Marissa Meyer

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Cinder: Chapter 16 Summary & Analysis

Prince Kai runs into Emperor Rikan’s room, where his father has just passed away. Exhausted and upset, Torin says that he’ll set up a press conference for the next day so that Kai can announce what has happened. Devastated, Kai feels as though he’s lost his youth and his freedom as well as his father. At that moment, the netscreen starts broadcasting an incoming communication from Queen Levana.
Emperor Rikan’s death is a major turning point for Kai. Alongside grieving his father, he must assume the immense responsibility of becoming emperor and considering the Eastern Commonwealth’s citizens over his own priorities. This is why Kai is lamenting is lost youth—he knows that his father’s death means letting go of his innocence and the freedom to put his own needs first.
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The screen shows only Queen Levana’s outline, as her “glamour”—the ability to manipulate people’s brainwaves and see her as divinely beautiful—doesn’t translate over the netscreens. Queen Levana offers her condolences for Emperor Rikan and also says that she looks forward to their new alliance talks and she can visit as soon as possible for a meeting between them. After she signs off, Kai affirms again that he will refuse to marry her.
The book emphasizes how reliant on manipulation the Lunar people are. They want to control how they are seen by others—and because their ability to make themselves look beautiful doesn’t translate over screens, they choose instead to obscure themselves entirely. This again makes people distrust them, as it’s clear that they rely on telepathic control rather than honest means of winning people over.
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