- Paperback: 369 pages
- Publisher: Square Fish; Reprint edition (10 October 2019)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1250106648
- ISBN-13: 978-1250106643
- Product Dimensions: 14 x 2.5 x 21.1 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 386 g
- Average Customer Review: 1 customer review
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Stars Above Paperback – 10 Oct 2019
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Praise for the Lunar Chronicles
#1 New York Times-Bestselling Series
USA Today Bestseller
Publishers Weekly Bestseller
"An interesting mash up of fairy tales and science fiction . . . a cross between Cinderella, Terminator, and Star Wars." --Entertainment Weekly
"Prince Charming among the cyborgs." --The Wall Street Journal
"Terrific." --LosAngeles Times
"Marissa Meyer rocks the fractured fairytalegenre." --The Seattle Times
"Epic awesome." --Bustle
"A binge-reading treat." --MTV
"Takes the classic to a whole new level." --NPR
"Just when the insanely popular Lunar Chronicles looked finished, this piecemeal, but still quite weighty, book will pull readers right back in."--Booklist on Stars Above
"With the monarchy abolished on Luna and peace between Luna and Earth on its way, this collection ends with a happily ever after for everyone."--School Library Journal on Stars Above
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Each of the stories focuses on a character -- some major, some supporting -- in the Lunar Chronicles universe, but several years before the events of the main series. They're in roughly chronological order, beginning with "The Keeper," and Michelle's struggle to care for and hide the Lunar princess in the basement of her farmhouse. Then there is "Glitches," where a small cyborg child is brought to live with her new stepfamily, only to be stranded with a cruel, bitter stepmother and bratty stepsister.
And then there are stories for other characters -- Z, a boy torn from his family and forever altered into an elite, wolfish soldier for the Lunar Queen; Carswell, a wealthy young boy whose schemes and con games are interrupted by compassion; Cress, a young "shell" whose ingenuity causes her to be exiled into space; Winter's regret over the use of her gift prompts her to vow not to use it again, with terrible results; and Kai brings his beloved android to a simple mechanic's shop, with life-changing results.
There is also "The Little Android," a bittersweet tale based on "The Little Mermaid," where a robot falls in love with a human. And there is a new novella called "Something Old, Something New," a tale taking place after the end of the series. Cinder and her friends reunite on Scarlet's farm for a very romantic occasion, and the cyborg has the chance to finally come full circle to where her journey began.
It goes without saying that "Stars Above" is a collection that should only be read after one has finished the rest of the Lunar Chronicles, because it effectively gives away half the twists that take place in the series -- including the ending. While the novels are a complete story unto themselves, these short stories allow Meyer to fill in the cracks between her stories, exploring the characters at pivotal, life-changing points in their lives. For some, it's simply finding a new place in life. For others, it's being physically transformed into something new -- a cyborg or a wolf-man.
One or two of the stories are a bit lightweight ("The Mechanic" is simply Kai and Cinder's first meeting from HIS point of view), but most of them have a wrenching quality at their heart. Most of these tales -- except for Carswell's, and the series' coda -- are stories of loss, pain, death, alienation and the cruelty of Queen Levana, in one way or another -- and Meyer's sleek, detailed writing creates some scenes of true horror (Winter being forced to carve up her own face) or spellbinding beauty ("But she was already vast and bright and endless").
And it does help flesh out the characters even more, especially when they focus on a character who is either very internalized (Ze'ev) or doesn't appear much in the flesh (Michelle, Scar's grandmother). Cinder in particular is explored as a clumsy, amnesiac child who is offered little but scorn, slowly growing from her initial depressed blankness into a clever child who finds a niche where she belongs -- and her brief appearances throughout the stories allow us to see her grow in strength and confidence.
This collection also has a few sample chapters from Meyer's forthcoming book "Heartless," which is based on Lewis Carroll's Wonderland books. It follows Catherine, the daughter of a bombastic Marchioness, who bakes a set of lemon tarts shortly before a royal ball.
