I have been such a huge fan of The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer, I was so excited while reading the firsOrigially posted on Once Upon a Bookcase.
I have been such a huge fan of The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer, I was so excited while reading the first three, knowing I had Fairest, a prequel to the series from Queen Levana's point of view, to read! I was so looking forward to see why Levana is who she is, and what her motivations are. Fairest wasn't the story I expected, but it was wonderful!
I was completely surprised by Levana's story. We get her backstory, right from when she was 15 until just over a decade later. I was expecting to see a cruel young girl who enjoys others' pain, but what I found was a girl who is so unbelievably insecure. Something unimaginable happened in her past that left her terribly scarred. Levana is mocked and ridiculed by her malicious older sister Channery, everyone at the palace looks down on her and laughs at her, and her parents never seemed to care.
She has a crush on one of the guards, Evret, and when he shows some kindness, it's the first time anyone has been nice to her for so long. Her crush becomes a desperate infatuation, and with her innocence and naivety, she reads far more into his words than there is to read, and makes herself believe he is in love with her, too - despite the fact he is married to a woman he quite obviously adores with all of his being. Their story is such a tragic one, and I can't help but feel so deeply sorry for Levana. She just wants to be loved, and she makes herself believe it so fully, she won't accept any denial on his part. She does some terrible, disgusting things, but they are born of desperation. She is so alone, and so unbelievably lonely. She just wants to be happy, and believes Evret is the only person who can bring her happiness.
Queen Channery dies while her daughter, Selene, is just a baby, and so Levana becomes Queen Regent. Under the reign of her parents and Channary, Lunar hasn't faired as well as it could, in the hands of those who cared more about their own interests than that of their home and people. Levana, however, has always taken a keen interest in politics and how Lunar is run, and discovers she's actually very good at making decisionsand coming up with ideas for the betterment of her planet. Lunar thrives, and so does she. But it's here that we start to see the Queen she will become. The people of Lunar would be more productive if they had compulsory breaks, as she has seen works well on Earth. This works well, but she is advised that revolt is likely if the people of Lunar have too much time to socialise with each other, and so she decides there should be a curfew after the work day, which will be enforced by more guards. She starts small, but the dictatorial and manipulative rule that we know her for has it's roots here, taking away this freedom from her people. She doesn't even blink at the idea, but this is probably links to how she feels about how she's treated Evret, and she does genuinely believe that she's doing what's right for Lunar, and has her people's best interests at heart.
We get more of a history on leutomosis, the disease that ravages Earth in the first three books of the series. Dr. Erland touched on how he believes that Leutomosis is a biological weapon from Lunar, but in Fairest, we're told exactly how this came about. I expected to read about a cold-hearted Queen, who revels in the thought of the pain and death she is the cause of, taking sadistic joy from it all. But that's not the Levana we see. She's a politican and a strategist. What befalls earth is terrible, but Levana isn't enjoying it. She might enjoy how her plans are working, but it's a means to an end, the end being an alliance with Earth - that will be made by offering the antidote - so Lunar can have access to resources the planet is running out of.
They don't have huge parts, but we get backstory on Cinder as Selene and Cress in Fairest, and are introduced to Winter. We get her backstory as well as Levana's, as they are so intertwined, Winter being Evret's daughter. Although Fairest is a prequel, it works to read it after Cress but before Winter, as it was written, because of what we already know of Cinder and Cress. Some parts might not make as much sense, or the import will be lost, if Fairest was read before any of the other books in the series. I've been told you don't need to read Fairest before Winter, but having the insight on Levana when reading Winter can help you understand the woman and her motivations as you read Winter.
Fairest was a much more emotional read than I was expected. Levana is cruel, manipulative, and vicious, but she's also a woman who had a terrible childhood, who has only wants to be loved and liked, and do the best for her planet. She wants to be happy, but her unhappiness can't be cured with power, but she doesn't seem to understand this. So she's always striving for more, the next thing, and the then the next thing, and so on, desperate. Levana is a woman to be feared, but she's also a woman to be pitied.
