Review: Stars Above by Marissa Meyer



Rating: 5 stars
Pub Date: February 2, 2016
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Genre: young adult science fiction
Format/Source: from the publisher
Status: short story collection for The Lunar Chronicles
(contains prequels for each book + an epilogue!)


Summary:
The enchantment continues....

The universe of the Lunar Chronicles holds stories—and secrets—that are wondrous, vicious, and romantic. How did Cinder first arrive in New Beijing? How did the brooding soldier Wolf transform from young man to killer? When did Princess Winter and the palace guard Jacin realize their destinies?


With nine stories—five of which have never before been published—and an exclusive never-before-seen excerpt from Marissa Meyer’s upcoming novel, Heartless, about the Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland, Stars Above is essential for fans of the bestselling and beloved Lunar Chronicles.

 I would just like to say that I prophesied Stars Above's existence TWO YEARS ago, when Marissa was on tour for Cress so when it was announced, I was not shocked at all and totally patted myself on the back *toots own horn*.



I asked those two questions at her Lewisville, TX and Austin, TX tour stops respectively because I LOVE bonus short stories and was excited for more! I am thrilled that Marissa and Macmillan decided to give the fans a little something extra to help us say goodbye to The Lunar Chronicles. Below I have included the summary for each story in Stars Above (taken from the Lunar Chronicles website) and an abbreviated spoiler-free review for each story (as long as you have read the other novels). For the stories that were already released, I have also linked them to their respective Goodreads pages which include a more complete summary, and a couple

The Keeper: 
A prequel to the Lunar Chronicles, showing a young Scarlet and how Princess Selene came into the care of Michelle Benoit.

Review:
I'm really glad that this story was included. I typically prefer novellas to be focused on the main characters of a book or series, but Scarlet and Cinder are both a big part of "The Keeper," and I actually like that Scarlet's grandmother takes the pilot seat (literally and figuratively) in this story. I think having the focus of the narrative on Michelle does three great things: 1. It expands the reader's view of the series as a whole. The consequences are so much more than just the primary group. There are other people, other stories, that are affected by Levana and the Lunars. 2. SO MUCH EXPLANATION. Obviously Cinder and Scarlet would not have been able to tell this part of their story because they wouldn't have known it was important. Michelle is able to tell the story they can't, and "The Keeper" answers so many questions that were raised in Cinder (the book) and Fairest. 3. In the main group, there are several Earthen/Lunar couples, and I'm sure one of the effects of the series overall will be more merging of these two societies in all ways, but I love that Logan and Michelle were among the first. At its heart, "The Keeper" is a little bit of a love story, and I adore those.

In this prequel to Cinder (the book), we see the results of the plague play out, and the emotional toll it takes on Cinder (the girl). Something that may, or may not, be a glitch….

Review: 
Readers who have already read this story will remember how heartbreaking it is. Cinder shows up in New Beijing and meets her new family, but Linh Adri and Pearl are exactly the same as ever (aka horrible) and through horrible circumstances, Linh Garan never has time to change the world. The best moments in this short are the introduction of beloved characters Peony and Iko and the early development of their important relationships with Cinder. I'd place a weight on Peony and Cinder's relationship as sisters similar to that of Katniss and Prim because of the catalyst the tragedies in their lives provides in both series. Peony is absolutely lovely, and I adore these early scenes with her. Iko receives only a short mention in "Glitches," but Cinder's discovery of her skills as a mechanic is also crucial to the series overall, and Iko, as always, is steadfast in her role as Cinder's number one supporter. (Mary's original rating: 5 stars, read October 31, 2013)

In this prequel to Scarlet, we’re introduced to the army Queen Levana is building, and one soldier in particular who will do anything to keep from becoming the monster they want him to be.

Review:
Pour one out for Wolf because while all the main characters consistently have gotten the crap kicked out of them metaphorically in their lives, he's had it physically too. This story will never not make me cry. If any character in the series desperately needs a Happily Ever After, it's definitely Wolf. This story shows us the stark contrasts between his home with his loving family and the savage brutality of his life in a pack. Wolf is a really special character, and I am deeply impressed with the way he exerts control on his destiny. There's some good foreshadowing in this story for Wolf's arc throughout the series.

(Mary's original rating: 5 stars, read July 8, 2013)


Thirteen-year-old Carswell Thorne has big plans involving a Rampion spaceship and a no-return trip out of Los Angeles.

Review:
Oh, Thorne. You will always be my favorite. Basically "Carswell's Guide to Being Lucky" is Thorne being Thorne: he's a sassy, incorrigible flirt with adorable delusions of grandeur that make you want to roll your eyes and simultaneously sigh sweetly, hoping he achieves his goals. Oh, plus he's a precious little tweenaged version of the adult(ish) Thorne we all know and love. Yes, Thorne is ridiculous, but this novella proves he's also smart, meticulous, and goal oriented. Also, I don't care what Thorne says (because he's full of crap), Cress is right to crush on him for being a heroic little do-gooder. Sure, Thorne is a planner and always has a way of making you feel that everything you do falls perfectly in his plans, BUT he also has a good heart and frequently Does The Right Thing. He's no Captain America, but maybe kind of like Peter Quill/Star-Lord (in addition to Marissa's intended Malcolm Renolds/Han Solo)? Like he's a bit of a rogue with a heart of gold. Also he likes cats so, you know. Yay, Thorne. Final note: this fun novella contains the awesome line, "I'm a teenager, Professor. I'm insecure all the time."

