Friday, 6 June 2014

Hearty Books: The Lunar Chronicles

I'm gonna talk about books now. Spoiler free.

These in particular, The Lunar Chronicles, are a series of 4 books (only 3 of which are out right now) that I was not really expecting to like quite so much. My friend Tara, better known as the Queen of Pirates, mentioned she was reading them after she heard some book youtuber she follows raving about them. When she explained what they were about I noticed they ticked quite a few of my boxes, so I went on to the library (oh the joy of having a proper library to use. The library back home is rubbish) and found them. And then I got kind of obsessed. The minute I finished Cinder I needed to get my hands on Scarlet, and the same happened when I finished Scarlet. Proper can't-put-it-down level of hooked. Which is why it's a proper catastrophe that I now need to wait a whole year for Winter to be out.

The first thing you need to know is that these are retellings of classic fairy tales. Specifically, Cinderella (Cinder), Little Red Riding Hood (Scarlet), Rapunzel (Cress) and Snow White (Winter). Actually the similarity between the originals and the adaptations here are the bare minimum. You can't guess what will happen just from your knowledge of the fairy tales. Or, well, not all of it anyway. You know that Cinderella goes to the ball and something goes wrong, but you don't know exactly how it will happen here. The plot is bigger than just the fairy tales, and it gets a bit thicker with every sequel. Meaning, yes, author Marissa Meyer is doing shit right.

But why, you ask, are these so unusual? Remakes of fairytales have been made tons of times already. First thing that comes to my mind right now is TV series Once Upon a Time (and I'm way behind on watching the third season). Well, very few of those remakes are sci-fi. I'm just thinking right now is Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters, which did have a certain steampunk vibe, but in The Lunar Chronicles the sci-fi-ness is so ingrained into the story as to make Cinderella a cyborg, and Rapunzel's tower a satellite orbiting the Earth. Also, it's set on a faraway future (about 2 world wars and 130 or so years away into the future) where Earth is the Earthen Union (consisting of 6 countries: The Eastern Commonwealth, the European Federation, United Kingdom, the African Union, Australia and the American Republic). Then there's the addition of Luna, a proper country of its own in the Moon, with their own race of people genetically mutated from normal earthen humans.

Yeah, well, I'm not intending to give away the plot and stuff, but it's a good one (or a good three, so far, hopefully a good four). There were a couple of annoying bits, like how you really guess way too early Cinder's true identity (I really don't think the author intended us to guess so early into the first book, seeing as the actual revelation is literally at the end of it), and that thing about how everyone on Earth suddenly speaks the same language and it's not clarified until the third book (could've explained sooner). But all in all, good plot, nicely written, great hooking ability, great expectations for the ending book to the series. It also has the added convenience of being easy to find in libraries and such: it should be right next to Twilight. I don't think the authors are related or anything but it's certainly convenient, as Twilight tends to be easy to find.