Review

Book Review: Stars Above

stars above

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Blurb

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.


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

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

The Queen’s Army: 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.

Carswell’s Guide to Being Lucky: Thirteen-year-old Carswell Thorne has big plans involving a Rampion spaceship and a no-return trip out of Los Angeles.

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

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.

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

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

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

goodreads

At the time of writing this review Goodreads have rated this as 4.26 out of 5

Opening Lines

The Keeper:

Michelle slid her fingertip across the portscreen, flipping through the album of photos her granddaughter had sent that morning. Luc had taken Scarlet to see the ruins of the Musee du Louvre, and Scarlet had taken dozens of pictures of the crumbling statues and still-standing wreckage. There was even a photo of Luc and Scarlet together, huddled in enormous wool coats beside a statue with a missing arm. The stone woman looked like a third member of their party.

Review

I always like to drop a confession bomb or two when I do these posts. I feel like it gives you an insight into the woman behind the words. So my confession is this (brace yourself):-

I am not a bestselling NYT author

I know! Of all things you were expecting it certainly wasn’t that. But please, don’t let this confession drive you away!

I am not a bestselling NYT author and so I have no idea what it is like to be a bestselling NYT author or even what kind of things must be done to become or remain a bestselling NYT author.

I imagine it involves sacrificing virgin book readers to an unknown deity that lives in a wood. To get to this wood you need to travel to the island where the wood is hidden but you can only travel when the moon is full and the planets are aligned. Travelling at any other point will awaken the sea monster who will stop you.

I also imagine it involves writing but that’s doubtful.

As you can see, I clearly don’t have a clue how this bestselling NYT author thing works but possibly believe that if I say it enough times in this blog post, I too will become one.

But why am I launching into this?

Ok, there is a tentative link.

I like to read newsletters and follow the blog of bestselling authors because it gives an insight into life as a writer but also life as a published writer. Often they also give advice on the writing process even if they can only offer up their perspective. But hey, their perspective works.

It was actually one post of writer Susan Dennard’s that was incredibly interesting because it was essentially about the fear of the writer and that being a published writer who has sold books to publishing houses doesn’t always mean that you will continue to be able to sell books to publishing houses, let alone the public.

It got me thinking.

Like I said I am not a bestselling NYT author and so I don’t know what the kind of pressures exist in order to keep yourself relevant at that level. It seems that being on such a level may offer future assurances – you have fans now who will buy your future work and you are recognised to be a writer that will sell books so you will have publishers that will publish your future work.

Being a bestselling NYT author is something you can advertise on your books. Your readers will buy you anyway but this way you draw in the new crowd who will believe that you are going to provide a certain level of quality (however true).

There must be that constant fear of retaining your career and also the fear of being able to retain your career at that level. Something that is not guaranteed.

One way to guarantee your continued success is to continue on with your success. If you have written a bestselling book series that has launched you into the market and onto particular lists, I can imagine it might be hard to let that go.

Now, whether continuing on with something is the choice of the writer (they aren’t ready to say goodbye to their universe or characters quite yet) or is the less creative choice of the publisher (they aren’t ready to say goodbye to their generated revenue), I don’t know. Call me a cynic but books and publishing is a business like any other and money is money.

Why do I say all this?

If a writer feels like they can’t say goodbye to their world than fine, it doesn’t always work out for the best but at least they have love in their hearts. If it’s a choice of the publishers than I guess it’s very hard for a writer to decline their employer’s wishes. So they probably don’t.

Regardless of reason, I think a continuation of a series or an addition to a series doesn’t always have to be a bad thing. But… for me personally the continuation or addition needs to add something. It needs to have purpose.

Finally I delve into my actual review. Which will be brief.

I enjoyed Marissa Meyer’s writing style and I enjoyed The Lunar Chronicles. I didn’t fall in love but they were fun and I liked the characters very much and was happy to tag along in their merry band of misfits. Each book got a solid 3 stars from me.

If you’ve scrolled down you will probably see that ‘Stars Above’ has landed a 2 star review from me. Why? Well, it comes back to this sense of purpose. 

It’s my opinion only but I just didn’t see the point to Stars Above. I didn’t feel this collection of short stories added anything to any of the characters or expanded the world that they live in. In short, I felt this was a money making exercise aimed at those who are fans of The Lunar Chronicles and not just readers of them.

Out of all the stories there is one which is set in the universe but isn’t about any of the main characters which is the Little Mermaid re-telling of Little Glitches. It was ok.

The remaining stories (bar one) are vignettes of events of our main characters lives before we meet them in The Lunar Chronicles. Except, we know about these events. We know because this is the background stuff that they make you work on in writing class, that you include sparingly and make reference to in the text but that you outline only for yourself.

Now for some these are probably interesting but for me I didn’t find them necessary. We know what Thorne was like before the main events, I didn’t need to see it. We know how Cress was taken to the satellite, but again I felt I didn’t need to see it. These add nothing new to their stories.

The one story that is set after the events of The Lunar Chronicles, ‘Something Old, Something New,’ is a story to show us how our band are doing. But we don’t really find out much. Our characters don’t get a great deal of expansion or development, we are teased with how the world is getting on politically but there is no real depth and the whole purpose is to watch Wolf and Scarlet get married which I find interesting considering the writer pretty much had to drop the time spent on those characters to make way for the new ones she was bringing in. Maybe this is to make up for that? I don’t know.

Stars Above is ok. Not bad, not great. Ok.

I found it a disappointing entry in The Lunar Chronicles universe and have given my reasons why in a review which is more bluster than content and that is sort of how I feel about Stars Above.

 

My Rating

2 Star

 

 

 

3 thoughts on “Book Review: Stars Above

  1. Excellent review! I find your criticisms totally valid, because while I myself highly enjoyed reading the Lunar Chronicles, I didn’t find myself admiring the series on a deep, technical level. Therefore, I’m not sure whether I would enjoy a spin-off/background story on events that we already know of, because as you say, they’re unnecessary. I think that’s the complaint that people have with spin-offs like ACOFAS–that they’re a throwaway effort for the sake of making money. I haven’t read Stars Above, but this is partly why I’ve been putting it off indefinitely. Probably won’t read it now, but hey, great review! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! I normally say give things a go and I guess I would apply that here for Stars Above but honestly, while I like Marissa Meyer and I look forward to what else she had to write, Stars Above just gave me nothing. It was candy floss (or cotton candy!) in that it was sweet but didn’t feel me up or give me anything to fully chow down on. While I don’t always want that and sometimes like fluff this was just pointless. I actually don’t think I’ll be reading anything else of The Lunar Chronicles because I’m feeling like she is beating a dead horse now and I’d rather just look back on TLC with fondness.

      As much as I like to think it’s all romantic and creative, books are a business and money plays a strong driving force!

      Liked by 1 person

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