely read it. QUOTES (from an ARC; may be different in final copy): And the prince did know her now, sort of. He had been kind to her at the market. Perhaps he would ask her to dance. Out of politeness. Out of chivalry when he saw her standing alone. The precarious fantasy crashed down around her as quickly as it had begun. It was impossible. Not worth thinking about. She was cyborg, and she would never to the ball. They said she'd murdered her older sister, Queen Channary, so that she could take the throne from her. They said she'd had her own husband killed too so that she would be free to make a more advantageous match. They said she had forced her stepdaughter to mutilate her own face because, at the sweet age of thirteen, she had become more beautiful than the jealous queen could stand. Cinder stared at the holograph and imagined watching herself die. In real time. "How many different batches of antibodies have you gone through?" "Med?" "Twenty-seven," said the med-droid. "But," said the foreign voice, "they die a little slower each time." Writing: 4 out of 5 stars Plot: 5 out of 5 stars Characters: 5 out of 5 stars Reading Immersion: 5 out 5 stars BOOK RATING: 4.75 out of 5 starsshow more
by Julie Smith
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