Cinder (novel)

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Cinder book cover.jpg
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, Cress, Winter

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]


The story is set in a futuristic new Beijing, where the various countries have re-organized to form various new empires and alliances and the moon has been colonized. The protagonist, Linh Cinder is a cyborg that operates a small mechanic’s stall at a local street market in New Beijing, and lives under the guardianship of her stepmother. Early in the book, she meets Prince Kai who requests her to fix a personal android. Cinder’s stepsister falls sick with a plague after accompanying Cinder to a junkyard to collect spare parts for a repair. In anger, Cinder’s stepmother “volunteers” Cinder for plague research. When Cinder is injected with the plague, she shows an immunity to it. Dr Erland, the plague researcher, starts to do research on Cinder’s immunity, which leads to research on Cinder’s unique physiology, her cyborg implants, and eventually to Cinder’s life prior to becoming a cyborg at the age of 11, of which Cinder has no memory.

At the same time, Prince Kai's father dies of the plague, resulting in the Prince becoming Emperor of the Eastern Commonwealth. There was pressure to create an alliance between the Earth countries and the Moon colony, lead by Queen Levana, who has the ability to manipulate the bioelectricity of people around her and make them see what she wants them to see. The proposed alliance is through Prince Kai marrying Queen Levana, however, Prince Kai wants to thwart this plan by finding someone else to marry first. He is also searching for information regarding the people of the Lunar colony, which is what his personal android was looking for when it broke. Soon after, Linh Peony dies of letumosis and Linh Cinder stores her ID chip and takes it with her. Because of this, Linh Adri punishes Cinder by smashing Iko to pieces.

The story culminates with an annual ball, where secrets are discovered and characters have to make a decision on their future.


  • 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.[citation needed]
  • Prince Kaito: 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 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 Chang Sacha's 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 attractive 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 are five books in The Lunar Chronicles. The second book in the series, Scarlet, is based on Little Red Riding Hood.[12] The third book, Cress, is based on Rapunzel.[13] Book 3.5 which was released in January 2015 is called Fairest, acts as the fourth book and is to be a prequel focusing on the main antagonist, Queen Levana.[14] The fifth one (officially book four) is called Winter and was released in November 2015.[15] Both Winter and Fairest are loosely based on the story of Snow White. Meyer has also released three free short stories via the website Wattpad. These are entitled Glitches - set prior to Cinder, The Queen's Army - set just before Scarlet, and The Little Android which is based on Hans Christian Andersen's The Little Mermaid.[16] Stars Above, a Lunar Chronicles collection will be released in February 2016.[17] This collection will include nine stories, five of which have never been published and an excerpt of Marissa Meyer's stand alone novel, Heartless, which will be released November 2016. [18]

Meyer has 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.[19]


  1. ^ Lodge, Sally (15 December 2011). "Feiwel and Friends Rolls Out 'Cinder' in High Style". Publishers Weekly. 
  2. ^ "Cinder Book One in the Lunar Chronicles". IndieBound. 
  3. ^ Schlichenmeyer, Terri (17 January 2012). "Marissa Meyer's futuristic fairy tale features the most incredible cliff-hanger ever". Las Vegas Review-Journal. 
  4. ^ Susan, Carpenter (1 January 2012). "Not Just for Kids: 'Cinder'". Los Angeles Times. 
  5. ^ "Children's Review: Cinder by Marissa Meyer". Publishers Weekly. 
  6. ^ "Booklist Review: Cinder by Marissa Meyer". Booklist. (subscription required (help)). 
  7. ^ Gurdon, Meghan Cox (31 December 2011). "Prince Charming Among the Cyborgs". The Wall Street Journal. 
  8. ^ "Book Review: Cinder by Marissa Meyer". Kidz World. 
  9. ^ "CINDER By Marissa Meyer". Kirkus Reviews. 15 November 2011. 
  10. ^ "Horn Book Magazine: Cinder". Horn Book Magazine. January 2012. 
  11. ^ Jones, Michael M. (3 January 2012). "The Cyborg Cinderella: Cinder by Marissa Meyer". 
  12. ^ Meyer, Marissa. "Scarlet". 
  13. ^ Meyer, Marissa. "Cress". 
  14. ^ Meyer, Marissa. "Fairest: Levana's Story". 
  15. ^ Meyer, Marissa. "Winter". 
  16. ^ Meyer, Marissa. "Short Stories". 
  17. ^ "Books". The Lunar Chronicles. MacMillan. 
  18. ^ "Heartless". Heartless. MacMillan. 
  19. ^ Truitt, Brian (31 July 2013). "Cover reveal, excerpt and Q&A: Marissa Meyer's 'Cress'". USA Today. 

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