Love the Epilogue But: Stars Above by Marissa Meyer

The enchantment continues….

The universe of the Lunar Chronicles holds stories—and secrets—that are wondrous, vicious, and romantic. How did Cinder first arrive in New Beijing? How did the brooding soldier Wolf transform from young man to killer? When did Princess Winter and the palace guard Jacin realize their destinies?

With nine stories—five of which have never before been published—and an exclusive never-before-seen excerpt from Marissa Meyer’s upcoming novel, Heartless, about the Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland, Stars Above is essential for fans of the bestselling and beloved Lunar Chronicles.

The Little Android: A retelling of Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Little Mermaid,” set in the world of The Lunar Chronicles.
Glitches: In this prequel to Cinder, we see the results of the plague play out, and the emotional toll it takes on Cinder. Something that may, or may not, be a glitch….
The Queen’s Army: In this prequel to Scarlet, we’re introduced to the army Queen Levana is building, and one soldier in particular who will do anything to keep from becoming the monster they want him to be.
Carswell’s Guide to Being Lucky: Thirteen-year-old Carswell Thorne has big plans involving a Rampion spaceship and a no-return trip out of Los Angeles.
The Keeper: A prequel to the Lunar Chronicles, showing a young Scarlet and how Princess Selene came into the care of Michelle Benoit.
After Sunshine Passes By: In this prequel to Cress, we see how a nine-year-old Cress ended up alone on a satellite, spying on Earth for Luna.
The Princess and the Guard: In this prequel to Winter, we see a game called The Princess
The Mechanic: In this prequel to Cinder, we see Kai and Cinder’s first meeting from Kai’s perspective.
Something Old, Something New: In this epilogue to Winter, friends gather for the wedding of the century…

Source: GoodReads

I have weird feelings about short story collections for series.   Generally, I end up reading them, but there’s always a part of me that feels like I’ve been suckered into reading them.  The first thing that pops into my head is obvious cash cow.

Of course, there can be exceptions to the rule.

Stars Above sort of fits this exception while it is a collection of mostly stories that had been released as free add ons, there are a few new stories in it that make me feel as if I’m investing my money in something other than a glorified bound up edition of freebies.

By far Stars Above’s best story is the epilogue.   Here, it sort of ties up any of the loose ends of Winter and allows the fans to spend a little more time in this universe with these characters and doesn’t rehash old events that we’ve already heard about before.

The sad truth was as much as I enjoyed the epilogue the rest of the stories were a little blah.  Maybe it’s in part because I read them before, but I really felt that I only bought this book for the epilogue and to have all these collections in one bound up edition.  It leaves the reader feeling very weird about things.

And rather than reviewing each of these stories like I should be, I find myself wondering if I should’ve made the purchase or not and if the Lunar Chronicles is becoming the latest cash cow to be milked beyond dry in YA.

To say the least, I’m hoping its not.

Because the Lunar Chronicles is one of my favorite YA series.  However, at this point I am really skeptical because of the release of this short story collection AND a newly announced graphic novel project.

Of course, because I love the series so much I’ll buy it but it does have me worried.

The good news for this series though, is that the quality (at least of Stars Above ) does not defect from the quality of the rest of the series.  As annoying as some of these repeat stories were, at least they still maintained the same quality as the earlier books.   So that was a plus.

I guess objectively I have to give Stars Above Us a high rating.  And to be fair, I did like it.  But there is that part of me, that part that has been burnt by so many YA spinoffs that looks at it weary wondering if it is the first “extra” installment of too many installments of the Lunar Chronicles to come.

Overall Rating: B+ some of the stories really worked, but a lot of them were filler.


A Solid Finale But Not Epic: Winter by Marissa Meyer

Princess Winter is admired by the Lunar people for her grace and kindness, and despite the scars that mar her face, her beauty is said to be even more breathtaking than that of her stepmother, Queen Levana.

Winter despises her stepmother, and knows Levana won’t approve of her feelings for her childhood friend—the handsome palace guard, Jacin. But Winter isn’t as weak as Levana believes her to be and she’s been undermining her stepmother’s wishes for years. Together with the cyborg mechanic, Cinder, and her allies, Winter might even have the power to launch a revolution and win a war that’s been raging for far too long.

Can Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, and Winter defeat Levana and find their happily ever afters?

Source: GoodReads

Winter was a good book, but it was no means epic like I thought it was going to be.

Then again, when you wait almost eighteen months (from Cress) for the next installment what do you expect?

 Well, there was Fairest and I think having read Fairest helped AND hindered my reading experience of Winter.  

Fairest helped feel in a couple of the blanks that I otherwise wouldn’t have gotten had I just read the series without an extras.  It also fleshed out Levana who otherwise would be very one dimensional evil.

I didn’t even feel like Levana should be locked in the funny farm at the end of this installment, she was that bad.

One of the things, that I will give Winter is that although there is a happy-ish outcome the characters really had to work for their ending and not everything was perfect.  Each character is affected by the revolution in different ways.  It really did give you the feels, in all the various sorts of ways.

Like the tile suggests, this book is primarily about Winter.  To be honest, I wasn’t a huge Winter fan.  I think in part because it was so hard to know her.  This might’ve been in part because she was insane, but in a lot of ways I think the various view points were starting to get to the story.  While the well established characters really weren’t effected-much by the switch in point of views-new characters like Winter weren’t as fully formed as I would’ve liked.

Same goes with Jacin, he’s still a little blah.  But you need someone a little blah to be with Winter’s….well, Winter-ness.

As for the other characters, I thought some of the characters might’ve seemed a bit marginalized  and their stories weren’t as well formed in past books.  But I still was emotionally connected for the most part.

Levana is an excellent example of this.  As fully formed as she was in Fairest, she really is reduced to a one note vain villain here (see mentioned comment about no longer wanting her just to be locked up in the funny farm).  As for other characters I didn’t feel like I fully felt their angst with what occurred.  I mean some of the things that happened to the crew were pretty alarming, and you’d would’ve thought…

Going to stop because of spoilers.

I’ll say there was enough, just enough, to make me feel for them, but there could’ve been more.

I know I’m complaining about a lot of things, but really Winter did work.  It tied up all the loose ends in this series nicely and it was overall a pretty amazing series.

If you haven’t picked up the Lunar Chronicles you should.  It’s a fast paced series with a lot of great characters, and it hard to say goodbye.  Though I really do look forward to what Marissa Meyer has planned for the future.

Overall Rating: An A- I liked this book but there were some obvious faults.