5 out of 5 stars. Ages 13 and up.
Lots of minor spoilers; read with caution, especially if you haven’t read the rest of the books.
I didn’t get into The Lunar Chronicles until a while after Cinder was published. Even though friends had recommended this book to me for years, I’d never picked it up. Once I did though, I was hooked. I hadn’t read any YA Sci-Fi before this series, and I loved the freshness of the world. Not to mention the great characters you can’t help but love.
Even though this book is 827 pages long, the plot moves quickly. Being a fairy tale re-telling, it is somewhat predictable, but there are enough twists to keep you guessing. Since this book features so many “main characters” and they’re not always together, we end up changing perspectives pretty frequently. This, combined with the fast pace, can make it befuddling at times. Conversely, in a few places, it definitely seemed to drag. I felt like some parts of this story could’ve been summarized, instead of actually having the reader experience the scene.
I wish one main character could’ve been an ordinary Lunar. Cinder, Winter, Cress, Jacin, and Wolf are all Lunar natives…but they’re all extraordinary in some way. Winter is a princess and Cinder and Cress weren’t even raised on Luna. Wolf and Jacin had more normal childhoods, but we don’t meet them until they’re in Queen Levana’s service. I want to see how a regular Lunar citizen would’ve lived. Oh well. I do know that in Stars Above, we have one story about Wolf as a child, so I’m looking forward to that.
Out of the female main characters, I really did not like Cress or Winter. *Covers head to keep off bookish missiles thrown by fans.* I couldn’t identify very well with either one, and they were too romantic for my taste. Still, I got through both books alright and I do see myself reflected a little bit in Winter. (Does this mean I’m mad? Am I unable to identify with myself? Am I in denial!? I’m going to ponder these existential questions for a while, but please continue to read as if nothing has happened.) This next statement may also be…hmm, repellent; I wish more characters had died in the end. I guess this is a personal decision for an author doing a re-telling, regarding the number of liberties taken. Fairy tales do normally end with a “happily ever after”. Without giving out too many spoilers, I will only say I kind of wanted them to lose more. Maybe I’m just a dark person who doesn’t want anyone to be joyful, but if you’ve read Winter, what are your thoughts on the ending?
The mash-up of fairy tale re-telling and futuristic science fiction is amazing, not just in Winter but throughout the series. YallFest interview with Jenna; in this video Marissa Meyer explains, among other things, the origins of this fusion. I loved that we finally got a book set on Luna!!! Ever since Cinder, I’ve been extremely curious about this entire civilization built on a place currently uninhabitable. I was not completely satisfied with Winter’s descriptions of Luna. The science-nerd in me wanted all the early-stages-stories and blueprints for domes and if they had to import soil, etc., etc. I would love more backstory in Stars Above, but if there isn’t any, I suppose it’s my job to imagine it (future fanfiction project, hmmm…).
Anyway, I enjoyed this book immensely. If you’d like to read this final installment of The Lunar Chronicles, here’s the link to it on GoodReads. Even though the length of this story can be intimidating, as the last book in the series, I needed it to be so long; it gave me plenty of time to enjoy these characters and their world. To say goodbye. (Until my marathon re-read, which I have no doubt is coming soon.) Winter is the only Lunar Chronicles book I own, and I was able to have it signed by Marissa Meyer at YallFest!
Also, right now the winner for the Cinder Litograph design needs to be decided-by you! Head over to Marissa’s blog to vote for one of the seven finalists. I entered and was not chosen for the second round, but here’s my submission for all of you to see, anyway.