Marissa Meyer’s The Lunar Chronicles is a series of fairy tales set in the future. This year saw the release of Winter, the fourth and final book in the series, as well as Stars Above, an anthology of short stories. Both were really well told. Marissa Meyer’s best attribute is her ability to seamlessly integrate original fairy tale details, and both of these books contain a plethora of well-placed homages.
From this point on, prepare for spoilers.
Winter is the 827 page conclusion to The Lunar Chronicles. At times this book felt very long and drawn out, because it had less of the whimsical, romantic, or laugh out loud funny elements of the other books. Winter is the “princess” introduced in Cress and Fairest. She appears to be fragile and sometimes crazy, but when she is lucid she can be a very powerful force. Winter was the daughter of Queen Levana’s husband and when he “dies,” Levana promises to look after the princess. Levana, herself, is not mentally stable and her definition of “look after” would not be the former king’s. Winter has a tough life, but she does have a knight in shining armor, Jacin, whom she’s known since childhood. He always seems to be there to protect her from her evil stepmother.
All the fairy tales meet on Lunar to dethrone Levana once and for all. The violence exceeds that of the other three books and continues more like Fairest. Winter just had too many story lines and plots to cover and could definitely have been cut down. It was a little underwhelming, because it was a distraction from what the characters were ultimately trying to achieve. Meyer doesn’t even give the full conclusion in this brick of a book. No, she waits for the anthology. The story “Something Old, Something New” should have been an epilogue to Winter not included in the anthology Stars Above. Then pick any of the side plots that were included in Winter to cut. The long drawn-out parts of the zoo, Wolf’s hometown, the tunnels, the games Levana played with the Earthlings, the inclusion of Cinder’s step-family and especially the whole side story with Wolf, a very ugly and unnecessary story line.
Winter was not the strongest addition to The Lunar Chronicles, but it does a fair job at giving each of our heroines her conclusion. This did start out as a really fun, romantic, and action-packed series, and though Winter got a little out of hand, but it’s still not to be missed. You’re not going to want to miss out on what happens to all your favorite characters.
Stars Above has origin stories for most of the characters in The Lunar Chronicles (TLC). One story, “The Little Android,” is completely original within the universe, and is a retelling of The Little Mermaid. The final story in the volume is “Something Old, Something New,” which is Scarlet and Wolf’s wedding.
My favorite story was “The Little Android.” I was super impressed with the way Meyer took the original story and altered it to fit her world. An android who thinks she may have some glitches finds herself saving a human. She realizes that she loves the man, and gets a human-esque body in order to spend time with him. It was such a clever idea, and I’m so glad Meyer got to write it, and make it “part of her world.”
While I was reading a few of them, I felt like they were superfluous. “The Keeper,” for instance, details how Michelle Benoit came to be Cinder’s guardian on Earth. Many of the details had been uncovered by characters in TLC, and Benoit’s perspective didn’t change much. However, when I reached “Something Old, Something New,” I had this epiphany that each story added a layer to all of the characters, that Meyer really used in the final story to show growth and development. Little details that had no place in the larger series were extra relevant in each character coming together to celebrate Scarlet and Wolf. It was a really touching story, and a perfect send-off for the series.
Along with Winter and Stars Above, Meyer has a third book coming out this November, Heartless. This novel starts a new series in Wonderland, which is a prequel to Alice’s arrival, and focuses on the Queen of Hearts. Can we expect it to be just as amazing as The Lunar Chronicles? I hope so!