Series: The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer
Release Date First Book: January 3rd 2012
Overall Rating: 4,5 stars
Rating Book 1: Cinder – 4 stars
Rating Book 2: Scarlet – 3,5 stars
Rating book 3: Cress – 5 stars
Rating Book 3,5: Fairest – 4 stars
Rating Book 4: Winter – 5 stars
Rating Novella’s: Stars Above – 5 stars
Synopsis (First Book)
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.
After finishing Stars Above in May I finally sat down to write this series review. I started this series long before I started this blog. It is actually one of the reasons I got back into reading, and that I ended up gravitating towards the bookish community on Tumblr which resulted in me starting this blog last year. So this series holds a place in my heart just for those reasons alone. Of course the story and the characters are another reason for that.
With titles like Cinder, Scarlet, Cress and Winter in combination with their covers, it is hard not to see that this series is based on fairy tales. The first book Cinder is based on Cinderella, Scarlet is based on Red Riding Hood, Cress is based on Rapunzel and Winter is based on Snow White. I love how Marissa Meyer set this in a more sci-fi setting and how she played with the fairy tales in her book. Our Snow White for instance has a dark skin. I know not everyone was happy with this (why I don’t know) but I liked that change. Not everything has to be so standard. It is based on Snow White. BASED.
The Lunar Chronicles is set well into our future and after a few more world wars that shaped the world quite different from what we know it today. On the moon live the Lunars of who most of them have a gift. A threat of war is present between the Earth and Lunar. This is the setting where we find our Cinder in who happens to be a cyborg.
While I thoroughly enjoyed the first book, I did find that some of the supposed plot twists were a bit too easy to figure out in this first book. Some of the questions that this book gave us about Cinder’s background was interesting. However I did fall in love with the characters that we get to know in this book. And the plot develops a lot over the course of the four books.
From there on out we are introduced to new characters in each book that will play a part in later books as well. I like how not all of them are already in previous books, because we get the time to get to know each character before moving on to another new one. It makes it so that the large cast of characters isn’t quite as overwhelming once you get to Winter, because you have already gotten to know them slowly in the previous books.
Cinder is of course our big main character throughout this series. It starts with her and it ends with her. I have taken quite the liking to her as a character. I love her interactions with the other characters, and how she does grow over the course of the books. She learns to share things about herself with more than just Iko. Also her decision at the end of Winter was one I wasn’t entirely expecting, but one I can admire.
All the other characters all have their own growth. And I won’t get into them all. However I do want to point you in the direction of two characters I find to be pure gems in this series. Iko is an android and has been with Cinder for a while. She is such a bubbly but fun character. She seems to have developed a personality, and it is a lot of fun to see her interact with others. Especially with one Thorne. I was a bit iffy about Thorne at the start of Scarlet when he joins Cinder in her escape and search. But very quickly he grew on me. He is a flirt and seems to create the light hearted moments, but he has more to him than that, that you discover through the course of the series.
Next to the four main novels there is also Fairest, a shorter novel that focuses on Levana, the queen of Lunar and our antagonist. It gives us a lot of background into seeing how Levana became who she is as seen in the main story. It creates understanding to a point, without taking away the fact that what she does is wrong and she has grown into a terrible person. You understand how Levana came to be who she is, but that doesn’t mean you like her. Fairest isn’t a necessary read to enjoy The Lunar Chronicles. However if you do decide you want to read this in between novel I would suggest reading it after Cress as it was published. It does lead us up towards Winter, and I think this story has the most effect when read after Cress.
After Winter, a collection of novella’s was released called Stars Above. Again this isn’t a must read. About half of these novella’s were originally available online where I read them at the time. So I was personally a little iffy about this publication. However I thoroughly enjoyed reading those novella’s and the other novella’s again. I especially liked reading about the younger Thorne, and the last novella that is more so an epilogue to the series.