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Earth is in turmoil. For over a decade, humanity has been fighting against a deadly plague with no cure in sight. As if that wasn't enough, a war is threatening to break out between Earth and Luna. The current ruler of Luna, Queen Levana, is especially determined to gain control of Earth through whatever means is necessary. And since she has powerful Lunar magic and advanced technology on her side, taking Earth by force is a definite possibility.

There's just one thing that stands in her way: there's a rumor that Princess Selene- her niece and true heir to the throne- still lives. Though she was thought to have died thirteen years ago due to a mysterious fire, evidence has since popped up that she's alive and even on Earth. If true, then Selene could be humanity's ticket to overthrowing the tyrannical Levana and saving humanity from becoming Lunar playthings. Assuming, of course, that Selene would even want to reclaim her birthright at all.

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The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer is a series of YA novels that take classic fairy tales and places them into a sci-fi setting.

This series includes:

  • Cinder (2012)
  • Scarlet (2013)
  • Cress (2014)
  • Fairest (2015): A novella that explores Queen Levana's past.
  • Winter (2015)
  • Stars Above (2016): A collection of short stories, including four previously released novellas.
    • The Keeper
    • Glitches (2014)
    • The Little Android (2014)
    • The Mechanic
    • The Queen's Army (2012)
    • After Sunshine Passes By
    • Carswell's Guide to Being Lucky (2014)
    • The Princess and the Guard
    • Something Old, Something New: A novella set two years after Winter
  • Wires and Nerves: A graphic novel series that takes place after Winter and before Something Old, Something New.

Due to the way the series progresses, spoilers from the first book have been left completely unmarked. You have been warned!


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This series provides examples of:

