Hello, folks! I come to you today bearing a bunch of mini reviews for Marissa Meyer’s amazing YA series The Lunar Chronicles, plus giving you four reasons why you should read these books, if you’re not convinced by the end of the reviews.
I’ll try to keep these as spoiler free as possible, but if I do have to bring up a spoiler, I’ll make sure to tag it first! (Also, just as a note, I will not be reviewing Fairest because, as of now, I haven’t read it. Thus I cannot cast my opinion on it into the realms of An Ordinary Pen).
So, let’s go!
Cinder (Book #1)
Cinder is the opening book and I was hooked from the first few chapters. It was just so…original and new, fresh and exciting! Also, it had a clever twist on the Cinderella tale which its based on. Cyborg Cinderella? Yes, please! Make Cinder a sarcastic, talented mechanic? Oh yes! Set it in a futuristic China, rather than a dystopian America? Even more yes! (As an Australian, I’m perplexed and annoyed by the amount of sci-fi books set in America).
Unfortunately, it’s been about a year since I read Cinder and my brain is a bit fuzzy on all the details, however Meyer manages to introduce us to a cool new world (though the world was fairly basic sci-fi fare), a cute emperor (whom we all secretly have a crush on), Cinder’s stepmother and sisters (and one of the sisters is actually the sweetest thing ever and I’ve been waiting so long for a version of Cinderella where at least one of the sisters wasn’t a hateful brat), and, of course, Iko, the sassy, sort of scatter brained android.
Oh, and the evil queen of the Moon.
Scarlet (Book #2)
So, I was super hyped up over Cinder, and yet, I just couldn’t get into Scarlet. I think it was because of the character of Scarlet herself. I wasn’t able to connect with Scarlet and I didn’t like Wolf all that much either. I was also cranky because the spotlight had been taken away from Cinder, when all I really wanted to do was learn about Cinder’s past and see her go forth into her future.
However, Scarlet did have one major thing going for it. Futuristic France now?? Awesome!! I mentioned in a post last year that I’d become obsessed with France, so I was thrilled over this development. I love every bit of the French setting.
This is also the book that Cadet Carswell Thorne is introduced and…let me tell you, he drove me up the wall. But anyway, between the sudden shift from Cinder to Scarlet’s point of view, my dislike for Scarlet and Wolf and what I felt was a slower plot, I didn’t like Scarlet as much as Cinder.
Cress (Book #3)
Thankfully, my problems with Scarlet weren’t enough to dissuade me from continuing on with Cress, and I’m so glad I did!
Out of all the books, Cress was my favourite. Out of all the characters, Cress is my favourite. She and I are just so similar. So, of course, I felt an instant connection with her and her woes.
This one was also very cleverly done in terms of plot. It’s a retelling of Rapunzel and its very similar to Tangled (only the best animated movie ever). I loved the clever twist Meyer put on the tale by having Cress trapped in a satellite, and…well, all the other twists I won’t mention because #spoilers.
Carswell Thorne also takes the stage here. I very strongly disliked him (I won’t say I hated him) in Scarlet, but as soon as he was a more central character and we got to see inside his head a bit, I grew to love him (with almost as much ardour as Cress!). I also grew in my liking for Wolf, though Scarlet still sadly remains my least favourite character. And Jacin, who will be an important character later, is introduced. I didn’t like him either.
Also, this book is set in the Sahara Desert, which is also awesome. I could gush about Cress all day if you let me.
Winter (Book #4)
The finale!! Cinder has come to Lunar in order to do all the spoilery things she’s come to do, and here she meets Princess Winter, the queen’s stepdaughter. Winter’s awesome and beautiful and in love with Jacin, the palace guard.
So, I didn’t like Jacin in Cress (are we seeing a pattern here, ladies and gentlemen?) but I loved him as soon as he was introduced in Winter. He’s awesome as well, and as in love with Winter as she is with him, though he doesn’t show it. He’s also my favourite male character in this series.
There’s not much more to say about this book without revealing some of the surprising twists and spoilers, so I’ll finish up by saying that the Lunar setting wasn’t as good, in my opinion, as the Earth settings. It just seemed kind of…half baked, I guess. More fake. But then again, I guess Luna is fake, everything about it is supposed to ring false. But yeah, I felt the setting was a weak point in this book.
But the climax and the conclusion were both awesome. It wraps up the whole series really, tying everything up in a neat little bow and I didn’t notice any loose points or plot holes. All our favourite romances are fulfilled, everyone lives happily ever after. For the most part anyway.
4 ½ /5 Stars
Stars Above (Short Story Anthology)
This is an anthology of short stories which relate to the Lunar world. Because of its nature, I didn’t like it quite as much as the full-length novels, but it was pretty good. It was fun to revisit the cast after all the post-Winter feels, and to learn a bit more about the pasts and futures of our favourite characters.
We get to learn exactly how Cinder arrived on earth, and how Linh Garan took her home (for some reason, this was a really sad story. 😦 ), how Thorne fell in love with Rampion ships and made a million dollars, how Wolf became a soldier of the queen, how Cress ended up in her satellite (my poor little Cress), and a myriad of other things.
Stars 3 ½ /5
All right! So, as if this post wasn’t long enough already, I present you with four reasons why you should read The Lunar Chronicles!
Reason #1—Awesome Premise
It has an awesome premise, guys, it really does! A cyborg Cinderella who falls in love with the prince and then starts a revolution on the moon–what more could you want?
Also, despite the fact that the books are marketed toward females, and generally have very feminine covers, I have proved that boys will like them just as much as girls (my brother started reading them after my mother, sister and I convinced him he’d like them and he finished the series before either my mother or sister did).
Reason #2—Awesome Characters
Cool as the premise is, the characters are what really make this series. The characters are so diverse, not only racially, but also personality-wise. Meyer doesn’t rely on stereotypes, such as the “Strong woman” cliché. She develops each of the five main girls into their own type of “strong woman”, but…gracious, how I am I supposed to explain how amazing her characterisation is? And none of the love interests suffer from dullness either and you have a great range there as well–from your typical prince charming (Kai), who’s still interesting and likable, to your typical rogue (Thorne), who’s also still likable, and your typical bad boy (Wolf), who’s sympathetic and…yes, likable.
Reason #3—A Focus on Things Other than Romance
Despite the fact that there’s a romance for each of the main characters there’s a focus on relationships that aren’t romantic as well *gasps*. I know! In YA!
And, hold onto your hats, ladies and gents, there are also no love triangles not a single one! *double gasp*. (Well, not until you get to that little story in Stars Above anyway, but that’s irrelevant)
But seriously, the relationships between the characters are cool. And I especially love the friendship between Cress and Wolf, and Cress and Kai, and Cress and Jacin. Just Cress, in general. I also love the bickering between Cinder and Thorne, because that’s a real sibling relationship right there 😛
And Cinder and Peony are the cutest sisters in the world.
Reason #4—Mostly Clean
And, as well as being dramatically different from the average YA, Meyer’s books are mostly clean. There’s a bit of kissing and a few parts that might be a bit “uh…this is awkward”, depending on how much you can take, but compared to the average YA, these are superbly clean. (If you’d like more info on this, you can ask me specific questions in the comments).
So, there we go! That’s surely enough to convince you to go and read The Lunar Chronicles, isn’t it? Or have you already read them? In that case, who’s your favourite character? Which book did you like the best? I can’t wait to hear from you 🙂