Sleeping Beauty bores me. The Hunchback of Notre Damedepresses me. Snow White used to scare me. I never really gotPocahontas' appeal. And no matter what the fans say, nothing actually happens in Brave. But Cinderella? I hate Cinderella. It's so fucking angsty, and not the good kind. It honestly hurts me. Maybe it's because lies are one of the very few things I cannot stand in relationships, perhaps the humiliation and bullying hit too close to home. Anyway, there's something that just gets to me in a bad way. And that's the main reason I will never fully love a Cinderella retelling (Chad Murray and Hilary Duff did an amazing job, though). It's also why I stopped halfway through this book and picked it up later. What I want to say is that I'm not one hundred percent impartial here. The very basics of this tale are something I despise. However, that aside,Cinder was actually pretty good.
First things first, the MC. To me, Cinder is like Mercy Thompson. There's something about them I don't completely understand and for that reason they will never be a favorite, but I respect them. I root for them. I accept their actions and opinions even if I don't agree. I wish them the best because they honestly deserve it. Cinder is what a female lead should be like, but I don't see fireworks when I read about her. It's okay, that special spark is something that has to touch you personally, IMO. Like chemistry. No matter how smart, hot or funny a guy or a chick is, you can't make yourself be attracted to someone. It just happens and you have no control over it. I didn't feel that with Cinder.
On to Kai, he's not necessarily the most important character, but I have a lot to say about him. Kai is like a baby angel who fell from Heaven because he was too nice and cute to fit there, so he might as well be used to try to justify all the bad and evil in the world. I don't see how anyone could truly hate him, even if they don't like him. He's just one of those honestly good people. Not my type, but definitely someone who makes me smile and maybe even giggle every now and then. How could that be bad, right? Well, it's not. The problem is that this adorable guy is supposed to rule a city, save a planet and somehow be the love interest to a woman he's not fit to. There are events that are supposed to harden Kai, scenes that are supposed to show me he can be what his people need, but the truth is that by the end of the book he is the same idealist teenager unfit for the role of Emperor he was when the story started. When I was discussing this with my sister she told me, "Maybe some idealism is needed." To go straight to the point, THEY ARE FIGHTING A FATAL DISEASE. THEY ARE ABOUT TO ENTER AN INTERGALACTIC WAR WITH A QUEEN THAT CAN FUCKING BRAIN-WASH THEM ALL INTO SUBMISSION. Maybe some idealism is needed to rule, but at this point the city, the whole planet needs someone who can make the hard choices and think with a clear mind. Someone who can see three steps ahead or find the best way to deal with it when he can't. I love Kai, but he's not that person. And the way Marissa Meyer is writing him, he will never be. Cinder is going to find the solution, Cinder is going to fight the worst battles, and Cinder is going to rule by his side and show him the right path. Kai is not an alpha and he will never be.
Now that that is out, let's talk real quick about the antagonists. I loved to hate Queen Leveana. In some weird, twisted way I actually enjoyed her scenes. However, I hated to read about Adri and Pearl. I mean, I know that's the point, you're not supposed to root for the bitchy stepmother and her envious daughter, but they got feelings out of me in the wrong way. I didn't get anything from their moments other than an unwelcome rage.
Having said all that, there are two characters that stood up to me. In second place, Iko. I absolutely loved the idea of a "malfunctioning" personality. She was hilarious, endearing and a great side-kick. I really hope we get to see more of her in the following books because her lines were some of the best. Then there was Dr. Erland. I know, I know. He's not the character I was supposed like the best, but I couldn't help it.Sometimes I hated him. Sometimes I loved him. The thing is, he was the only one who always had me on the edge of my seat asking for more. Of all people, it was this mad scientist I felt the "spark" with. What can I say? I'm weird. And proudly so.
I guess I should mention the plot, right? I feel like anything worth talking about will either be something you can read in the blurb or a spoiler. It was interesting but unfinished, since Cinder's story continues in the following books with the other retellings. It was also incredibly predictable. I know that the author is showing us an altered version of a story we already know, but it would have been nice to have something surprise me. And I'm easily surprised. I'm the kind of person who doesn't guess the killer until the very end in J.D. Robb's In Death series AND THAT'S SAYING SOMETHING. I almost drowned in the foreshadow. Clues are nice, telling me a lie and exaggeratedly winking while you say it is boring.
So, after those rants you may be wondering why I gave the book 3.5*. To be completely honest, the development was a bit slow, but the beginning was interesting and the last 20% was so exciting I couldn't stop reading. Also, the scene where Cinder is announced at the ball was fucking badass and made me respect her and love Kai (he's a good lover boy, just not an Emperor).
Overall, Cinder was a good series start, and I think a change of scenario and a fresh story could make Scarlet a great sequel.Marissa Meyer has a solid basis with a creative world and good writing, I just want her to exploit all that potential and take us further. A trip to the moon would be an excellent way to begin. Just saying.