The Lunar Chronicles Series

Alison Jean Thomas
Cinder

Cinder, the first book in Merissa Meyer's The Lunar Chronicles, was published in 2012 by Feiwal and Friends. The series is a modern twist to classic fairy tales and can be described as futuristic, science-fiction or fantasy. It also contains political intrigue and romance, adding layers of depth to the action.

The Books

Named after their protagonists, Cinder, Scarlet, Cress and Winter, the books form a story you should read in the correct order. Settings vary from China, France, Northern Africa, space and another world called Luna where readers are pulled into an exciting, and sometimes terrifying, alternative universe.

  • Cinder is inspired by the Cinderella tale. Merissa Meyer's research traced it back to the Chinese story Ye Xian, so she used China for the setting. New Beijing is in the grip of plague. Meanwhile, in space, the Lunar people wait to take over. Cinder, a cyborg and therefore second-class citizen, becomes entangled with Prince Kai and mixed up in an intergalactic fight to save the world. (Published January 3, 2012.)
  • Scarlet is the story of Little Red Riding Hood and is set in France because of that country's werewolf myths. Scarlet is trying to find out what has happened to her missing grandmother. She becomes involved with Wolf, who may know where her grandmother is. Scarlet and Wolf meet Cinder while solving the mystery and they find themselves pitted against vicious Lunar Queen Levana. (Published February 5, 2013)
  • Cress
    Cress is based on Rapunzel. Cress has been alone on a satellite since she was a child. She is a hacker who may be able to help Cinder, Captain Thorne, Scarlet and Wolf overthrow Queen Levana. Cinder and Captain Thorne are fugitives with Scarlet and Wolf. Together, they're plotting to overthrow Queen Levana and her army. (Published February 1, 2014)
  • Winter is the story of Snow White. Winter has feelings for her childhood friend, the guard Jacin. She knows her hateful stepmother will be against them. However, Winter is stronger than Levana thinks. She joins Cinder and her friends to try to start a revolution to win the war. (Published November 10, 2015)

Other Books in the Series

Although the Lunar Chronicles ends with Winter, two other books are essential reading for fans.

  • Fairest
    Fairest: Levana's story is the history of Queen Levana and takes place prior to meeting Cinder, Scarlet and Cress. This book gives great emotional and psychological background to the antagonist of the series providing real insight into her motivations. (Published January 27, 2015)
  • Stars Above: Stars Above is a tantalizing collection of stories for kids who can't get enough of the Chronicles. It should be read after the four main books, as a bonus for those who regret their coming to a close. (February 2, 2016)

Basic Premise

The basic premise of The Lunar Chronicles is that of the fight for good against evil, no matter what the personal cost. It has a wealth of themes which are clearly defined and easy for the reader to pick up.

  • Discrimination
  • Loyalty
  • Family
  • Feminism
  • Perseverance
  • Love
  • Control and manipulation, both physical and mental
  • Personal ethics

Awards

The Lunar Chronicles is appropriate for kids from 12 to 18 years. Although there are many love interests between the couples in the books, the relationships are uplifting and nothing graphic or shocking occurs. If you are undecided about whether your kids should read the series it may interest you to know that it has received acclaim and awards for each of its books.

  • Cinder: Among the many awards for Cinder was the New York Charlotte Award Master List. This is significant because it is a balloted award; New York students read the nominated books on the list and vote for the book they prefer.
  • Scarlet: Scarlet was chosen to be on the Tri-State Reviews Committee Books of Note - Master List, which is a compilation of books chosen by schools and libraries in the Tri-State area of Pennsylvania, Delaware and New Jersey.
  • Cress: Cress was the International Literacy Association Young Adult Choices List which is compiled by students with the assistance of team leaders.

You can pick up the Lunar Chronicles from Amazon or from most other book retailers.

Discussion With Your Kids

This is a great series for you to read alongside your kids. You'll find material for avid discussion stemming from the themes, characters and plot, but it is also interesting to see how Marissa Meyer has remained true to the original fairy tales as she interweaves plots and subplots.

The Lunar Chronicles Series