Cinder - Marissa Meyer Cinder is a Cinderella story set in futuristic China that relies heavily on the story of Sailor Moon. There is a Moon Kingdom, a lost lunar princess sent to earth, a wicked stepmother, a wicked stepsister, a royal ball, a prince, and the cyborg equivalent of a glass slipper. Some of the more original elements include a deadly plague, cyborg and android characters, and a strong competent protagonist.

Cinder is written in third person and told from the perspective of both Cinder, our Cinderella, and Prince Kai, the love interest. Both characters are likable and they have good chemistry together. Although there is instant attraction, there is no instalove. The relationship develops over time as the characters get to know each, which made the relationship compelling. Also compelling was the friendship between Cinder and the android, Iko, one of my favorite characters. Meyer does a good job of showing the love these two characters have for each other. The scene where Cinder finds Iko dismantled was heartbreaking. The relationship between Peony and Cinder is less developed but still moving.

Meyer also has a very readable style of prose. They flow well and are fast moving, in part because the plot moves fairly quickly. There are no flowery sentences or beautiful descriptive passages, but neither is the tone dull or the character's voices absent. Although written in third person, there was some distinction between the way Cinder's chapters were written as opposed to Prince Kai's.

Although I enjoyed the action and the fast moving plot, I feel that this was also one of the book's major flaws because the world needed more development. Earth has undergone significant changes since our present time but other than some vague references to two world wars, there isn't much of an explanation given. It's also difficult to get a sense of New Beijing where the story is set. There is surprisingly little Asian influence in the culture or setting despite taking place in China. It's also unclear if the characters are even ethnically Asian. Very little detail is given about the character's physical appearance and at one point Cinder's stepsister is described as having auburn hair, which is not typically Asian. The lack of details in this area have led to some confusion about Cinder's own ethnicity. Although I pictured Cinder as Asian, it's revealed that she's from Luna and all of the characters on the moon are described as Caucasian, including Cinder's only known biological relative. At the very least she's a mixed racial decent but you would never know that by the lack of description.

The other issue with Cinder is plot predictability, not that it follows the story of Cinderella (I knew that going into it), but that Cinder's backstory, which is supposed to be a mystery until the end, is mind numbingly obvious from very early on in the story. It's another case of an otherwise intelligent character not seeing what's right in front of her face.

Overall, I enjoyed the story and characters, and I anxiously await the sequel. I look forward to seeing how the plot unfolds.