Contrary to popular belief, heroes are not always perfectly behaved and villains are not always evil. In fact, heroes sometimes act out of spite or self-interest, and villains sometimes act selflessly to help other people. In this story, both the Renegades and the Anarchists are comprised of prodigies — people with special powers, much like the X-Men — but their vastly different ideologies have placed them on opposite sides of the hero-villain spectrum. The Anarchists honestly believe that society would fare better without so much governmental oversight and interference, i.e. with anarchy. The Renegades, on the other hand, think that they are doing society a favor by overseeing everyone and bringing back law and order. Though both sides think their way would be best for the greater good, neither side seems capable of seeing the other side’s point of view.
Enter Nova, aka Nightmare.
Nova was raised by her Uncle Ace [the leader of the Anarchists] after the Renegades failed to protect her family. Nova has been consumed by a desire to avenge their deaths for as long as she can remember, but none of her plans seem to work out. Luckily, the Anarchists have an alternate plan that just might work. Because the Renegades don’t know Nightmare’s true identity, the Anarchists decide to send Nova to Renegade try-outs so that they can use her to gather intel and take down the Renegades from the inside. Of course, it doesn’t take long for Nova, who takes on the Renegade name of Insomnia, to start to feel conflicted. Not only does she start to fall for a guy who is a part of the Renegades, but she starts to see *why* the Renegades operate the way they do and that their methods actually have some merit to them. What’s a girl to do?!?
A while back, I decided to stop posting about the subsequent books in the various series I’m reading. This was for a variety of reasons, but the two most important reasons were because (1) it was just too tough to keep up with all of the series I am interested in finishing and (2) I wanted to provide more variety for my blog readers. Well… I am going to have to break that rule today because I just have to tell y’all about Stars Above!
First of all, I think it’s important to note that some of this story takes place before Cinder, and some of it takes place after Winter. If you haven’t yet read the other books in the Lunar Chronicles yet, do yourself a favor and GO READ THEM FIRST! 😉
I really enjoyed the opportunity to look at the stories we’ve already read through the eyes of different characters (like when Kai first meets Cinder, as told through his perspective), and the fact that readers have a chance to get a little more background on characters like Michelle Benoit and Carswell Thorne. But I think my favorite story in the collection was “The Little Android,” which was a retelling of Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Little Mermaid.” Meyer’s unique adaptation of fairytale characters (Cinder from Cinderella, Scarlet from Little Red Riding Hood, Winter from Snow White, and Cress from Rapunzel) is one of the things I love the most about this series, so I was glad to get a “bonus” tale in this collection of stories. It’s hard to believe I waited almost a full year after it was published to actually get around to reading it, but I guess that is what happens when your TBR pile is out of control… 😉
Not only does this book continue the fantastic Cinder storyline, but it adds a few new characters into the mix! The title character, Scarlet Benoit, is a teenage girl who has been raised by her grandmother on a small vegetable farm in Rieux, France. Her grandmother recently went missing, and while Scarlet is sure something must be very wrong for her grandmother to have left home without her portscreen [or even her ID chip], no one else seems very worried at all. Michelle Benoit is a kind and beloved, albeit eccentric, farmer who has no known enemies [as far as Scarlet believes, anyhow]. And because there is not any evidence of foul play, the police claim they have no choice but to dismiss the case. Scarlet is pretty sure a street fighter named Wolf knows something that could help but, though she is inexplicably drawn to him, she isn’t sure if she can bring herself to trust him. I can’t really say any more without spoiling it, but trust me when I say that this series just keeps getting better! And, since The Lunar Chronicles will have at least two more installments — Cress is due out in 2014 and Winter is due out in 2015 — fans have plenty more to look forward to before the series ends.
Based on the fact that this is my 3rd post of the week, I’m guessing it’s pretty obvious that I was stuck in bed with the flu for most of last weekend and had some extra time to read! As I prepared to review Scarlet [the second book of The Lunar Chronicles], however, I realized that I never reviewed Cinder [the first book of The Lunar Chronicles]. I decided to hold back my review of Scarlet until next week so I could first posted something about Cinder now. 🙂
There are a lot of fairy tale retellings out there, but I was especially impressed by the fact that Cinder was both evocative of Cinderella and a major departure from the original story. In this story, Cinder is a 16-year-old cyborg who constantly works to support and care for her evil step-mother and her two step-sisters. She rarely has time for herself, but does her best not to complain because she knows her step-mother could easily “volunteer” her to be a test subject for letumosis [plague] vaccines instead. While working in her booth at the market place one afternoon, she finds herself face-to-face with Prince Kai. As it turns out, Cinder’s reputation as the best mechanic in New Beijing led Prince Kai to disguise himself so he could meet her and ask whether she would be willing and able to fix his droid, Nainsi, who suddenly stopped working.
Immediately after this clandestine meeting, though, Cinder’s entire life is turned upside-down because her step-sister Peony contracts letumosis and is put into quarantine. Not only is Cinder worried about losing one of the only people in the world who actually cares about her, but her step-mother is blaming her for Peony’s illness! Trying to balance her regular responsibilities, her promise to help Prince Kai, and her desire to help Peony, nevertheless, proves extremely difficult. And while many girls in New Beijing would give anything to dance with Prince Kai at the upcoming ball, Cinder couldn’t care less about attending… She has too many other things to worry about. Yeah — this is definitely *not* your typical Cinderella story.