  • An Aesop: It's wrong to use petty differences to strip someone of their humanity, and to demand blind ownership of another being, especially the right to kill said being for one's own benefit.
  • And Now You Must Marry Me: Queen Levana is determined to get a legitimate claim to Earth via marriage to an Earthen leader. Prince Kai just happens to be a perfect target: he's young, handsome, available, and, most importantly, desperate. She uses an antidote to the letumosis virus as a bargining chip, knowing that his refusal will lead to the deaths of more innocents. Kai is loath to give in, not just because she's a tyrant, but also because he knows their union will end with his death, and the eventual takeover of Earth. However, the attacks from the Lunar Special Operatives wears down on his resistance, to the point where he's practically begging Levana to marry him. They do eventually marry with Levana being crowned Empress the day after (not that it lasts very long).
  • Author Appeal: Marissa Meyer was a Sailor Moon fangirl, and there are many references to the series (long-lost moon princess, you say?).
  • Beauty Equals Goodness: Zig-zagged. Cinder would be considered disfigured by some due to being a cyborg, but otherwise her appearance is average. Her stepmother Adri and stepsister Pearl are described as beautiful, but are as stuck-up and abusive as you’d expect, given their roles. The younger stepsister, Peony, is also pretty, but is sweet and kind to Cinder. Many Lunars appear beautiful thanks to their glamour; Levana in particular is stunning to look at, but underneath her glamour she is severely scarred. Her stepdaughter, Princess Winter, is even more beautiful without any glamour than Levana is with glamour, to the point where the scars on Winter's face only add to her beauty.
  • Bond Villain Stupidity: Queen Levana has an unfortunate habit of succumbing to this where the main characters are involved. When she has Cinder right in front of her, instead of simply killing her prisoner, Levana just keeps talking, giving Cinder enough time to think of an escape.
  • Cinderella Plot: The series follows a teenage cyborg named Cinder who lives in New Beijing with her wicked stepmother and two stepsisters (a mean one and a nice one). Since her stepmother refuses to work, she is the one who provides the money for the family by working as a mechanic. One day price Kai visits her shop and they form a connection and eventually fall in love. Meanwhile Cinder learns about a plot against the kingdom and goes to the ball to warn Kai. This goes wrong and Cinder has to flee and the only thing she leaves behind is her cyborg leg.
  • Comic-Book Fantasy Casting: According to Meyer, Cinder was modeled after Mew Azama, the actress who played Sailor Jupiter in Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon.
  • Cybernetics Eat Your Soul: A lot of people seem to believe cyborgs are no longer capable of human emotion.
    Adri: "Do your kind even feel love, or is it all just... programmed?"
  • Doing In the Wizard: In the first two books, humans are convinced that the Lunars are using their powers to hide their space ships. It turns out that it was actually Cress scrambling the signals from her satellite.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: Some characters who become important latter on in the series get cameos during the first book.
    • The computer hacker with Rapunzel Hair who warns Cinder about Kai's impending murder in the first book turns out to be Cress, who becomes the heroine of the third.
    • Jacin is one of the Lunar royal guards that is part of Levana's entourage when she goes to Earth in Cinder. He's just a background character until Cress.
    • Jerrico, the captain of the royal guard, is also present in Cinder and makes an appearance in Cress. He isn't named until Winter.
  • Electronic Eyes: Cinder's eyes are synthetic, and she can call up any type of internet-based feed and view them directly.
  • Evil Matriarch: Cinder, Cress and Winter all have an abusive mother figure. Cress has two, if you count her birth mother, who disowned her after discovering she was a shell.
  • The Evil Prince: While she calls herself Queen, due to Lunar tradition, Levana's technically a princess. A princess who incinerated her three-year-old niece in order to ascend the throne. She also spent ten years raping and brainwashing Winter's father while wearing his dead wife's face.
  • Fairy Tale Free-for-All: The series is a futuristic fantasy retelling of several fairy tales, with its main characters being counterparts to Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel, and Snow White.
  • Fantastic Racism: There's cyborg discrimination, Lunars' hatred of Earthens, Earthens' hatred of Lunars, and the Lunars' extermination policy for shells.
  • Fantastic Slur: A "shell" is a Lunar who cannot use the Lunar gift or be affected by it.
  • The Future: The series takes place 126 years after World War IV.
  • Glamour: Lunars have the ability to create illusions, which they usually use to alter their appearance. The effect only works on the naked human eye so they tend to dislike reflective surfaces, recording devices, androids, and cyborg technology, as all of these can either see or reveal their true appearance.
  • God Save Us from the Queen!: Channary wasn't any better of a ruler than her younger sister when she was alive. She was sadistic, manipulative, and regularly bullied Levana. She once cut off the feet of her seamstress so that the woman would have nothing better to do than sit around making more dresses for her. She was also the one who initiated the shell extermination program. Levana, while she's called a Queen and certainly thinks of herself as such, is still technically a princess as long as the true heir lives.
  • Good Princess, Evil Queen: The series has evil Queen Levana who stole the throne from her sister Channary (who was also evil). She is opposed by good princesses Selene and Winter.
  • Human Alien: After colonizing the moon centeries ago, the humans of the moon evolved enough to be given the new name of Lunars. Physically, there isn't much of a difference between Eartherns and Lunars.
