This series is one long investment. Cinder was insufferably boring for the first 80% of the book, and it took me three (three!!) attempts to finish it. All that to say, however, Scarlet and Cress more than make up for it, culminating with the epic Winter that gave me all the feels and the swoons.
Cinder had so much potential; it should have been amazing, but ultimately just fell short. To run through some of points that had me picking it up in the first place, followed by why it didn’t work (more after the jump):
- The setting, New Beijing.
- Did not work because – there was nothing to separate New Beijing from…. Your average generic young-adult fantasy city. This city could have been District 1 from the Hunger Games and I literally would not have known the difference.
- The fairytale-inspired protagonist and characters
- Did not work because – either the characters lacked personality (Cinder and her prince) or they were one-dimensional caricatures of their inspirations (stepmother Adri and Evil Queen Levana)
- Our cyborg Cinderella protagonist, Cinder. How cool is that?!
- Did not work because – See point above, she just lacked personality. She is part-cyborg, there could have been so many interesting discussions debating humanity vs machinery, but we don’t get any of that. Instead, we are told that cyborgs are treated as second-class citizens with minimal human rights, and it is left as is.
So yeah, you could imagine how terribly disappointed I was to find this book so difficult to read. The first 80% is practically just a simple Cinderella retelling, and all Cinder wants to do is go to the ball so she can tell her prince she loves him. If I wanted to read Cinderella, I would have read Cinderella. I didn’t need to bore myself to death trying to get through this book regardless of all the series hype in the first place.
To give some credit where it is due though, Cinder does a wonderful job setting the groundwork for the rest of the series (which is overall fantastic). The last 20% is a whirlwind of questions and mysteries that left me wanting more. I promise you, if you can make it through the book to the final few chapters, Meyer drops one hell of a cliffhanger that almost makes up for how painful the rest of the book was. Stay tuned for my thoughts on the rest of the series!
Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5. 85% of the book bored me to tears, the last 15% was like a Hillside bolt.