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Fairy tales for Young Adults

February 12, 2019

    Fairy tales are for little kids, right? According to the Oxford Dictionary, a fairy tale is "​A children's story about magical and imaginary beings and lands". 
    Personally, I've never been a big fairy tale enthusiast. Sure, I've always loved Disney's interpretations of the imaginary worlds of princesses and talking animals, but my interests have never gone beyond that.  I always thought every story was the same as any other, being retold in different adaptations. In other words, the stories somewhat bored me.
    I grew up believing that fairy tales were dull until I began to read YA fiction; my absolute favorite genre. 
    When I began to read young adult fiction, I started with the popular ones: The Hunger Games, Divergent, and The Maze Runner. As my love for young adult fiction grew, so did my collection of books. I was constantly on the look-out for new series to read. And one day, I stumbled across a young adult fiction series that changed my judgement toward fairy tales: The Lunar Chronicles.
    The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer is a tetralogy series in which each chapter is in a different character's perspective. Along with the four novels, there's also a prequel told in the story's antagonist's point of view, and another prequel in the perspectives of each of the six main characters, along with an epilogue.
    The first novel is titled Cinder. In this novel, the female protagonist is introduced. Linh Cinder is a 16-year-old human-cyborg who lives in New Beijing with her two stepsisters and her stepmother. According to Marissa Meyer, Cinder is 64% human and 36% cyborg due to a traumatic childhood accident (readers will find out through many plot twists what caused this childhood event). Cinder is a stubborn mechanic (and a very talented one) who surprisingly gains the interest of New Beijing's prince, Kaito. As the story proceeds, readers come to know about a fatal disease outbreak, in which Cinder's cruel stepmother volunteers Cinder for plague research. In addition, Princess Levana, the obvious antagonist, plans to marry Prince Kaito and kill him to have the throne to herself. As Cinder learns about Levana's plans as well as more about herself and Prince Kaito, she lands herself in prison, where the novel ends. Throughout the novel, readers realize that this story is based off of the fairytale, Cinderella, with a few sci-fi tweaks. 
    Scarlet, the sequel to Cinder, withholds the same characters and plotline, but adds two main characters: Wolf and Scarlet. Scarlet is a feisty 18-year-old who lives with her beloved grandmother in France. However, Scarlet returns home one night and discovers her grandmother is missing. With the help of a friend, she discovers Wolf, a street-fighter who used to belong to a "pack," who helps her find her grandmother. Along the way, Wolf and Scarlet develop romantic feelings for each other, until Wolf betrays Scarlet in an unexpected way. Meanwhile, Cinder, who's still in prison, befriends a fellow prisoner, captain Carswell Thorne, and they plan to escape prison. Cinder and Scarlet cross paths and eventually team up after a surprising plot-twist takes place. It's understood that Scarlet is a futuristic Little Red Riding Hood. 
    The third installment is Cress, and is about a prisoner cast into space by an evil guardian. Cress is a shy, but sweet computer hacker whose prison is a satellite orbiting Earth. It's obvious that she represents a futuristic Rapunzel when Meyer mentions Cress's lengthy blonde hair. Cinder's crew contacts Cress and agrees to rescue her from her prison. However, Cress's cruel captor, Sybil, finds out she plans to escape, and imprisons Scarlet. The royal guard, Jacin, brought Sybil to Cress's satellite prison but decides to join Cinder's side although they are now all separated from each other. Cress and Thorne, inside his malfunctioning spaceship (thanks to the encounter with Sybil), crash into the middle of an African desert. Cress, who has romantic feelings for the flirtatious and handsome captain Thorne, discovers that because of the impact of the crash, Thorne is now blind from hitting his head. At one point as Cress and Thorne are fighting enemies, Thorne says, "Cress, do me a favor. Make sure I don't shoot anyone we like." The crew eventually reunites and tries to stop the royal wedding between Prince Kaito and Princess Levana.
    Winter is the fourth and final installment of the Lunar Chronicles, excluding Fairest and Stars Above, which are both prequels. Princess Winter is known for her kindness as well as her mental illness, which causes hallucinations. Jacin, a royal guard who was previously mentioned in Cress, has known and cared for Princess Winter since they were young. Meanwhile, Cinder's crew makes plans to take down Princess Levana once and for all, since she has caused so much destruction and death on Earth. Winter and Jacin eventually end up siding with Cinder's crew as they defy against Levana and her large army.
    This series is one of my favorites because readers fall in love with every character. Each character has a unique personality, connection to the plot, and physical features, which allows all readers to relate to the story in some way. Meyer even mentioned, "I really loved developing the characters and getting to spend so much time with them, and watch them grow and mature over the course of the story." Meyer is an inspiration for writers, and I look up to her as an aspiring author. Her characters make me laugh out loud, cry, and smile because she made them so endearing and relatable. I recommend this series because of the many surprising plot twists. And even if you don't like fairy tales, these books will definitely make you reconsider. Fans of sci-fi, romance, action, adventure, and fairy tales will find common ground in reading this series.



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  • February 12, 2019 - 7:23pm (Now Viewing)

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  • mariawerner27

    @Quille you're so sweet! Thank you so very much : ) That means a lot to me. I've read some of your pieces and love them!

    8 months ago
  • Quille

    Wow! I love this; totally unbiased feeling, but definitely pro :D I'll have to see if I can find these books at our library, very interested now :DDD
    Good luck in the contest!! :DD

    8 months ago
  • mariawerner27

    @weirdo I'll have to look at yours! Thank you for reading.

    8 months ago
  • weirdo

    I really like you beginning with a definition from the Oxford Dictionary. I kinda laughed when I saw this though because I did the exact same thing with mine, except with a different book of course.

    8 months ago