  • Humans Are Psychic in the Future: At some point during their evolution from normal humans to now, Lunars developed the ability to manipulate bioelectric engery. This enables them to create illusions and take over someone's mind and body.
  • Insistent Terminology: Cinder and Cress both refer to the maternal figures in their lives as their "legal guardians" when discussing them with other people. Cinder's not very consistent with it, but she will correct people when she's particularly mad at Adri.
  • Interspecies Romance: Three of the four featured couples are Earthen/full Lunar pairs.
  • Magic by Any Other Name: The Lunars' manipulation of bioelectric energy apparently has a science to it, but in practice it works more like magic, to the point where many Earthens refer to it as such. Dr. Erland says that calling it such just gives the Lunars more power.
  • Muggle Born of Mages: Shells are Lunars born without the ability to manipulate bioelectricity, making them not much different from your average Earthen. The big exception to this is the fact that they're also immune to Lunar glamours and mind tricks.
  • Never Found the Body: Princess Selene’s body was never found after the fire in the royal nursery, just a few scraps of flesh, leading to rumors that she's still alive.
  • The Plague: Letumosis, or the blue fever, is a deadly virus that first appeared a dozen years. The virus goes through four stages, though it isn't until the second where the first signs of the disease appear.
  • Prince Charming: Prince Kai. He's even sincere about it, too!
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: What the crew of Thorne's Rampion gradually becomes, and a multinational one at that. There's a Chinese cyborg, an American criminal, a perky android, a French farm girl with a strange home life, a genetically-modified Lunar soldier, a Lunar hacker, and so on.
  • Ridiculously Human Robots: Most androids seen act like a typical computer program, having limited responses and being incapable of understanding things that don't fit their programming. However, Adri's housekeeping android Iko acts like a teenage girl with a love of fashion due to a "faulty" Personality Chip, and Kai's android Nainsi has been operating for so long that she's developed her own fully-fledged personality.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something:
    • Emperor Kai has to make decisions that affect the entire planet, and try to balance securing peace with the Lunars with not being a doormat to Levana. Although he is by far the youngest of the Earthen Union leaders, he is doing the most, personally, to deal with Levana.
    • Cinder is this as well, especially in Winter when she leads the revolution. Winter herself also gets in on the action, though in a different way; while Cinder is on the front lines of the fight, Winter essentially runs her PR, recruiting the people to Cinder's cause. She even manages to recruit several packs of Levana's mutant wolf soldiers to their side.
  • Space-Filling Empire: There are now only six nations in the world, each of them spanning continents, and together they form the Earthen Union. Emperor Kai rules over the Eastern Commonwealth, which is composed of all of Asia and many of the surrounding islands. It is implied that these huge mega nations were founded at the end of WWIV as part of the Treaty of Bremen, which was the birth of the Earthen Union. The damage from WWIII and WWIV is probably why many of these nations are so big—the loss of life was probably massive, and depending on the weaponry used, huge swathes of land could still be uninhabitable. The massive evacuations in wartime and the poisoning of land by radiation and chemical warfare would have forced many disparate cultures to be mixed in unconventional ways. We see this most clearly in the Commonwealth, which has developed an Asian fusion culture.
  • Synthetic Plague: It turns out that the Lunar monarchy has been developing letumosis for generations for use in biological warfare. Levana unleashed it by exposing Lunars in the working class domes to the disease, knowing that they would be the most likely to flee to Earth. She then allowed them to escape, knowing they were carrying the disease with them. The plan was to both reduce the Earthen population and to use the antidote as a political bargaining chip.
  • Theme Naming: Many Lunars have names that relate to the moon in some way: Levana, Selene, Crescent, etc. Naming children after other things associated with the moon seems popular too, like wolves.
  • Twice-Told Tale: Each book is a retelling of a classic fairytale, mostly following the original's basic plotline while simulatounsly adapting it into a scifi setting.
  • Uncanny Valley: In-Universe, Cinder gets uncomfortable reactions from those around her once she's "outed" as a cyborg and the need to make greater use of her abilities prompts her to casually open up her prostheses to adjust wires or use her brain implant to link herself to a machine. When Cinder's Lunar abilities begin to show, they are extremely strong and uncontrolled, having been suppressed for many years and hence never trained by Cinder. It results in a sometimes extreme Glamour, which Kai finds outright painful to look at.
  • Wicked Stepmother: Multiple characters throughout the series have one:
    • Adri is this to Cinder. (While technically she's Cinder's adoptive mother, Cinder refers to her and her daughters as her step-family.) Adri verbally abuses Cinder, mostly in regards to her cyborg nature, and uses her as the family's sole source of income, rather than getting a job herself.
    • Levana is this to Winter. When she was 12 or 13, Levana used her gift to make Winter cut her own face with a knife. Not to mention how she publicly humiliates her in front of the Lunar court more often than not.
    • Sybil keeps Cress locked away in a satellite that orbits Earth. She is responsible for bringing Cress food and water and is the closest thing to a mother that Cress has ever known. Sybil is emotionally distant and verbally abusive.
  • Wrench Wench: Cinder is widely considered to be the best mechanic in New Beijing, to the point where the Prince of the Eastern Commonwealth becomes her costumer.

