Monday, July 11, 2016

Series Review + Giveaway: The Lunar Chronicles - Marissa Meyer

The Lunar Chronicles Series
Marissa Meyer
Genre: Fantasy, Science Fiction, Retelling, Romance
Publisher: Feiwel and Friends
Overall Series Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Goodreads: Cinder | Scarlet | Cress | Fairest | Winter

I apologize in advance for how long this is, but it does encompass a review for five books, so bear with me :)

When I first heard about The Lunar Chronicles, I'll admit that I wasn't particularly interested - a cyborg Cinderella story? It just seemed a little too sci-fi for me at the time - I was expecting all these robots and things, and it didn't appeal to me. As the buzz was building around this series, I decided to give it a shot and ended up getting a few of the books as Kindle Daily Deals. I'm glad that I eventually gave this series a chance because it was absolutely incredible!

I read the first three books in the series last summer and finally read Fairest and Winter this summer, so the review will probably lean towards those two books; however, this review will be spoiler free for the entire series!

Starting with Cinder, I was pleasantly surprised that this series was nothing like I expected. Yes, it has a cyborg main character and it's set in a futuristic world, but it's also infused with a lot of feeling and a dystopian feel at times. Cinder was the first fairytale retelling that I read, and I really enjoyed the way Marissa Meyer brought the sci-fi elements into the classic fairytale.

Before I read Cinder, I thought all the books in this series were just companions - different fairytales told in the same world - but I was so wrong. Going into Scarlet, I wasn't sure how much of the characters of Cinder there would be, but it ended up being a fusion of both of the stories! While Cinder's plot line was continuing, we were also introduced to Scarlet and a Little Red Riding Hood retelling. As Scarlet progressed, I realized that this series was so much more than I had initially expected - there were MANY THINGS happening and HUGE REVELATIONS on what to expect in the rest of the series.

Next in the series is Cress, and I think that this book is where things really start to happen in terms of the overall story arc of the series. Throughout Cress, the remaining main characters of the series are introduced, and we finally see where things will be going in terms of the ultimate end of the series. I liked how Marissa Meyer incorporated elements of the Rapunzel story in Cress, but I'd say this book was the farthest from the traditional story (at least the story of Rapunzel that I know). Nonetheless, the great thing about this book was how much perspective readers gained about The Lunar Chronicles world. In Cinder and Scarlet we get a glimpse of the countries where they live, but in Cress we get to see another country as well as more information on Luna, the civilization on the moon.

At this point, a year passed before I finally read Fairest and then Winter. Fairest is a short, prequel novel to The Lunar Chronicles, and it's the main villain Levana's origin story. At first, after having waited a year to finally read Fairest, I had trouble getting into it, especially since it was from Levana's point of view; however, as I got into it I really liked it. I've seen people often talk about the nature of human beings and whether they are inherently good or evil. In my opinion, I've always felt like people were inherently righteous - doing what they think is right, which they would typically think is good or would benefit the greater good. Fairest is a great example of this. It's clear through the story that Levana has done everything she has because she thinks it's the right thing to do for her country. Reading Fairest really humanized Levana but did not dismiss how misguided and wrong her actions were. Overall, I think that Marissa Meyer was so successful in the way she wrote Fairest.

Besides just giving insight on Levana, Fairest also allowed even more insight into Luna's culture. Having this information before going into Winter was really helpful in understanding and anticipating what would happen in the series finale, so I highly recommend reading the prequel before finishing the series.

Winter is a Snow White retelling, and it shows us where Levana really fits in as the evil queen in this story. I didn't realize how long Winter was until I started reading it, but the pacing in this book, as well as for the entire series, continues on at a good pace, mixing action and heartfelt moments to create a vivid representation of the characters and the situation they've been thrown into.

One thing that Marissa Meyer does so brilliantly in all the books in this series is the way she structures the book. Within each book, there are "books" of chapters that she heads with big plot points from the original fairytale. Using these dividers, she foreshadows what will happen next, which adds to the excitement when continuing to read. It's really fun to see the juxtaposition between the original story and how Marissa Meyer modifies it to fit into her world.

Like I said when talking about Scarlet, as each book and set of new characters were added to the series, the plot lines became more and more complex. I'm honestly in awe over how complex this entire series became. I never expected all the different stories to intertwine so fluidly, ending up all fitting together like a big puzzle. The way Marissa Meyer found a way to tie all these stories together was just so cool, and I really loved it.

Besides the plot being so epic and complex, the characters are also equally interesting and complex. Not only do we get strong female characters and charming princes, but all the characters are so much more than they seem on the surface. From different prejudices that some of the characters face, to mental illness, to having to be fully submissive to a leader you don't believe in, all the characters have so many layers of complexity, coming so much farther than the characters they are based on.

Overall, I must say that The Lunar Chronicles was so much more than I ever expected. I didn't know how complex and immersive this world would be, and I'm so glad I gave it a chance. If you have reservations about this series because of the sci-fi element, I'd definitely say to give it a chance because you might be surprised by how much you like it like I was. The series as a whole was so satisfying, and I highly recommend it!

- Kiersten


I happened to have picked up a signed copy of Cress at a Fierce Reads tour a long time ago to do a giveaway with but I never got around to it - until now!

All you have to do to enter is fill out the Rafflecopter below. The giveaway is open US only, unless you are willing to pay the shipping, and is open through August 1st. You must be 13 or older to enter or have a parent enter for you. The winner will be selected shortly after and will have 48 hours to respond before a new winner is selected.

Good luck! :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

What's one series you're glad you gave a shot?
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