Fairest was a wonderful novella, and I'm really keen to see how my view of Levana might change as I read Winter. This series is just incredible!...more
I can't really begin to express how much I love The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer. With each book, it juOriginally posted on Once Upon a Bookcase.
I can't really begin to express how much I love The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer. With each book, it just gets better; the world, the originality, the effortless weaving of fairytales we know into a completely unrecognisable story that I just can't get enough of. Cress is no exception; the stakes are raised, the clock is ticking, and things get even more epic.
I don't want to give too much away because so much happens, so I'm not writing a description this time round, as I think the Goodreads description is good enough. But oooh, this story is just so good! I don't know the original story of Rapunzel very well; I know she's locked in a tower, has very long hair, which is used to help a prince climb the tower. Otherwise, I'm in the dark, so I didn't have the same experience of recognition as certain parts of the story reflected the original. Even so, it was still bloody brilliant.
As I said, things get epic in this story, and this is due to them being split up. Everyone is in danger, but no-one knows how the others are doing, if they're even alive. Cress and Thorne end up on Earth in the middle of a desert, with no life to be seen in any direction for miles. Because of the events of the botched yet partially successful rescue attempt, Thorne is injured, and Cress is struggling with being out of her satellite, with all the space and all the sky. Cress needs Thorne to keep her from drowning in anxiety, and Thorne needs Cress because he's injured. They both need the other's help, and it's difficult. Thorne needs to do some fast talking to keep Cress calm, and needs to really think in order to keep them alive, and Cress needs to keep a lid on her anxiety to help Thorne get about and follow his instructions. And this is all so, so wonderful! Seriously! Thorne is still Thorne; still arrogrant and funny and making a joke out of everything, but in Cress, he shows he's also very smart. Not only that, but he's great under pressure. He is so compassionate and kind and gentle with Cress, despite the fact he's struggling with his injury himself. He can't afford to freak out and worry about what's happened to him, because he's the only one who can keep them alive, because not only does Cress not know much about Earth at all, she hasn't been out of her satellite for seven years. She has no idea what to do. Thorne really steps up, and my admiration for him really grows. He's definitely the comic relief of the series, but he's also a fantastic character in his own right. There's a conversation he and Cress have; Cress talks about how she's always thought of him as a hero, because of the research she's done on him - there's always been some kind of altruistic motive behind his wrong doings. Thorne tells her she's got him all wrong, and those altruistic motives were made up to get him out of trouble - he's no hero. Except in this story, that's exactly what he is. And he's wonderful!
I didn't warm to Cress as much as I hoped. I didn't hate her, I actually liked her, but I didn't warm to her as much as I warmed to Cinder and Scarlet. That might just be because she spent a lot of time with Thorne, who I completely adore, so my attention was more on him. Saying that, she's still a fantastic character. She's scared, she's really terrified - of defying her queen, of what will happen to Earth if Levana marries Kai, what will happen to her if she's ever caught, what will happen to her and Thorne in this desert, of the world itself - but she is brilliant. She's super intelligent, and all the time in the satellite has taught her to be an exceptional hacker. She's resourceful and smart, even when she's scared, and she's so brave. Courageous. She is scared all the time, but she still defies Queen Levana and Mistress Sybil. She takes action and works against them, despite being terrified, and you can only admire her for it. I have so much respect for her, and am in such awe.
Which made me really just how wonderful the female characters in this series are. They're all based on fairy tale damsels in distress, but they're all so resourceful and smart and strong! When it comes down to the crunch, Cinder, Scarlet and Cress will always do the thing they believe is right, and show such bravery. Cinder tries to warn Kai at the ball that Levana will kill him; Scarlet goes off to find her grandmother once she's found out that she's been kidnapped; Cress goes against those who have only kept her alive for how useful she is. And not only that, but look at the jobs these ladies have; Cinder is a mechanic, Scarlet practically runs the business of her grandmother's farm, Cress is a computer hacker - all jobs that are stereotypically thought of as jobs for - and given to - men. These ladies are the kind of role models we need in fiction these days. They're not your typical damsels in distress - they may get into scrapes they need help getting out of, but they also do some rescuing of their own. These characters are women to look up to.