Cinder provides examples of:

  • Actually, I Am Him: Prince Kai assumes Linh Cinder, the best mechanic in new Beijing, is a man. Naturally, he's embarrassed when he realizes the sixteen year old girl he thought was a shophand is Linh Cinder.
  • The Alleged Car: Cinder's "pumpkin", an ancient orange wreck she finds in a junkyard and attempts to fix. It barely gets her to the palace before crashing into a tree.
  • Celeb Crush: Cinder's stepsisters and her android friend Iko have it bad for Prince Kai. Cinder thinks he's good-looking (but won't admit it out loud) and doesn't develop a crush on him until she actually meets him.
  • Dances and Balls: The Peace Festival. These are also a regular occurrence on Luna, especially during Channary's reign.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Cinder.
  • Evil Aunt: Levana is Cinder's aunt on her mother's side. She attempted to murder Cinder when she was three in order to gain the throne.
  • Failsafe Failure: To make sure she passed as Earthen, Cinder was implanted with a chip in her spine which suppresses her Lunar powers, but Dr. Erland disabled it while inspecting her. It slowly begins to stop working, meaning she can now access her abilities, but she can also be detected as a Lunar.
  • First-Name Basis: Due to shyness and protocol, Cinder and Kai have some trouble adjusting from "Linh-mei" and "Your Highness" to their given names.
  • Gadgeteer Genius: Cinder. She's recognized as being the best mechanic in New Beijing at sixteen. Even without her cyborg abilities, Cinder is shown to have a natural knack for figuring out how machines function.
  • Getting Smilies Painted on Your Soul: Queen Levana can pacify an angry mob just by looking at them. It's how she controls Luna.
  • I Am Who?: Cinder's reaction to Dr. Erland telling her that she is really a Lunar. Later, it's also her reaction to his reveal that she's not just any Lunar - she's Princess Selene.
  • If We Survive This: When Peony falls ill, Cinder promises her that if she gets well she'll introduce her to the Prince at the annual ball. She gets Kai to agree, but Peony dies.
  • Internalized Categorism: Cinder in regards to her cyborg status. And later, her Lunar blood.
  • Kick the Dog: After having Cinder arrested and brought home, and making it clear she’s going to be keeping her on a very tight leash from now on, and taking Cinder's foot, Adri reveals that she finally went through with her threats to tear up Iko and sell her useful parts. Thankfully, most people don't think Iko's personality chip is "useful"...
  • Living Lie Detector: Cinder's cyborg implants will display an orange light in her vision when they detect a lie. It even works on Lunar glamours.
  • Mad Scientist: Dr. Dimitri Erland, who is researching a cure for letumosis using drafted cyborg test subjects. He's a Lunar keeping his mind control powers in check, which has the side effect of making him a little unhinged.
  • Non-Human Lover Reveal: Twofold for Cinder and Kai's relationship. At the ball, in front of Levana and thousands of onlookers, Kai finds out Cinder's a cyborg and Lunar.
  • No-Sell: A dramatic example: Cinder resists Levana's attempt to force her to shoot herself in the head when her cyborg programming overrides Levana's bioelectric manipulation.
  • One Dialogue, Two Conversations: Cinder and Kai's conversation while dancing at the ball. Cinder thinks he's talking about her being a cyborg, but he's actually referring to her stepsister's recent death.
  • Psychic-Assisted Suicide: Levana attempts to force Cinder to shoot herself in the head. While Cinder is forced to pull the trigger, her cyborg programming kicks in and allows her to force the gun away from her head, shooting the ceiling instead.
  • Sadistic Choice: Levana forces Kai to choose between Cinder's life and peace with Luna. He chooses to give up Cinder for the sake of the entire planet.
  • She Cleans Up Nicely: Averted. Cinder dons Peony's beautiful dress to go to the ball, but due to it raining and her car crashing on the way there, she walks in soaking wet and oil-stained. Not that she particularly cares, as the only reason she's going to the ball is to tell Kai about Queen Levana's plan. Kai doesn't really mind either.
  • Swiss Army Appendage: Dr. Erland gives Cinder a shiny new titanium hand at the end of the book, in order to help her escape prison.
  • Was It All a Lie?: Kai asks Cinder this after discovering she's a Lunar. Cinder's answer is painfully unclear to anyone but the reader.
  • Withholding the Cure: Levana presents Kai with a sample of a cure for letumosis only days after his father died of it, measured in the exact does that would have cured him. She refuses to provide any more until Kai agrees to marry her and crown her empress.
  • You Are in Command Now: Emperor Rikan dies early on in the book, leaving eighteen-year-old Kai in charge.
  • You Are What You Hate: Like most people, Cinder is prejudiced against the Lunars. Turns out she is one, and their rightful queen at that!

