Tuesday, August 23, 2016

The Lunar Chronicles

     These books are absolutely enchanting. I would call it the biggest shocker this year. I have picked Cinder as a recommendation of participants of Popsugarreadingchalenge and was not waiting for anything special. But I actually loved the series. The main characters are strong and alive. Each new book brings additional members to the squad and every of them have a unique personality, strengths and weaknesses.
      Though it is a YA series it is not overloaded with love stories. We get the first introduction and get the idea who will date whom, but there is no lingering description of kisses, hugs and feelings altogether. Actually, there are even more friendship relationships in the books than love. Throughout the series the friends are split so many times that they need to learn how to work in different teams, overcome their fears and gain trust.
The story is quite original: re-telling of old fairy tales in new unexpected way.

Author: Marissa Meyer
Original title: Cinder
Pages: 448
Edition Language:
Series: Lunar Chronicles 1 

       Cinder is a young cyborg-mechanic in New Beijing. She has no civil rights as a second class citizen and is totally under control of her heartless stepmother. Her story is based on the Cinderella story and of course she meets a charming prince Kai, who takes vivid interest in her without knowing she is a cyborg. After her submission by her adopt mother to cure testing, Cinder discovers that she is also of Luna origin and has a special device to control her Luna charms.
       During the royal ball Cinder is trying to save the prince from marriage with the queen of Luna Levana. At this point she reveals that, first of all she is cyborg, second of all that she is Luna, and finally she reveals to Levana that she is the lost Princess Selene of Luna whom she tried to kill 11 years ago.

Original title: Scarlet
Pages: 512
Edition Language:
Series: Lunar Chronicles 2

       Scarlet is another rewritten fairy tale "Little Red Riding Hood". I would say this is my favorite love line in the series. I saw quite many reviews on this book and most of the people find it boring. I just LOVE it)) A young farmer girl is looking after her grandma's farm and tries to solve her grandma disappearance. In a local pub where she delivers vegetables she meets handsome, but rather strange young man by the nickname "Wolf".
        From this point it is quite clear that those two are destined to be together. Maybe this is the boring part, but I like how they learn to like each other, how she trust him and how he fights the animal instincts and learn to live normal human life. Wolf promises Scarlet to find her grandma and they start their journey to Paris. Of course, nothing is so simple and he turns out to be an obedient dog of Luna people and leads Scarlet directly to the trap.
       In parallel the story of Cinder is continued. She escapes the prison together with a new character Thorne, a thief and spaceship hijacker. Cinder still does not believe that she is a princess and is searching for evidence and answers. She remembers part of the report where was discovered that her past is somehow connected to a French pilot Michelle Benoit who is naturally turning to be Scarlet's grandma. Cinder saves Scarlet in Paris and the four of escapes the Earth on the space ship Rampion.

Original title: Cress
Pages: 592
Edition Language:
Series: Lunar Chronicles 3

        The 3rd book has new character Crescent (Cress) Moon Darnel, a talented hacker imprisoned in a satellite in space. She spends last 7 years on a ship spying on Earth leaders and covering military movements of the Luna army to earth. She is in love with Earth and one particular Earthman - Thorne. She waits as Rapunzel for a brave Thorne to save her.
       When Cinder contacts her, Cress asks for help to escape satellite. But the rescue expedition goes totally wrong. Thaumaturge Sybil Mira sends the satellite to crash on Earth together with Cress and Thorne on board. Scarlet is imprisoned by Sybil Mira, Wolf is wondered and Cinder gets new passenger Jacin Clay.
           After the miraculous landing of satellite in Sahara, Thorn is not able to see anything and Cress is actually seeing the Earth from Earth for the first time. It is quite sweet and touching to follow how those two are trying to deal with problems and cooperate together. They need to reach any city to let Cinder know they alive.
In the meanwhile Cinder brings Wolf to North Africa to Dr. Erland to heal. Kai asks queen Levana to marry him in exchange for an antidote for the plague and the safety of his people against "animal" attacks.
          By coincidence all crew members except Scarlet, who is imprisoned on the Moon, meet in Africa and plot to stop Kai's wedding. They need to get into the palace and kidnap the prince before the wedding. All that goes well expect they lose Jacin Clay, who betrays them to Sybil Mira.

Original title: Winter
Pages: 832
Edition Language: English
Series: Lunar Chronicles 4 

       "Winter" is the last book of the series is based on "Snow White" fairy tale. This book describes the relations between mentally ill queen Levana's stepdaughter Winter and royal guard Jacin Clay. Winter also saves Scarlet from the royal court and keeps her as her pet in a zoo.
        The rest of the events are following: Kai is returned to the palace, and again agrees to marry Levana but the ceremony should be on the Moon. Cinder and the crew get on Kai's spaceship to reach the Moon and start a revolution. After Clay helps Scarlet and Winter escape, they try to recruit mutated wolf-like human soldiers in bunkers. Knowing that queen Levana poisons Winter's favorite apple candy with plague and give it to her in a forest. Winter is dying and infect everyone around her.
          Cinder, who was captured and presented on a wedding day as present to Kai fight queen Levana's charms and jump in a lake to save her live. Saved by Clay and Thorn they learn that Winter is in mortal danger. Covered by Cress hacking they steal a lot of antidote and rush to save their friends. In the day of Levana's coronation an enormous battle takes place leading to Levana's death and Cinder recognition as queen of Luna.

Altogether I am not a big fan of YA books, but these series I liked for a number of reasons:
1. The plot is strong and consistent. There are minor mistakes, but the whole impression is quite positive and it does not leave you with the questions like: "What was that? Why this passage here at all? What's the purpose of this description?"

2. Characters are absolutely terrific. Well written, everyone has its individuality. And I mean not only main characters: Sybil Mira, Aimer, Alpha Strong and others. Very convincing and realistic!

3. The story is not overloaded with love lines. "Make love, not war" does not apply here and I liked it. We can see first time affection, but real feeling comes during the endurance of time, distance and rough going.

4. Many other topics are raised in the books as well: racism, prejudice, home violence, poverty, political “behind the curtain” games. And these topics are nicely introduced to the story through the characters and their lives, thus that we see the imperfection even in a perfect world.

5. The setting and idea of the stories is also very fascinating: post WW4 Earth, Luna and its people, inter planet flights, biological weapon, biological mutation, cyborgs, androids with humor and satellite imprisoning.

Rating of the series