Book Review: The Lunar Chronicles


Sierra Sweeney, Editor

In a literary world of repetitious “chosen ones,” maze-like trials, and overplayed love triangles, The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer offers a different sort of series for any sci-fi-fantasy-loving young adults.

The series itself, though inspired by the Grimm’s Brothers’ fairy tales, has a unique plot that includes artfully done world-building and creative characters that almost anyone can identify with or feel empathy for. The actual building of this world is so well done that the book’s setting feels life-like in comparison with our own.

The main characters themselves, though slightly predictable in their developments, are all major contributors to the plot, erasing the “chosen one” cliché that I had feared during book one, Cinder.

            And out of the eight main protagonists, five are ethnically diverse and five are female. Each character is different in looks, personality and goals, and the friendship among all of them is written so naturally that it never feels forced upon the reader. Instead, it is as simple as anyone’s friendship and relatable with its personal difficulties. There are no catfights or misplaced jealousies between the female characters, something I was extremely grateful for, and there is no overbearing, macho, overprotectiveness from any of the male characters. Why? Because the ladies as well as the men get things done!

However, the friendships as well as the romantic relationships, which are all healthy, do not occur overnight but in fact take some development—something that many young-adult authors seem to forget from time to time.

The fact that this book is a work of sci-fi and is mainly targeted toward a female market is, in itself, a feat since this market is usually made for male readers. And the classic fairy-tale twists within it, all of which stay truthful to the actual fairy tales rather than the happier Disney versions, not only add something new to a series about cyborgs, robots and totalitarian governments, but it also helps one see the actual fairy tales in a different light.

Though it can be argued that Meyer’s later introduction of both a novel of short stories and a prequel to the series is excessive, I found them to be wonderful in that one offered closure to a fantastic series I wasn’t ready to leave just yet, and the other gave insight into the antagonist’s motives and life story, creating sympathy for a character whom I previously had none for.

It was also impressive for me to see so many female characters with unique skill sets. In fact, each female is powerful in her own way, whether she is a mechanic, a computer hacker, an ambassador, or simply a fighter. And though the spotlight is usually focused on the women characters, this in no way demotes or ignores the male characters’ just-as-important roles within the novels.

Overall this novel is an amazing series that I could not put down. It offers everything from sci-fi adventure to tasteful romance while also including both light themes of friendship and darker themes of murder, dictatorship and misused power. I recommend this book to anyone who is looking for something new in the young-adult literature world and to anyone in search of well-developed characters that are diverse, relatable and complex. If I can come away from a book series feeling both complete but still wanting more, then I know it is a good series.