science fiction, scifi, young adult

Book Review: The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer Thus Far

Cinder, Scarlet, and Cress hard book American covers

Titles (in order): Cinder, Scarlet, and Cress
Author: Marissa Meyer
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Length: 400, 464, and 560 respectively on Kindle
Genre: Young Adult Science Fiction
Rating: 5, 5 and 4 folded pages respectively

Summary:

The Lunar Chronicles is a series of fairytale retellings using Cinderella, Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel, and Snow White (coming November 2015).

Cinder is a cyborg in the Eastern Commonwealth where cyborgs are treated like second class citizens. Her entire world changes when soon-to-be Emperor Kaito comes to her to fix his favorite android after hearing of her mechanic skills and Cinder learns a secret. He ends up inviting her to a royal ball where things only get stickier.

Scarlet desperately wants to find her grandmother who was kidnapped from their house without a trace of struggle. All Scarlet can find is her grandmother’s ID chip cut out of her arm and left at the house. The local authorities assume Scarlet’s grandmother finally went crazy and left but Scarlet knows better. She sets out on a journey to find the only family she has with a handsome fighter she can’t help but fall for.

Cress has been locked in a satellite hacking for just over 7 years now. She doesn’t much mind the solitude but she realized early on that the Lunar empire wasn’t a good place. She’s waiting for a way to get out and she thinks she just might have found one.

Review:

I know the summaries are a little brief but I can’t give accurate descriptions of Scarlet and Cress without spoiling Cinder. As an avid reader of fairytale retellings, it actually took me quite a while before picking up this series. The blurb on the back of Cinder always made me a little apprehensive, however, I deeply regret reading this series as soon as it came out. As a disclaimer, I am only reviewing the three main stories in the series and not the shorts or the novella.

Marissa Meyer does an excellent job making every character, even ones that are only around for a few pages at most, seem entirely real with their own personality. It’s impossible not to get caught up in each characters story. Considering the huge cast by the end of Cress, this is amazing. Each character is so entirely different that there is someone in the story everyone can relate to and I don’t say this lightly.

Not only that, her writing is easy to read while remaining interesting. I enjoy that she doesn’t use entirely unfamiliar words in a world that’s definitely different from our own. The writing also doesn’t get boring. Meyer finds the fine line in writing where it’s simple enough to understand and enjoy but descriptive enough to not get bored. I found Cress a little slower passed than Cinder and Scarlet but I enjoyed all three of them quite a bit. Each book is told from various character perspectives, in other novels I usually find this kind of narration too choppy to enjoy. However, Meyer’s writing makes the narration easy to follow and I never felt my suspension of belief break.

Aside from great characters and writing, the plots that arch through each book feel so new. Meyer takes age old stories and turns them into something new with her science fiction spin. I enjoy that she doesn’t stick very close the original fairytales. Instead, she takes the general idea and builds her own world and characters around that. I can’t go more into details on that without some major spoilers but don’t expect to know how these stories end. I’d like to consider myself an expert on fairytale retellings considering I’ve read so many, and I would rate The Lunar Chronicles high on my very long list of retellings I’ve read.

Overall, I gave Cinder and Scarlet 5 folded pages and Cress 4 folded pages. I enjoyed all three books immensely, but Cress was much slower than the other two. While Cinder and Scarlet kept me on the edge of my seat at all times, Cress was more of a slow burn. I wanted to continue reading it but I needed to do it in smaller chunks instead of a few long ones because there was so much to take in.

I love this series and it’s going to be an agonizing wait until November 10th with the 4th book in the series, Winter, comes out.

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