Series: The Lunar Chronicles
Fantasy is my favorite genre—though I really won’t turn away historical fiction, science fiction, mysteries, or even realistic fiction. I especially enjoy a good fairy tale retelling; whether it is spoofed or twisted or fractured or set in the present or future, I’ll be the first to grab it. (Unless, of course, my co-worker Anna C gets there first.)
Marissa Meyer has done a wonderful job in The Lunar Chronicles, using ingredients from favorite fairy tales (characters and events and themes), smashing them up, and then mixing them up with a bunch of sci-fi elements for a truly delicious story. If you haven’t read the first two books, do it quick—because the third one comes out tomorrow!
We meet Cinder in the first book (and what a great cover it has!), along with her stepmother and two stepsisters. There is, of course, a charming prince involved, and a ball, and something pumpkin-orange that gets her to the ball. But Cinder is a cyborg—part girl and part machine—with a big empty hole in her past. She remembers only the last six years, since her adopted father brought her to his home in New Beijing—and died of the plague shortly after. Now this same plague threatens the Emperor of the Eastern Commonwealth—and the evil Lunar Queen is shifting her focus from the dying man to his young son, Prince Kai. If she succeeds, her final plans are to take over the entire Earth, and the only person who could have stood in her way is a young girl who died years ago. Or so everyone thinks.
In the second book, Scarlet and her grandmother live together on a prosperous farm in France. Scarlet, with her flaming red hair and her favorite red hoodie, is horrified when her grandmother disappears with no trace. In fact, Grand-mere has been missing for two weeks. There is no sign of where she has gone or if she is even alive, but Scarlet is determined to find her. When she meets a mysterious stranger known only as Wolf, he confesses that he might just know where Grand-mere is. And he is willing to take her there. There are dangers and suspense and, of course, treachery (he is a wolf, after all). Don’t worry: we hear more about Cinder’s adventures as she begins to discover just what she is, while blood spills as the Queen ramps up her evil plans.
Cress, of course, is based on long-haired Rapunzel, who as a baby was taken from her parents and is now locked up in a very, very high place. She has a huge crush on a handsome young man, but they both get in trouble when her warden finds out. As Cinder’s and Scarlet’s adventures continue, Cress will have her own part to play in trying to save Prince Kai—and the entire Earth—from the machinations of the Lunar Queen. But the Queen knows that her crown might be in jeopardy, and she is using the might of her bloodthirsty Lunar soldiers to finally force Kai into submission.
I realize that Cress is just coming out tomorrow, but I can’t wait to find out what’s in store in the final book, Winter, based on Snow White. Marissa has announced that she has finished the second draft of the book, but there is a long way to go. She says that Winter will be the longest book of the series (hurray!), and you can click here to read more on Marissa’s blog.
Cinder (Book 1) by Marissa Meyer. 9780312641894. 2012. Gr 8-12.
Scarlet (Book 2) by Marissa Meyer. 9780312642969. 2013. Gr 8-12.
Cress (Book 3) by Marissa Meyer. 9780312642976. February 4, 2014. Gr 8-12.
Fairest : Levana’s Story (Book 4) by Marissa Meyer. 9781250060556. January 27, 2015.
Winter (Book 5) by Marissa Meyer. November 2015.