I feel a little embarrassed that I had not read this series until recently, honestly. I saw a rec for it on at the International Literacy Association’s Young Adult Choices last year, and I put them on my “To Read” list. And, boy, am I glad I finally got around to reading them.
First, the books are quick reads, despite the number of pages (Winter sits at 832 pages, according to Amazon). I read them all in a week, no problem.
Secondly, Meyer kept the main characters from the first book while adding new perspectives. In many series, the author usually has us following main characters over and over again, or the author changes the perspective to one of the minor characters, without revisiting the original characters. Meyer adds different characters’ perspectives in each book, while still incorporating the main characters from the first book, Cinder. It’s important because the new characters’ challenges really revolve around the decisions of Cinder and her prince.
Does this make sense? In the first book, Cinder, the main perspective that we see is Linh Cinder, a cyborg in a futuristic China. She meets the prince in chapter one, and this being a Cinderella story and all, you probably can guess how it ends. But it actually doesn’t end that way. In Scarlet, Cress, and Winter, we still get Cinder’s perspective, as well as Prince Kaito’s, along with additional characters in each–Scarlet, Wolf, Cress, Carswell Thorne, Winter, and Jacin. The women’s perspectives are dominant in each of these novels (the novels are named after them, after all), but we do get some of the male perspectives at certain points, which I think adds to the action and clarification of points. Plus, the Carswell Thorne from Cress is pretty funny. Seriously. He is adorable and total comic relief in a series could have been majorly tedious after the first book. Thorne’s introduced in the second book, Scarlet, and he was needed, definitely! Everybody else feels so much weight behind their decisions, and Meyer needed him to lighten up the mood.
For the characters, you have the cyborg Cinder, the imperial prince of China Kaito, a vegetable farmer looking for her grandmother in Scarlet, a strangely strong Wolf (I don’t want to get too much away on him. It’s part of his and Scarlet’s story.), the tech whiz Cress, the arrogant but lovable Thorne (Captain Thorne, as he tries to convince people to call him), the step-daughter to the villainess of the story in Winter, and her brave guardian Jacin. All of these characters are well-woven into Cinder’s story, who is ultimately trying to fulfill her destiny.
Whenever I read something like these novels, I wonder how much effort it took for the author to weave all these distinct characters together. My guess, a damn lot. I’m significantly impressed by the breadth of Meyer’s plot, spanning seemingly disparate characters and different countries and linking them successfully. If I could actually write fiction, I would think that this would be the hardest part, and Meyer does it so well you don’t even notice that she’s drawing you into the story.
I cared about these characters, and I wanted them to have their fairy tale romances. Of course, it’s an uphill battle for that romance, extending beyond their eponymously (I think I made this word up! It should have an adverb form, though, so I created it. You’re welcome, world!) named novels.
Plus, there’s a lot of action in most of the novels, Cinder being the exception because its job is to really set up the story for us and figure out what Cinder’s destiny is.
Overall, a quick and delightful read, if you’re looking for something not too serious after a really heavy novel. (I read this series after Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel, which was thought-provoking but harsh.)
So, my imaginary readers, I would definitely recommend The Lunar Chronicles to you! I enjoyed it immensely, to the point where I still want to know what else happens to the characters after Winter ended. (Hint, hint, Marissa Meyer, who doesn’t read this blog AT ALL or EVER!) 🙂
BEST OF THE SERIES: Toss up between Scarlet and Winter. Loved the new characters, Scarlet and Wolf, in Scarlet, but Winter has the varying perspectives from all the main players, plus the resolution of the series!
Ta-ta, once again, you lovely figments,