Showing posts with label cinder. Show all posts
Showing posts with label cinder. Show all posts

Thursday, January 5, 2017

[Review] Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles #1) - Marissa Meyer: Cyborgs and Cultural Appropriation





In CINDER, cyborg Cinder gets mixed up in royal business and a conspiracy when her stepsister catches the Plague.


What intrigued me: I'm the last person on this planet that hasn't read this.

A horrific lack of... well, everything?

Bland is probably the most fitting word to describe the world of CINDER. What initially got me interested in this novel was the so highly-acclaimed and praised imaginative world. I was expecting top-notch world building and a lot of creativity. I was surprised to find neither in this novel. 

Meyer applies a very amateurish technique when it comes to establishing her world - throwing around words with no meaning and expecting the reader to buy this. Nod and smile. The Lunar people who are barely in this book yet make up a huge chunk of the blurb, aren't explained at all. Why are cyborgs outcasts? How do Lunars get their power? How did humanity colonize the Moon? CINDER fails at even establishing the most basic questions about this world.

Following this trend, the plot isn't even worth mentioning, neither are the characters. Instead of a retelling, I'd simply call this a reproduction of the original, throwing in the cyborg thing. It's predictable, and the characters have an astonishing lack of personality. The only character that I found remotely interesting is Queen Levana, who is basically the YA equivalent of a Disney villain that's evil for evil's sake. Yawn.

People of color are NOT your aesthetic

Aside from the sheer boringness of the plot the one thing that upsets me, offends me, and makes me quite sad that people don't talk about more is the fact that CINDER simply uses Chinese characters, imagery, and culture for aesthetics.

You can absolutely tell that there went no thought and no research into developing New Beijing, aside from creating a generic Chinese town. The characters have Chinese names, there are bits and bobs you've probably recognized from every Hollywood movie set in China ever, but not a hint of Chinese culture. The characters aren't Chinese, they are white people dressing up. Meyer's characters are wearing a POC costume, just for the sake of being able to say that this is a diverse book. This is not a diverse book. 

This is not the kind of representation people of color want, care for, or appreciate. This is cultural appropriation actually. Of course there are always people who'll say "hey, it's fiction, let her do what she wants", which I consider absolutely irrelevant to the point. Had Meyer bothered to add an ounce of actual Chinese customs and culture in this, even tried instead of just throwing Chinese names around thinking that's enough for world building, I wouldn't have been so harsh.



Rating:

☆☆

 



Overall: Do I Recommend?

CINDER is an absolute disappointment. The blatant use of a "foreign" culture for aesthetics is simply appalling, only surpassed by the boring characters and lack of world building.

Link to a review by an Asian reviewer who basically said the same thing.


Additional Info

Published: January 3rd 2012
Pages: 390
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Genre: YA / Dystopian
ISBN: 9780312641894

Synopsis:
"Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a 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 illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and 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.
 "(Source: Goodreads)

Have you read CINDER?

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Wednesday, December 21, 2016

10 Most Disappointing Hyped Books I Read in 2016 feat. Red Queen, Soundless, Cinder & more





Sometimes hyped books end up disappointing unfortunately. Here are the ten biggest disappointments of 2016 for me. 




THESE BROKEN STARS - Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner
Another one that makes me want to cry. My favorite thing ever in Sci-Fi is people exploring foreign planets. Why is this such an instant love romance, come on, give me space exploration!! (Dec 2013, Disney Hyperion) Goodreads

THE SIN EATER'S DAUGHTER - Melinda Salisbury
So many people told me to read this and the title sounds fantastic and so does the premise of this girl working as an executioner at court with her poisonous touch. But well, the book really isn't about anything. Nothing happens. Aside from a love triangle. (Feb 2015, Scholastic) Goodreads

A DARKER SHADE OF MAGIC - V.E. Schwab
This is the dangerous thing about hypes. You never know if you can trust them. I genuinely don't understand what I just read ????? (Feb 2015, Tor Books) Goodreads




RIDERS - Veronica Rossi
Boy, am I sad about not liking this. I love apocalyptic books and a book about the four horsemen of the apocalypse pretty much sounds like it's made for me. Sadly, I found this super boring. (Feb 2016, Tor Teen) Goodreads

SIX OF CROWS - Leigh Bardugo
This upsets me so much!!!! I love reading about thieves. I really wasn't a fan of the way Bardugo twisted European cultures and mashed them up together for The Aesthetic. (Sep 2015, Henry Holt & Company) Goodreads

CINDER - Melissa Meyer
I honestly looked forward to this so much, I love space, I love Sci-Fi things. But then this: POC for the aesthetic, Asian cultures mashed together completely detached from their meaning. I want to cry. (Jan 2012, Feiwel & Friends) Goodreads



SOUNDLESS - Richelle Mead
I was rooting for this. I keep trying out new books by Mead and end up disliking all of them for some reason. I was rooting for you. We were all rooting for you. But this one really takes the cake. Magically curing your disabled protagonist for plot reasons and belittling blindness. (Nov 2015, Razorbill) Goodreads

TALON - Julie Kagawa
Dragons. That's all it took to get me interested in this. Unfortunately this isn't High Fantasy but a paranormal shifter romance with a love triangle. (Oct 2014, Harlequin Teen) Goodreads

RED QUEEN - Victoria Aveyard
I should've seen this coming because it generally received mixed reviews. But yeah, the reviewers are absolutely 100% right about this. (Feb 2015, HarperTeen) Goodreads


TO ALL THE BOYS I'VE LOVED BEFORE - Jenny Han
So many people recommended this to me and asked me to read it. I had high hopes because there's a biracial protagonist and an Asian girl on the cover and I liked the premise! In the end I found it really dull and couldn't quite get into it, unfortunately. (Apr 2014, Simon & Schuster) Goodreads

Have you read any of these books? Which hyped books disappointed you in 2016?

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