This book is action packed, and packs one hell of a punch! Just as you think things are starting to look good, there's another obstacle, and another, and another. Characters are mourning those they believe dead, and trying to carry on without them, despite their grief. There's the huge, unbelievable build up to the end, and then that ending! Oh my god! I am so excited to pick up Winter, the fourth and final book in The Lunar Chronicles, but I'm waiting. I'm waiting to read Fairest, which I believe is a prequel to the series, from Levana's point of view. Apparently it's not crucial to read before Winter, but it gives an insight into the queen and can help, I've heard. So I've ordered it online, and I'm going to read that first. I am SO excited! And it also means the end of the series is put off a little longer.
This series is absolutely incredible, and I really, really don't want it to end! I'm so glad I have two more full length books, and a short story collection, Stars Above, to read before leaving this world. I simply cannot get enough!...more
What can I say? Winter by Marissa Meyer brought The Lunar Chronicles to a conclusion. A series and characterOriginally posted on Once Upon a Bookcase.
What can I say? Winter by Marissa Meyer brought The Lunar Chronicles to a conclusion. A series and characters I have grown to love over the last few months. I put off reading Winter for as long as I could, not wanting to say goodbye, yet picked it up after not long at all, desperate to know how the story would end. And Winter was absolutely incredible.
After stalling the wedding between Emperor Kai and Queen Levana by kidnapping Kai, Cinder and her friends start finalising their plans. Kai is now on board, and will do all he can to help. He must go back and persuade Levana that the wedding should take place on Luna. When the Earthens travel to Luna, Cinder, Cress, Thorne, Wolf and Iko will be smuggled in. Cinder will then announce her true identity to the citizens of Luna and start a revolution to get Levana off the throne. Meanwhile, Levana has started to become jealous of the love and adoration her step-daughter Winter inspires in the people of Luna. Not being of royal blood, there's no way that Winter can ever become Queen, but Levana is anxious enough as it is with Cinder still out there somewhere. Levana will not leave any threat to her throne, and Winter must escape if she wants to keep on living. Being reunited with her long lost cousin and joining their revolution to overthrow Levana is the only way she can remain safe. But having refused to use her Lunar gift for years, her mind is fraying. She is constantly bombarded with hallucinations and sometimes barely holds it together. Will Winter really be able to help when she can't trust her own mind?
Oh, how I loved this book! I've been saying it in each of my reviews of this series as they've gone on, but Winter was so epic! Although there are the sci-fi roots with cyborgs, androids and space travel, Winter felt a lot more like a high fantasy meets dystopia, and I absolutely loved it! The revolution, the plans and strategy, the various people coming together to fight against an evil entity felt so familiar, it was like coming home, but to a more contemporary/futuristic high fantasy, but high fantasy nonetheless. There were twists and turns the whole way through. Things didn't always go to plan, the group was separated, and no-one knew what was happening to them, if they were still alive. Plans had to be adapted when pivotal people went missing, and you were constantly left dying to know more, desperate to know how things would play out, how these amazing characters were going to get out of that. It was just bloody brilliant! So epic and fast paced, and things really get moving very early on, and it's almost non-stop from the get-go. Winter is a book where you're constantly on the edge of your seat, and it was just incredible!
