This review contains *spoilers*.
I had to take a few hours off from my life after I finished this book so I could recover enough to review it.
When I read Winter back in November I had prepared myself to say goodbye to the
wonderful characters in this book. The closer I got to that dreadful last page the longer I tried to make it last- I realized that I was not ready to say goodbye and was immensely grateful when I found out that I wouldn’t have to separate from my favorite series for another few months because Stars Above was coming out.
But now that it’s here, it’s even harder to say goodbye. The characters in this book all have a special place in my heart and I’m (still) so, so grateful that nobody died.
Ratings for each of the stories:
The Keeper: 4.5/5 stars
“Cinders. Embers. Ashes. Michelle hoped that whatever strength had allowed this child to survive the fire all those years ago was a strength that still burned inside her. That it would go on burning, hotter and hotter, until she was as bright as the rising sun.”
Stars, I loved loved loved reading more about Michelle Benoit. When we first heard about her in The Lunar Chronicles I instantly wanted to know more (about her mission to Luna, her relationship with Logan, her relationship with Scarlet… ).
And little baby Scarlet was adorable I kept imagining her with one of her front teeth missing and it’s just too cute. Scarlet is one of my favorite characters from this series. She is brave, sweet, strong and I will always want to know more about her.
“The train entered a new station and she squeezed her backpack against her side and tried to look grouchy as new passengers boarded. She exuded her best “leave me alone” vibes.”
Scarlet on that train ride was 100% me.
Glitches: 4/5 stars
“I have a glitch, too. Sometimes I forget that I’m not human. I don’t think that happens to most androids.”
I read this short story right after I finished reading Winter, so this was a reread for me —and it’s still as good as I remembered it to be.
Glitches explains how Cinder came to live with Adri and the girls and how she didn’t remember anything of her previous life. It was heartbreaking, and it definitely worked to increase my love of Peony, Iko, and Cinder. I missed these characters so much.
“Who’s Prince Kai?”
Peony spun toward her so fast, she tripped on the skirts of Adri’s kimono and fell, screaming, onto her bed. “Who’s Prince Kai?” she yelled, struggling to sit back up. “Only my future husband! Honestly, don’t girls in Europe know about him?”
The Queen’s Army: 4/5 stars
“He would be brave—so his brother would not see his fear. He would be strong for him.”
This story was also a reread for me and I forgot just how much I loved Wolf.
It was interesting having a little bit of background on him because I always want to know more about my favorite characters. The Queen’s Army was definitely on the darker side- the whole concept of Levana’s army is terrifying. And watching the army take Wolf from his family made me tear up .
Carswell’s Guide to Being Lucky: 4/5 stars
Oh, Captain Thorne, how I missed you.
This is a super fun and quick read that I giggled at in a few places (only Carswell can make me giggle).
This story was actually mentioned in Cress— when Captain Thorne and Cress talk about how young Carswell defended a girl and then got suspended for it.
It was really interesting seeing the actions of a younger Thorne, and it honestly made my heart grow even fonder of him.
After Sunshine Passes By: 4/5 stars
“Sweet Crescent Moon, up in the sky,
You sing your song so sweetly after sunshine passes by.”
This is the story of how Sybil placed Crescent Moon in that horrible satellite. Cress is such a sweet character and I had tears in my eyes when she thought that Sybil was going to take her somewhere nice to reward her for all of her hard work.
“She’d been so focused on going to Earth. So excited about trees and oceans and cities …
And now she didn’t have any of that. She didn’t even have the dormitory or the other shells anymore.”
The Princess and the Guard: 4/5 stars
I’m in love with Jacin’s love for Winter.
“There was no safe place. Not in Artemisia. Not on all of Luna.
When her screams succumbed to hysterical sobbing, Jacin finally allowed his hold to turn from the grip of a jailer to the embrace of her best friend.
“This is why,” he whispered, and it occurred to Winter that, at some point, he’d started crying too. “This is why I can’t leave you, Winter. This is why I’ll never leave.”
In this story we discover in depth why Winter decided to not use her Lunar gift.
A part of this was mentioned in the book Winter, when the servant tried to kill herself and Winter “saved” her by using her Lunar gift. But then the princess finds out why the servant had wanted to jump of the edge- and she vows to never use her gift again.