Also, I definitely stand by my original rating AND my desire to read The Adventures of Carswell Thorne.


After Sunshine Passes By: 
In this prequel to Cress, we see how a nine-year-old Cress ended up alone on a satellite, spying on Earth for Luna.

Review:
Oof. This is another heart-string-tugger. Cress actually reminds me a strongly of Lily James's live-action Cinderella: she's sweet and kind and hard-working and JUST WANTS TO BE LOVED, OKAY? *clears throat* This story is fairly short, but like the others, sets up Cress's motivations pretty well. Not hard to see how she came to be a Good Guy at all.

The Princess and the Guard: 
In this prequel to Winter, we see a young Winter and Jacin playing a game called the Princess and the Guard...

Review:
Let me tell you: "The Princess and the Guard" will put you through the emotional wringer. There is all sorts of JayWin shippy goodness as Winter and Jacin's relationship develops from childhood best friends (SO adorable) to awkward crushes to full-blown I-love-you-but-I'm-afraid-for-you-because-Levana's-a-crazy-bitch star-crossed lovers. However, it's also supremely distressing because you see Winter with her dad Everett, (totally bittersweet), Winter dealing with his death, Winter discovering what her power means and the consequences thereof, Jacin attempting to keep his family safe, Winter attempting to keep Jacin safe, an INFURIATING subplot that leads to some serious character development as well as Winter's Lunar disease and mental instability. However, Jacin talking her through each attack is everything.

Each character in TLC has had a hard life even when some have had privileged lives as well, but I think Jacin has received a raw deal because he's effectively a Bad Guy throughout Cinder, Scarlet, and much of Cress. "The Princess and the Guard," more than anything, shows that he's actually very much a Good Guy who has faced some unfortunate circumstances like his lack of station and lacking skill with the Lunar gift. Reading about young Jacin, who wants to help people, who loves and helps his best friend, and knowing how Levana and Sybil twisted him to become what they wanted really did break my heart while I was also impressed with his ability to not fall past redemption. Jacin is a character who is...well, strong of character. I think at times he's focused a bit too narrowly, but I respect his ability to survive in such a toxic atmosphere and protect Winter from it as much as possible. A++. Great, great story. As I said above, one of my favorites in the anthology!

A retelling of Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Little Mermaid,” set in the world of The Lunar Chronicles.

Review:
"The Little Android" is the story that doesn't entirely fit into the anthology because it's the one most outside the primary plotline. Also it more heavily relies on the original source than any others, and since it's based on "The Little Mermaid," that makes this story pretty tragic. Anyone unfamiliar with the original fairy tale should take a look at that before you read this story because it's definitely no Disney version. The writing is absolutely lovely in this story, especially the descriptions of space, and it also features a sweet love story as well as a quick look at Cinder.

(Mary's original rating: 3 stars, read January 29, 2014)

The Mechanic: 
In this prequel to Cinder, we see Kai and Cinder’s first meeting from Kai’s perspective.

Review:
I think Kai is a lot of people's least-favorite mc from the series. I've heard a lot of criticism directed toward him, especially in reviews of Winter, because they feel he doesn't "do anything." I have to disagree. While obviously Cinder's leading her rebellion thing and doing things like escaping from prison, finding Scarlet, rescuing Cress, etc, Kai is a boy-man ACTUALLY leading his country and attempting to carefully navigate a political stage starring Levana of all people. Kai's pov scenes throughout the series are full of the conflicted feelings he has about wanting to protect his people and attempting to figure out if marrying Levana or defying her would best achieve that goal. Oh, and that whole Levana-constantly-controlling-him thing. Because that's totally Kai's fault. "The Mechanic" does a wonderful job of getting inside Kai's head as a seventeen year-old prince before he's saddled with the complete weight of his country as its true leader. Kai still knows he's going to become emperor sooner rather than later, but for a little while he's just a teenage boy who meets a pretty girl and goes a bit stupid. It's precious!

Something Old, Something New: 
In this epilogue to Winter, friends gather for the wedding of the century…

Review:
I really really really don't want to spoil this one so I will simply say it's absolutely perfect. You'll see ALL your favorite characters being utterly themselves (Thorne is sassy and full of quips, Scarlet & Jacin have zero patience with anyone (in a good way), Wolf is 100% Scarlet focused, Iko is the fashion expert, etc), and you'll swoon with all the adorableness. I would have preferred one couple be featured a bit more because I'm biased, but this story wasn't about them so I get it. This is the perfect extra ending to a beloved series, and fans will be able to say farewell with a feeling of absolute satisfaction.