Best read after the rest of the series, "Stars Above: A Lunar Chronicles Collection" expands the characters' backstories, adding new richness and depth -- and providing a solid, satisfying coda to the series. Clever, bittersweet and beautifully written.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
The Keeper: 3.5 stars. An interesting look into how Michelle Benoit cared for Cinder before she became a cyborg, and how Cinder's and Scarlet's stories are intertwined. This one was okay, considering it was about a minor character who was less involved throughout the series, and it was fun to read and pick up on Scarlet's little cameos. However, I kind of wish we got to learn more about Logan Tanner and how he came in contact with Princess Selene. But overall, it was a great story.
Glitches: 4.5 stars. This one picks up immediately after The Keeper, and tells us how Cinder made her way to New Beijing, met Adri, Pearl, and Peony, and rebuilt Iko, simultaneously finding a knack in her crazy new world. It also tells us what happened to the mysterious Linh Garan, the inventor of the bioelectricity device, and Cinder's stepfather. It was really interesting to find out how Cinder ended up in New Beijing, and her reactions to meeting her new family for the first time. It was definitely strange reading about a Cinder who didn't exactly stand up for herself, and was weak, scared, and lonely. I was glad when Cinder first realized her talent for fixing objects, and to see a sign of the familiar Cinder. Peony was super kind from the beginning, and that makes her storyline even more sad. This was a really good story, with great, descriptive writing, and an intriguing backstory.
The Queen's Army: 4.5 stars. This short story was about Wolf (or Ze'ev), and the challenges he had to face when becoming a part of Levana's mutated wolf-soldier army. This was an especially intense story, and gives us the background I was searching for with Wolf. Since he isn't a very outgoing character, I feel like this is a very important addition to his story, and I can relate to him more now that I know more about him.
Carswell's Guide To Being Lucky: 5 stars. Thorne is one of my favorite characters in this series, mainly because he reminds me so much of Han Solo. And I also think that Han Solo would have a similar backstory. Of course Thorne's jokes and quips were awesome, but seeing and understanding his past and how it influenced his later personality was fun to read about. It was great making connections between his 13-year-old self and the man he was going to become, such as his type of girl. Those similarities were really what sold this for me, and I felt like I was reading about the same Thorne having adventures on the Rampion.
After Sunshine Passes By: 4 stars. Even the title makes me tear up a little bit. Cress's imprisonment on the satellite is heartbreaking, but knowing that she gets her happy ending in the end somehow made the whole ordeal worthwhile.
The Princess and the Guard: 4.5 stars. Now THIS is what I was hoping for in Stars Above. Winter and Jacin are probably the two main characters we know the least about, especially since Jacin is so internalized, and their backstory was desperately needed. This one was mostly based on the cruelty of Levana, and the relationship between Winter and Jacin. Non-hallucinating Winter is just as awesome as crazy Winter, and sort of reminded me of Cinder and Cress in certain ways. We also get to see a tremendous show of strength on Winter's part, when Levana forces her to carve up her own face, and she refuses to let even a tear fall during the event. And although it was horrifying, this somehow makes her craziness even more endearing.
The Little Android: 5 stars. This one got me the most. Even though it has no relation to the rest of the Lunar Chronicles, aside from a small cameo by Cinder, this is a very heartbreaking, tearjerking story that will definitely tug on your heartstrings. It's a retelling of the original Little Mermaid tale, and just like the original, this story has a very bittersweet ending. It chronicles the events that follow after an android falls in love with a human engineer, and rejects her original programming. This android reminded a lot of Iko, just a little quieter. It made me wonder if there a lot of independent androids in the Lunar Chronicles universe, but it mostly just made me tear up a lot.
The Mechanic: 4.5 stars. Not an extremely important story, but a pretty good one. This is the first meeting between Kai and Cinder told from Kai's perspective, and it is very lightweight. I know some readers aren't huge fans of reverse POV's stories, but it is a really interesting and insightful addition that sheds some light on Kai's early motivations and personality, and of course, why he fell for Cinder.
Something Old, Something New: 5 stars. An amazing, fun, detailed epilogue of the entire Lunar Chronicles. It tells the story of Cinder and the rest of the Rampion crew reuniting on Scarlet's farm for an unforgettable event. (cough, WEDDING, cough.) This is once again told from Cinder's POV, and is a really neat way to wrap everything up, although it did serve as a reminder that this fantastic, wonderful series is finally over. However, it was the best conclusion an author could have written, given the circumstances.
