Series: The Lunar Chronicles
Genres: Fantasy, Science Fiction, Young Adult
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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.
(photo credit to @britbookboy)
Well, damn. Once again I’m sitting here, shaking my head in exasperation because I just finished a fabulous book that I had sitting on my shelf for way too long. This happens so often that you think I’d know better by now. I’m stubborn; what can I say?
Cinder by Marissa Meyer is a Young Adult fantasy novel, it’s a fairytale retelling, it’s a little bit science fiction, it’s a political drama…it’s freaking fantastic is what it is. This novel follows a girl named Cinder(ella) who lives under the cruel guardianship of her vile stepmother, and the prejudice of a messed up society. I loved this book. Really, it is everything that I love about this genre in that it’s a jumble of everything and impossible to define. Cinder is an android – yes I said that. She has robot parts. She’s a second-class citizen because of it and she spends her days working to the bone to support her ungrateful ‘family.’ She lives in a futuristic version of China, in a land ruled by the royal family. People’s lives are threatened by an incurable plague, and because of fate and chance Cinder gets caught in a web of secrets that may end up costing her life.
Sounds like a lot? It kind of is, but it’s balanced beautifully. I think it’s carefully crafted with each element complementing the others as everything cumulated into a perfectly intriguing story. This is first and foremost a coming-of-age story about a character that grows as she deals with her insecurities and self-loathing. Cinder is a great narrator who showcases her vulnerabilities as well as her endearing strengths, and I loved her very much. She experiences many heartbreaks and disappointments, and if I was in her shoes I would’ve crumbled, but she’s endlessly resilient and I fell in love with her character.
I went into this book blind. I mean, really blind since I didn’t even know that this was a Cinderella retelling (how I didn’t connect the dots with the title is beyond me). So, because I didn’t know a single detail, I was unsure in the beginning because of the science fiction elements and the oppressing setting. Science fiction isn’t my usual genre, but it wasn’t long before I was engaged. Also, there were some truly heinous characters that I wanted to choke and moments of moral ambiguity that made me uncomfortable. In the end, I love and appreciate that, because the plot made me think, and entertaining, plus thought provoking, equals a quality read in my book. Also, the story caught me off guard. The last 10% consisted of some serious bombs and my head was ringing with each new revelation. Talk about hooking the reader! There’s no way that I’m not finishing this series.
If you have Cinder on your list like I did then I’m recommending you read it. This novel features some great world-building (not too dense, but enough to feel like you’re transported to another world), engaging characters, and a ridiculously good plot. It’s also a romance, but that element simmers, and I think it’ll unfold slowly across the series – I can’t wait! If Cinder isn’t on your radar, then it needs to be. It was fun, simple as that, and I’m so looking forward to diving into the other books. (I guess one good thing about waiting this long to read it is that I don’t have to wait a year for the next release. Thank gawd!)
The unending action, adventure, and intrigue continues in book two, along with a sweet romance. In Scarlet, Cinder shares the spotlight with another fiery heroine whose world falls apart when her beloved grandmother goes missing (sound familiar?). Scarlet’s bravery and resolve takes her on a very risky journey with an ambiguous (and sexy!) stranger. Meanwhile, Cinder deals with the ramifications of her showdown at the palace and the after effects of the earth-shattering news she received in the final pages of the last book.
My opinion of this book fluctuated, from excitement to frustration and annoyance, to love and rapture, and back again during various stages. It wasn’t the story that gave me mixed feelings so much as how it was structured. I am not a patient woman in most situations, but I’m even less patient during situations when I want something really badly. And after finishing Cinder, all I wanted was an uninterrupted continuation of her arc, but I got a lot of Scarlet’s arc instead. The story flipped between the two storylines (though still in third person), and I kept getting teased with Cinder’s, but then jarred when it flipped to Scarlet. Don’t get me wrong, Scarlet’s story is engaging on its own, but when it’s put up against the other…let’s just say that Cristal got very testy.
Even with my testiness, I still thought this was a very enjoyable read. Scarlet features more romance than Cinder, and sort of a forbidden romance too, so I was all over that. Also, surprisingly, I was very much into the sci-fi element this time. The fantastic world building continued in Scarlet as the world stretches from the borders of Asia into a futuristic Europe. I loved the layers of intrigue and suspense. New key players are introduced and puzzle pieces are slowly revealed, leading to a thrilling and jaw-dropping ending. JUST LIKE THE FIRST TIME. This lady sure knows how to pull my strings. That last 25% was everything. I’m very much entrenched in this series now and I’m beyond happy that my excitement is as intense at the end of book two as it was book one. Cress, here I come!
