Cinder is the first volume of The Lunar Chronicles series by Marissa Meyer. The volume features Linh Cinder (loosely based on the fairy tale Cinderella by the Brothers Grimm {Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm}) and takes place in New Beijing, Eastern Commonwealth. It was originally published in hardcover by Feiwel & Friends on January 3, 2012.

Synopsis Edit

Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, ruthless Lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl. . . .

Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s letumosis. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, developing a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.

Plot Summary Edit

Linh Cinder is a cyborg living in New Beijing 126 years after World War IV, with her stepmother, Linh Adri, and her two stepsisters, Linh Pearl and Linh Peony. Cinder owns a booth in the market place, where she works as a mechanic with the family's android, Iko. While she is working, she meets Prince Kai, the prince of the Eastern Commonwealth, who asks her to fix his android, Nainsi. A few moments after Kai leaves, the market is evacuated. A baker by the name of Chang Sacha has been infected with the plague letumosis.

Prince Kai's father, Emperor Rikan, is currently sick with letumosis, otherwise known as the Blue Fever, a plague that is terrorizing the Commonwealth. There have been no plague survivors.

While in the junkyard looking for a new mag belt for Adri's hover, Cinder, Iko, and Peony discover an old fashioned car, which Cinder plans to take home and repair. At the same time, Peony contracts the plague, and is taken away. When Cinder returns home, Adri is in grief and infuriated, blaming Cinder for her daughter's imminent health condition, thinking that even though Cinder doesn't have the plague, she must have passed it from Sacha to Peony. She has Cinder taken to the palace against her will for letumosis research. Cinder puts up a fight with the med-droids, managing to take out two med-droids, but is tasered by a third droid and is taken away unconscious.

Dr. Erland, a researcher in the palace, draws Cinder's blood, and when Cinder awakens, opens up her control panel and scans her, revealing that she is 36.28% not human. The doctor injects her with tagged letumosis pathogens and waits for them to take effect so he can give her an antidote. But after several minutes, Cinder's immune system kicks in, and the pathogens disappear.

After drawing another blood sample, the doctor moves her to another lab, and comes to talk to her in person, instead of over an intercom like before. Cinder tries to attack him with a wrench hidden in her metal calf, but the doctor makes her feel tired and safe, and persuades her not to. Erland tells her that she is actually immune to the plague, and questions her about her childhood. Cinder decides to tell him the truth and says that she was told she was in a hover crash that killed her parents when she was eleven, and was given a control panel, a metal hand, and a metal foot to replace her real limbs that she lost, and that she does not remember anything before her surgery. Cinder was later taken to the Eastern Commonwealth by Linh Garan, her new guardian, who died a few days after adopting her from the plague.

Kai, discouraged by his father's condition, walks down to Dr. Erland's lab, but runs into Sybil Mira in the elevator. Sybil is the head thaumaturge of Queen Levana, who rules over the Lunars on the moon, and is on Earth to discuss an alliance between Luna and the Commonwealth. Kai discusses Princess Selene, Queen Levana's niece and the only heir to the Lunar Crown with his adviser Konn Torin after she leaves. Selene died in a fire when she was three, but there are many theories speculating that she is hiding on Earth, since the only body parts found were her foot and hand. Kai wants to find Selene and put her on the throne instead of Levana, but Torin tells him that Selene is dead, and puts the theories out of his mind

Dr. Erland asks to do a small experiment on Cinder and she agrees. Erland pinches the vertebrae above her shoulders, searching for Linh Garan's device (though Cinder doesn't know that), which knocks her unconscious. Cinder wakes up to see Dr. Erland and Prince Kai over her. She is fine and Kai helps her stand, asking what happened to her. Dr. Erland lies and tells Kai that he was just adjusting her spine, and that the reason she is at the palace is that she was repairing a med-droid. Cinder leaves the palace after promising to comm Kai once she fixes Nainsi, and that she'd be back tomorrow to check up on the med-droid. Cinder walks back to Adri's apartment, argues with Adri, and reunites with Iko. Cinder makes a plan to use the car she and Peony found to leave New Beijing.

During the night, Emperor Rikan dies. Minutes after his death, Kai receives a comm from Queen Levana who tells him that she herself will be coming down to the Commonwealth to discuss an alliance with him, but finishes the message before Kai can protest.