Scarlet provides examples of:

  • Back-to-Back Badasses: Cinder and Thorne at the climax, very briefly. A thaumaturge manipulates Thorne into pointing his gun at Cinder, and she has to shoot him in the leg with a tranquilizer.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Scarlet and Wolf. For just one example, Scarlet resorts to actually winging Wolf's arm with a bullet to make him back off of killing Ran, after failing to get through to him by any other means. This act seems to impress Wolf immensely.
    Wolf: "When you greeted me with a gun at your doorstep, it was nice to know you meant it."
  • Cain and Abel: Wolf and his spiteful, ambitious brother Ran.
  • Establishing Character Moment: The book opens with Scarlet's introductory scene, in which she is so enraged by the authorities' lackluster investigation of her grandmother's disappearance that she hurls produce at the wall of the tavern she's supposed to be selling it to. She follows this almost immediately by reading the riot act to the tavern's patrons for their mockery of Cinder. These scenes thoroughly establish Scarlet to have a strong sense of justice and determination, an unusually open mind about cyborgs and Lunars, and a hell of a temper.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Jael, a Lunar thaumaturge who controls Wolf and Ran's pack.
  • Fiery Red Head: Scarlet has a temper on her, as illustrated with her produce-smashing in her very first scene.
  • Forceful Kiss: Wolf forces an unwanted kiss onto Scarlet. It's the only way to give her the ID chip she needs to escape the cell without the guards seeing.
  • Get A Hold Of Yourself Man: Thorne headbutts Cinder to snap her out of a panic attack after she indirectly kills someone with her Lunar powers.
  • Great Escape: When Cinder accidentally breaks into Thorne's prison cell, he persuades her to help him escape in return for the use of his spaceship.
  • Human Shield: Cinder accidentally brainwashes someone into taking a bullet for her, just like Levana. She has some Heroic BSoD about it.
  • In Love with the Mark: Wolf falls for Scarlet.
  • Little Red Fighting Hood: Scarlet. She starts a tavern brawl, shoots her love interest, and is willing to face potential capture and torture by a gang of bizarre thugs if it means she can get her grandmother back.
  • Lured into a Trap: Scarlet willingly walks into the pack's lair, knowing full well they're expecting her and she'll probably be captured and tortured. What she didn't know is that Wolf is a part of the trap. He approached her by order of the pack, not on his own after he supposedly ran away. His job was to convince her to tell him what she knew about Princess Selene of her own free will, and afterwards to deliver her to the pack.
  • Not Quite Saved Enough: Scarlet does find her grandmother, but she's been tortured to the point she can barely move, making escape impossible. She only manages a few moments with Scarlet before goading Ran into killing her, since she knows Scarlet won't leave without her.
  • Our Werewolves Are Different: The Lunar Special Operatives are genetically altered soldiers fighting for the Lunar queen. They were Lunar boys genetically spliced with wolves, given canine implants, and even had their jaw strength augmented so they could bite people's throats out. Back on Luna, the later generations of soldiers are even more wolfish looking, complete with fur and altered limb structure.
  • Out-of-Character Alert: Ran impersonates Michelle in order to get information out of Scarlet. It works right up until "Michelle" refers to Scarlet as "weak". Knowing that the real Michelle always saw her granddaughter as strong, Scarlet sees through the deception and recoils in horror, leading to the "Grandmother, what big eyes you have!" moment that reflects the original fairytale.
  • Parental Issues: Scarlet's mother left when she was very young, and her father, Luc, is a drunk who barely cares about her.
  • People Jars: Cinder learns that she spent eight years inside of one in Michelle's basement.
  • Post-Rape Taunt: A near-miss, but the trope gets a nod when Wolf's brother Ran mentions thinking about raping Scarlet in order to taunt Wolf about it afterwards. He claims he finds the idea of intercourse with a human too repugnant, however, so he decides to skip straight to killing her.
  • Raised by Grandparents: Scarlet came to live with her grandmother when she was seven.
  • Retired Badass: Michelle Benoit, a decorated air force pilot who risked her life for years protecting Selene, and even after weeks of torture, still has the strength left to defy her captors.
  • The Reveal: Scarlet's grandmother had a fling with a Lunar while visiting the moon as part of a diplomatic mission. This resulted in the birth of her son, Luc, Scarlet's father, making Scarlet 1/4 Lunar. She doesn't seem especially bothered by being part Lunar thanks to her grandmother raising her to be open-minded about such things. The thing that bothers her is that her grandmother was keeping such a huge secret from her, and that she never intended to tell her.
    • Wolf is a Lunar spy whose purpose was to gain Scarlet's trust, coax information out of her, and then deliver her to a Lunar thaumaturge so she can be tortured in front of her grandmother to get the woman to talk.
  • Suicide by Cop: A dying Michelle provokes Ran into killing her.
  • Understanding Boyfriend: We learn that Kai doesn't care that Cinder's a cyborg. Her being Lunar is another deal entirely, only because it means that she might have been brainwashing him the entire time. In Cress, he shamefully admits that he probably would have stopped speaking to Cinder if she had told him she was a cyborg. But with everything going on, he winds up getting over that long before he sees her again. He also realizes that Cinder never brainwashed him, because if she had, he wouldn't still like her after they've been separated. Plus thanks to Levana, he knows what being manipulated feels like, and he never got that feeling from Cinder.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Cinder and "Captain" Thorne.

