This is another one of those books that I’ve been hearing a lot of buzz over, although I guess it’ll take some time to tell whether or not the Lunar Chronicles will become something bigger. It was a lot better than I was expecting it to be—predictable, but very entertaining. Love Cinder. She’s strong, capable, very intelligent, but does realize the situation that’s she’s in and the limitations that come with it. I like that a lot of her meebling around Kai is due to the nature of very real prejudices in her society and the potential fallout that comes with her revelation of being a cyborg. Also, she’s not afraid to stand up to people, mostly her stepmother, even when the consequences of her actions may end up with Cinder being turned away. And I like her interactions with the characters around her—her fierce love for Peony and her joshing, sisterly attitude with her android Iko. The fact that she and Kai develop a friendly relationship early on was a breath of fresh air—I got the feeling that if Cinder genuinely wasn’t interested in Kai, they would have remained good friends. Kai’s interesting, in that while we do get to see his point-of-view and his reaction to events, I really can’t pin down his character. I do like him, he’s a good love interest, and he and Cinder have natural chemistry with each other. However, even in the scenes from his perspective, I couldn’t really get the sense of his character. You can definitely tell he’s struggling with the weight of everything that’s going on, but we don’t get to see much of his personal view of scenes with Cinder and just being natural. I really would like to have seen more of him, given the ending of the first book, but we’ll see.The side characters range on both ends of the spectrum for me. I liked Dr. Erland, although I still don’t think his motives and reasons are as noble as he makes them out to be. Iko was fantastic, if a little too human in her personality—if there’s one thing I would have liked to have seen with more with the androids, they could have been more robotic in their speech and actions? Peony was good, I liked her friendship and caring nature toward Cinder. I know that Adri’s supposed to be the evil stepmother, but I would have liked to see her grieve a little more for Peony and her deceased husband. And I wanted more of Korin in here. The villains don’t really have much more motivations than mustache-twirling and “ALL SHALL LOVE ME AND DESPAIR,” which is one of the weaker parts of this. However, there’s three more books to go, so I’m withholding judgment.The world-building is okay—I like the introduction of a plague, but the global and technological set-up became jarring at times. Personally, it felt like something out of Firefly (I’ll get to this in a moment), with high-tech blending into a traditional setting. As this is one small part of a much larger world, again, withholding judgment until I can get to book two at least. There’s a lot that could be expanded on, but as for an introduction, it does a good job. The main plot was the big part that drew me in. Yes, there’s a lot of riffing on Cinderella and the traditional structure, but the other main conflicts—the presence of the Lunar Kingdom, the threat of the plague—make the ball and its lead-up more of a back-drop rather than the main event. I liked how the traditional fairy tale is worked in here, and that it’s not lingered on or overshadows the main plot. What I also liked is that Meyer does actually set up the next part of the series, as well as giving hints to the next three books, without feeling too overwhelming. (The one cameo role felt a little too much, but then that might have been my perspective, as I had been reading promotion materials for the series.) As a hook, it does make me very interested to know what’s going to happen next for this set of characters coming up. I will have to point out that some plot elements are glaringly obvious a few chapters in; once we learn the backstory of the Lunar Kingdom, it’s kind of easy to figure out where it’s going from there.On that note, this is something that also colored my perspective—shortly after starting this, I read that Meyer began as a Sailor Moon fanfic author, and thus some of the elements in Cinder are being called into question. To be honest (and speaking as a longtime Sailor Moon fan), most of these elements, specifically the use of a kingdom on the moon and a missing Princess Selene, didn’t really bother me much outside of “Oh, I see what you did there.” I wouldn’t say that she ripped off the plot, but rather reinterpreted some of these ideas. (This is also where I mean that there was a very Firefly-esque feel to the setting.)It’s not at the top of my must-read-NOW list, but I had a great time while reading Cinder and I’d definitely give it a strong recommendation. It looks like to be a fun series, and I’m definitely interested in picking up Scarlet next year.