That morning, Cinder is awoken with a comm that informs her that Peony has entered the third stage of letumosis. Cinder goes to visit her in the quarantines, giving her a blanket and promising to find an antidote. On her way out of the quarantine, she encounters Chang Sacha, whom she makes a promise with to bring her son, Chang Sunto, to her, but dies shortly afterward. A med-droid wheels up to Sacha's bed, taking out a scalpel and cutting into Sacha's wrist. Cinder asks the droid what it's doing, and it replies that it is taking out Sacha's ID chip.

At the palace, Cinder meets Kai in the halls and walks with him down to the lab. Kai tells her that the Lunar Queen is coming to Earth, and asks her to the annual ball. Shocked, Cinder declines, afraid he'll discover she's a cyborg. When Kai leaves, Cinder asks Dr. Erland about the med-droid who cut out Chang Sacha's ID chip. Kai does not find out that Cinder is a cyborg until the day of the ball.

Cinder plans not to go to the ball, but directly after the coronation, Cress contacts her using the D-COMM chip that Cinder previously found hidden in Nainsi's wiring. Cress tells her that Kai is going to announce his intent to marry Levana, but that Levana plans to kill him as soon as she is crowned empress and produces an heir. Cinder drives to the ball using her escape car, and as soon as she reaches the palace crashes it into a tree.

To her surprise, Cinder is announced at the ball as Kai's personal guest. Adri is angry and moves to strike her for her insolence, but Kai stops her and begins dancing with Cinder. She warns him about Levana's plans and is about to take him somewhere private to show him the D-COMM chip when Torin arrives and tells Kai that it's time to make the announcement.

Cinder kisses Kai, hoping that Levana will not agree to the marriage if she believes that Kai is in love with someone else. Unfortunately, it doesn't work and she is revealed to be Lunar, though Levana and Sybil Mira think that she is a shell. Levana manipulates Cinder into taking Jacin's gun and pointing it at her own head. She then gives Kai a choice: he can either marry her and save Cinder's life, or refuse and ensure her death. In accordance to his country's best wishes, Kai chooses not to marry Levana.

Cinder's Lunar gift, which has been slowly developing since Dr. Erland activated it, suddenly decides to make an appearance. She is able to resist Levana's manipulation and not shoot herself. She runs out of the palace and starts down the steps, but on the fifth step, her too-small cyborg foot disconnects and she falls. Kai agrees to imprison her until the return trip to Luna. Cinder is taken away.

While in prison, Dr. Erland visits her. The doctor teaches her how better to manipulate bioelectricity and gives her a new hand and foot. He then reveals that she is Princess Selene, the lost Lunar heir. He tells her to escape as soon as possible and come meet him in Africa, where he will be doing research where the first cases of letumosis appeared.

Characters Edit

Main Characters: Edit

  • Cinder (Princess Selene)

Supporting characters:Edit

Title and cover Edit

The book cover features an illustration of the lower portion of a leg wearing a red stilleto, representing Linh Cinder's limb. The stilleto draws a reference to Cinderella's glass slipper. The skin of the leg is shown half-transparently, revealing the shape of a metal skeleton underneath. The partially visible metal parts signifies Cinder's cyborg traits.

The title of the book is the first name of the leading character featured in this volume, namely Linh Cinder. It is also chosen to refer to the fairytale the story of this volume is loosely based on.


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

Kirkus Reviews wrote that the telepathic-enslaver theme was "simplistic and incongruous-feeling" but said that Cinder "offers a high coolness factor". 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". 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."

Awards and nominationsEdit

  • YALSA Teens' Top Ten
  • Bank Street Best Children's Book of the Year
  • ABC New Voices Title
  • IRA Young Adult Choices
  • Arizona Grand Canyon Young Readers Master List
  • Capitol Choices Noteworthy Titles for Children and Teens
  • Colorado Blue Spruce Young Adult Book Award
  • Florida Sunshine State Young Readers Award Master List
  • IL Abraham Lincoln High School Book Award Master List
  • Indiana Young Hoosier Award Master List
  • Maine Student Book Award Master List
  • Nebraska Golden Sower Award Master List
  • New York Charlotte Award Master List
  • Oklahoma Sequoyah Young Adult Book Award Master List
  • Pennsylvania Young Reader's Choice Award Master List
  • TN Volunteer State Book Award Primary ML
  • Tri-State Reviews Committee Books of Note - Master List

Foreign editionsEdit

Cinder is translated and published in the following countries:

Trivia Edit

  • Marissa Meyer's 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.[citation needed]

References Edit

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