Of course, I need to talk about the title character. Being the final book in the series, in comparison to the other books, we're with the other characters more than we are with Winter - or rather, it's pretty equal. Everyone gets their own third person narrations at different parts of the story. But at the same time, Winter had to deal with the revolution but also Winter's story, that of Snow White. I have to say I was really impressed with Winter in this regard; it can't have been easy to finish off this series, tie up loose ends and bring the story to a fantastic conclusion, but also introduce a new character and tell her story too. The fairy tale elements of Snow White were there, given a twist and updated like we're used to, but with this story, they were wonderfully interwoven with the larger plot. I think it would have been very easy for it to feel like to separate stories - the story of the revolution and the story of Winter - but Meyer shows just what an expert storyteller she is in creating one whole story; the revolution wouldn't have been what it was without Winter, and Winter's story wouldn't have played out the way it did if the revolution wasn't happening. They were integral to each other, rather than separates. And it was just wonderful!
I found Winter to be a fantastic character. She is so kind and selfless, to the point that she is putting her life at risk. She swore long ago never to lie or manipulate others with her gift, and the effects of not using it have led to her suffering from what is called the Lunar sickness. She's become mentally ill, and her hallucinations seem so very real, and they absolutely terrify her. Can you imagine? These visions are horrific - the walls bleed, or a harness starts to suffocate you, or your body slowly starts turning to ice - and you know it's not real, it's not really happening, but that doesn't stop you from panicking. And there's a way you could make this all stop, but making it stop would mean going against your morals, so you continue to suffer, and get worse. And it's not just the hallucinations, the Lunar sickness effects how she thinks, too. So she makes decisions that aren't necessarily wise, and puts herself in dangerous situations simply because she doesn't think rationally, at least not all the time. I'd like to say Winter isn't romanticising mental illness in the slightest, it doesn't give the idea of Winter heroically suffering for the sake of others, that's not what it's about. There's nothing heroic or beautiful about what Winter is going through. It's traumatic. And I think the subject of mental illness is dealt with so brilliantly in this novel. It's fantastic.
I absolutely loved the climax of the story. It was unbelievable! It's full of jaw-dropping "OH MY GOD!" moments, and you have no idea who's going to get out of it alive. Seriously, the stakes are so high, lives are at considerable risk. It's terrifying. The ending of the book, and the series, was just fantastic and so satisfying - though there were moments I wish we'd got to see or got to see more of. I felt those moments were pretty important, and we should have got to see them. But overall, Winter is an amazing story and an epic conclusion, and has firmly put Meyer up there with my favourites. I'm so happy there's still Stars Above, the short story collection, so I don't have to say a complete goodbye to these characters just yet. I will read anything Meyer writes in the future with complete relish. Meyer is definitely an auto-buy author.
Having absolutely adored Cinder, I was really excited to read the sequel in Marissa Meyer's Lunar ChroniclesOriginally posted on Once Upon a Bookcase.
Having absolutely adored Cinder, I was really excited to read the sequel in Marissa Meyer's Lunar Chronicles, which takes on the fairy tale Little Read Riding Hood. And I'm so pleased to say Scarlet is even more incredible!
Scarlet's grandmother has gone missing. The police have been investigating, but due to a lack of evidence point towards her not leaving of her own accord, they've closed the case. But Scarlet knows her grandmother, and knows this is not like her. When her neglectful, drunken father turns up at her home, ransacking the place, terrified and not making much sense, Scarlet finally has some idea of what happened to her grandma; she was kidnapped because of something the kidnappers believe she has, and they tortured her father in the hopes of trying to get the information from her. Scarlet is determined to find her and rescue her herself if she has to, but she ends up getting help from Wolf, a street fighter, who has a tattoo very similar to those of her father and grandma's kidnappers. The kidnappers are a gang Wolf used to belong to, and as he knows where they are, he's promised to help her. But Scarlet has seen how vicious Wolf can be when he's angry, how dangerous he is. Can she trust in his help? Meanwhile, Cinder, now equipped with the swanky new hand with inbuilt toolkit from Dr Erland, is trying to escape from prison. She knows within days Queen Levana will take her to Lunar to execute her, and knows the real reason why: she's Princess Selene, the rightful heir to the Lunar throne. Reeling from this information, the only way she can cope is by trying to figure out a way of escaping without being caught. Cinder is slowly learning how to control her Lunar gift of manipulating bioelectricity, and comes across fellow prisoner, Captain Carswell Thorne, who just so happens to have a spaceship hidden. The two plan to make their getaway, but then what? Cinder is supposed to meet Dr Erland in Africa, but doesn't know if she wants to be a Princess and go against Queen Levana. She just wants to be free. Instead, she tries to find someone who may have more information about her past, so she can work out just how she came to Earth and ended up as a cyborg.
