The fantastic Lunar Chronicles series came to a close in 2015 with the publication of the final novel in the series, Winter. But wait! It’s not quite as finished as it seemed… because here we are in 2016 and we have a final FINAL volume in our hands.
Stars Above is a collection of stories that tie in and around the main characters and events of the novels, with most taking place in the years prior to the start of the series. The collection includes four previously published stories and five that are brand new.
So what’s inside Stars Above? Read on…
“The Keeper” (new): Ah, some backstory! “The Keeper” focuses on Michelle Benoit and her role in Cinder’s early years. As readers of the series know, Cinder was rescued from an almost successful murder attempt by her aunt Levana and hidden on Earth for years, while all of Luna believed her dead. In “The Keeper”, we see how Cinder was first entrusted to Michelle’s care and how she kept Cinder hidden and safe, all the while trying to provide a loving, secure home for her niece Scarlet. It’s a sweet story, and gives us a glimpse of events that we’ve heard reference to, but which we’d never learned many details about.
“Glitches” (previously published): “Glitches” follows “The Keeper” chronologically, as we see Cinder’s arrival in New Beijing and her introduction to the family of Linh Garan, her protector and adoptive father. Cinder is newly awakened and adjusts both to her new environment and her new status as a cyborg.
“The Queen’s Army” (previously published): This story shows Wolf’s transition from ordinary Lunar child to fierce, modified soldier serving the queen, showing his physical transformation and emotional struggles as well as his development into the pack Alpha.
“Carswell’s Guide To Being Lucky” (previously published): What was Carswell Thorne like as a teen-aged boy? Probably exactly what you’ve imagined — a total flirt, a guy who uses his charm to get his way, and a consummate swindler who seems to always know how to work the crowd. But even as a self-satisfied teen, Carswell still dreams of his future in space…
“After Sunshine Passes By” (new): Oh, so sweet and sad. This new tale introduces us to 9-year-old Cress, a Lunar shell kept alive with other outcasts like herself just for their value as scientific specimens. But Cress is a sweetie and a dreamer and imagines someday being of actual value, maybe even finally being accepted into society. What she gets instead is years of isolation in an orbiting jail… and this story shows how it all came about.
“The Princess and the Guard” (new): Lovely little Princess Winter’s early years are shown in this story, as we see her growing up in the palace and being trained to use her Lunar gift, until she begins to become aware of the danger and cruelty inherent in having such manipulative power. We see Winter’s decision to abandon her gift, even at the risk of madness, the cruelty of Levana, and how Jacin set his course in life with protecting Winter as his top priority.
“The Little Android” (previously published): I loved this story when I first read it, and I love it still. “The Little Android” is only tangentially connected to the characters of the Lunar Chronicles, as the android of the title has a brief meeting with the mechanic Linh Cinder. What this story truly is is an imaginative and moving retelling of the Little Mermaid fairy tale — not the pretty Disney version, but the tragic yet lovely story by Hans Christian Andersen. “The Little Android” makes a great stand-alone, but as part of this collection, shows yet another side of the Lunar Chronicles world.
“The Mechanic” (new): We’ve seen Kai and Cinder’s first meeting in the marketplace from Cinder’s perspective already. Here in “The Mechanic”, we get the same meeting as seen through Kai’s eyes. It’s fun to get the royal view, and to see the crown prince already struggling to fulfill his responsibilities to his people while at the same time being a teen boy who has just spotted a fascinating and surprising girl.
“Something Old, Something New” (new): As the title suggests, this final story in the collection is all about the Happily Ever After that our beloved characters have truly earned! The whole gang gathers for Scarlet and Wolf’s wedding, and there are romantic moments galore for all of the couples. This story really ties up the entire series with all the hearts and flowers and giddy joy we readers could possibly hope for.
Stars Above includes an excerpt from Heartless, the new stand-alone novel by Marissa Meyer scheduled for publication this coming fall. The blurb reads:
Long before she was the terror of Wonderland — the infamous Queen of Hearts — she was just a girl who wanted to fall in love.
Sounds good, right? I generally prefer not to read excerpts, so I skipped this one… but for those who can’t resist a sneak peek at the next book, it’s yet another reason to pick up a copy of Stars Above.
All in all, Stars Above is a must-read for fans of the Lunar Chronicles. It’s like Marissa Meyer has given a final gift to her readers…