The Lunar Chronicles is one of my all-time favorite book series. These books by Marissa Meyer are what really brought me from reading MG fiction to YA & started my borderline-unhealthy love for books. Unfortunately, I can’t write full fledged reviews for the 6 books because the stories aren’t super fresh in my brain, but I can give you guys tons of reasons why you should read them! To tone down my fangirl-ish-ness so you’re not overwhelmed, here’s my top ten!
In The Lunar Chronicles we get to read the stories of Cinder (Cinderella), Scarlet (Little Red Riding Hood), Cress (Rapunzel), and Winter (Snow White). Not only are the stories interwoven beautifully, but we also get to see how Meyer’s twists on the tales add to the storyline.
Naturally, this can make the plot somewhat predictable, but that doesn’t mean Meyer doesn’t throw some pretty awesome (and justified!) plot twists at you. With an amazingly developed world like the one Meyer writes, there’s no telling what to expect!
A *incoherent mumbling* and cyborg-mechanic? Check!
A French farm girl with sick defense skills? Check!
A dreaming hacker who lives in a satellite? Check!
A slightly mad princess with mind control skills? Check, check, check!
The female leads come from a variety of backgrounds, but are all around resilient and bad-ass. Whether it’s Cinder and her fantastic mind for mechanics, Scarlet with her strength and loyalty, Cress and her hacking skills, or Winter and her noble heart, these women show true strength in their actions. They won’t be cowering when faced with evil queens, that’s for sure.
One of my favorite parts of The Lunar Chronicles is how I don’t have to stress myself over petty romance issues while the main characters are about to be killed. Honestly, so many YA novels have the main leads obsess over romance even though there are so many other issues to deal with (aka imminent death). It’s refreshing to see how in The Lunar Chronicles the romance is put on the backburner and there’s no last minute “Oh we’re about to die, let’s have sex!” kind of thing.
Nevertheless, the romance works as a wonderful plot device, and you know who your ships are from the beginning. The lines are pretty clear set based on their fairytales, though you’re free to ship whoever you want.
Another plus that’s related to this number is how because romance isn’t the focus, there are no sex scenes as mentioned above, which is why it’s great for teens of all ages. (There is one scene in Scarlet that’s questionable on whether it is or isn’t a sex scene, but it’s so subtle I didn’t notice it when I read it the first time.)
It’s crazy how Meyer introduces us to the entire world + moon colony. She doesn’t do an info dump on us, trying to squeeze all the world building in, but rather gives it to us in easily digestible segments throughout the novel. You learn about a moon colony full of mind-controlling Lunars, that the Earth is divided into 6 uber-large countries, and that there’s a deadly plague called letumosis going around.
Unlike other novels which weren’t clear on how the world got to how it is, the Lunar Chronicles give us snippets we can piece together. It’s set in the future with a new age name (like B.C. or C.E.) and you learn about the Commonwealth and other countries. It’s not confusing, and the hierarchy is clear in the novels.
In the later books we also get to see the hierarchy in the moon colony and how things are set up. I don’t want to spoil anything, but in Stars Above/Winter, Meyer introduces concepts on how the world is going to progress. It’s amazing (and super helpful for fanfiction writers out there).
Some books introduce diversity for the sake of having diverse characters, but you never feel that way when reading The Lunar Chronicles. Kai is Asian and Winter is black (which I almost didn’t catch the first time through) and all the characters come from different home lives and countries. I’m pretty sure there’s also some LGBTQ+ action going on between characters in later books, but I don’t want to spoil anything!
The diversity in The Lunar Chronicles doesn’t detract from the story, but rather adds to how magical it is and how advanced the world is.
One of the big concepts in The Lunar Chronicles is how Cinder is not 100% human, but a cyborg. Her best friend, Iko, is a robot (with a hilarious personality) and it makes you (and the characters) really think about what it means to be human.
Where do we draw the line where humans stop becoming humans if they have cyborg parts? 8% cyborg? 20%? It’s one of my favorite themes in this series.
All of the side characters still have very developed backstories. The most prominent side characters are Iko (Cinder’s sidekick robot best friend), Torin (Kai’s advisor), Émilie (Scarlet’s best friend), and a handful of others I can’t mention!
They’re all still important to the plot even though they might not have as much “page-time” as other characters. The only one who I thought could have used a bit more was Émilie because at times she acted pretty clueless, but she acted as a great foil for Scarlet.
As a matter of fact, all of the side characters act as great foils and you can see how much though Meyer put into them (Iko will always be my favorite).
Okay, what sounds cooler than people with special abilities that are derived from years of living on the moon in atmospheric bubble? Uhh…nothing!
This piggybacks off of the world building in 4, but the moon colony is just about the most awesome place ever (besides the whole “let’s mind control everyone & make ourselves look pretty” portion of the show). Meyer develops everything from a menagerie to tons of transportation systems to advanced loading docks to grand palaces. It’s one of the most entertaining settings to read in the series and will definitely make it worth it!
I think I fainted there for a few moments! But honestly, there’s male (and female) leads that are absolutely swoon-worthy! Carefree Thorne, strong Wolf, stalwart Jacin, or loyal Kai–they all have such distinct personalities (and are book boyfriend goals!).
Besides the part about being gorgeous, they all have such strong personalities and relatively clear minds. Of course, they all make mistakes, but they learn and grow as dynamic characters which is what makes them so awesome!
Although some people have said parts of the novels can be slow (especially when you’re waiting for just one more Kaider scene!), the complexity of the plot is enough to keep you hooked on finding out what happens next. It’s amazing to see how these lives are interconnected when they come from so many different places around the Earth (and moon).
I love how steady the plot line is as it always has something going on for the characters. The pacing and balance between world-building, character-building, action, romance, and more keeps you entertained throughout the novel.
And so, all in all, these are my top ten reasons for why you should read The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer! I hope you do check it out, and to make things even easier for y’all, here’s the links to the books’ Goodreads in the order you should read them! (Wires and Nerve is the graphic novel centering around Iko!)
Anyone spot the Macmillan references I left? Ahaha! If you guys have any questions about TLC or want to fangirl over the characters, feel free to leave it in the comments below!