Marissa Meyer

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Cinder: Chapter 21 Summary & Analysis

Two days later, Cinder is at her workspace again. She’s been spending all night working on the car, leaving her exhausted during the day; the car will take a lot of work to be ready by the ball. She doesn’t regret saying no to Kai’s invitation, knowing that she would likely reveal herself as a cyborg and embarrass herself and the prince at the ball. Cinder also doesn’t want anyone to know that she’s Lunar, and she hopes that Dr. Erland will be the only person who ever knows.
The book again departs from the original “Cinderella” fairy tale, implying that Cinder’s hard work and resourcefulness is more admirable than relying on other people’s help (or sheer luck) to help her, as Cinderella did. While Cinder worries about people recognizing her as a cyborg and persecuting her, her identity as a cyborg is exactly what enables her to fix up the car and make this escape, once again emphasizing how the traits that people mistreat Cinder for are the very qualities that allow her to excel.
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Cinder then begins to examine Nainsi, and Iko notices a chip plugged into the android that looks very out of place. It’s a direct communication chip, which aren’t usually plugged into androids. Cinder takes the chip and plugs it into her own netscreen, and it starts initiating a link with an unknown user. As the netscreen continues to try to link up, Nainsi powers back on and starts talking, explaining that Princess Selene was brought to Earth approximately four months after her alleged death. Then, the android realizes where she is and abruptly stops talking. Wondering who could have put the chip there, Cinder then takes Nainsi back to the palace.
The information Nainsi divulges, as well as the fact that there is a mysterious chip plugged into her, reveal further layers of secrecy. The fact that Kai’s android is equipped with information about Princess Selene means that Kai is actively trying to find Princess Selene (who is apparently still alive). But the mysterious communication chip plugged into Nainsi also suggests that someone else is seeking out this information.
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