Overall, this was a truly great, astounding short story collection that ties up all loose ends, and answers any questions a reader may have about the Lunar Chronicles. Each story was completely filled with action, adventure, emotional conflict, and descriptive, enticing writing. No one else could have done it better. Farewell, Lunar Chronicles.
Here is my ranking of the stories (with my notes):
1. Something Old, Something New
An epilogue for the entire series which focuses on one of the couple's upcoming nuptials. I loved that Cinder was once again the narrator and that it showcased friendship as much as romance. A great way to tie everything together.
2. The Mechanic
What Kai was thinking when he met Cinder for the first time. I'm not usually into reverse POV's stories, but I adore Kai and thought this was very well-done. I liked the insight into his desire to help his country, no matter what he had to deal with personally.
3. The Little Android
The most loosely connected story that is a retelling of The Little Mermaid. Very interesting information about androids and cyborgs. This one had me tearing up the most.
4. After Sunshine Passes By
Cress is my favorite of all the heroines and I thought the story of how she was placed on the satellite was heartbreaking. It just made me so mad to see how the Lunars treated the shells.
Cinder arrives in New Beijing and meets the Linh family including Iko! This one was sad due to how alone Cinder felt and what happens when the plague hits the household.
6. The Queen's Army
More about Ze'ev's family on Luna and how he was turned into one of Queen Levana's supersoldiers. What I liked most about this story was the determination Ze'ev showed throughout his ordeal and how that foreshadowed his storyline.
7. The Keeper
A quick look at how Scarlet's grandmother became involved in the whole situation when her former lover arrives on Earth with the severely injured Princess Selene. The sacrifices Michelle made was difficult to fathom though I enjoyed the little tidbits we got about Scarlet's childhood.
8. The Princess and the Guard
Winter and Jacin's early years as friends. This is one of the longer stories and it was an enjoyable look into characters that I felt like I knew the least. These two just don't interest me as much as the others.
9. Carswell's Guide to Being Lucky
This was funny and surprisingly poignant especially considering it was about a young Thorne. I liked seeing what his family was like and how they helped shape his seemingly carefree attitude towards life. It was also interesting to see that his type of girl was the same even back then.
These novellas provide tons of fun to readers who already fans of the series. I definitely wouldn't suggest reading these before the other Lunar Chronicles books even though, chronologically, most of them happen before the full-length novels. They are full of insight into characters and secrets that I think would be spoiled if read beforehand. But, if you love these characters, this is definitely a book you will enjoy and is a great addition to an already fabulous series.
The Keeper was one of the ones I was most interested in: the story of how Scarlet's grandmother came to be in care of wee Cinder.
Glitches picked up right after, and told of how Cinder came to live with the Linhs, how Peony was lovely from the beginning (tears!), how Adri was awful from the start (not surprised) and how Cinder rebuilt Iko.
Then came The Queen's Army, which omg the FEELS. I loved Wolf and his story was heart-wrenching but I still enjoyed it.
Carswell's Guide to Being Lucky - I shamelessly love Thorne. Like if I knew him IRL I'd punch him many times, but I love him as a character. And I loved seeing him as a smart-ass 13 year old, already much like the man he was going to be.
After Sunshine Passes By - Wee Cress! This story was also sad, especially at the end, but considering you knew where it was going, and you know how it ends up, it's bearable!
The Princess and the Guard - Oh, Winter and Jacin's dynamic is wonderful. This one was cute and sad at the same time, much like Winter's whole story, but again, knowing how things turn out really helps.
The Little Android - MY HEART. This story is all brand new characters and holds true to the original Little Mermaid story. Meaning, it's sad.
The Mechanic - LOVED seeing the meeting between Cinder and Kai from Kai's POV. It gave a little more insight into Kai's early motivations, and more into his personality.
Something Old, Something New - the wedding of the century! Except not the wedding I was expecting? Cute moment between all the couples, as well as wonderful friendships throughout. Loved this last bit.
Overall, like I said, I really enjoyed this, even though it was one hell of an emotional rollercoaster ride.