Nothing new under the sun is a common sentiment when it comes to remakes or retellings of popular books and movies. And while oftentimes that feeling might ring true when we read a classic work that has been redone, Marissa Meyer’s teen series The Lunar Chronicles breaks through.
The Lunar Chronicles is a 4-book series that reimagines classic fairy tales and weaves them into completely new and exciting futuristic fairy tales featuring Cinderella, Snow White, Red Riding Hood, and Rapunzel. Meyer really turns these classics on their head by spinning them into a space opera chock full of cyborgs, resistance fighters, scientifically engineered hybrid assassins, unstable yet supremely powerful rulers, computer hackers, and one charismatic Casanova space pirate.
The series begins with Linh or “Cinder”, a cyborg and second-class citizen in the plague infested city of New Beijing. Her life changes when the crown prince Kai secretly hires her to repair an old robot for him, even as New Beijing prepares for the arrival of the cruel and powerful Lunar Queen Levana. As Kai tries to find a way to avoid marrying Levana to avert a war, Cinder discovers she is immune to the terrible plague sweeping across Asia—starting her on the path to discovering her long-forgotten past and just how important she may be to the Earth’s future.
Meyer truly has a knack for writing well-developed and distinct characters in this series. Though Linh Cinder is the heroine of the overall story, each installment in the series features its own new heroine (and love story)—the fiery Scarlet, the lonely and naïve Cress, and the fragile and scarred Princess Winter whose stories all weave into Cinder’s.
In my experience, it is rare to find a series that actually gets better and better with each book and is consistently full of memorable and strong characters. The Lunar Chronicles is a richly-imagined, refined sci-fi series that never lets its fairy tale roots get in the way of Meyer’s own epic, romantic, exciting story. I’d definitely recommend this series for those who like their fairy tales served with a little bit of revolution mixed in.
Check out the whole Lunar Chronicles series and other great teen books at the Sioux City Public Library.
Support for Check It Out comes from Avery Brothers.