Book 1: Cinder
When I saw the cover to this one I had my doubts. Cinder was such a new and different house built on a reliable foundation that my expectations were high for the next book. Scarlet has lost her grandmother to kidnappers and is frantically trying to find her when she meets up with Wolf (HUUUUUUUGE EYEROLL) who agrees to help her because his former gang had probably captured her for military secrets she may hold. It turns out that the army we heard about in Cinder was a bunch of altered Lunars with sharpened teeth and wolfish instincts.
Scarlet’s story is set in France, and we learn that her grandmother served in the air force. We alternate between Scarlet and Wolf’s journey and Cinder’s escape from prison. To be honest I endured the Scarlet parts because I was so invested in whether Cinder was going to make it (and given that there are like 2 or 3 more books in this series, I’m assuming she does), but then the Scarlet story suddenly gets interesting when we discover that her grandmother may have had a hand in Cinder’s past, and because of that she may have affected Scarlet’s future.
I don’t feel like it’s a spoiler to say that all the good guys find their way to each other in the end. We have Cinder, her android friend Iko, Captain Thorne (Sleeping Beauty foreshadowing?), Wolf (eyeroll), and Scarlet. I was skeptical about this again but it ended well and this fairy tale stone continues to gather moss as we move forward. I’m kind of digging the ragtag band fighting evil and experiencing self-discovery and transformation.
Something that is reemphasized is the creation of a device that had been installed in Cinder. When it was removed in the first book she was able to use her Lunar gifts again. In this book we find that it had been surgically installed in Scarlet’s grandmother (a human) and it allowed her to resist the Lunar deceptions. Apparently these were both prototypes, but questions are starting to be asked about mass production to protect the humans of Earth against Queen Levana, who is basically declaring war on Earth, but it was a passing conversation with future implications. There is a lot going on in these books other than the reimagining of the fairy tales, and the political shenanigans are very interesting by themselves.
I’m not sure why every time I start one of these Lunar Chronicle books I have greased my eye sockets ready for intense eye rolling, but by the end I’m like WHAT HAPPENS NEXT but hey, it’s nice to have preconceived notions wiped away with pleasant surprises. This series is a set of pleasant, enjoyable surprises – go get it and start. I’ll be moving on to the next book: Cress.