My main goal this month was to get through all the required books in the syllabus for my Young Adult lit class before term starts. I’m happy to say that I succeeded with three days to spare! Required novels dominated my pleasure reading this month. Eight of the following books were for class. There were some really great titles and I’m really looking forward to discussing Maus, Brown Girl Dreaming, and the book on the Romanovs with my classmates.
As for the books I picked up purely for fun… I was unimpressed with the newest Court of Thorns and Roses installment, but enjoyed being back in that world. Naturally, rereading Cinder for my class launched another reread of the entire Lunar Chronicles series, which has been delightful. For my morning cup-of-tea Christian nonfiction, both titles I finished this month were excellent.
Number of books read: 11
Number of pages read: 2,949
Number of audiobooks listened to: 2
Number of rereads: 2
Longest book: Scarlet by Marissa Meyer
Shortest book: Maus by Art Spiegleman
Cinder by Marissa Meyer (4.75 stars)
Liturgy of the Ordinary by Tish Harrison Warren (4.5 stars)
Lowest rating: Black Butler Vol. 1 by Yana Toboso, translated by Tomo Kimura
FINALLY, the conclusion to Marissa Meyer’s fantastic Lunar Chronicles series. This book was released on my birthday and it was one of my favorite gifts.
This post contains spoilers.
My rating: 4 / 5 stars
Summary from Goodreads:Princess Winter is admired by the Lunar people for her grace and kindness, and despite the scars that mar her face, her beauty is said to be even more breathtaking than that of her stepmother, Queen Levana.
Winter despises her stepmother, and knows Levana won’t approve of her feelings for her childhood friend—the handsome palace guard, Jacin. But Winter isn’t as weak as Levana believes her to be and she’s been undermining her stepmother’s wishes for years. Together with the cyborg mechanic, Cinder, and her allies, Winter might even have the power to launch a revolution and win a war that’s been raging for far too long.
Can Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, and Winter defeat Levana and find their happily ever afters?
To answer the question in the summary: Yes they can.
I knew that these books would tie up neatly. The tone in which they are written doesn’t imply defeat. It was clear that all would end well, that Cinder would cast down Levana and reclaim the the Lunar throne. I knew that the four couples would get together.
But, oh, how I loved the ride.
The thing about this series is that it’s not perfect. To be honest, the characterization is patchy at points. I like most of the male characters, but some of the heroines *cough*Scarlet*cough* are boring. The plot tends to be predictable.
But what Meyer does is create a world and enjoyable that is so original that I can’t help overlook the weak points. I loved my time in these books. There are a lot of dystopian YA worlds out there and while the way her Earth is structured is similar to many of its contemporaries, the existence of Luna makes hers unique. I mean, she’s got a society of magical aliens who can manipulate people’s minds who live on the moon! How cool is that?
I adore the way Meyer merges dystopian lit with fairytales. She balances them well. Throughout the series, we see familiar moments: Cinderella losing her shoe, Red Riding Hood searching for her grandmother, Rapunzel escaping her tower, Snow White eating a poisoned apple. But they’re morphed: Cinder is a cyborg and loses a foot and Cress is a computer-hacker and escapes a satellite. Meyer strikes a wonderful balance between reteling stories from long ago while creating something new. She has the hallmark moments, but those moments don’t overwhelm the story. It’s almost as if the story pauses over the moments, acknowledges the source material, and then pulses forward into something entirely new.
While some of her characters get old, the rest are incredibly endearing. Cinder is probably my favorite. For those of you who have been with me for a while, you know I’m a sucker for a good Cinderella retelling and Meyer’s princess has stolen my heart. I mean… she’s a cyborg mechanic! How cool is that? She meets the fairytale requirements, but also throws them off entirely. I also really love Carsewell Thorne, the dashing, obnoxious thief who is the hero of the third installment of the series. Cress is timid to the point of being annoying, but definitely grew on me. I couldn’t help love Winter and Jacin’s relationship. Iko, though, remained one of my favorite characters. Even though she’s an android, she is incredibly human. She’s the perfect companion for Cinder, matching Cinder’s quiet intensity with her bubbly charm. More than once, her swooning and sighing over attractive men and beautiful fashion made me laugh out loud.
I won’t go too far into revealing plot details, but the story doesn’t disappoint. Characters are constantly coming together and becoming separated, various storylines weaving together towards the final conclusion. The final showdown between Cinder and Levanna is extremely satisfying. The happily-ever-after wraps up all the loose ends.
When I reached the end of Winter, all I wanted to do was go back and read the series again. Meyer’s fairytale retellings are endearing, successful, and I know they will grow on me the more time I spend with them.