This is where I got really emotional.
“Winter’s entire world was spinning and it occurred to her with sudden clarity that this was wrong. Her training sessions. The thaumaturges. The entire Lunar gift. The power that the strong, like she and the queen and Aimery, held over the weak. Like this servant girl. Like Jacin.
Like Winter’s father.”
The Mechanic: 5/5 stars
The girl—Cinder—nodded. “How can I help you?”
Kai stared at the top of her head.
The renown. The reputation. The approval rating.
New Beijing’s best mechanic was … a teenager?”
It’s been almost a year since I first read Cinder, so I’d forgotten how cute Kai and Cinder were when they first met.
And Iko had me laughing so hard I had tears in my eyes, I love her!
“Iko, please pay your respects to our customer … His Imperial Highness.
The android’s sensor flashed as she scanned Kai’s face. “Prince Kai,” she said, her voice taking on the unexpected tinge of a sigh. “You are even more handsome in person.”
Kai laughed—a sudden, uncontrollable laugh that burst out of him before he could reel it back.”
Something Old, Something New: 5/5 stars
“I wanted a quiet, intimate wedding, not a circus.”
Thorne leaned against the staircase rail. “It’s the first known Lunar-Earthen wedding in generations, the groom is a bioengineered wolf-human hybrid, and you invited the emperor of the Eastern Commonwealth and an ex–Lunar Queen. What did you expect?”
Scarlet glared at him. “I am marrying the man that I love, and I invited my friends to celebrate with us. I expected a little bit of privacy.”
Wolf and Scarlet are getting MARRIED. I had no idea that they were getting married. THANK YOU Marissa Meyer for that pleasant surprise. Scarlet and Wolf are one of my favorite couples from this series and they are getting married. I’m still freaking out.
“Oh, Scarlet,” Cress sighed. “You’re getting married. It’s all like a dream.”
“I guess it sort of is,” Scarlet agreed, her cheeks flushing pink around her freckles.”
I missed them all so much. I love Thorne and Cress and Scarlet and Wolf and Cinder and Iko and Kai and Winter and Jacin. I’m in love with all of them.
“Hey, Cinder,” Thorne said, pacing to the opening that separated the entryway from a humble sitting room. “Remember when we were here before? When we were just two crazy fugitives, on the run from the law?”
Yes Thorne, I do remember- don’t make me cry harder.
And the reunion between them all- ahhh I couldn’t handle it. I love Marissa Meyer for writing it so beautifully.
“I told them that was the dulcet roar of a Rampion’s engines,” said Kai, “but they all insisted it was just another media hover flying over.”
Cinder crossed her arms over her chest. “You’re an expert on the sound levels of spaceships now, are you?”
“Nah,” said Kai. “I’ve just been waiting to hear that sound all day.”
She smiled at him, feeling the hummingbird flutter of her own pulse. He smiled back.
“Aces,” said Thorne with a low groan. “They haven’t even kissed yet and they’re already making me nauseous.”
Oh, how I missed Thorne’s snarky remarks.
I can’t even begin to explain how happy Something Old, Something New made me, it was the most beautiful impromptu wedding ever created.
“Wolf took a step closer so that he towered over Scarlet, creating what could have been a moment of intimacy if the room hadn’t been so crowded. “So? Will you marry me?”
Scarlet started to smile.
“Wait. Before you answer that,” said Thorne, gesturing around the room, “you should know that the store where we got all this stuff doesn’t take returns.”
Casting her gaze skyward, Scarlet said, “Well, in that case. Yes. Yes, of course I will.”
Also, I finally found out the answer to my most pressing question in an interview The Guardian did with Marissa Meyer:
Are the characters of Thorne and Cress in any way inspired by Flynn and Rapunzel from the Disney movie Tangled?
Surprisingly, no! I had actually completed the first draft of Cress before Tangled came out, and I remember going to see the movie in theaters and having a jaw-dropping moment and thinking: Hey, that’s my cocky bandit thief! There are so many examples of similar things cropping up in the same time in our culture or media, and this was definitely one of them. It’s so weird how that happens!