Book Review: The Lunar Chronicles Series [Spoiler-Free]


For this particular book review I’m spreading my focus across a four-part series, as I’d finished reading the first two books in the quadrilogy before I first began writing reviews. That series is The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer, comprising of Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, and Winter. Though there are two other books that technically belong to the series – Fairest and Stars Above – I won’t be including them in this review as they are both stand-alone stories in the same world as, but set outside of, the main narrative.

When I first began reading Cinder, I didn’t know a great deal about The Lunar Chronicles other than it was a futuristic take on several classic fairy tales: Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel, and Snow White. I was soon to learn that, while Meyer does take a lot of ideas from these fairy tales, she’s also constructed an incredible, original tale that sucks the reader in and begs to be read.

The series begins with Cinder, and we find ourselves in the distant future, after several world wars have come and gone, and peace has reigned on earth for many years. The Earth as we see it – similar to the present, but redistributed into somewhat different geological groupings such as the Eastern Commonwealth and the European Union – is technologically advanced, but not in such a way that makes it seem unattainable and unrealistic. Meyer has created a future in which the average citizen communicates with the world via tablet-like computer devices, space travel is commonplace but not something every Earthen has easy access to, and the sick and mortally wounded are capable of mechanical reconstruction. Unfortunately those who have these “upgrades” – known as cyborgs – are looked down upon, considered to be less than human, with less rights than a fully automated mechanoid – known as androids. Our heroine, Cinder, is one such cyborg, little more than a piece of property to her adopted family, but also one of the best mechanics in the Commonwealth. She is, of course, the Cinderella of our story.

Scarlet shifts the story narrative to our Little Red Riding Hood character, a spunky young woman with bright red hair who lives on a farm with her grandmother and has a run in with a wolf…in a manner of speaking. Cress introduces us to our Rapunzel character, a brilliant young computer genius who has been cruelly locked away in a satellite far above Earth’s surface. Finally we move on to our Snow White, a young princess named Winter who suffers under her vile, evil stepmother, who also happens to want to conquer Earth.

It is rather difficult to say too much about any of the four stories without ruining important moments throughout for anyone who hasn’t stepped into the series yet, but there are a few points of note that I can safely share that may, in fact, make the series that much more interesting to you:

  • While Earth is at peace within itself, it has also been suffering for several years under a mysterious disease called Letumosis, also known as “The Plague”. Letumosis strikes seemingly at random and is extremely contagious, so anyone found to be suffering with it is quarantined immediately. There are no survivors. Seeing even the slightest hint of the disease is a death sentence for the victim.
  • At some point in the past of this world, the moon was colonized and eventually became known as it’s own country, Luna. One of these first colonists, as a result of genetic damage, became the first true “Lunar”, a mutant capable of manipulating the bioelectric energy  around a person’s mind, enabling him to implant thoughts and control another’s actions. This first Lunar passed his gift on, and on, and as the Lunar colony grew this ability became prevalent across their society.
  • Earth and Luna have been at odds with each other for many years as of the telling of our story, with the vile Queen Levana of Luna attempting a “truce” by way of a marriage with an Earthen leader.

The real story begins when our cyborg friend Cinder is approached by Prince Kai of the Eastern Commonwealth to help in repairing what he says is a very important android. A series of events follow, sending Cinder on the run as she struggles to uncover a veritable treasure trove of secrets and conspiracies that have been buried since before her birth. On her journey she befriends our other “princesses”, as well as their respective “princes”, and together they embark on a mission to set right the evil plans that Queen Levana has put into motion.

But I hear what you’re thinking: but is it good?

That would be an emphatic “Yes”.

There is no doubt that The Lunar Chronicles are what my husband refers to as “teen-y stories”, full of giddy romances and the like, but it’s also unwavering in realism. People get hurt. People die. People do horrible, disgusting things to one another. This is not a happy-go-lucky story. It’s full of fun characters, humorous moments, uplifting side-stories, but also warBlood and death and destruction. This is a story of horrible things done by people who believe they’re in the right, and the people who finally turn around and fight back.

It’s an incredibly well-written story, start to finish. Each of the characters – men, women, good, evil – captured me in their own ways, pulling me into their individual stories, which all weave into one another beautifully. I devoured Cinder in a couple of days, Scarlet and Cress just as quickly, and though it took me a while to get around to reading Winter, I scarcely put it down until I had it absorbed. And honestly? I’d turn right around and start the entire thing over again right now if not for the fact that I have dozens of other books that I need to get around to reading. That, to me, is the sign of an excellent book (or, in this case, series of books): if finishing it just makes me want to hit rewind and go back to the beginning, it obviously made a big impression.

Whether you’re a fan of young-adult fiction or not, I would definitely recommend giving The Lunar Chronicles a bit of your time. If you can reach the end of Cinder without desperately wanting to know what happens next, I’ll honestly be amazed. The entire series gets two thumbs up from me!