Oh my god, I loved this book! There's so much more of an adventure feel to it, what with Scarlett going off in search of her grandmother. But it's also a much more emotional read. There was the sorrow of Peony's death in the first book, and the despair over Cinder's life because of the treatment from Adri, but in this book, there is so much on the line! Scarlet saw what the gang did to her father, the burn marks from a poker in rows all over his arm, and she's terrified about what they have been doing to her grandma, Michelle, for the past three weeks. She has no idea what they could want from her, what they think she could possibly have - she runs a farm on the outskirts of a small, quiet French town - but knows her life is in terrible danger, and she and Wolf will be walking into it.
And with Cinder, there is so much fear of being discovered! So many close shaves! It's only down to her Lunar gift that she and Thorne get out of the scrapes they find themselves in, but she is so conflicted about using it. She doesn't want to be like Queen Levana, abusing this power and manipulating people to get what she wants, but without she would be dead. She and Thorne are wanted fugitives, and she has to do all she can to evade capture.
I love the new characters we meet in this book. Scarlett is brave and determined, and she cannot leave Michelle to these thugs who have her, when the police will do nothing. The only person who even cares is her; what chance does Michelle have without her? She's scared, but mostly for Michelle than for herself. She has got to free Michelle, because nobody else will. Wolf is a really intriguing and fascinating character. I found him to be a really sweet guy; he's strong and can very much handle himself in a fight, but as a person, he seems unsure and nervous. You can tell he's conflicted about helping Scarlet - going back to the gang really isn't something he wants to do, but at the same time, he knows what danger Michelle is in. He also really struggles with the mounting attraction between him and Scarlet, and doesn't really know what to do with it. For Scarlett, Wolf has her feeling so many different emotions; distrust, fear, anger, attraction, hope, frustration. Their relationship is a complicated one, but really interesting to watch develop.
Thorne! Oh my god, how I love Thorne! He's not exactly the smartest guy going, but he's full of self-assurance and arrogance. This makes him sound like a really irritating character, but he's such a flirt and always making light of things, or taking small things too seriously, he's hilarious! The things he comes out with, oh my god, I just love him. He is seriously one of the highlights of the book for me, and I do so hope we get to see so much more of him in future, because he is just so brilliant! He's the kind of guy I'd love to hang out with, but being the thief that he is, that probably wouldn't be wise.
The action is really cranked up in this book, both in regards to trying to escape and evade capture for Cinder and Thorne, and in the journey to Michelle for Scarlet and Wolf, but also in regards to... fighting. That's not exactly correct, but I can't explain further without spoiling this book. But oh my god, this book gets close to the point of terrifying towards the end. It's disturbing and wrong, and so, so scary. Lives are very much at steak in this book, on a massive scale. I don't think I've ever read a book that made me physically feel like I'd had such a work out as Scarlet did reading those last several chapters. I was sitting at the edge of my seat, my heart was hammering, and I was so tense there was a tightness in my chest. The emotions I went through towards the end! This is one of those books where you cannot see a way out of a terrible situation, and I was literally terrified for these characters. The ending is so cinematic, I could see it all, and I was feeling the fear for the characters like I do when watching a horror movie. Those last few chapters are epic! Seriously! And this is just the second book in the series!
