The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer
Reviewed by: Jeny W
Science Fiction/Fantasy , Young Adult
By: Meyer, Marissa
Call #: YA Fiction Meyer.M
I wouldn’t consider myself a science fiction/fantasy fan, per-say, although I have recently been drawn to a lot of the teen dystopian fiction that has become popular after the success of the Hunger Games books. The Lunar Chronicles is a fantastic series with wonderfully written characters and a richly developed futuristic world. And even though it is geared towards teens, the story is one that can be enjoyed by adult fantasy fans as well. Each of the four books is a loose take on a classic fairy tale: Cinder (Cinderella), Scarlet (Little Red Riding Hood), Cress (Rapunzel) and Winter (Snow White).
In the world of The Lunar Chronicles, androids and cyborgs are second class citizens who co-exist with humanity. The story begins with Cinder, a cyborg, part human and part machine. She is looked down upon by the people in her home of New Beijing, and especially looked down upon by her cruel stepmother. Cinder is a gifted mechanic and works in a booth the local marketplace. It is there that she meets the handsome Prince Kai, who asks her for help in fixing his personal android. Cinder finds herself inexplicably drawn to Kai, even though she knows that a romance between them would be forbidden.
Kai is caught up in a diplomatic nightmare: Queen Levana of Luna (the moon) wants to forge an allegiance with earth. Most of the Lunar people have a strange and potentially dangerous gift: they can manipulate the minds of the Earthens and of each other. Not only can the Lunar citizens disguise themselves to be seen however they wish to be seen, but they can force others to do whatever they want them to do. Queen Levana wants to marry Prince Kai and to become empress of New Beijing and will do whatever it takes to make this marriage happen.
There is a plague that has been ravaging the Earth and the cyborgs are being drafted to be used as test subjects in the search for an antidote. When Cinder is subjected to the plague testing, it is discovered that she may be something more than anyone thinks and her origins are brought into question. This sets her on a journey to discover the truth about her true identity.
Over the course of the four book series, Cinder teams up with Scarlet (a pilot who is searching for her missing grandmother), Wolf (a Lunar soldier), Carswell Thorne (a wanted criminal), Cress (an ungifted Lunar who cannot manipulate others and cannot be manipulated) and Winter (Levana’s beautiful stepdaughter, who has begun to go crazy because she refuses to use her Lunar gift). Together, they search for the lost Lunar princess, Selene, in the hopes of enlisting her help to overthrow Levana once and for all.
I found it hard to get into Cinder initially, but by halfway in, I was hooked. This series is a must read for anyone looking for a little ‘sci-fi lite’, a toe in the water, if you will, before taking a headlong leap into the science fiction/fantasy genre.
And if you enjoy the series, be sure to check out Fairest, Levana’s story from her own point of view, and Stars Above, a collection of short stories featuring the Lunar Chronicles cast.