Series Review: The Lunar Chronicles

Lunar ChroniclesTitles: Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, Fairest, Winter

Author: Marissa Meyer

Published: 2012-2015

Genre: Young Adult Science Fiction/Fantasy

Synopsis: A series of fairy tale retelling that take place in the future. The first is a retelling of Cinderella with her as a cyborg.

Review: It is hard to put my thoughts about this series into words. On one hand, I really loved the first three books which I read one after the other. On the other, I wasn’t a fan of the novella, Fairest, and my opinion of Winter is a conflicting mess.

All four of these books are very fast paced. I read them in a short span of time because they’re the type of books that have one thing happen directly after another. That said, I think I would have enjoyed Winter much more if I had read it long after the other three books.

I read Cinder and Scarlet one after another about a month before the release of Cress. I read Cress within days of its release. This means that I had over a year to wait between the release of Cress and Winter.

This series is character driven. The readers’ enjoyment depends very much on how much they care about the characters. I’m not going to go into details because I don’t want to spoil anything, but each book in this series adds a new main character as its focus while continuing the ongoing plot line from the previous books.

By the time the story gets to Winter there are a lot of narrators. This isn’t necessarily a problem as Marissa Meyer is good at jumping between narrators and story-lines. The way the multiple perspectives were handled especially well in Cress where I really enjoyed the characters’ various story-arcs.

In Winter I still never felt the urge to skip any character’s perspectives. Everything included still seemed interesting and relevant, but I felt like because there were so many characters there wasn’t much time to focus on any one. Because of the time I spent between reading Cress and Winter I feel as if I lost connection to the characters and was never able to entirely regain it.

One of my favorite parts of the Lunar Chronicles is how the retelling aspect is executed. While the story is technically a retelling with several callbacks to the original story woven throughout, it also has an ongoing original story-arc connecting all of the books together. This ongoing original story helps to keep the book from being too predictable.

That said, I felt the world-building could have been better executed. Often while reading I had trouble understanding what was being described, and how the world had gotten to be how it was in the Lunar Chronicles from how it was now. This is especially true of the governments in the story. I have a hard time seeing how so many large countries would revert to being ruled by monarchies in which the emperor/king/queen had such a significant amount of power, and how said countries came to have the boarders that they did.

The Lunar’s essentially magical “gift” was especially difficult for me to understand. I didn’t see what the limits of using it were, and was confused about how certain people came to have so much more control than others.

Rating: I’m giving the series a 4.5/5 overall because of the amount of time I’ve spent obsessed with it.

4.5 blue jays

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December 2015 Wrap-Up

December was a great reading month. I read a total of nine books a few of which were mentioned in my favorite books of 2015 post.

The Dragonet Prophecy (Wings of Fire, #1)Short Synopsis: Five young dragons prophesied to end a war must work together to escape from those who raised them, and find there way in the world.

Thoughts: This is my favorite middle grade fantasy novel of 2015. It used several common tropes of the genre, but I really enjoyed that the dragons were portrayed as dragons as opposed to humans who looked like dragons.

This is something hard to write properly while still making the readers sympathetic to the characters as they are so different from each other.

Full length review to come.

Rating: 4.5 blue jays

Hunted (Spirit Animals, #2)Short Synopsis: The second book in a series in which four children bond with ancient creatures of legend and must save the world from destruction.

Thoughts: This book dragged a little for me though I still enjoyed it. I still plan to read the next one. It was interesting to see the slight stylistic changes caused by this book having a different writer than the first.

Rating: 3 blue jays

Six of Crows (Six of Crows, #1)Short Synopsis: A crew of six thieves are hired to pull off the heist that could save the world.

Thoughts: It was a very close call, but in the end I decided to name this book as my favorite young adult fantasy novel of 2015. For my full thoughts, read my review.

Rating: 4.5 blue jays

Winter (The Lunar Chronicles, #4)Short Synopsis: The final book in a series of interconnected fairy tale retellings taking place in the future.

Thoughts: I definitely liked this book, but I feel very conflicted as to how much I liked it. Full length series review of the Lunar Chronicles to come.

Rating: 4 blue jays

Illuminae (The Illuminae Files, #1)Short Synopsis: After their planet is caught in the middle of a war between intergalactic corporations Kady and Ezra find themselves refugees trying to flee to an inhabited part of the galaxy before the corporation that invaded their planet catches them.

Thoughts: I had some trouble getting into this book at first due to its unique formatting. I felt a little detached from the characters. However, as the book progressed I adjusted and the pacing picked up. I ended up reading this book twice this month.

The first time in physical form and the second time as an audiobook. I rarely reread books so soon after finishing. I decided to name this book my favorite young adult science fiction book of 2015.

Full review to come.

Rating:

4.5 blue jays

The Name of the Wind (The Kingkiller Chronicle, #1)Short Synopsis: Young magician finds his way in the world.

Thoughts: I know so many people who love this book, and I really wanted too as well. Sadly, I think the hype made me anticipate too much. I still liked this book, but what kept me from loving it was a combination of what I felt to be the lack of a satisfying climax and the ease at which everything seemed to come to Kvothe.

Rating: 3.5 blue jays

26521836Short Synopsis: Second book in the Diviners series.

Thoughts: I listened to this one on audiobook, and the narrator did a good job, but be warned, I had the first few lines of the music box song stuck in my head for around three days.

Enjoyed this sequel and seeing all of the new and old characters again. The historical references were well worked into the plot. I like how different this book is from the other fantasy novels I’ve been reading.

Rating: 4 blue jays

The First Fifteen Lives of Harry AugustShort Synopsis: Every time Harry August dies his life starts over again exactly how it began. One time as Harry is dyeing someone shows up at his bedside to inform him that the end of the world is coming and he needs to stop it.

Thoughts: I had a slight issue with this book’s structure and the pacing, but other than that I really enjoyed it. It was so thought provoking, and the world building was extremely well done.

If I write a full review I may end up giving it a higher rating than I do now because I can’t seem to stop thinking about this book, and that makes me want to rate it higher than I did initially.

Rating: 4 blue jays

UprootedShort Synopsis: One girl is chosen to live with a “dragon” in his castle for 10 years.

Thoughts: Really enjoyed this twist on the typical fairy tale, but I had some trouble following what was happening at times.

Rating: 

4 blue jays