Cress provides examples of:

  • Abduction Is Love: Subverted. There's a lot more at stake in Cinder and her crew's abduction of Kai than just their feelings.
  • Beautiful Slave Girl: Cress.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: Scarlet is glamoured by Sybil to cut off part of her own pinky finger.
  • Get A Hold Of Yourself Man: Thorne literally shakes some sense into Cress after their dangerous escape.
  • Girl in the Tower: Well, a satellite.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Cress takes a while to warm up to Iko after her personality chip is installed into her new escort droid body, because the last time she saw it, it was practically sitting in Thorne's lap as he played cards.
  • Heroic BSoD: Wolf, after Scarlet is kidnapped.
  • I Will Protect Her: Jacin is loyal to his princess alone. He means Princess Winter.
  • Kids Are Cruel: Helped along by Fantastic Racism - apparently it's a fairly common practice for members of the Lunar nobility to keep captive Earthens for their children to practice their glamour on. Scarlet spends some time this way after being abducted to Luna, and the little monster in question chiefly seems to enjoy tormenting her with visions of vermin invading her body.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: Dr. Erland confesses to Cress that he is her father just before dying of letumosis.
  • Now or Never Kiss: Thorne promises to give Cress one if they ever get into a life-threatening situation. He does.
  • Overprotective Dad: Dr. Erland warning Thorne about Cress.
    • Konn Torin as a Parental Substitute towards Kai: "If anything happens to him, Linh-mei, I will hunt you down and kill you myself."
  • Rapunzel Hair: Cress, probably not as drastic as the original version, but still pretty damn long. And somewhat realistic: it’s apparently knotted and matted.
    • It was so long because Sybil both didn't care enough to get it cut and wouldn't allow sharp objects on the satellite, probably to make sure her pet hacker didn't kill herself.
      • Or possibly to ensure that Cress didn't gain access to a weapon.
  • Token Evil Teammate: Jacin, a Lunar royal guard. He isn't loyal to Levana, but he is a bit of an asshole.
  • Traumatic Haircut: Cress suffers from one after her satellite crashes on Earth. To be fair, the haircut itself isn't really traumatic, it's the crashing.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: Cress is convinced she's the Damsel in Distress in a classic fairytale and destined for a Rescue Romance with Thorne. She's not entirely wrong, but his blindness and a confluence of other unlucky circumstances means she does quite a bit of the rescuing on her own.

Winter provides examples of:

  • CPR: Clean, Pretty, Reliable: Averted. In the scene where Jacin resuscitates Cinder from drowning, the narration explicitly talks about the revivee's ribs cracking and the whole experience not being pretty at all.
  • The Dog Bites Back: Levana's entire reign comes back to bite her hard in this book. Lunar civilians, her soldiers, even her wolf packs turn on her less out of a loyalty to Cinder and more because she was such a tyrant they were glad to be rid of her.
  • Doorstopper: After three reasonably sized books and a novella, Meyer threw us a curveball with the final book being a 800+ page monster.
  • Drama-Preserving Handicap: Cinder's cyborg brain is damaged before the climax, meaning she cannot count on it to save her from Levana.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: It's a lot of work, a lot of death, a lot of pain, and a lot of heartbreak, but the plague is ended, the Luna-Earth war is ended, the people of Luna are freed, and all the protagonists end up well. Of all the fairy tale quotes used in the books, the traditional Happily Ever After at the end was never more appropriate or well-earned.
  • Freakiness Shame: Wolf ends up further mutilated by Levana, but Scarlet doesn't care.
  • Friend or Idol Decision: It is implied that Cinder will abolish the lunar monarchy and marry Prince Kai, becoming his Empress.
  • Glamour Failure: Cinder's cyborg brain can see through Lunar glamours. Once her true face is exposed to all of Luna, Levana is so devastated that she can't keep it up.
  • The Guards Must Be Crazy: Invoked. Guards on Luna are deliberately selected to be as weak and mindless as possible so it would be easier for a superior to force them to take a bullet for them. As a result, even Lunar civilians can control them.
  • I Did What I Had to Do: Cinder realizes early on that people will have to die for the rebellion to succeed, and makes her peace with it.
  • It's All Junk: Inverted. Cinder ends the book by dropping her first ever cyborg foot into the lake. She hated the foot and everything it represented, making this cathartic to her rather than sad.
  • Karma Houdini: Adri and Pearl are implied to get rich off of Garan's discoveries and avoid punishment for abusing Cinder for years or killing Iko. On the plus side, this is after they've gone through a severe Break the Haughty at Levanna's hands, and they're still going to be social pariahs once they get back home, with Cinder as their country's ruler.
  • Race Lift: Princess Winter, the Snow White of the story, is black.
  • War Is Hell: While the revolution was necessary, it's also incredibly bloody and very traumatizing to everyone who went through it.