If you hadn't guessed, I absolutely loved this book, and my excitement for the rest of the series huge! But I also have such super high expectations now, and I'm a little worried that they might be too high? But oh my gooood, I am so, so, so excited for Cress, the third book in the series! I'm now actually so glad it took me so long to read this series, because I don't have to wait too long for the next books. I'm trying to make this series last, so I'll read a few other books before getting to Cress, but I really don't know how long I can wait, because that ending was just incredible! I will absolutely read anything Meyer writes in the future, she has solidified a place amongst my favourite authors with these two books, and I am so excited for everything she will ever write.
I have wanted to read Ash for longer than I can remember. I loved the cover, and I love the idea of fairy taOriginally posted on Once Upon a Bookcase.
I have wanted to read Ash for longer than I can remember. I loved the cover, and I love the idea of fairy tale retellings. However, when I discovered it was actually a lesbian retelling of Cinderella, I wanted to read it all the more. How different it would be! When I came up with the idea for LGBTQ YA Month, I knew it was finally time to give it a go. Unfortunately, I wasn't that impressed.
Ash is a servant to her stepmother and stepsisters, and is badly treated. She lives in a land where some people still believe in magic and fairies, and she wishes a fairy would bring her mother back or take her away - even if it means she can never return. When she meets beautiful fairy Sidhean in the woods, Ash believes she will get her wish, but he keeps telling her she's not yet ready. Sidhean becomes her only friend, Ash finding him in the woods whenever she can manage to get away. But one day, instead of Sidhean, it's Kaisa, the King's Huntress, that she bumps into. The two strike up a tender friendship, and Ash soon discovers she has feelings for Kaisa. Ash starts to realise life might actually be worth staying for after all, but Sidhean has claimed her for his own.
There are some aspects of the story that are the same or similar to that of the fairy tale we all know. The main differences are the LGBTQ aspect, and the involvement of Sidhean and fairies in general. As a fairy tale retelling, Ash feels much like a high fantasy, but the fairies feel a lot like the fae you would read about in folklore, or in some YA urban fantasies and paranormal romances, just a little subtler. We still have the girl who is a slave to her stepmother and stepsisters, we have a prince and we have a ball where he is to find a wife. We have magical clothes, a carriage and footmen, but instead of a Fairy Godmother, we have Sidhean, and the wishes he grants come with a price. (I would like to point out that although shoes come with the clothes, they are neither made from carpet as in the original story, or glass from the more modern version - despite the shoes Ash is holding on the cover appearing to be made of glass).
Ash is a sweet story, and a very good retelling, but it's kind of slow paced, and even at it's highest and lowest points, the tension seems to stay on one level really, or it felt that way to me. There just wasn't really much to get excited about, unfortunately, simply because the tension didn't always match the events taking place. And the ending really annoyed me. It just felt much too easy to me. I finished reading it thinking, "Really? That's it? That's how it ends?" I was really disappointed, and felt kind of let down.
The romance is sweet, but very slow to build. Most of the time, Ash has feelings she doesn't really understand, and doesn't know what to do with. The fact that she's a lesbian isn't made too much of a big deal out of in regards to what other people might think. There is some hint that it may be a bit controversial, but the story doesn't focus on it, it focuses on Ash and Kaisa. The actual realisation of Ash and Kaisa's feelings for each other doesn't come about until we're nearing the end, so it's more of a self-discovery and discovering the emotion of love than about an actual romantic relationship.
I love the idea behind Ash, and I think LGBTQ retellings of fairy tales could really work. Sadly, this particular story didn't work for me personally. Be sure to read some other reviews of Ash before deciding whether to read it or not; don't decide not to based on my review alone....more
I've had a proof copy of Cinder by Marissa Meyer since before it was published, and although it sounded realOriginally posted on Once Upon a Bookcase.
I've had a proof copy of Cinder by Marissa Meyer since before it was published, and although it sounded really interesting, it's taken me until now to read it. This series has been raved about far and wide, but I'm not a huge fan of sci-fi, and a retelling of Cinderella where she's a cyborg mechanic... it made me nervous. But as I set up the Retelling Reading Challenge 2016 for the sole purpose of finally getting down to reading these books. And I really wish I hadn't waited so long; Cinder was bloody amazing!
