The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer – REVIEW
This review is going to have a slightly different format as I want to review the entire book series rather than each individual book. I binge-read them so might as well binge-review!
Sixteen-year-old Cinder is considered a technological mistake by most of society and a burden by her stepmother. Being cyborg does have its benefits, though: Cinder’s brain interference has given her an uncanny ability to fix things (robots, hovers, her own malfunctioning parts), making her the best mechanic in New Beijing. This reputation brings Prince Kai himself to her weekly market booth, needing her to repair a broken android before the annual ball. He jokingly calls it “a matter of national security,” but Cinder suspects it’s more serious than he’s letting on.
Although eager to impress the prince, Cinder’s intentions are derailed when her younger stepsister, and only human friend, is infected with the fatal plague that’s been devastating Earth for a decade. Blaming Cinder for her daughter’s illness, Cinder’s stepmother volunteers her body for plague research, an “honour” that no one has survived.
But it doesn’t take long for the scientists to discover something unusual about their new guinea pig. Something others would kill for.
“Even in the Future the Story Begins with Once Upon a Time.”
I had such high hopes for Cinder as there are so many people on Litsy who rave about it. I’m glad I decided to borrow the series from my local library as this isn’t something I’ll be re-reading. The whole thing left me feeling cold. I just didn’t get any feels from the relationship between Cinder and Kai (I think because they didn’t spend enough time alone together). I loved Cinder being a cyborg and the futuristic setting – the world building was my favourite aspect. I just didn’t care about the characters enough which meant that it became one of those books that isn’t for me. So many people disagree with me though, so you should definitely give it a read and make up your own mind!
Cinder, the cyborg mechanic, returns in the second thrilling instalment of the bestselling Lunar Chronicles. She’s trying to break out of prison—even though if she succeeds, she’ll be the Commonwealth’s most wanted fugitive.
Halfway around the world, Scarlet Benoit’s grandmother is missing. When Scarlet encounters Wolf, a street fighter who may have information as to her grandmother’s whereabouts, she is loath to trust this stranger but is inexplicably drawn to him, and he to her. As Scarlet and Wolf unravel one mystery, they encounter another when they meet Cinder. Now, all of them must stay one step ahead of the vicious Lunar Queen Levana, who will do anything for the handsome Prince Kai to become her husband, her king, her prisoner.
“I knew they would kill me when they found out, but…” He struggled for words, releasing a sharp breath. “I think I realized that I would rather die because I betrayed them, than live because I betrayed you.”
Scarlet was so much more enjoyable than Cinder. This is what I’d hoped these books would be! Scarlet is independent, strong, and fierce – I warmed to her character more than I did Cinder. Scarlet’s relationship with Wolf gave me all the feels too. Wolf is an amazing character and seemed more developed than Kai was. I did find that I began liking Cinder more in this book too as we saw her interact with Thorne and Iko (two of my favourite characters!). The storyline was a lot more exciting than in Cinder, where there seemed to be a lot of time spent doing nothing. I loved the continued world-building and the interaction between all the characters. I’m glad I kept reading as this book showed how much potential the series has.
In this third book in the Lunar Chronicles, Cinder and Captain Thorne are fugitives on the run, now with Scarlet and Wolf in tow. Together, they’re plotting to overthrow Queen Levana and her army.
Their best hope lies with Cress, a girl imprisoned on a satellite since childhood who’s only ever had her netscreens as company. All that screen time has made Cress an excellent hacker. Unfortunately, she’s just received orders from Levana to track down Cinder and her handsome accomplice.
When a daring rescue of Cress goes awry, the group is separated. Cress finally has her freedom, but it comes at a higher price. Meanwhile, Queen Levana will let nothing prevent her marriage to Emperor Kai. Cress, Scarlet, and Cinder may not have signed up to save the world, but they may be the only hope the world has.
“Maybe there isn’t such a thing as fate. Maybe it’s just the opportunities we’re given, and what we do with them. I’m beginning to think that maybe great, epic romances don’t just happen. We have to make them ourselves.”
Just when my hopes were raised, this book dashed them again! After the improvement of Scarlet, I hoped the momentum would continue into Cress. Alas, large parts of this were boring and I found my attention wandering as I waited for something exciting to happen. Cress has to be the least likeable of the main characters so far. I can understand her timid nature is the result of her isolated and emotionally abusive upbringing, but she just ends up being bland compared to Cinder and Scarlet. Thorne, however, can give Wolf a run for his money in the romantic hero stakes! He’s such a charming, humorous and likeable character, providing some well-needed comic relief. I was also pleased by the continued development of Cinder’s character, and her relationship with Kai actually gave me feels for once. The book was let down by its slow plot, and the chapters focused on Cress felt like filler. I’m looking forward to finding out more about Winter and Jacin though, as Jacin seems like he might be more complex than the other characters. I’ve invested too much time in these characters not to read Winter, the final book in the series.
Princess Winter is admired by the Lunar people for her grace and kindness, and despite the scars that mark her face, her beauty is said to be even more breathtaking than that of her stepmother, Queen Levana.
Winter despises her stepmother and knows Levana won’t approve of her feelings for her childhood friend–the handsome palace guard, Jacin. But Winter isn’t as weak as Levana believes her to be and she’s been undermining her stepmother’s wishes for years. Together with the cyborg mechanic, Cinder, and her allies, Winter might even have the power to launch a revolution and win a war that’s been raging for far too long.
Can Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, and Winter defeat Levana and find their happily ever afters? Fans will not want to miss this thrilling conclusion to Marissa Meyer’s national bestselling Lunar Chronicles series.
“She would be brave. She would be heroic. She would make her own destiny.”
How did this happen?! Without realising it, I actually began to care what happened to all of the characters. I especially loved the relationships between Cinder and Kai, and Scarlet and Wolf. The friendship between all the main characters was another well-developed part and they formed an amazing team. However, I did get sick of Levana and other Lunars controlling the main characters – it felt repetitive and barely advanced the plot. I was disappointed that Winter didn’t feature more as I was intrigued by her character. Winter didn’t really get as much time to develop as Cinder, Scarlet, and Cress did. I would also have liked to know what happened with Jacin. I assume they’re a couple but it’s never stated. This was an improvement on Cress, as the plot had greater momentum but the series seems unlikely to become a favourite of mine.
The Lunar Chronicles had great potential but I found the plot development and writing style lacking. The world-building was interesting, and some of the characters have become firm favourites, but this is probably a series I won’t re-read. So many people love this series though, that I would definitely suggest reading it for youself.
Overall Series Rating:
|About the Author
Marissa Meyer is the #1 New York Times-bestselling author of Heartless and The Lunar Chronicles. She lives in Tacoma, Washington, with her husband and twin daughters. She’s a fan of most things geeky (Sailor Moon, Firefly, any occasion that requires a costume), and has been in love with fairy tales since she was a child. She may or may not be a cyborg.