Fairest provides examples of:

  • Big Sister Bully: Channary to Levana.
  • Double Standard: Rape, Female on Male: Subverted. Levana brainwashed Evret Hayle into starting a relationship with her, two weeks after his wife Solstice died giving birth to their daughter. She glamoured herself to look like Sol and brainwashed him into having an affair with her, which culminated into forcing him to take her virginity. Levana then coerced him into marrying her, and continued to brainwash and rape him for ten years. Despite hating what she's doing to him and begging her to stop, Evret still tries to show Levana kindness, in the hopes that she'll be kind to others in turn. He even sacrifices his life to save hers. He gives her every chance to become not evil and she refuses, displaying what a monster she really is.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: Levana genuinely thought using her glamour to make herself look like Evret's recently deceased wife and forcing him to have sex with her would make him fall in love with her. It seriously never occurred to her that he wasn't interested in a "better" version of the woman he loved, or that her wearing his dead wife's face for ten years would be genuine torture for him.
  • Evil Counterpart: We get another reason to view Queen Levana as this to Cinder, as she is secretly a childhood burn victim.
  • Perfectly Arranged Marriage: Averted. Channary toys with the idea of marrying Selene to Prince Kaito of Earth who, hilariously, falls in love with her as Cinder in the first book, but she quickly drops the idea in favor of murdering the Empress and marrying the Emperor himself. Channary dies before she can do more than consider it, though. Later, the Empress dies of letumosis without any additional interference.

Stars Above provides examples of:

  • Backstory: The various stories dramatize important events that had previously been background material for the four girls as well as Ze'ev, Jacin, Michelle, Iko, and Thorne.
  • Because You Were Nice to Me: The aristocracy of Luna pretty much treat servants as furniture, mind-controlling them into following commands rather than even asking, using them as puppets for amusement, or pretending they don't exist. Winter treats them kindly and politely, leading to the people adoring her.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: Mech 6.0's alias as a human is "Hoshi Star". Hoshi is Japanese for star. The foreman double takes but lets it slide.
  • Died Happily Ever After: Star's escort body finally fails her, but she doesn't mind as her death frees her and lets her feel as infinite and majestic as the stars she's loved her whole life.
  • Driven to Madness: In her short story, we see Winter begin to succumb to Lunar sickness due to refusing to use her gift.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: Levana just can't understand how everyone loves Winter, and concludes it's because of her beauty and if she's scarred it'll fade. In reality, people love Winter for being kind and refusing to control them as the rest of the aristocracy do.
  • Fairytale Motifs: Star's story is basically a sci-fi The Little Mermaid. An android, different and more curious than her peers, risks it all to become human enough to woo the man she loves, even losing her voice, but ultimately realizes he loves another and dies. However, having loved someone, she's grown enough to gain a soul so she can live on after death.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Star's story in a nutshell. She goes to extreme lengths and risks death just to get a locket back to the man she loves, but ultimately realizes that he has no feelings for her and gives it up, along with her chance to get a functioning body, so he can be with the one he loves.
  • Love Imbues Life: While she always had a "faulty personality chip" and was more aware than her peers, Star's first steps into true sapience begins when she starts having feelings for Daratan.
  • My Beloved Smother: Gender-flipped. Thorne's father was very controlling of him from a very young age, to the point where Thorne was seeking out financial independence by thirteen.
  • My Own Private "I Do": Scarlet and Ze'ev's wedding happens a few days before the official date so she can have a quiet ceremony with her friends rather than a huge media fiasco.

Alternative Title(s): Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, Winter, The Lunar Chronicles

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