Cinder is a mechanic in New Beijing, and all of her earnings go straight to her lazy stepmother. She was in an accident when she was 11, and the only way to save her was to make her a cyborg, which, by law, makes her the property of her stepmother. She has no rights to own anything. When Prince Kai, heir to the Eastern Commonwealth, stops by her booth in disguise, asking for help fixing his android, and soon after her youngest and favourite stepsister catches the plague, her life is changed forever. She is soon sent off to the palace by her stepmother to be involved in the cyborg experiments to find a cure - experiments involving injecting her with the plague, with only one real outcome. Only she doesn't die. Meanwhile, Prince Kai is thrust into politics when his father, the Emperor, dies from the plague, and must continue to try to form an alliance with Queen Levana, the evil queen of Luna, who controls her subjects through magical brainwashing. But the only alliance she will agree to is marriage to the Prince, to become Empress. But Prince Kai has bumped into Cinder a couple of times at the palace, and he seems to have more than a casual interest in her.
Oh my god, this book was incredible! There are a few elements of the original Cinderella story within Cinder - she slaves away for her stepmother, there is a pumpkin coloured "carriage" of some kind, there's a ball and a prince - but there is so much of this novel that is new! Although the elements of the original fairytale story are there, and some of them you expect to appear in someway, you never know how they're going to appear, or how Cinder will get from one moment to the next. Cinder is so gripping, and I was completely absorbed in this story.
There was an element of this story that I guessed at as soon as it was mentioned, but that didn't stop me from enjoying the story. Although it's sci-fi-esque with androids and cyborgs, and an humanoid aliens from the moon, it felt a lot like a high fantasy to me, with all the royal and political intrigue and manoeuvring. Though the story focused more on Cinder and her story, we did get some chapters from Prince Kai's perspective, so we knew what was going on inside the palace walls and with Queen Levana.
I want to rave, and rave, and rave about this book, but I'm really not sure if there's more I can talk about plot-wise without spoiling the story. So on to the characters. Cinder is wonderful. She is a whole lot spunkier than the Cinderella we've all been brought up with. She argues and stands up to her stepmother, even when it's likely to get her into trouble. She's no walkover. I love that this story took the element original element of her slavery and made it into something different, something that also challenges gender roles. Cinder has to work, because her stepmother needs the money, and she doesn't work. But she's not slaving away for hours doing chores, she has an actual job and it's in something she's not only good at, but something she enjoys! Cinder is also pretty damn clever and resourceful, and she's just brilliant.
Prince Kai was really interesting. The romance is a slow burner in Cinder; they're attracted to each other, but there are other things going on in each others' lives. Not only is Kai having to deal with the sudden death of his father, but also the fact that Queen Levana decides to make her way to Earth the day after, to show give her "condolences" in person, and be there for the coronation. I loved how Kai had to deal with politics of trying to keep the Queen of a stronger planet happy so that another war is started, but at the same time, doesn't want to give his planet over to the Queen on a plate by marrying her. She is a threat, but it's difficult to find a way around the threat without marriage or war - a war they can't win. I really, really love political intrigue, so this side of things was right up my alley.
Queen Levana is the best kind of villain. Oh my god, is she sadistic. She glamours everyone into seeing her as beautiful, and has all the people of Luna worshipping her. There's a sign of uprising? Well, just fiddle with their minds and make them love you instead. Or kill them. She's a complete dictator who strives for power, and only has her throne by killing her sister and niece. She's vicious and cruel, and wonderfully, wonderfully evil. I'm really looking forward to seeing what other abominable things she'll be behind in future books.
I absolutely loved Cinder, and I am so excited to read the second book in The Lunar Chronicles, Scarlet. If you've not yet read Cinder, don't leave it as long as I did. Pick this book up now!