Here is a pic of Marissa Meyer signing my two-day old copy of Fairest: Queen Levana’s Story, the prequel to Cinder. She gave an amazing talk about her writing process at the 92nd Street Y and gave us a sneak peak into Winter, the final book in the series, which will be released in the fall of 2015!
Wow, so I am remarkably late on my post for Cress, the book I finished almost three weeks ago now. I think I was too busy trying to sort out the differences between Ebola and letumosis to spend long enough in front of the WordPress screen. Anyway…
Is anyone else confusing the seriousness of Ebola with the fictionality of letumosis?
My review of Cress, the third book in Meyer’s The Lunar Chronicles, to come…
There is a reason I haven’t blogged in a week. It’s not that I haven’t been reading, or haven’t finished a book…it’s that I’ve been too absorbed in this series to pause long enough to blog about it. (I’m already well into the third book by now…but I digress.)
Fans of Cinder will certainly delight in this much-loved sequel. Readers still follow the cyborg, post-ball, post-fairy tale, but are also introduced to the non-robotic happenings of Scarlet (Scarlet is a shade of red – which fairy tale has the word “red” in it???), who is on the hunt throughout France to find her missing grandmother. The simultaneous story lines very much work for this series. Scarlet has her own plot unfolding, with a base of a well-known fairy tale guiding the plot; but, sporadically dispersed into this is the no-longer-fairy-tale plot of Cinder (and sometimes the prince) on the run from the law. I never once found myself more invested in one plot over the other, as so often many multi-character plots go.
On the way, Scarlet receives help from a mysterious gent named Wolf – not that she really needs it; Scarlet is one tough cookie. She’s got all the characteristics of a true heroine (fight, determination, selfless sacrifice, and piloting skills) along with the believable fallibility: she loves flirting and attention, just like her father did, and sometimes she doesn’t care about the consequences of this on others.
*Spoiler alert* : Perhaps my favorite part of the series as a whole (at least at this point, two books in) is the conclusion of the love story of Scarlet. At the end of Cinder, there is no happily ever after, at least not yet; Cinder is put in prison and believes Kai wants nothing to do with her anymore. But at Scarlet‘s end, it looks like, after a tumultuous ride, that she is all but dating her love interest (despite a few qualms, of course, to be presented in the third book). The contrast is a pleasant one; so often authors narrate all their love stories is the same manner, and I was very much expecting Scarlet to end up alone at the end of her book, and maybe in even in jail à la Cinder. (Of course, I would have expected her to end with her dream guy at the series’ conclusion, but that’s another matter.) Meyer reminds us that not all characters are a blueprint, that not all characters share the same story arc.
Spoiler alert concluded, if you haven’t indulged your childhood-fairy-tales-enjoyment-meets-young-adult-bliss, you should jump right into The Lunar Chronicles. If I haven’t made this clear already, you’ll be pretty glad you did.
In my junior year of college, I took a class on fairy tales that managed to open to me this whole new world of fantasy stories and adaptations. Since then, I’ve been hooked on every fairy tale spin-off I could find, from the paperback compilation My Mother She Killed Me, My Father He Ate Me to the Bartok opera Bluebeard’s Castle.
My best friend (whom you should follow here), who jumped on the Cinder bandwagon much earlier than I (the book was published in January of 2013), swears that she told me about her obsession with the series ages ago. On her account, she explained the plot – a Cinderella adaptation with a half human, half robot – to our other best friend and me, and the two of us laughed and dismissed the concept. I promise, I have no recollection of this occurrence.
In any event, this post World War IV (godda love the post-apocalyptic/dystopian government element) is equipped with humans, android handymen, and cyborgs, or crosses between humans and androids. Cinder is a teenage cyborg whose stepmother forced her to make the family money by laboring as New Beijing’s most capable mechanic. (Get it? Because she’s still dirty all the time, like Cinderella was, but this time it’s mechanic’s grease and dust doing the job instead of the mansion’s dust bunnies.) Because her services are so incomparable, she finds a worthy client in the handsome, young, kind, smiling prince who – let’s face it – is the very-perfect interest.
There’s also a power-hungry queen (whose story will be told in a prequel series coming in 2015), a corrupted kingdom, a missing heir to the throne, and the loss of Cinder’s…well, you get the idea.
I had few qualms, the most notable being the novel’s major twist. No matter how much I read, I can never predict these twists, with the notable exception of Fight Club, which no one saw coming, and I strangely predicted in the first five pages; but other books’ plots? I didn’t even have a clue as to what the first horcrux could be. (And don’t even get me started on the mysterious R.A.B.; I was more lost than Harry, and I didn’t have the stress of the whole pending-wizard-going-to-kill-you thing.) But, when it came to Cinder‘s twist, I called it. It didn’t ruin, not even spoil, the novel for me; but I saw it.
Amazon promises this novel is for grade level 7 and up. I don’t know if I’d go that far; it’s not too complex, but it’s a for-sure page turner, albeit wonderfully guilty pleasure. It’s certainly rated G; maybe that’s the basis of Amazon’s rankings? Nonetheless, Meyer does an excellent job on maintaining excitement throughout an already well-known tale. We know there’s a prince. We know there’s a ball. We know there’s a shoe. But she also adds her own exciting elements that create their own intrigue, and even unexpectedness; the fairy godmother-magic pumpkin adaptations were done exceptionally well.
I certainly cannot wait to start the second installment…which evidently introduces new fairy tale heroines???