I’ve been reading work by Marissa Meyer for over a decade now, I used to read her Sailor Moon fanfiction. So when I learned she was writing a YA SFF book with lunar references and had fairy tale themes (I love fairy tale adaptations), I knew I had to read her books. I read the first book, Cinder, and loved it. Now we’re up to the third book in the four book series, Cress, and it’s holding up just as well as the first.
Each of the books focuses on a different female protagonist taken from famous fairy tales: Cinder is quite obviously Cinderella (with a cyborg foot instead of a glass slipper), Scarlet is Red Riding Hood (where the wolf isn’t necessarily the bad guy), and Cress is Rapunzel (locked in a satellite instead of a tower). Next up will be Winter, who is a black Snow White.
I love the fairy tale twists of the series, but also the clear Sailor Moon references (which itself is very fairy tale-esque) like the missing moon princess, the evil queen who wants to take over earth, the handsome prince who dreams of finding the lost princess, and each of the girls has traits of different Sailor Scouts: Cinder is very Moon, but also very Jupiter with her ponytail and tomboyish nature, Scarlet reminds me of Mars a little bit but she also likes food, which is very Jupiter, and Cress is kinda flighty and dramatic like Venus (with long blonde hair), but also tech genius like Mercury. I can’t wait to figure out which scouts Winter is like.
Cress is a great continuation of the story as it’s already unfolded. The usurper Lunar Queen, Levana, wants to take over earth, so she’s blackmailing the Emperor of the Eastern Commonwealth into marrying her so she has power. Cinder, the proper ruler of Luna, is on the run from Lenava’s army, while trying to figure out how to save the Emperor, who she has a thing for.
Meanwhile, Cress just wants to be free of her satellite and her “mistress.” Cinder and the gang (Scarlet and Wolf, Iko the awesome, friendly android, and Carswell Thorne–dashing, rogue thief) try to save Cress. Everyone gets separated. Cress and Thorne get knocked off her satellite down to the desert, Cinder and Wolf head to Africa, and Scarlet is kidnapped by the Lunar mistress. By the end, only Scarlet remains separated from the group, but she’s making “friends” with the poor “crazy” Winter, Levana’s step-daughter. The others decide to kidnap Emperor Kai, so that Levana can’t marry him and cement her power on Earth. The group then heads to Luna to begin a revolution, with Cinder as it’s leader and future queen, perhaps.
The books are clever, fun, lighthearted while yet maintaining heart and a heaviness whenever a character has died (once per book at least!). The characters are clear and fun and there are no pesky love triangles distracting us from wanting everyone to be friends (though each of the girls does have a prince and I definitely love that).
(Now that we know that Winter is black, I can’t wait to see what they do with her fairy tale themed cover!)
I fell in love with the first book and had to wait the excruciating year before each next installment. The Lunar Chronicles are one of the few books where I ignore everything–work, tv, the constant distractions of the internet, to plow through the book. It’s rare that books make me read them outside of forced train rides, and I really miss that feeling. I tried to wait as long as I could without reading it, but I haven’t made it longer than two months post-release before grabbing the next installment. While we seem stuck in this endless cold weather, the only two things that can make me ache for “winter” are Game of Thrones and The Lunar Chronicles.
Is it Winter 2015 yet?