At some point when talking about Marissa Meyer’s Lunar Chronicles series a commenter asked why I liked these books but usually panned “beach reads” in favor of more literary selections. That’s a good question. I recently read the last book in the series, Winter, and gave the matter more thought.
What makes The Lunar Chronicles good reading even for those of us who normally eschew YA and beach reads?
1. It’s not too full of YA-ish-ness.
I thought the whole angsty teen thing was annoying even when I was an angsty teen, so it was nice that the heroines in this series are running around staging intergalactic revolutions and flying spaceships and fixing prosthetic limbs and whatnot, rather than just pouting around. There’s some angsty love drama in the series, but not so much that you spend your entire day rolling your eyes.
2. It’s highly imaginative and well planned.
Not all dystopian fairy tale retellings are good. Probably most aren’t. But Meyer did a great job of planning her books so the world-building and plotting are imaginative and solidly done, then added good storytelling and pacing.
3. It’s full of good ideas, but not wooden browbeating.
Themes like technology use, prejudice, and how you get people to like you (or not) are pretty interesting, and I think Meyer did a good job of weaving them in. Because it’s YA they are more obvious than you’d expect from fiction for adults, but you still wind up thinking as and after you read, versus a lot of beach fiction that you forget promptly after finishing it.
If you’re looking for literary fiction that will really feed your soul or something, this series is probably not it. But if you need something to lighten your February doldrums or pack in your pool bag, I think this series would be a good choice. If nothing else, you’ll be entertained and drawn in by the stories while not feeling guilty for wasting your life. 🙂
Do you feel like you need light reads now and then? What was your most recent favorite beach (or wish-you-were-at-the-beach) read?
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