I just finished reading Book three of The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer, and let me just say OH MY GOD. This is kind of a book review mixed with a teaching post. Anyway, The Lunar Chronicles, thus far are three books. Cinder, Scarlet, and Cress. (Which is kind of a lazy way of naming books, because they’re just character names, but hey. It works.)
I’ll post the synopses of the first, but the other two I won’t because that would be some major spoilers.
Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless Lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl. . . .
Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.
Now, I don’t read much science fiction, it’s just never been my cup of tea. But I read The Lunar Chronicles because I’d seen the book trailer for Cress and I was like… That sounds bad ass. So I looked up the books and bought them on my kindle. Read all three of them in like a week. They’re amazing. I loved them as both a reader AND a writer. I love it when that happens. Because not only did I enjoy the book, it taught me things. I’ll tell you some of those things and also this, if you’re a writer OR a reader, check out these books. They’re great.
So. What I learned.
Don’t Explain Anything
I know it sounds counterproductive, but especially if you’re writing science fiction or fantasy, you don’t want to explain the world to your readers. Give them credit. Readers are smarter than we often give them credit for. When I was reading Cinder, I was first confused about the world, and then as I continued reading, I didn’t care. Marissa Meyer has mastered the art of giving you just enough information to keep you interested.
Misunderstandings and Coincidences
Basically, they have to make sense. Books two and three, Scarlet and Cress respectively, were full of these. And it was great. Because characters made assumptions based on small pieces of information and person conjecture, and they were wrong. Now, that’s fine, and normal even, but what made it even better, was the fact that you, as the reader, KNEW that they were wrong. But the conclusions that they came to made sense.
That’s misunderstandings. Now for coincidences. I noticed it especially in book three. Characters split up, bad things happen, and they reunite without meaning to. But, it made sense. I’m being honestly obtuse, because I don’t want to spoil anything, and honestly, that was one of the greatest surprises.
Basically, motivations, back story, etc. Simply put, they have to have it. You have to know it, but the readers doesn’t, necessarily. Marissa Meyer doled it out a little bit at a time. Honestly, the antagonist wasn’t explicitly named until… Well, halfway through the first novel? I think. Yet we didn’t know much about her aside from her race until the next book. Even then, we didn’t know much about her personally until nearly the end of book three.
Now, I’m not saying you have to agree with the antagonist, or feel sorry for him/her/them. Honestly, I HATE Levana. You’re meant to.
Cinder is called YA – Young Adult, but I hate that classification of books. To me, YA is a redundant classification. I didn’t start reading YA books, until highschool. When I was in middle school, I was reading adult books. Example- I read the Lord of the Rings trilogy in middle school. So Young Adult? What does that even mean? Bleh. My point is, when choosing a book to read. Don’t look at whether it’s YA or “normal”, look at the genre. YA is not a genre. Science fiction is a genre, and it’s what I consider The Lunar Chronicles to be. -End of Rant-