Over the last few months, I’ve talked about a lot of contemporary/realistic YA fiction on Beyond the Bestsellers, including next reads for fans of Sarah Dessen and Ellen Hopkins. I also dipped into dystopia with next reads for fans of the “Divergent” series. I also hit next picks for fans of Ransom Riggs’s genre-bending Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children.
I’d intended to talk this month about what to read after you’ve read Richelle Mead’s Vampire Academy, especially in light of the movie’s release. But I think School Library Journal did a great job of talking about next reads for that series, so instead, I thought I’d talk about what you should read after you’ve read the “Lunar Chronicles” series by Marissa Meyer, the third book of which, Cress, published earlier this month.
The fourth and final book in the series, Winter, isn’t out until next February, but fortunately, there are many options for what to read in the meantime. Here’s a look at why you like this series and what to read if you’re a fan (and eagerly anticipating the conclusion of the story). As always, mileage varies.
Why You Like “The Lunar Chronicles”
- If you’re a fan of genre fiction, chances are that you’ve read many a fairy tale retelling. Fairy tale retellings can be rendered in many different ways and because of that, no matter how familiar you may be with the story from which the book is inspired, the author’s take on that world can still feel fresh. The bulk of fairy tale retellings tend to fall on the fantasy side of the science fiction/fantasy divide. Meyer’s novels, though, fall more on the science fiction side of fairy tale retellings. Cinderella as a cyborg? Yes, please.
- Meyer’s novels are plot-driven, meaning that while we get a good sense of the characters — whose developments are not sacrificed at the expense of story — they’re fast-paced. Once you sit down with one of these books, you sit with it until you finish it because they suck you in.
- The world-building is noteworthy. The future Earth developed throughout isn’t flat; it’s dynamic and the stakes within the world for both the characters and the world itself continue to rise. This is a series you have to read in order for a reason.
- There is a strong female lead character in the story. “Strong” here refers to how she’s written and portrayed: she’s dynamic, and she follows after what it is she wants, both in her head and in her heart.
Try One of These Books Next
A Long, Long Sleep by Anna Sheehan
Rose was in stasis for 62 years, but it only took one kiss from a boy to wake her up. And that wake up is harsh, as Rose discovers everything she thought she knew about the world and her parents turns out to be wrong. Sheehan’s debut novel — which is a stand-alone but getting a stand-alone sequel this August titled No Life But This — is a science fiction twist on “Sleeping Beauty.” Like Meyer’s books, this one has romance and intrigue and enough world-building to keep the pages turning fast.
For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund
Peterfreund’s novel isn’t a fairy tale retelling. Instead, this is a science fiction take on Jane Austen’s Persuasion. Like Meyer’s story, interwoven into this futuristic scifi world are threads about class and nobility, as well as a romantic subplot and solid world-building.
Although not as strong a read alike to Meyer’s novel as For Darkness Shows the Stars, readers who like Peterfreund’s science fiction take on a classic will want to pick up the stand-alone sequel, Across a Star-Swept Sea, which takes a twist on the classic The Scarlet Pimpernel.
Fun fact: both Meyer and Peterfreund have a character named Kai in their stories.
Scarlet by A. C. Gaughen
Something not science fiction at all and yet still a good next read for fans of Meyer’s series is A. C. Gaughen’s Scarlet. Gaughen’s book reworks what we know of “Robin Hood,” and features a girl named Scarlet who poses as one of Robin Hood’s thieves to avoid the evil thief taker. No one except Robin Hood and his men know, though, that Scarlet is a she, not a he, as she’s got posing as a boy down to a T. There is romance and intrigue and the compelling and complex female character, as well as the take on a well-known story, should appeal greatly to those who like “The Lunar Chronicles.”
This is the first book in a trilogy, and the second book, Lady Thief, came out last week. The third will come out next year.
Not enough options? A few other books that would be worth checking out if you’re a fan of Meyer include:
- Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson, a reimagining of Peter Pan
- Ash by Malinda Lo, a reimagining of Cinderella
- Enchanted by Alethea Kontis, a blending of different fairy tales (and first in a series)
- Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin, a reimagining of the Edgar Allan Poe story of the same name.
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