I know I am extremely late to the party on this one! It just took a while to convince myself to read a sci-fi fantasy fairytale retelling, but I’m glad I finally picked up the series. The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer is a four-book series based in a future with cyborgs and androids and people who live on the moon (and have special powers that still don’t make 100% sense to me). The first book follows Cinder (Cinderella), the second book follows Scarlet (Little Red Riding Hood), the third follows Cress (Rapunzel) and the fourth follows Winter (Snow White). When I say “follows” I mean they are the primary character we learn new things about; however, it is a series, just like any other, that builds on itself. Cinder is just as important to the plot in the second, third and fourth as she is the first.
The idea behind this series is one I really appreciate. The way the three books meld together and create a larger picture of the world these characters live in is amazing. I can honestly say that I was entertained and captivated by the entire plot. I really like how these stories are retellings that have little fun hints to the original fairy tale but are more of an entirely new story than a retelling. However, I do not think the Sci-Fi or Sci-Fi/Fantasy genres are for me. I can understand why this was such a popular book and the plot was very well written, however it is not the genre I enjoy reading the most. There are two novellas that go along with this series, but I do not plan on reading those.
Cinder a 3.5/5,
I give the series as a whole 3.8/5
The following contains spoilers for all three books of the Lunar Chronicles Series.
READ AT YOUR OWN RISK!
So, as I stated before my main problem was not with the plot or writing of this series. In fact, I really enjoyed Marissa Meyer’s style and would love to read more of her books. However, the characters and all the sci-fi aspects of the book were not my favorite. I have never been a fan of cyborgs or robots, so there was bound to be some lack of interest there. Also, the combination of all the sci-fi/technology things and the lunar gift made it really hard for me to accept as a reader. Most of the things in the book (cyborgs, wolf-mutants, androids with personality, etc.) were explainable by simple science. However, I never really understood how the Lunars developed a superpower of controlling people. That doesn’t seem like an evolutionary trait that would appear over time. And I never felt it was properly explained. This problem alone stuck with me throughout the series and made it very difficult for me to attach to the characters.
In this series there were so many times I would think “wait, did I miss something? That doesn’t seem right. How did that happen?” Like how did Lavana completely miss the fact that Princess Selene did not die but was saved? I feel like she would have noticed if there wasn’t a body in the fire. And even if she didn’t, Lavana is so paranoid I feel like she would be on an endless search for Selene even if there was the slightest possibility that she survived.
Another problem I had that really presented itself in Cress and Winter was how quickly large problems seemed to be solved. Especially in Winter! I feel like it should have taken weeks or months for Cinder to gain enough ground to start a rebellion, but it only took her a few days to mobilize an entire army! The same thing with Cress and Thorn getting through the desert. This only frustrates me so much because there was so much time spent on plot points that were not important at all.
Now that I’ve ranted about some of the problems I had while reading the book, let me get on to the things I really liked about the book. The relationships! This is why I say Marissa Meyer is an excellent writer. The gradual growth of the relationships in this series is phenomenal. I hate it when there are insta-love plot lines that are not satisfying at all. In this series though, I found myself holding my breath for those moments between Scarlet and Wolf or Cress and Thorn! Even Jacin and Winter, who we only met long after their relationship had started, was interesting to see and understand the backstory. And I couldn’t help but laugh at Cinder and Kai. This was such a classic starstruck, celebrity crush relationship that made me smile every time they interacted. Even the platonic relationships like Iko and Cinder, or Thorn and Cinder were so well done in capturing the complexity of characters and interactions.
The Characters were also very well written. Each heroine came with a vital problem to overcome: Cinder: her status, Scarlet: her loss, Cress: her shyness (and naiveness) and Winter: her crazy. The character growth, especially Cinder and Kai from the first book to the last was so entertaining to read and really kept me interested. Iko was always my favorite, she sometimes would say exactly what I was thinking and other times would be focused on something totally off topic (usually clothes), but she made me laugh in every scene.
I also really appreciate how the characters interact with one another even though they are introduced in separate books/spheres. Especially those that were not introduced until book four. I also really liked the lead in from one book to another, so that when we met the next main character it made sense as to how they fit into the story. Comment below on your favorite storyline!
Until Next Time,