BOOK REVIEW: Stars Above – by Marissa Meyer

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Title: Stars Above
(The Lunar Chronicles #4.5)
Author: Marissa Meyer
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Retelling
First published: February 2nd 2016
Finished reading: May 13th 2016
Pages: 369
Rating 4qqq

“The first time, he had wondered why she liked books so much, and if it had anything to do with why he liked spaceships. Because they could take you somewhere far, far away.”

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As I’ve done with previous short story collections, I will write a short summary with my opinion on each of these nine stories rather than write a conventional review. The Lunar Chronicles has been one of my favorite series I’ve read last year and it is always great to revisit this world. Marissa Meyer is probably one of my favorite authors, although I did enjoy the actual series better than most of these short stories. Two of these are an exception though: The Princess And The Guard and Something Old, Something New. I loved these two, especially the epilogue! If you have enjoyed reading the series, I would definitely recommend Stars Above, although some stories are better than others.

WARNING: SPOILERS! Make sure to only continue reading if you have already read the series… I’ve tried to keep it spoiler free, but it’s kind of hard with some of the stories.

The Keeper (4/5)  This story is a prequel to the series and shows how Princess Selene first arrived at the house of Michelle Benoit and Scarlet. A really enjoyable story and I loved little Scarlet!

Glitches (4/5) REVIEW I actually read this one last year; feel free to read the full review. The story is a prequel to Cinder and tells us about how the results of the plague start to take a toll on Cinder.

The Queen’s Army (3/5) REVIEW I read this story last year as well; feel free to read the full review. This is a prequel to Scarlet and tells us more about the army Queen Levana is creating.

Carswell’s Guide To Being Lucky (3/5)  Thorne is probably one of my favorites, but I didn’t really like the arrogant thirteen-year-old version of him. Sure, it shows how determined he is to get his own ship, but I prefer the adult Thorne of the main series.

After Sunshine Passes By (4/5) This story is a prequel to Cress and tells us more about Cress ended up on a satellite in the first place. Poor Cress! A very interesting story.

The Princess And The Guard (4,5/5) This is one of the stories I have been looking forward most, because of the characters. It’s a prequel to Winter and I really loved this story. Winter and Jacin are simply made for each other.

The Little Android (3,5/5) REVIEW I already read this one last year; feel free to read the full review. It’s a retelling of The Little Mermaid, but set in the world of this series.

The Mechanic (3/5) This is another prequel to Cinder and tells us about Kai and Cinder’s first meeting from Kai’s POV. It was nice to read it from Kai’s perspective, but it didn’t add anything new to the story..

Something Old, Something New (5/5) This is by far the best story of the bunch and the one I was looking forward most. It’s an epilogue to Winter and tells us more about what happens to the main characters after the facts. It’s basically everything I wanted and more to end this excellent series!

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BOOK REVIEW: Winter – by Marissa Meyer

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Title: Winter
(The Lunar Chronicles #4)
Author: Marissa Meyer
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Retelling
First published: November 10th 2015
Finished reading: November 20th 2015
Pages: 827
Rating 5qqq

“She was prettier than a bouquet of roses and crazier than a headless chicken. Fitting in was not an option.”

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The Lunar Chronicles is probably one of my favorite series I’ve read this year and in a way I’m sad it’s over. It’s one of the first times I’ve read a book as soon as it was published (not including ARCs), and even six days after finishing Winter I am still trying to get my thoughts together. I really loved this last novel by Marissa Meyer despite its length. My heart did almost stop at some points in the story; damn you plot twists! I’m not saying that’s a bad thing, but it’s hard to see your favorite characters suffering if you love a series as much as I do. I kept thinking: please give them a happy ending, they have totally earned it! It took me some time finishing Winter, but that’s mostly because I didn’t want it to be over… And what I can say is that this book was everything I was hoping for. Thank you Marissa Meyer for an excellent series! I do hope there will be a Thorne novella at some point in the future…

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WARNING: do not read this summary if you haven’t read the first three books in the series yet! It will most likely contain spoilers, even though I’ve made sure to keep it short.

Queen Levana has always been jealous of little princess Winter. Winter has been admired by the Lunar people ever since she was little and despite the scars on her face it is said that she is even more beautiful than the queen. The princess doesn’t want to use her gift to manipulate others and is slowly turning mad… But she is not as weak as Levana believes her to be and Winter has been undermining her stepmother for years. And now the Lunars are on the border of a revolution, will Cinder, the princess and their friends be able to stand up to Levana and find their happily ever afters?

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I know this review probably doesn’t make a lot of sense if you haven’t read The Lunar Chronicles yet, but I find it really hard to write a review without fangirling over the place. Marissa Meyer has created with this series a new way of retelling fairy tales and mixes these elements perfectly with the rest of the story. After four books the main characters feel like old friends and it’s really hard to see them suffer… Marissa Meyer knows how to draw you into the story and keep you on the edge of your seat until the very end. If you are looking for a good YA fantasy series, this one is more than recommended! The fact that there won’t be any new books pending to be published (if you don’t count novellas) is a huge bonus as well.

