It’s beach weather somewhere…

winter coverAt 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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3 thoughts on “It’s beach weather somewhere…

  1. Given that I try to read YA to prepare for attempting to write YA, and given that both you and Sheila, from The Deliberate Reader, recommend this series, I’m thinking I should give it a shot. Seems an especially strong endorsement because I know you don’t normally go in for YA much.
    Wendy recently posted..Book Review: The Song of Hartgrove Hall

  2. Interesting question! I really enjoyed Ilona Andrews Innkeeper stories. It’s free fiction, which is usually a starting point for wretched fiction. But Ilona Andrews is a prolific author and sells plenty of books, so these are free as a gesture of love for the fans. I actually bought the Kindle versions rather than read it on my laptop. There are two books in the series and main character maintains an inn (in Texas? Oklahoma?) that hosts creatures from all over the galaxy. One of my daughters loves the series but is offended at how white the characters appear in the book so she’s recreating them in multinational colors. Well drawn characters, interesting premises, good pacing, and some humor. The inn has a permanent resident, a former dictator that preferred world domination to anything else. Now, with bounties on her head, she takes refuge at the inn. But she’s bored so the innkeeper shows her how to play a particular video game. Eventually the former dictator tells her she is bored with the game:

    “Her Grace gave me a shrug. “I’ve beaten it five times on the Deity setting. I’ve reduced Paris to ashes because Napoleon annoyed me. I’ve eradicated Gandhi. I’ve crushed George Washington. Empress Wu had potential, so I eliminated her before we even cleared Bronze Age. The Egyptians are my pawns. I dominate the planet. Oddly, I find myself mildly fascinated by Genghis Khan. A shrewd and savage warrior, possessing a certain magnetism. I left him with a single city, and I periodically make ridiculous demands that I know he can’t meet so I can watch him squirm.”

    She liked him, so she was torturing him. Her Grace in a nutshell. “What civilization did you choose?”

    “Rome, of course. Any title other than Empress would be unacceptable. That’s not the point. The point, my dear, is that our lives are beginning to feel dreadfully dull. The last guest we had was two months ago.”
    It’s total mind candy, but it’s really fun mind candy!

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