Want to check out The Lunar Chronicles Series for yourself? Click right here to order!
Already read it? Feel free to share your own thoughts in the comment section below!

May’s “To Be Read” List

This is less a TBR for May, and more of a confession. Do you recall at the beginning of April when I said that I wasn’t going to create a TBR because I was behind on a few books already and didn’t want to just keep adding to the pile? Well, I followed that up by completely failing to read anything at all throughout April. 

Okay, that’s a tiny bit of an exaggeration because I did read a bit more A Clockwork Orange, and the little one and I finally finished up The Brothers Lionheart, but all things considered I read very, very little.

Therefore May is going to be a bit of a repeat of April (hopefully not literally, since I actually want to get some reading done this time). My intention is to finish the three books I still have in progress, which are the previously mentioned A Clockwork Orange, plus Stephen King’s On Writing, and the final book in the Lunar Chronicles series, Winter. They’re all partway done, so if I can set aside the mobile games for a little while I should have no trouble actually, you know…finishing them. 

If there’s time to be had, I’d like to also delve into a few comics, as they’ve been creating quite the pile in our downstairs hallway. 😛

Reviews will also come for everything, of course.

So with that said, I’ll head off to grab a book, because there’s no sense in just talking about reading, right? Right. 🙂

Do you have a “To Be Read” list for May? What’s on it? Feel free to share in the comments below!

April’s “To Be Read” List

Prepare yourselves! I’m about to lay down a totally logical and mildly adult decision!

As I mentioned in my first “To Be Read” post back in January, I really like the idea of a TBR list because it gives that sense of accountability and it is definitely helping to remind me to actually read some of the giant pile of books and comics that I’ve been amassing over the years. That said, I’ve been having a bit of trouble finding the time of late, give a laundry list of reasons which I won’t get into because I mention them often enough in my weekly update posts.

For March’s list I didn’t finish either of the books I had intended to, although I did get about halfway through Stephen King’s On Writing and am enjoying it. I did manage to get through the Buffy the Vampire Season 8 volume that I had left over from February’s list, and I’m getting close to finishing A Clockwork Orange, which was actually from January’s list, but that still leaves me behind by one full book (The Lunar Chronicles: Winter) and two halves of books. In addition to that I’ve actually also been reading The Brothers Lionheart with the little one, and I give that one precedence since reading with my daughter is more important to me than reading just for myself. 🙂

So, to cut to the chase, I’m currently reading three different books at once, and have another full one remaining from last month’s TBR list, so I’ve decided to just leave it at that for the month of April, because I don’t want to get further behind. If I do manage to complete the books that I’ve yet to catch up on, I’ll try to sneak in an extra one just to say that I read something extra for April, but I’m not terribly concerned. The official listing will return in May.

In the meantime, look forward to getting reviews for all the books I’m currently working through, including The Brothers Lionheart, which I’m enjoying just as much as the little one!

March’s “To Be Read” List

Whoops! I seem to have gotten a little behind with my TBRs! Fancy that…who would have thought that I would ever get behind on any goals? *cough cough*

I’m not exactly deep in an inescapable hole or anything, but I definitely feel I should preface this post with the fact that I still haven’t finished A Clockwork Orange (not because I’m not enjoying it, but simply because I haven’t had a good chunk of time to sit down and read a novel lately), and I never actually got a chance to even start the Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8 comics yet, so in addition to the following to-be-reads, note that I’ll be trying to get through these two during March as well. Please also note that my review of the Tomie deluxe edition from last month’s TBR will be coming soon.


So what’s on the “official” TBR list for March? Well, since I went so crazy on comics for February, I thought I’d move into a few actual novels for March (wish me luck). Starting out, since I’ve been experiencing a lovely bout of writer’s block, I thought I’d finally get around to checking out Stephen King’s “On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft“. As one of my all-time favorite authors, and the man who inspired me to write and publish a horror novel, I expect that he may have a few things to say that will be helpful to me in my forward journey toward continual writing. Maybe he’ll even help to teach me not to write ridiculous-sounding sentences like that last one! We can only hope!

Once I’ve picked Mr King’s brain and (hopefully) chiseled my way through that writer’s block, I thought I’d finally get around to reading “Winter“, the fourth and final chapter in Marissa Meyer’s “The Lunar Chronicles” series (excluding the standalone, “Fairest“). I fell in love with the series when I picked up “Cinder” on a whim and found out that it was practically nothing like what I was imagining, and I blew through the first three books in record time. Right around that time, however, I got hung up with a number of things and never managed to find the time to finish up the series with “Winter“. I think it’s about time I rectify that situation!

I will, of course, write reviews of both books, as well as the ones I have yet to catch up on, so look forward to those in the near-ish future. So look forward to those! For now, however, I must cut this post short and leave you because, well…I’ve got to READ! ‘Later, book-lovers!

So those are my upcoming reads for March! Do you have a TBR list? Have you read any of the books on my list? Feel free to share in the comments!