BOOK REVIEW: Fairest – by Marissa Meyer

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Title: Fairest
(The Lunar Chronicles #3.5)
Author: Marissa Meyer
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Retelling
First published: January 27th 2015
Finished reading: August 19th 2015
Pages: 222
Rating 4

“She cried for the girl who had never belonged. A girl who tried so hard, harder than anyone else, and still never had anything to show for it.”

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A lot of people probably have realized by now I love The Lunar Chronicles. This series is easily one of my favorite reads this year and I can’t wait for the fourth book Winter to be published. To make the wait a little less painful, I decided to finally read Fairest. I haven’t been enjoying the novellas as much as the main series so far and this one isn’t an exception. Don’t get me wrong: I still love the prose, setting and everything, but I just feel something is missing. The fact that Levana isn’t one of my favorite characters might be a problem, although I still enjoyed learning more about how she became the person she is in the main series. Fairest also gives you a little sneak peek of the Winter character… Which made me wish it was November already. If you enjoyed Marissa Meyer‘s series so far, you will like this one as well. Just make sure you don’t read it before you finish Cress

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WARNING: do not read this summary if you haven’t read the first three books in the series yet! It will most likely contain spoilers, even though I’ve made sure to keep it short.

Most people already know Queen Levana uses her glamour at all times to hide her true face. But what they don’t know is why she feels she has to. In Fairest, we learn all about Levana’s past and her cruel sister Channery… The past that damaged her and made her into the person she is today. Because Levana wasn’t always the evil person she seems to be today and she does have feelings after all…

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Even though I’m not a big fan of Levana’s character it was nice to learn more about her past; it makes her more human and it’s easier to understand the current situation. Maybe I didn’t enjoy Fairest as much as the main series, but Marissa Meyer‘s prose is just as magical as ever and I would definitely recommend reading this one. Plus, it includes an excerpt for Winter; a huge bonus for those who want to know what happens next!

BOOK REVIEW: Cress – by Marissa Meyer

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Title: Cress
(The Lunar Chronicles #3)
Author: Marissa Meyer
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Retelling
First published: February 4th 2014
Finished reading: August 3rd 2015
Pages: 550
Rating 5

“Maybe there isn’t such a thing as fate. Maybe it’s just the opportunities we’re given, and what we do with them. I’m beginning to think that maybe great, epic romances don’t just happen. We have to make them ourselves.”

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I have loved The Lunar Chronicles ever since I started the first book and they just keep getting better. I love that every book seems to be a retelling of a different fairy tale; with of course those important main characters reappearing in every book. Cress is both about Cinder and her friends trying to escape Queen Levana and finding a way to stop her AND a Rapunzel retelling. Cress is such an adorable character! She is also a kickass hacker and able to survive on a planet she has never been on before, which shows she really earned being the title of this third book. Marissa Meyer‘s prose is as brilliant as ever and combined with a fast pace and many plot twists it is really hard to stop reading. This is probably one of the best fantasy series I’ve read this year and I can’t wait to read Winter when it comes out this November. Luckily I still have Fairest to read to make the wait for the fourth book less painful!

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WARNING: do not read this summary if you haven’t read the first two books in the series yet! It will most likely contain spoilers, even though I’ve made sure to keep it short.

Cinder and Captain Thorne are still on the run and Scarlet, Wolf and Iko have joined them since. They are trying to find a way to stop Queen Levana from marrying Kai and taking over Earth with her army… Which is not as easy as they had originally planned. But they find out that they have someone on their side who is very useful: a Lunar shell named Cress. She has been working for Sybil and Queen Levana against her will, and is trying to save Cinder and her friends… If only they save her first from the satellite where they keep her prison. Will they be able to rescue Cress in time and think of a plan to stop the wedding?

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I know there has been a huge hype around this series for ages now, but in this case it’s all worth it. Cress is, like the first two books, brilliantly written. The main characters, worldbuilding, prose… Everything works perfectly together and the fact that each book is a different retelling makes me love this series even more. I’m glad I’ve finally picked up this series and I will be waiting impatiently for the fourth book to come out. If you haven’t read this series yet and enjoy a good YA fantasy story, I suggest you pick up The Lunar Chronicles. You won’t be sorry!

BOOK REVIEW: Scarlet – by Marissa Meyer

brscarletTitle: Scarlet
(The Lunar Chronicles #2)
Author: Marissa Meyer
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Retelling
First published: February 5th 2013
Finished reading: July 5th 2015
Pages: 452
Rating 5

“I knew they would kill me when they found out, but…” He struggled for words, releasing a sharp breath. “I think I realized that I would rather die because I betrayed them, than live because I betrayed you.”

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I didn’t know I could end up enjoying Scarlet even better than I did Cinder. I guess I did. Or at least it was a really close call… I’ve become seriously addicted to The Lunar Chronicles and it’s hard not to start fangirling all over the place. This series is just so awesome! The characters, the prose, the setting… Everything just works perfectly together. Scarlet is more of a Little Red Riding Hood retelling and I love the new storyline with Scarlet and Wolf. Since I read The Queen’s Army before reading Scarlet, I was already aware of Wolf’s character and his ‘skills’. It didn’t take away my reading pleasure though, and I was on the edge of my seat until I reached the last page. And now I need to read Cress ASAP to know how it continues! Like I said, this series is highly addictive. Marissa Meyer has already made it to my favorite YA fantasy author lists… If you haven’t read The Lunar Chronicles and enjoy YA fantasy reads, this should be your next read!

