Cinder by Marissa Meyer

The basics

Title: Cinder


Series: The Lunar Chronicles #1

- Cinder (January 2012)
- Scarlet (February 2013)
- Cress (February 2014)
- Winter (November 2015)

Add it: Goodreads

Goodreads Summary:

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.

Read a full summary of Cinder by Marissa Meyer below. If you can’t remember what happened in Cinder and you need a refresher, then you’re in the right place.

In short

Cinder is a cyborg living in New Beijing with her stepmother Adri and stepsisters Pearl and Peony. She has no memory of her past, but that changes when Prince Kai asks her to fix his personal android, and her stepsister catches the life-threatening plague. (Seriously: this book can’t be explained in short.)

What happened in Cinder?

  • Cinder, a cyborg mechanic, is working on the market one day when Prince Kai shows up, asking her to fix his personal android. She agrees, obviously, because he is the prince and well, he is hot.
  • Soon after that, however, Cinder’s stepsister Peony gets infected by letumosis – a plague that has been terrorizing the world for a while, with no known survivors – and gets taken away.
  • Stepmother Adri is outrageous and blames Cinder for Peony’s illness. Therefore, Adri sends Cinder to the palace, where scientists are looking for humans and cyborgs to use in letumosis research, which is just as lethal as catching the plague itself.
  • But, as it turns out, Cinder is immune to the plague. She meets Dr Erland, who runs the research for plague cures. Cinder agrees to take part in the research, but only to find a cure for Peony.
  • Meanwhile, Prince Kai worries over his father, who has letumosis as well, and Queen Levana, who rules the Lunar colony at the moon and wants to discuss an alliance with him. (Meaning: she wants to marry him, even though she’s like ten years older.)
  • A little background info on Queen Levana: she murdered her own sister, Queen Channary, and Channary’s daughter, Princess Selene. She also mutilated her stepdaughter’s (Princess Winter) face because she was more beautiful than Levana. Such fun times.
  • After that, Cinder meets the prince and they like each other *swoon* (even though Kai doesn’t know she’s a cyborg!) and then Cinder goes on trying to fix Kai’s android and visiting Dr Erland and trying to find a cure for Peony and fixing up an old car to escape Adri one day as well. Busy life.
  • When Kai’s father, the Emperor, dies, Queen Levana comes down to Earth to be there for Kai – aka try to force him into marrying her.
  • But meanwhile, Cinder gets Kai’s android to work and finds out that Kai and the android had been searching for Princess Selene – Levana’s niece who was presumably dead, but now turns out to be very much alive.
  • Cinder takes the android to Kai immediately, but unfortunately, at the same time that Queen Levana arrives. Who, even though she’s at a balcony far away, spots Cinder and is suddenly furious.
  • Levana tells Kai that Cinder is, in fact, Lunar, and wants her dead. But obviously, Kai has fallen in love with Cinder by now, and when she returns his android to him, he asks her to the ball. Cinder declines. Dr Erland tells her that she is Lunar.
  • Even though Queen Levana brought an antidote to the plague, Peony dies, and Adri is devastated and angry at Cinder and tells her she can’t go to the ball. But then Cinder finds out that Levana is planning to destroy Earth by marrying Prince Kai and she gets into her now fixed car and races to the palace.
  • She dances with Prince Kai, but then Levana gets there and tries to get Cinder to shoot herself. Kai finds out that Cinder is a cyborg and also Lunar and puts her in jail.

How did it end?

Dr Erland stops by Cinder’s cell to tell her the big news: that she’s not only Lunar, but, in fact, Princess Selene, Levana’s niece. He also tells her to escape, which she does.

Anything else?

Cyborg: Half human, half android. Cinder has a robot foot and hand, but turns out to be almost 40% robot. Which is a lot.

Letumosis: A deadly plague.

Lunar: People living on the moon.

Magic: A brainwashing power that only some Lunars possess.

This is a full plot summary of what happened in Cinder by Marissa Meyer. Check out our recap list for more recaps. If you can’t find what you need, you can request a recap from us!

Other recaps for this series:


  • Thank you so much for the recap! It really helped 🙂
    “She agrees, obliviously, because he is the price and well, he is hot.” I laughed at this, lol. 😛

  • Ryan Snyder says:

    I love your recaps. I am not much of a re- reader so I hate waiting a year for new books to come out and then having to re- read the first book. (I only re- read books if I absolutely adored them. I have maybe 4 books I have reread multiple times only.

  • Iani says:

    Thanks you so, so much for your amazing job ! I love coming here and refreshing my memory about books that I’ve read… So usefull ! I have a very bad memory, your recaps are absolutely perfect for me !
    I feel like there isn’t enough people knowing about this blog and that’s a shame ! Thank you again !
    (Please excuse my english mistakes, it’s not my native language…)

  • Jessi (Geo) says:

    Lmao, I read the line “She agrees, obviously, because he is the prince and well, he is hot” and in my mind I was like, ‘This must be written by Judith.’ Hahaha XD

  • This is a great recap. I just finished Fairest and wanted to revisit the first books. Glad I found you!

    I don’t think Levana killed her sister though.

Leave a reply