Brace yourselves: I’ve found a new fandom.
It’s called the Lunar Chronicles. It’s set in a high-tech, quasi-dystopian future, a conflict between Earth and the Moon. The heroines are Cinderella, Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel, and Snow White. The villain is an evil queen who eats all other Evil Queens™ for breakfast. And I am going to cosplay all of them. ALL OF THEM.
Seriously, the characters in this series are great. Queen Leavana is ambitous and evil and beautiful and yet I have genuine sympathy for her loss of beauty and love. I’m currently about halfway through Fairest. The supporting villain I enjoyed the most was Head Thaumaturge Sybil Mira. She’s the perfect sycophant to Lavana, and she’s also a boss in her own right. And did I mention that I really want a Thaumaturge coat?
The futuristic setting of Earth and Luna is spectacular and dazzling and, of course, lightyears ahead of our society. If I’m not such a huge fan of the science in science fiction, how did I take this setting? Spaceships, satellites, flying cars? Cool enough. Androids? Awesome. Implanted ID trackers on every Earthen? Borderline disturbing. Suspended animation tanks, cyborgs, transformations into mutant monsters--that made me shudder. Just enough. And the fighting gets really bloody as the series goes on. Bloody without being overly descriptive.
I first picked up Cinder in January on the recommendation of a couple of friends. The further I got in Cinder, the harder it got to put it down. Linh Cinder is everything I am and aspire to be. I don’t know that I relate to her much as a cyborg (although I do have an occasionally photographic memory), but she does have this sense that she is broken and incomplete, that she’s not like everyone else. And she has to deal with it every day. She’s unsure of herself, but she wants to do the right thing. I love that she’s a mechanic. She’s independent, strong, courageous, talented, smart, and, she is kind to people who need kindness, but she takes zero crap from anyone who wants to give her a hard time. I never thought I could like a Cinderella as much as I like Cinder.
If I can’t be Scarlet, then she’s the kind of person that at least I want to be friends with. She’s the sterotypical fiery French girl and redhead but without being a sterotype. When she wants something, she gets it.
Cress is kind of a pushover at times, and she doesn’t do much for me. In fact she kind of reminds me of my gullible side--more than I am comfortable to admit. But she has her moments. Moments when she really comes through for the team.
I relate to Winter’s...lack of sanity. Scarlet and Winter are my BrOTP. They don’t really like each other--well, Scarlet doesn’t really like Winter--but they rely on each other to survive and kind of develop an interesting chemistry.
Also, Ryu :'(
The Lunar Chronicles also features several intertwined love stories. I’m not a huge fan of romance, but set against the background of a high-stakes space battle, these love stories were quite enjoyable. Now, for Cress and Thorne, it took a while for me to be convinced that Thorne actually liked her, and I’m not sure Cress is more than just infatuated by the end. But there’s room for this ship to grow on me...if the Tangled crossover fanart doesn't do me in first.
|See what I mean? (Pinterest)|
Thorne is kind of a jerk, but he comes to feel responsible for Cress. Thorne has never been able to get anything easily in life, even though he’s the kind of guy who wants to have everything easy. But he is a good companion for Cinder. And I think he has a great bromance going with Kai.
Kai and Cinder are the purest ship in this series, one of the purest ships ever. My favorite scene is at the end of Cress when Cinder finally gets a chance to explain to Kai what’s going on and that she’s the lost Lunar princess. More than that, she finally gets to be open with him about her struggles and her being a cyborg. And he just accepts her.
Kai is just...so perfect. I don’t blame Iko for idolizing him. But it’s not just because of his looks. He’s willing to do everything for his country. (the Eastern Commonwealth, which is a big conglomeration of China, India, and most of Asia--seriously the way the Earthen Union is cut up you would think it was Risk.) Anyway, Kai: he’s almost too self-sacrificing, but then again he gets put under a LOT of duress. But he’s willing to stake the safety of the planet Earth on the legend of a lost Princess and his love for a cyborg girl--who happen to be the same person. I just can’t even with Kai.
The ending was kind of less than satisfying. But for crying out loud Cinder is still a teenager--yes, give her a few years to grow up and find herself.
By the end of the series, I’m convinced that Scarlet/Wolf are more Beauty and the Beast than Red Riding Hood/Creeper. It follows a classic trope pretty closely but in a way that’s as refreshing as...farm-fresh tomatoes? I don’t even like tomatoes that much. I’m really upset that Wolf ended up having the full mutant treatment, but if Scarlet’s okay with it then I can try to be okay with it. Honestly it’s not very fair and I think Wolf deserved better, but that’s just me. But Scarlet is 18: she can do what she wants. Wolf is a pretty typical struggling/suffering character. He’s insecure, he loses EVERYTHING, Scarlet is literally the one thing going for him.
|well, maybe he doesn't look so bad in this illustration|
Jacin and Winter are sort of upstaged by the time we get to their part of the story. But what’s interesting about Jacin is that Winter is his motivation for everything. And he’s willing to play both sides--play along with Cinder’s conspiracy to overthrow Leavana and then sell out the Rampion crew--to protect her.
The supporting cast--golly, I love these people. Dmitri Erland is a “good guy” who acts an awful lot like a bad guy. He kills lots--I mean LOTS of cyborgs just to find Selene. And he traffics Lunar Shells just to find his long-lost daughter. Eat your heart out, Severus Snape.
Kai’s adviser Konn Torin is the dad of the series without actually being anyone’s dad. He’s able to see both sides of the issues he and Kai faced, and he lowkey encourages Kai to join Cinder’s rebellion. He’s just so steady and steadfast. Everyone else runs around like crazy, and Torin keeps everything together.
Iko is awesome. She’s basically Cinder’s actual Mom figure. And Cinder loves her back a lot. And I love her journey from robot to ship’s computer to escort android that’s not afraid to kick butt. It's cool to see her getting a lot of love on Pinterest.
I love the burst of new enthusiasm and energy that comes from discovering a new story. I am going to enjoy being a part of this fandom, rereading the books, collecting fan art and headcanons, meeting other fans, and I hope, contributing to the story. If you are a Lunar Chronicles fan, come and find me and tell me what you love about it. Here’s to new frontiers of the imagination!