The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer is a fantastic new rendition on old school fairytales. Each one of the books in the series represents a well-known fairytale, with a twist. The fairytales represented are Cinderella, Red riding hood, Rapunzel and Snow White respectively. The rewriting of old fairytales with a twist has become somewhat of a common theme in writing today. I have enjoyed all of the ones I’ve read but none have taken the retelling to the level found in this series. The storyline is original while still including the major highlights found in the original fairytales which is extremely refreshing. A fair amount of other retellings stick a little too closely to the original fairytales.
As far as the characters go, in Cinder, the first book of the series, you still have the prince, of course, and the step daughter who is not welcomed as a part of the family. Difference is this daughter is not a helpless servant. Everything she does whether by choice or because she is forced into a situation that causes her to react, showcases her strength of character and courage to face unknown and rather daunting obstacles. Cinder progresses throughout the series from a shy, stay out of the way, keep your head down girl. To a fierce, loyal, protective woman who is willing to step up and take charge to right the wrongs of other people, no matter the cost.
Throughout the series our main villain is Queen Levana, ruler of the Lunar society. She is your typical evil queen. There is nothing to love about this character but she does have her own book titled Fairest. I have not yet read this story but it will delve into what makes Levana who she is today. There are glimpses given the last book of the series, Winter, that give a brief look into why she may be the wicked person she is but I look forward to reading and learning more behind her motivations and thought processes.
As I began the second installment titled Scarlet, I was completely dismayed that I was not immediately being thrown back into Cinders story which I had become so engrossed in. Don’t fret, she does reappear. I was not dismayed for long however. Scarlet is a very forthright, strong character who doesn’t back down even when her opinions clash with those of the rest of society. Scarlet’s story follows along the same lines as one would expect for Red Riding hood’s story; her journey to grandma and the encounter with the wolf. Wolf in this story is not an animal, but a man. Scarlet’s journey is as much about her grandma as it is about her building a connection with Wolf.
Next we come to the lovely Rapunzel. Cress is the third book in the series. Cress is a genius hacker, the unknown entity in the sky. Though we met Cress briefly in the first book, this is where we really get to know her. Cress’s “tower” is even more unreachable than that featured in the original Rapunzel. Cress is a victim to fantasy, as many young women are. Her lack of interaction with people aids in her naiveté. Her childlike qualities make her an endearing and welcome addition to the cast of characters. Of course what would Rapunzel’s story be without the rakish male counterpart, who in this case is Carswell Thorne. I do so love his name. The journey that Cress and Thorne make in this book not only changes Cress and forces her to grow up and be a little more realistic in life but also gives Thorne pause. Thorne starts to realize that maybe there is more to life than being handsome and having all the riches in the world. A little honest hard work never hurt anyone and can go a long way to making a better life for yourself and those around you.
Last but not least we meet Winter. Winter is the Snow White and what a fitting name she has. Other than having an evil stepmother who can’t stand how beautiful her daughter is, a love for animals and a variation of the huntsman scene, Winter is nothing like Snow White. Winter is for lack of a better word, crazy. It is through her craziness that we see her strength. Her choice to not use her lunar gift and instead go insane from not using it is the most courageous thing about her. Her craziness also shields her from her stepmother and the evil in the lunar court. No one sees the intelligence and cunning that lies behind her sickness. The choice of some to not see Winter for who she really is only helps to aid in the downfall of Queen Levana. Winter’s huntsman is Jacin. Jacin is a childhood friend and guardian of Winter. He is never allowed to show his feelings for fear of them being used against him. Despite his apparent loyalty to the Queen, his true and only goal is to protect Winter. There are moments where Jacin is a not so likeable character. As the story continues though, you learn of his true motivation in life and it becomes easier to understand why he has made the choices and he has. With that understanding the reader is able to find more and more redeemable qualities.
This series gripped me from beginning to end. I was not once disappointed in the plot or writing of this series. I am very much looking forward to reading the companion novels to the series. Stars Above explores more of the background of the characters and how they came to be who they are in the beginning of the story. Also Fairest which I mentioned before, that explores Queen Levana’s history. I firmly believe I will forever be a fan of Marissa Meyer and any books that she writes.
Book one https://amzn.to/2JpcKwa
Book two https://amzn.to/2HbGQT8
Book three https://amzn.to/2GVmjVb