It’s been so long since my first post! I’ve been very busy with final assignments so I didn’t have time to write up a review. However, now that I’ve finished, I should be able to write more regularly.
That being said, I still managed to have time to sneak some reading in despite having essays… Over the last few weeks, I decided to start The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer and it has reminded me of why I loved YA so much growing up. I was originally planning to write a review as I finished each book but because I couldn’t, I think it might not be as practical now. I’ll combine all the books into one big review instead. If the format is too long, please tell me so I’ll avoid them in the future.
Due to the series being published quite a while ago, I’m presuming most people have read it so there might be some spoilers as the review progresses. Anyway, let’s get started on the actual reviews!
The cover for Cinder took me a while to get used to – it has an old, realistic-fantastical vibe that the old Goosebumps books had. The metal works superimposed onto a foot with a bright red shoe is a bit uncanny… However, next to the other covers, it looks right at home and even welcome now.
Linh Cinder is cyborg – part human, part machine. She can’t remember her past and is treated as an outsider by most of the citizens of New Beijing, in the Eastern Commonwealth. If that wasn’t enough to hinder a bright, teenage girl, she is also treated as a servant by her stepmother and stepsister.
But when handsome Prince Kai walks into her dingy little mechanics stall asking for her help, Cinder’s life is changed forever.
I loved, loved Cinder! I found Cinder very likable and easy to relate as soon as I started. The mechanics terminology was a bit hard to understand but shows Meyer did her research! This retelling of the fairytale Cinderella is so imaginative and new. I enjoyed noticing all the references of the original tale in the new one.
Situated in New Beijing, there is a mash up of different Asian cultures and honorifics and I found that fascinating, being of Asian descent myself.
With the threat of evil Lunar Queen Levana and the deadly disease leutumosis, the reader is hurled into a world of endless intrigue. The writing is fast-paced at the right times and soft and sweet when needed.
In hindsight, reading the four main novels and Fairest, I wished we were told more of the series in Cinder’s perspective. Even though she played a huge role in the other books, I still missed the original focus that was mostly on her. That being said, I loved ALL of the main crew.
I couldn’t wait to get my hands on Scarlet after finishing the first book and I was not let down when I finally did! This retelling of Little Red Riding Hood was as fabulous as the one of Cinderella.
Scarlet Benoit is beautiful and bold and on a mission to find her missing grandmother. She enlists the help of Wolf, a street fighter and the cautious attraction between the two was so cute. I think their relationship is probably my favourite in the series.
We find out more about the world with its portscreens, spaceships and technology. Cinder is on the run and the way Scarlet and Cinder’s lives became intertwined was great. With the help of the confident Carswell Thorne, Cinder attempts to track down Michelle Benoit, coincidentally Scarlet’s grandmother, to find out more about her mysterious royal past.
I also liked the addition of the new Emperor Kai’s perspective as he struggles to appease Levana whilst trying to understand his relationship with Cinder. It was sweet that their brief romance was lingering and strong for both of them.
Crescent Moon (Cress) believes she is a damsel in distress in need of saving. Stuck in a satellite for most of her life, she does the bidding of her mistress Sybil and Queen Levana. With little company, she is romantic and awkward at the same time.
We were briefly introduced to Cress in the first book and it was a mild pleasant surprise to see her as the third heroine, based off the original Rapunzel. When a rescue attempt goes wrong, our crew is separated and Thorne ends up stuck with Cress in the Sahara Desert.
The links between the fairy tales play out seamlessly and the dynamics of the group was really well-written. It was hard to put the book down. Cinder has accepted her destiny as the true Queen of Lunar and she and Kai are finally reunited.
It was sad that Cress finds her father after so many years believing that he had given her up for dead and they could not learn more about each other. His love for her was sweet and her similarities with him were endearing.
We are also introduced to Princess Winter, who becomes our final heroine.
The book Fairest actually comes before Winter but I have decided to omit it and may do a separate review after with Stars Above when I read that one.
Fragile and beautifully kind, Winter has withheld using her Lunar gift since she was small. As a consequence, her sanity is compromised and hallucinations haunt her. She has fallen in love with Jacin, her best friend but their difference in status prevents them from being together. Levana is also insanely jealous of the love Winter receives from the people of Lunar, seeing her as a threat to her crown.
Meanwhile, Cinder is planning a revolution that will overthrow Levana which only enrages her further.
So many things have happened throughout the previous books and I’m trying not to spoiler it, in case there are some people who haven’t read them yet.
This book is the biggest compared to the others, being a whopping 824 pages. The size only makes sense – so many things are happening and each chapter jumps to another perspective. Unlike some books, the characters are always distinctive enough that the change in perspective is never hard to follow.
It was quite fast-paced compared to the previous books in the series and I never found a dull moment. Meyer carefully built up the revolution and made it fairly realistic considering it was a fairytale. I did, however, find myself being scared that the Lunar people would not accept Cinder because Winter, our Snow White, was so loved. It was okay though, Cinder was enough of a leader that she had no problems.
There were twists and turns but we got our happy ending.
Actual photo of my books
One criticism is the material of the cover pages. I generally take very good care of my books but found this series so easy to damage! The outside wears out so easily as you can see in the photo. I’m sad, Puffin, sad.
Overall, the series is not to be missed for lovers of YA! All of the heroines (including our beloved android Iko!) are intelligent and strong in their own ways which is a breath of fresh air. I am looking forward to reading Stars Above and eventually Heartless when it comes out.