(PS I. Was. Right. *gloats*)

Book Links:
 photo B6096376-6C81-4465-8935-CE890C777EB9-1855-000001A1E900B890_zps5affbed6.jpg  photo 111AD205-AA04-4F9E-A0F4-C1264C4E9F30-1855-000001A1E8CEB6D7_zps9b730b94.jpg  photo KoboIcon_zps515cdc1a.jpg  photo B1426D4C-9EEC-4C0B-A1FB-90524B03C0CA-1855-000001A1E82B3B3E_zps17d98f4d.jpg

About the Author:
Marissa Meyer is the USA Today- and New York Times-bestselling author of The Lunar Chronicles: Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, Winter, and Fairest, a Lunar Chronicles Tale. She lives in Tacoma, Washington with her husband.

Author Links:
   

Giveaway:
To celebrate Stars Above, I'm giving away a signed copy of the anthology, a signed copy of Winter, AND the Lunar Chronicles candle collection (2oz size) by Novelly Yours. The winner can choose to get the books personalized.

Please note: this is NOT a preorder of Stars Above. I'll be purchasing the copy during Marissa's tour stop in Texas so this will not come with any of the preorder bonus swag from Fierce Reads, but it WILL come with exclusive swag available only at the event!

https://www.instagram.com/p/_aBaKYtn5s/


Open to US residents only. Entrants must be 13+. Giveaway is open until 12 AM CST on February 5th. I reserve the right to disqualify any entries that are not in accordance with my giveaway policies as stated in the Review & Site Policies tab at the top of the page. Good luck!

Please note: Prizes are being supplied by me, not by the publisher, the author, or the candlemaker (no comment from the butcher and the baker, though).

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

22 comments:

  1. The epilogue! (I mean, you called it.)
    I haven't read any of the novellas, though, so I am looking forward to all of them!

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  2. Fantastic giveaway! I love Thorne so I can't wait to read that story.

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  3. I'm looking forward to reading After Sunshine Passes By! Cress is my favorite character and I really want to learn how she ends up alone. Yes, I would definitely read the Adventures of Carswell Thorne! Just as a side note, this is very very generous of you, and I hope to get my hands on Stars Above AND the candles so that I can have a truly unique reading experience! :) (Sorry for the above comment being deleted by I Turn the Pages - I accidentally commented with the wrong account!)

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  4. I'm looking forward to The Princess and the Guard and of course, the epilogue. :)

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  5. I haven't read any books by M. Meyer so I'm excited about all of them. Seriously. All of them.
    Dianna

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  7. The Little Android! I haven't read any of the books yet but I did read that this one is a little mermaid re-telling and I LOVE TLM! Thanks for the giveaway!

    Denise | @Dandelionns

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  8. I'm really looking forward for The Princess and the Guard and especially the epilogue ;), because I'm just starting the Lunar Chronicles so I'm really excited to read these novellas!

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  9. Definitely the epilogue! But I am uber excited to have a bindup of the novellas. I cannot wait to read more!!

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  10. Margggggg! I NEED THIS BOOK. I really don't care about any of the short stories besides Wedding of the Century, let's be honest. Okay, The Mechanic too because Kai, but not really.
    I love that you say Wolf is 100% Scarlet focused... I mean, there's really no better way to describe him at all, ever LOL.

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  11. AHHH, MARY. This giveaway is epic on so many levels! I know the epilogue is a favorite, but also The Mechanic! I am a sucker for first meeting scenes in the perspective of the other person.

    Thank you for the lovely giveaway! :)

    Alyssa @ The Eater of Books!

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  12. I couldn't possibly choose just one that I want to read because I want to read so many of them! I suppose if I had to pick one (or two) I would say, Something Old, Something New (of course) and since that one is a given, I'm also looking forward to The Princess and the Guard. And yes I would read The Adventures of Carswell Thorne!

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  13. Something Old, Something New, of course! I'm so excited! And yes totally!

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  14. Okay... I don't like reading e-books or e-novellas, so I'm literally looking forward to all of these beauties in print. I do want that epilogue, but I'm actually really happy that these stories will be bound together. :)

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  15. After sunrise passes by because I would like to read about this point of view. Sounds emotional ♡ Thank you

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  16. Of course I want to read the epilogue, but I can't wait for the story about Thorne as a boy. I would read anything about him (seriously, anything!)!

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  17. I just started the series and I excited to read the rest of the books. Stars Above makes me want to read the rest of the books faster but I am enjoying them and I can't wait to see how the rest of the stories develop.

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  18. Epilogue, but honestly, I LOVE Thorne, so possibly most excited about that!

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  19. i want to read it all, i need to read it all, i love it all

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  20. i want to read it all, i need to read it all, i love it all

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  21. Definitely the epilogue! I NEED to read about this wedding to feel whole! And I love Thorne, so I would absolutely read about his adventures. =D

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  22. Excited for all of them, but really want to read the wedding.

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