A while ago I heard about the Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer, a series of science fiction books geared for young adults that take and twist a few of the common fairy tales on their head. The first is Cinder which follows a young earth cyborg who lost a few limbs in a car accident when she was young. She lives with her foster mother and foster sisters and generally has a crappy life, until the prince shows up in her workshop one day with an android for her to fix. The second book is Scarlet, which follows a young woman from the farmlands as she’s catapulted from her normal sleepy life to rebel by the disappearance of her grandmother.
If you can’t tell, these two books twist the Cinderella and Red Riding Hood fairy tales onto their heads and create a new, and fun, environment for these characters to play in. I was pleasantly surprised when I cracked these open to find that the writing is actually excellent. After Twilight and some of the other pieces of trash writing that have become popular, the Lunar Chronicles are witty, well structured, and definitely designed to lure a younger audience into a fun reading adventure. When Cinder ends, you cannot wait to get your hands on Scarlet. And when Scarlet ends, its just not fair because Cress, the third installment, doesn’t come out for a long time yet.
The only drawback I find to these stories, at all, was the fact that it feels like Meyer had this great idea for reinterpreting fairy tales, but then when she actually got started on the project, the story got away from her and become something much more, and very different from, these fairytales. I kind of wish she had done away entirely with the overt references to the tales in the name and everything, and had let the fairy tale element become background, subtle details that only an observant reader would catch. It would have made the influence of the tales a flavor rather than an identity that just doesn’t quite fit them anymore.
Overall though, I would highly recommend these to anyone who enjoys a fast-paced science fiction/fantasy with strong female characters. This is one series I am glad it is selling as well as it is and am happy to throw my support behind.