The Lunar Chronicles Book Review

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The Lunar Chronicles Book Review

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The song is an old lullaby sung by the Lunars – the people of Luna, or as we call them now – the people of the Moon. Wait! – People of the MOON you say? But there are no lives on the Moon!

Well, in this amazing series of “The Lunar Chronicles” by the talented author Marissa Meyer, there ARE people on the Moon. What’s more, they have a monarchy of their own, and they are waging a war against Earth!

“The Lunar Chronicles” takes place in the Third Era, the period of time after World War IV. The time we are living in right now would be called Second Era. The Earth by then is called the Earth Union, which consists of 6 countries: The United Kingdom, The United States of America, Africa, Europe, Australia, and the Eastern Commonwealth. Their technology has developed much more than ours right now. It is still the Earth, but with humans and androids coexist, as well as cyborgs (half human half android). At that time, there is a terrible disease called the plague…

The series is made up of four books: “Cinder”, “Scarlet”, “Cress” and “Winter”, created based on the world’s famous fairytales. The book “Fairest” is a prequel to “Cinder”, which some people might include in the series itself, but for me I prefer to separate it.

Meet Cinder. A cyborg. A gifted mechanic. A seem-to-be-normal citizen of the Eastern Commonwealth. She lives with her step-mother and two step-sisters. Sounds familiar? Yes, she is our new Cinderella! After one of her step-sisters catches the plague, Cinder is volunteered by her step-mother to the cyborg draft at the palace. Right there, she meets the Crown Prince Kaito again (yes, again!). Right there, she figures out that she is not just a cyborg and a mechanic… Thrown into jail, she has to make the choice of her life: to escape and fight, or to stay and die.

Meet Scarlet. A red hoodie instead of a cape. A granny who has gone missing. A dangerous-looking Wolf. She is, indeed, the Red Riding Hood of the Third Era! Standing up to defend Cinder even though she doesn’t know her, Scarlet attracts the attention of Wolf, whose identity turns out to be quite complicated. She, then, with great determination and Wolf’s guidance, makes a trip to Paris to find her grandmother. Collected by Cinder and her brand-new companion – “Captain” Thorne, Scarlet and Wolf become the crew members on a space ship, running away from their mutual enemy and planning for a fight-back.

Meet Cress. Locked away in a satellite in space for most of her life and not allowed to have any sharp object, Cress has the “longest, waviest, most unruly mess of tangled blonde hair imaginable”. There – “Tangled”! Welcome to the shy version of Rapunzel! Cinder, Thorne, Scarlet and Wolf intend to rescue Cress due to her incredible hacking skill. Sadly, Thorne-the-new-Flynn-Rider does not succeed and the crew separates from each other. Cress then is kidnapped, which accidentally reunites her and Thorne with Cinder. With one member gone still, one is wounded, and one traitor-like-ally, they kidnap Prince Kai, now Emperor, as the first step in their revolution plan. But the plague has mutated itself and is becoming more dangerous than ever…

Meet Winter. The bullied step-daughter of the antagonist. A girl who falls in love with her personal guard, cruelly the same person assigned to assassinate her. All rise to Princess Winter – the Lunar Snow White!! With the most beloved princess of Luna on their side, Cinder and her friends plan to make the Lunar people come together and rebel against their monarch. They plan to crown the true queen, who is not dead as everyone thought. Friendship. Love. One’s body’s betrayal to one’s mind. Blood. Politics. A crazy princess and the destined apple. Will their plan work?

Finally, there is the sinister Queen Levana, the antagonist who Cinder, Scarlet, Cress and Winter are fighting against. Powerful, merciless and manipulative, Queen Levana will stop at nothing to claim the Lunar throne as well as Earth’s. But is she really what she seems to be?

Marissa Meyer has a beautiful way of writing with the realistic details that make the scenes seem to appear right in front of our eyes.The futuristic setting also plays a part in making the readers curious. Instead of “once upon a time”, these fairytales will now start with “long away from now”. Isn’t that weird, but attractive at the same time?

The primary and secondary characters, even though are built based on fairytales characters, have an independent personality of their own. A Cinderella who runs away from her Prince Charming, a Red Riding Hood who points a gun at the Wolf, a Rapunzel who gets her Flynn Rider blind when the rescue plan goes wrong, a Snow White who watches her own “prince” die, and an Evil Queen who is as vulnerable as anyone else can be – it was those characters, those events, but it still feels exciting and unexpected because the characters are not always who you presume them to be. I personally think the author did well using the readers’ “default” thoughts on certain fairy tale characters to create the surprise element in her work. Not to mention the shocking plot twist she utilizes to play with the audience. Her writing totally tricked me, and I was caught by utter surprise.

An excellent modern version of fairytales, more intense than the net dramas, the New York Times best-selling Lunar Chronicles will embrace you in its universe. Once you enter, it will pull you into its tornado of awesomeness and in the end leaving you craving for a spin-off. But don’t worry – there are plenty of short stories by the author herself, plus “Stars Above” is coming out in February 2016. Don’t waste your time staring, go read the series right now.


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