Rummanah Aasi
  I was able to catch up to Marissa Meyer's fabulous and highly addictive the Lunar Chronicles series. I remember waiting in line for half an hour at the ALA Conference in 2013 just to see if I can get an ARC of Cress. Luckily, I had and it was well worth the wait. All of these book are currently out and published. If you haven't read this series yet and like fairy tales, I highly recommend them!

Description: 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: Scarlet is probably my favorite of the Lunar Chronicles so far. While I liked the original science fiction spin on the fairy tales, I thought Cinder was a bit predictable. Scarlet, however, kept me on my toes with more intrigue and romance. Meyer does an excellent job of subtly using the tale of Red Riding Hood to move the plot along and even gives readers some things to contemplate. I absolutely loved Scarlet, a heroine who is fiery as her name and just as passionate. She guards her heart and finds it hard to trust anyone, which is how she has survived for so long. Wolf stole my heart and I was completely disinterested in Kai. While Wolf has the big physique and intimidating persona at first, he isn't the same bad guy we are use to in the Little Red Riding Hood story. There are many questions surrounding his past and one that I wanted to know in particular is whether or not he can overcome his past? There are plenty of viewpoints in the book and the story of Cinder and Emperor Kai are still present, but I think Scarlet and Wolf stole the show. While there are many transitions in the story, they are seamless and the plot elements meld together well. This novel has enough back story to stand on its own, but is much better after reading Cinder. Cress is introduced in a teasing chapter and I can't wait to learn more.

Rating: 4.5 stars

Words of Caution: There is some strong violence but most of it happens off the page. Recommended for Grades 7 and up.

If you like this book try: Dark Triumph by Robin LaFever, Princess of Thorns by Stacey Jay, Scarlet by A.C. Gaughen

Description: Cinder and Captain Thorne are fugitives on the run, now with Scarlet and Wolf in tow. Together, they’re plotting to overthrow Queen Levana and her army. Their best hope lies with Cress, a girl imprisoned on a satellite since childhood who's only ever had 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 of Cress goes awry, the group is separated. Cress finally has her freedom, but it comes at a high price. Meanwhile, Queen Levana will let nothing prevent her marriage to Emperor Kai. Cress, Scarlet, and Cinder may not have signed up to save the world, but they may be the only hope the world has.

Review: As you probably guessed from the cover of the third book in Meyer's Lunar Chronicles that the heroine of this book is connected to the Rapunzel fairy tale. Cress has a different feel than the other books in that it doesn't just feature one fairy tale, but also continues two other continuing stories along with introducing two more leading ladies in the series. Meyer juggles all of the story lines well as there is no shortage of humor, action, or romance.
 Unlike the other heroines before her Cress is a self-proclaimed "damsel in distress" and an expert computer hacker. She has been imprisoned in an orbiting satellite for more than seven years, and has never been allowed to cut her hair, which has grown to Rapunzel-like lengths. Her only knowledge of the outside world is what she sees from her computer. Though Cress is supposed to be tracking down the fugitive Cinder for Lunar Queen Levana, Cress has been secretly aiding her. Cress's relationship with Captain Thorne is sweet and amusing as Thorne is constantly not living up to Cress's version of him that she has fantasized in her head. It was nice watching Cress become her own person and slowly but steady standing on her own two feet. The plan for Cinder and her crew to try to rescue Cress goes awry in more ways than one, leaving Cinder's group scattered and fighting for survival. My minor complaint of this book is that there isn't much romance between the other couples, particularly of my favorite couple Scarlet and Wolf. The plot involving warring governments and a fast-spreading plague leaves a desire for the next book while not being a complete cliffhanger. Winter, the heroine for the last book in the Lunar Chronicles is nothing like what I expected and I am very excited and curious to meet her.

Rating: 4.5 stars

Words of Caution: There is some strong violence that mostly take place off the page. Recommended for Grades 7 and up.

If you like this book try: Mortal Heart by Robin LaFevers, Rapunzel's Revenge by Shannon Hale, Golden by Cameron Dokey

Description: Mirror, mirror, on the wall. Who is the Fairest of them all?

Pure evil has a name, hides behind a mask of deceit, and uses her "glamour" to gain power. But who is Queen Levana? Long before she crossed paths with Cinder, Scarlet, and Cress in The Lunar Chronicles, Levana lived a very different story—a story that has never been told . . . until now.

Review: Like many fans of the Lunar Chronicles, I was disappointed to find out that the publication of Winter, the last book in the series, has been pushed back but was glad to know that Meyer released a novella that will help with the wait for her readers. Though considered a prequel of sorts, I would recommended reading Fairest after reading Cinder, Scarlet, and Cress.
 Fairest does not have a strong story arc, but it works best as a character sketch of Queen Levana, who is more than a beautiful villain. We get an inside glimpse in the evolving character of Levana and get answers to lots of questions about her such as: how did she come to power? Where did the animosity for Cinder come from? How are Cinder and Winter connected? In this prequel, Meyer plays with our sympathies and emotions towards Levana. At times I felt sorry for her as I learned of the environment she was raised and of the childhood "accident" which forces her to permanently assume a glamour, or altered physical appearance. Her desperation of wanting to love is deep and makes her human, but the lengths of her actions as well as her justification for her actions is what repelled me. Even if readers despise her, it is worth reading Fairest to gain insight into Levana's complex character.

Rating: 4 stars

Words of Caution: There is some strong violence, most of which happen off the page and are alluded to. Recommended for Grades 7 and up.

If you like this book try: Stitching Snow by R.C. Lewis
3 Responses
  1. I was considering doing something similar about Fairest (Lunar Chronicles) and Blue Lily, Lily Blue (Raven Cycle). I read these books that are deep into a series and it is hard to want to review them because, hmmm, the story is still incomplete. So I thought I'd kind of just review the series and talk about what i hope happens in the last book. thanks for these reviews.

  2. I love that you're enjoying these so much! I guess I really am the only one. Retellings just don't work for me. I tried with Cinder both on paper and in audio format and I just couldn't get through it. It's just something that doesn't appeal to me at all.

  3. I love, love this series, Rummanah! I'm with you in regards with the male love interests - Kai, who? Wolf and Thorne are so much better, and the preview of Jacin in Fairest has me convinced I'm going to love him the best.

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