Review: Winter

Title: Winter (The Lunar Chronicles #4) 13206900

Author: Marissa Meyer

Rating: ★★★★

Provided Synopsis: Princess Winter is admired by the Lunar people for her grace and kindness, and despite the scars that mar her face, her beauty is said to be even more breathtaking than that of her stepmother, Queen Levana.

Winter despises her stepmother, and knows Levana won’t approve of her feelings for her childhood friend—the handsome palace guard, Jacin. But Winter isn’t as weak as Levana believes her to be and she’s been undermining her stepmother’s wishes for years. Together with the cyborg mechanic, Cinder, and her allies, Winter might even have the power to launch a revolution and win a war that’s been raging for far too long.

Can Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, and Winter defeat Levana and find their happily ever afters?

Review: Don’t get me wrong –- I really liked this, and that last chapter filled me with some serious happiness, but if I am to be completely honest, then I have to say the biggest problem with Winter is … Winter.

Cinder, Scarlet, and Cress were each given their own books, in which the fairytales they correspond with can thrive with Marissa Meyer’s imagination while still playing a part in the overall plot of the series. Due to this, I feel as if I know them better, and can relate to them better since having their own book gave them the time to be the star and become fleshed out characters that I love.

Winter, unfortunately, is not given that treatment. She is introduced briefly in Cress, but it was nothing thorough. Her book is the final in the series; everything needed to come to a climax and be concluded within its pages. Yes, the fairy tale of Snow White is still there, but it never really felt as if it were needed in the overall plot, nor did it feel like it did anything to make Winter stand in the spotlight. I wanted to love Winter, but I still come away feeling as if I do not know her very well at all, aside from the obvious things such as the symptoms of her lunar sickness, her beauty, and her kindness.

That being said, this series conclusion was filled with plenty of action and romance that is sure to keep fans happy. The pacing can be a bit up and down, but I think that is due to the issues I mentioned above, and it can be forgiven once those action scenes do come around to move things along. The Lunar Chronicles has been sparking my imagination and happiness for a few years, and it is sad to think that I now have to let these characters go.

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Review: Fairest

22489107Title: Fairest (The Lunar Chronicles #0.1)

Author: Marissa Meyer

Rating: ★★★★

Provided Synopsis: In this stunning bridge book between Cress and Winter in the bestselling Lunar Chronicles, Queen Levana’s story is finally told.

Mirror, mirror on the wall,
Who is the fairest of them all?

Fans of the Lunar Chronicles know Queen Levana as a ruler who uses her “glamour” to gain power. But long before she crossed paths with Cinder, Scarlet, and Cress, Levana lived a very different story – a story that has never been told . . . until now.

Marissa Meyer spins yet another unforgettable tale about love and war, deceit and death. This extraordinary book includes full-color art and an excerpt from Winter, the next book in the Lunar Chronicles series.

Review: Oh the enlightenment!

Fairest, in a summation, is an extra-long novella about the life of the Lunar princess, Levana, who grows on to become Queen and the villain of The Lunar Chronicles series. This is a character-study, so don’t say I didn’t warn you.

I had expected this story to make me sympathetic towards Levana — and there were moments when I truly felt awful for her — yet to my happiness it also did not shy away from the cruelty of her character. A childhood of pain, loneliness, and a tragic picture of self-worth and image go on to create the delusions and the determination that do not allow her to experience the love and happiness she claims to crave. I feel as if I understand her better now, and all of her actions in the series have been grounded to make sense.

In addition, this story includes the childhoods of Selene and Winter, adding more complexity to the dynamics amongst the three Lunars that will certainly come to a climax in the final book of the series. I recommend reading this book after Cress because of the spoilers it includes for the previous books as well as the completion of the picture. Lunar politics and motivations are explained to make the overall plot of the entire series take root — such as the letumosis disease, beast armies, shells, and marriage contracts arranged by force.

So let us try to look on the bright side: Only ten months until Winter is released (and the end of the book also includes a sneak peak at the first three chapters of the series conclusion)!