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WARNING: do not read this summary if you haven’t read Cinder yet! It will most likely contain spoilers, even though I’ve made sure to keep it short.

Cinder now knows her true identity and she has to try to break out of prison to save herself. It’s not easy, but with some help she manages to escape. Cinder and prisoner ‘Captain’ Thorne find their way to Thorne’s stolen ship and soon find themselves temporarily safe… Lunar Queen Levana demands to have Cinder found and Emperor Kai is desperate to have her back to prevent a war. He doesn’t know about Cinder’s secret and doesn’t want Queen Levana to have an excuse to take over Earth.

On the other side of the world, Scarlet’s grandmother is missing. What she doesn’t know is that it’s connected to Cinder’s secret… And she ends up being in danger as well. Scarlet meets a strange street fighter named Wolf, not knowing there is something off about him. Wolf promises her to help her find her grandmother, but is he after something else as well?

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I’m having difficulties in describing how much I loved Scarlet and this series. There is just something about the main characters, the prose, the setting and the fact that they are all different fairy tale retellings that makes The Lunar Chronicles into such a perfect read. Plus, no love triangles so far! That’s a huge bonus, since most YA novels seem to have one lately. This series is definitely a must-read for YA fantasy fans!

BOOK REVIEW: The Queen’s Army – by Marissa Meyer

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Title: The Queen’s Army
(The Lunar Chronicles #1.5)
Author: Marissa Meyer
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Retelling
First published: November 20th 2012
Finished reading: June 30th 2015
Pages: 32
Rating 3

“They will be my most prized soldiers, chosen not only for their strenght and bravery, but also for their intelligence, cunning and adaptability.”

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I don’t think The Queen’s Army is the best novella of the bunch, but it did help me understand some of the characters in Scarlet better. It’s not absolutely necessary to read this novella before starting on the sequel, but I’m glad I did. In The Queen’s Army, Marissa Meyer tells us more about the army Queen Levana is building on Luna. Young lunars are forced to undergo modifications and training to become her elite warriors… And they have some interesting skills indeed. The prose is just as good as always and all in all it’s a nice and quick read. Definitely recommended for those who want to learn more about Wolf and Ran!

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Queen Levana has been building an army for years, forcing young Lunars to join a special training group. It’s an honor to be chosen and the Lunars cannot decline… They undergo various modifications to turn them into the warriors Levana needs. The new soldiers form a pack and train together for years; learning to eat, fight and control their new instincts. Queen Levana is looking for one elite pack to become her special warriors. They all want to win, because nobody wants to undergo even more painful modifications…

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I enjoyed the other novellas better than this one, but I do admit The Queen’s Army is the one that is the most useful to read. It explains a lot about the Wolf and Ran characters in Scarlet; what they are and who they belong to. I don’t think it contains any spoilers, so it can be read either before or after the sequel… But personally I’m glad I read this novella before starting Scarlet. It’s short and easy to read, so recommended if you want to learn more about the Queen’s army.

BOOK REVIEW: The Little Android – by Marissa Meyer

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Title: The Little Android
(The Lunar Chronicles #0.6)
Author: Marissa Meyer
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Retelling
First published: January 27th 2014
Finished reading: June 30th 2015
Pages: 35
Rating 3,5

“She was smiling as she imagined herself as one more star in the sea of millions, and her body decided it had had enough, and she felt the exact moment when her power source gave up and the hum of electricity extinguished.”

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The second prequel novella of The Lunar Chronicles is called The Little Android. Although I prefer the first novella, this one is still a good read. It doesn’t involve any of the main characters of Cinder, but I like the new main character Marissa Meyer introduces in The Little Android. This novella is actually a little mermaid retelling where an android falls in love with a human engineer… Something that isn’t supposed to happen. All in all it’s quick and very short read, with the same easy-to-read prose as the actual series. It’s not really necessary to read this one to understand Cinder, but I would still recommend it if you like little mermaid retellings.

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Mech 6.0 is an android who is quite different from the rest… She is experiencing romantic feelings for one of the hardware engineers called Dataran. When he has an accident and falls in a tank full of oil, Mech 6.0 is determined to save him even if it destroys her metal body… And Dataran survives thanks to her help. Mech 6.0 is taken away to her mechanics where they discover a glitch in her programming that makes her unstable. They want to shut her down, but Mech 6.0 doesn’t agree and decides to escape. It seems like she has done the impossible and fallen in love…

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The Little Android technically is a little mermaid retelling and short romance story, but I was still entertained by it. I like Marissa Meyer‘s writing style and even though the novella doesn’t tell anything new about The Lunar Chronicles, it is still worth reading. It’s such a short read that it won’t take up much of your time anyway.