Remember when I complained about the multiple storylines that distracted from what I thought was the main act of the series, Cinder’s arc and how it would all play out with Kai? Of course you remember, I was just whining about it up there ⇧. Well, ignore what I said, because obviously I don’t know what the hell I’m talking about, because Marissa Meyer included even more characters, and more storylines in Cress, and I loved it so much, I’m comfortably dubbing this one my favorite of the series so far.
I can’t tell too much about the synopsis, because we’re deep enough in the series that any information is a spoiler, really. If you haven’t read the series as yet, then I recommend you not even read the synopsis (which is why I haven’t included it). If you’ve you’ve read the two previous books and are contemplating whether you should continue, then…what is wrong with you?! Of course you should continue, this series is FANTASTIC. Really, one of the best I’ve ever read.
Cress is the Lunar hacker who was briefly introduced in Cinder. She’s young and brilliant, her skills are used against her will to further the Lunar agenda and their plans to take over Earth. Cress is a pretty tragic character, and as her story unfolds and her background becomes clear, the novel takes a turn that was truly emotional and gut-wrenching, and took this series to another level. Everything came together with Cress. All the threads connect to form a truly beautiful and entertaining as hell piece. I can honestly say that I enjoyed every single page in his book. I usually hate when reivewers say that a story is unputdownable, but that’s exactly what Cress is. Of course, I put it down, because I have a life and I’m not a robot, but know that when it wasn’t in my hands it was in my head. Marissa Meyer is a genius storyteller, aka, a drug dealer, and The Lunar Chronicles is my crack. READ THIS.
This is a novella, but it’s more than enough Levana. Experiencing this sociopath felt like living with with maggots in my brain.
It doesn’t begin with the merciless demon terrorist that we know and loathe from the previous novels. Levana is a young girl of 15 when the novel opens, and still naive and vulnerable enough to elicit hope that she will become a good person. But Levana didn’t stand a chance. Within the first few paragraphs I realized that she’d already been set on a path of selfish destruction, sent there by her cruel sister, and her own callous predispositions. Levana’s background rivaled the most deviant that can be found on any TV show like Game of Thrones, or the annals of true history. That royal family was fucked.
As deplorable as Levana is (and let’s face it she’s a murderous, sociopathic View Spoiler »rapist « Hide Spoiler), she’s insanely compelling. If you love a good villain, then Fairest will satisfy you immensely. I think it’s a great addition to the series, and recommend that you read it in the order I did. It’s chronologically a prequel, but it’s rife with spoilers, so don’t read it first. And don’t skip it. It adds to the story. Marissa Meyer doesn’t make excuses for Levana, and I don’t think her intention is for you to sympathize with her, but for you to see what’s boiling underneath. Now that I know who she is, I can’t wait to dive into Winter, because I know it’s going to be one hell of a ride.
This novel can be described in a word, and that word is epic. Truly epic. The conclusion to The Lunar Chronicles was beyond satisfying, but might I risk dismemberment by suggesting that I wish this 824-page stunner had more? I know, I know, I’m ridiculous, but I honestly didn’t want it to end. In fact, I actively sought to read slower, taking breaks and distracting myself with other tasks so that I could drag the reading experience out longer, but the plot made that nearly impossible.
Winter is the culmination of all the track laid in Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, and Fairest. Once this train starts running down that track, the ride builds and builds until it feels like you’re going full-throttle hoping that you don’t crash. This is the last book in a series, so a certain ending is expected, a specific outcome hoped for, so a reader might feel a sense of security in the knowledge that they’ll more than likely get what they want. Marissa Meyer constructed this in a way that the reader never feels comfortable. Really, Winter is two books in one, but I’m happy that the publishers didn’t play the cliffhanger game and torture us with another yearlong wait. Just when it feels like, “Yes, this is it!” something happens then you scream, “Noooooo!!” This book is fun, totally engrossing, and just like with the rest of the series I felt like I was living another life.
It always feels a bit pointless to review the final book in a series, especially if I want to keep it spoiler-free. Also, fans of the series are already well invested, so it’s unlikely they won’t read this book. But incase anyone is still on the fence about this series, I urge you to read it. It’s fantastic! I fell in love with this world and I fell in love with these characters, and Marissa Meyer gave them all their due. Everything comes together beautifully in Winter, and I simultaneously feel empty and full, as I’ve said goodbye to my beloved characters and I’m sad, but I feel so full for having known them. But I miss them. I think I’ll visit them a lot.