Cinder (novel)

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Author Marissa Meyer
Country United States
Language English
Series The Lunar Chronicles
Genre Young adult/
Science Fiction/
Publication date
January 3rd 2012
Media type Print (Hardback)
Pages 387
ISBN 9780312641894
Followed by Scarlet

Cinder is the debut novel of Marissa Meyer, published by Macmillan Publishers through their subsidiary Feiwel & Friends. The story is loosely based on the classic fairytale "Cinderella".[1] Cinder was selected as one of IndieBound's Kids' Next List for winter 2012.[2]


  • Linh Cinder: A young female cyborg mechanic and main protagonist of the Lunar Chronicles. Interviewed about this character, Marissa Meyer admitted drawing inspiration from herself, both in a "positive" and "negative" way. Cinder is sarcastic (as the author's mother noticed, much to the author's amusement), but she is also a good mechanic, whereas Mrs. Meyer is admittedly unable to repair anything.
  • Prince Kai: Crown Prince of Eastern Commonwealth, he meets Cinder when taking his personal android to be repaired and develops feelings for her, however he must deal with the possibility of being forced to marry Queen Levana or face war against the Lunars.
  • Dr. Erland: A Lunar fugitive, who works in the palace as a letumosis researcher.
  • Linh Peony: Cinder's stepsister and friend; daughter of Garan and Adri. Early in the book she contracts the same plague that killed her father and dies despite Cinder's efforts to administer the cure.
  • Linh Pearl: Daughter of Adri and Garan and sister of Peony. She regularly degrades and picks on Cinder, her stepsister.
  • Linh Garan: Cinder's adopted father, he found her and took custody of her in Europe, implanting prototype chips of his own invention in her framework, and possibly had connections with the Lunar refugees on Earth. He died of the plague years before the book starts.
  • Linh Adri: Cinder's cruel stepmother, with the belief that cyborgs are semi-humans and mutants incapable of love she regularly mistreats Cinder and blames her for all the hardships in her life.
  • Iko: Cinder's android partner and one of her only friends. Iko sometimes forgets that she's not human due to her malfunctioning personality chip. She is forcibly dismantled by Adri after Cinder is arrested, but luckily her chip survives and Cinder vows to give her a new life.
  • Queen Levana: the cruel queen of Luna, the moon colony. Not above using terrorist and genocidal tactics to obtain power, she is partially responsible for the existence of the plague on Earth since many of her subjects flee there to escape her influence. She uses a powerful glamour to force people to do her bidding. She is likely based on the Evil Queen of Snow White's history.
  • Emperor Rikan: Kai's father and emperor of New Beijing, who dies of letumosis.
  • Chang Sacha: a baker in the marketplace, who dies of letumosis. She disliked Cinder intensely due to her being a cyborg. Despite this Cinder uses her one vial of cure on her son Sunto, saving him.
  • Nainsi: Kai's android, who was helping him research Princess Selene.


Critical reception to Cinder has been mostly positive,[3] with the Los Angeles Times calling the book "refreshing" and praising the character of Cinder.[4] Publishers Weekly also positively reviewed the book, saying that the characters "easy to get invested in".[5] Booklist called Cinder a "fresh spin on “Cinderella,”".[6] The Wall Street Journal wrote that the book was an "undemanding and surprisingly good-natured read".[7] Kidz World stated that Cinder was "an amazing story about love that comes in mysterious packages".[8]

Kirkus Reviews wrote that the telepathic-enslaver theme was "simplistic and incongruous-feeling" but said that Cinder "offers a high coolness factor".[9] The Horn Book Magazine wrote that Cinder's reveal was predictable but that the book's "twists and turns, complex characters, and detailed world-building to redeem itself".[10] wrote that "while Cinder does have its flaws, it’s a solidly entertaining story, and one of the best re-imaginings of Cinderella I’ve seen in ages."[11]

Interviewed at the Bologna Children's Book Fair (Bologna, Italy) in 2012, the author revealed the origin of her novel. She being a "fairy tale geek", she has spent considerable time tracing the origins of the most common Western children's stories. Apparently, the first version of Cinderella was written in China in the 9th century (this justifies the fact that Cinderella was the only one able to wear the lost shoe: small feet were considered sexy in ancient China, so the point is that the young lady had the smallest feet in the world). For this reason, Marissa Meyer decided to set her futuristic version in New Beijing, in order to "close the circle" and re-take the story to its original place. In addition to that, the decision to make Cinder a cyborg started from a hilarious thought: the idea came to her mind that, instead of losing a shoe, Cinderella might lose a whole foot on the stairs.

Sequels and adaptations[edit]

There will be five books in The Lunar Chronicles. The second book in the series, Scarlet, focuses on Little Red Riding Hood. The third book, Cress, focuses on Rapunzel. The fourth and fifth books will be out in January and November 2015. The fourth one is called Fairest and will be a prequel focussing on the main antagonist, Queen Levana. The fifth one will be called Winter and will revolve around the story of Snow White[12] Meyer has also confirmed that there has been interest in a movie adaptation of Cinder and has signed a deal for the movie, although the studio is being kept secret. The author states that the studio is currently searching for a director.[13]


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