Review: Cress

ImageTitle: Cress (Lunar Chronicles #3)

Author: Marissa Meyer

Rating: ★★★★1/2

Provided Synopsis: In this third book in the bestselling Lunar Chronicles series, Cinder and Captain Thorne are fugitives on the run, with Scarlet and Wolf in tow. Together, they’re plotting to overthrow Queen Levana and her army. 

Their best hope lies with Cress, who has been trapped on a satellite since childhood with only her netscreens as company. All that screen time has made Cress an excellent hacker—unfortunately, she’s just received orders from Levana to track down Cinder and her handsome accomplice. 

When a daring rescue goes awry, the group is separated. Cress finally has her freedom, but it comes at a high price. Meanwhile, Queen Levana will let nothing stop her marriage to Emperor Kai. Cress, Scarlet, and Cinder may not have signed up to save the world, but they may be the only ones who can.

Review: Without the skip of a beat, Cress begins right where the story left off in Scarlet. Our band of fugitives has increased by two, and now that the wedding between Emperor Kaito and Queen Levana is on the horizon, they know that something must be done to protect Earth from certain destruction. If the Queen of the Lunar Kingdom is crowned empress then there will be no limit to her power; she will dispose of her young husband and rule with the tyranny she is accustomed to. Therefore, in order to learn more about Levana’s plan, Cinder decides to instigate contact with a Lunar citizen with a skill for hacking; Cress had contacted Cinder in the past with information pertinent to Kai’s safety, and Cinder trusts her to help them again.

Because this entire series is a re-telling of classic fairy tales with a science-fiction plot, it is worth nothing that Cress represents the character of Rapunzel. She has been isolated in a satellite, which serves as her tower. Her location had previously been known only by a member of Queen Levana’s entourage, who used her to hack into computer systems on Earth for political surveillance, and for the mysterious collection of Cress’ blood. Rather than follow the lighter version of the story, Marissa Meyer provides her own futuristic twist on the darker version complete with a fall from orbit, an odyssey across the Sahara Desert, and blindness. I liked Cress a great deal, but I, unfortunately, never connected to the relationship between her and Captain Thorne. The Captain is such a dynamic character, yet he often felt tempered in this installment due to his close proximity to Cress and her inability to challenge him or match his fiery quips.

As book three of a quartet, Cress really did feel like it was the middle book of the series, compared to Cinder and Scarlet, which set-up the field and the true players among the characters of The Lunar Chronicles. This book seemed to serve as a way to allow characters to grow more and realize the results of their actions — because every thing that is done comes at a cost when on the cusp of an inter-galactic war. Fans of the series will be pleased, for this story continues to include all of the wonderful components of before: there is humor, there is romance, and the point-of-views from all the previously loved characters are still there. Now that the conclusion is ready to unravel, I really am looking forward to reading Winter next year

Review: Scarlet

Title: Scarlet (Lunar Chronicles #2)Image

Author: Marissa Meyer

Rating: ★★★★★

Provided Synopsis: The fates of Cinder and Scarlet collide as a Lunar threat spreads across the Earth…

Cinder, the cyborg mechanic, returns in the second thrilling installment of the bestselling Lunar Chronicles. She’s trying to break out of prison—even though if she succeeds, she’ll be the Commonwealth’s most wanted fugitive.

Halfway around the world, Scarlet Benoit’s grandmother is missing. It turns out there are many things Scarlet doesn’t know about her grandmother or the grave danger she has lived in her whole life. When Scarlet encounters Wolf, a street fighter who may have information as to her grandmother’s whereabouts, she is loath to trust this stranger, but is inexplicably drawn to him, and he to her. As Scarlet and Wolf unravel one mystery, they encounter another when they meet Cinder. Now, all of them must stay one step ahead of the vicious Lunar Queen Levana, who will do anything for the handsome Prince Kai to become her husband, her king, her prisoner.

Review: Following up on her New York Times best selling debut, Marissa Meyer presents the second installment in The Lunar Chronicles series. Scarlet is named after Scarlet Benoit, who is a red headed farm girl (with a fiery, take-no-mess personality) out to find and rescue her grandmother. Madame Benoit has been missing for days, and although the police and village assume she must have wandered off on her own free will due to no leads in the case, her granddaughter is convinced otherwise. Clues continue to fall into place; eventually Scarlet finds a lead large enough to send her on an adventure, and that lead is none other than a street fighter named Wolf. But despite his size and animalistic strength there is something soft and shy behind the scars of the man. When him and Scarlet set out on a journey to find her grandmother there is no end to the surprises they find, whether it be circumstantial or with each other.

Meanwhile, Meyer does not leave readers in suspense over the fate of Cinder, our cyborg mechanic who was introduced in the first book. Now teamed up with a hilarious and self-proclaimed criminal mastermind named Captain Thorne, her own journey, past, future, and fate are entwined with the lives of Scarlet and her grandmother. Underneath secrets and forgotten memories there lies a truth that must be discovered.

To say that I enjoy the creativity of this futuristic world of Marissa Meyer’s creation would be an understatement. Once again she has given readers such a fresh take on a well-know fairy tale. Scarlet travels through the woods with a “wolf”, she wears a red hoodie, she is in search of her grandmother — all those elements are not only there but twisted and expanded upon to give excitement and suspense. A reader feels as if they know what is coming, but at the same time they don’t.

I also appreciate the strong heroines in these stories. Both Scarlet and Cinder are intelligent and skilled; they have traits that allow for strong emotion but also strength. Sacrifice for others is something they often must consider, and I really cannot wait to see what the next character, Cress (a futuristic Rapunzel) will get up to. In conclusion, if you want a fast-paced sequel that is just as good as Cinder, and perhaps even better, then this book is for you! If you would like to see my review of Cinder, the first installment of The Lunar Chronicles series, then please click here!

Review: Cinder

Title: Cinder (Lunar Chronicles #1)Image

Author: Marissa Meyer

Rating: ★★★★★

Provided Synopsis: Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl… . 

Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.

Review: Cinder is the futuristic re-telling of the Cinderella fairytale that has our heroine as a cyborg. Set in the future (126 years after the peace between nations following WWIV to be exact) in New Beijing, the story focuses on Cinder, a skilled mechanic. Why is she skilled? Because she is a cyborg and knows how to fix her own parts. Prejudice surrounds those humans who have been spared from death to become cyborgs, however; those who know that Cinder is a cyborg often treat her as if she is sub-human and our heroine goes through lengths to not draw attention to herself.

One of those people who she does not want know of her condition is Prince Kai, our hero. The Crown Prince of New Beijing needs to have one of his androids fixed, hears that Cinder is the best mechanic in the city, and goes to find her to secure her services. A friendship grows between them. I personally loved all of their interactions, as well as the normalcy Kai brought to Cinder’s life. He may be a Prince but he is in no way snobbish or unlikable.

To add further richness to this tale there is a deadly plague that has been ravishing the face of earth for years. Once you contract the plague, it is known that you will die because there is no known cure. So what happens when Cinder’s little step-sister, and the only member of her family who loves her, contracts this disease? What lengths will Cinder travel to in order to save her sister? What will Cinder discover about herself?

I don’t believe that it is easy to give a fresh take to such a well-loved and well-known fairytale, but Marissa Meyer excels on her mission. All the elements of the classic fairytale are there, but they in no way control the story! Instead, they are elements to enhance it and gave the writer ways to play with her creativity in this science-fiction world of her own making. It’s no secret that I adore world building, and the setting of New Beijing and the Earth of the future was wonderful to explore. A bonus to this story was also the Sailor Moon vibe that I seemed to get from it. As a Sailor Moon fan since childhood I was able to gobble up the elements that dealt with the moon kingdom of Lunar and it’s role in the political climate of this futuristic earth.

Bottom line: give this book a try. I don’t think anyone will regret it, and I am so excited to get the second book in this series once it is released next week.