A Science fiction retelling of Cinderella? Say less!

Marissa Meyer’s Cinder is a science fiction Cinderella retelling with a sprinkle of sailor moon. Yes, that’s correct Sailor Moon! Cinder is more on the Young Adult side plot and character wise, but the sci fi element and the world of this novel is incredible!


Cinder Linh, an excellent mechanic and a cyborg, living in New Beijing, tries not to draw attention to herself. Because Cinder’s a cyborg, she’s considered a second-class citizen, and her stepmother and stepsister do not let her forget it. But then Prince Kai comes to Cinder and begs her to fix his droid, after all Cinder is the best mechanic in New Beijing. Kai is easily charmed by Cinder, and a friendship blooms between the two. 

But intertwining her life with Prince Kai propels Cinder in the middle of a political nightmare, and with a deadly virus ravishing the city Cinder would rather run. But when Cinder’s blood reveals secrets and a possible resolution to the political dilemma, she knows she must put that all aside to warn Kai.


I feel like I’ve been neglecting the Young Adult genre lately but picking up Cinder was a great choice to start the year. As mentioned this novel draws inspiration from Sailor Moon, which I did not know when I picked up this novel, so it was a great surprise as I began reading it and making connections. Unfortunately, Cinder does not feature a dreamy tuxedo mask, but it does feature a beautiful villain who rules the moon and whispers of a lost heir. I thought the sailor moon element added the perfect magical girl touch. But I also loved how Meyer interweaved the sci-fi, fairytale, and Sailor Moon elements into this novel. Nothing felt awkward or forced into the writing. 

The big baddie of this novel is Queen Levana, whose goal is to marry Prince Kai and gain control of New Beijing and the earth. Queen Levana rules the moon and is feared by her subjects because she uses her power of compulsion and her illusion of beauty to keep everyone under control. I think Levana is a great villain, and she conjures images of the iconic queen Beryl from Sailor Moon. I cannot wait to see where her story goes in the rest of this series.

I also liked that Cinder’s sarcastic nature. She gives back as much attitude as she gets, especially with her wicked stepmother. But at the same time Cinder is patient and loving with her younger sister Peony. Despite having a hard life Cinder’s not bitter, she takes steps to ensure a better future for herself.

She is also a gifted mechanic. I thought the Stem element was a great way to redo the Cinderella element. While Cinder’s stepmother and stepsister do not see much value in Cinder or what she does, even though her job allows them to pay their bills, it’s clear that everyone else does. I loved that Kai admired Cinder’s crafty side and to an extent, so did Peony.

“Oh, my stars! Think about Prince Kai! You could dance with Prince Kai!”

This made Cinder pause and squint into Iko’s blinding light. “Why would the prince dance with me?”
Iko’s fan hummed as she sought an answer.

“Because you won’t have grease on your face this time.”

Marissa Meyer

I liked Cinder and Kai’s relationship in this story. Cinder speaks to Kai like a close friend even though he will be the emperor soon. Despite this it is clear that Cinder is not immune to Kai s charms. Kai’s the country’s heartthrob, and Cinder soon discovers that he makes her flustered. But I can’t blame her because Kai’s always flirting with Cinder. And Cinder listens to him, even dreaming of a future where they both run away from New Beijing and begin anew.

I felt that this novel was going to wrap up their story with a happy ending and then move on to the next fairy tale, but actually Cinder and Kai do not get together in this novel at all. Although they were both attracted to each other, Cinder ultimately longs for her freedom. Additionally, Cinder is still young and self-conscious about being a cyborg, so she doesn’t allow herself much time to dream of a future together with a prince. And although Cinder wants her freedom in the end, she sacrifices it for the greater good.

In this novel, Cinder is viewed as a second-class citizen because she’s a cyborg, and in the book, cyborgs are used to test potential cures for a plague that spread throughout the earth. Some cyborgs volunteer to help with the research, but others are drafted into it. Unfortunately, using people against their will to experiment with new cures or medical procedures has happened in real life. It made me uncomfortable reading these scenes because I think Meyer could have gone a different route with this particular plot point. Cinder is feared and looked at with disgust by those who know she is a cyborg. Even though she’s still part human. I dislike this plot point as well. I did want to mention these elements because they could be triggering.

Although I definitely saw the final plot twist coming regarding Cinder’s true identity, the abrupt end to this story caught me off guard. I had not expected it to end on a cliffhanger. But Cinder’s and Kai’s story continues in the next novel, Scarlett. The Lunar chronicles feature new characters and different fairytale retellings, but every novel intertwines together, and all the characters must work together to defeat Levana. I really like when series mesh together like this, and I am excited to continue with this series.

“Kai shrugged and turned to Cinder. His eyes softened a little with a polite bow of his head. “I hope our paths will cross again.”

“Really? In that case, I guess I’ll keep following you.”

Marissa Meyer

Content Warnings:

Terminal illness, Death, Child death, ableism

until my next review i’ll be living in libros see you,


More book recommendations

Five Winter themed novels to add to your tbr

As if you didn’t need more novels to add to your shopping cart well here, I am *whispers* the menace. I have the perfect romance recommendations to cuddle with next to fireplace while sipping on hot chocolate. And don’t worry this list won’t just be Christmas romance novels, although those are lovely, the books on…

Keep reading

A Taste for Love would make Jane Austen Proud

Remember when I blogged a list of the books for teens tired of reading Shakespeare? Well, I should have also considered YA novels inspired by classic retellings. This is where A Taste For Love by Jennifer Yen comes in. A Taste For Love is a pride and prejudice retelling with fla’va. I mean that in…

Keep reading

Graceling: Idiots to lovers who kick ass

Published in 2008, Graceling by Kristin Cashore is the first novel in a fantasy YA series. Yeah, it’s been a hot minute since this novel was published, but I think it deserves more attention. This novel has idiots to lovers, a hot prince, medieval fights, a toxic uncle, a killer heroine, and a soft prince…

Keep reading

7 thoughts on “A Science fiction retelling of Cinderella? Say less!

Add yours

  1. I think I remember recommending this a while ago when I first discovered this blog. So glad you read it and liked it! I read it years ago and I can’t remember if I ever actually finished it or not, but either way it’s definitely worth a re-read! I ordered them recently, the cover art being completely different from the ones I read but very gorgeous. I’ve seen Marissa Meyer has released some other books not related to the Lunar Chronicles so I might have to check those out too!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This review made me very, very happy. I made The Lunar Chronicles my personality for years…I’m kind of in the mood for a reread to make it so again! XD Glad you enjoyed yourself, looking forward to the next review! (Meaning I’m headed there right now teehee)


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Website Powered by WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: