Late to the party again! Well, kind of. I read the first book of The Lunar Chronicles back when it came out in 2012. Cinder was great, but I didn’t follow up on the eventual sequel, and so the whole thing fell off my radar. Well, over the last couple of months I have finally caught up! The Lunar Chronicles consists of four novels (Cinder, Scarlet, Cress and Winter), and two shorter books with side stories related to the overall story arc (Fairest and Stars Above). In a nutshell, the series is a futuristic retelling of some popular fairy tales. Specifically Cinderella, Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel and Snow White. But really, it is so much more than that.
YA series are so common nowadays; stand alone books seem to have become a rarity. And frankly, I feel the genre has suffered for it. Some series feel forced, like publishing contracts have overruled good story telling. I have become wary of YA books that end with cliffhangers because of this. So I was absolutely thrilled that The Lunar Chronicles didn’t fall into that category – it is fantastic. And it’s not just the engaging characters and nods to fairy tale elements that makes it so good. It’s the story itself.
In CINDER, a teenage cyborg (half human, half machine) must deal with a wicked stepmother, start a rebellion against the evil Queen Levana, and decide how she feels about a handsome prince. As the series continues, Cinder forges alliances with Scarlet, a spaceship pilot who is determined to solve the mystery of a missing loved one — with the help of a magnetic street fighter named Wolf; Cress, a computer hacker who is imprisoned by Queen Levana; and Winter, a princess who’s in love with a commoner, and who discovers that Cinder, Scarlet, and Cress may hold the key to saving her kingdom — and the world.
Each sequel guides the overall story arc towards it’s epic conclusion. Nothing feels like filler – it reads like Meyer had the whole series planned out from the start. The characterization is really well done, and I found myself even feeling sorry for the villain at times.
By far, my favourite of the series is Stars Above, which is kind of funny considering it’s not part of the original storyline. It’s a series of short stories that focus on some of the more peripheral characters, but also helps to fill in some interesting history and back story to the series. So don’t just read the main 4 books – you’ll be missing out if you do! The Lunar Chronicles altogether deserves 4/5.