Why yes, I did skip to the epilogue of Winter before reading the other stories.
I know I reviewed some of these stories in an earlier post, but I’m going to touch on them again a little, since I was really brief in my original review. My format will pretty much be the same: a quick summary followed by a brief review.
Also, MASSIVE SPOILERS because these stories are just a tad too short for me to
Michelle Benoit is relieved to take in her granddaughter, Scarlet, into her home. She doesn’t trust her son to watch over her. But when a friend from the past trusts her with a much more royal ward, Michelle must protect them both from the world, and from each other.
I didn’t realize how much I needed this story until I read it. Child Scarlet is adorable (“She puts too much eggplant, and I HATE eggplant, but Papa said I was being rude…”). But my favourite part has to be Michelle’s point of view. Her backstory, her fortitude in caring for a stubborn adolescent and a lost princess, it was missing in Scarlet.
Cinder, a newly adopted cyborg, is brought to the Linh household, where she is accepted by stepsister Peony and despised by stepmother Adri. There must be some way to prove herself…
I love Glitches because I love the interaction of young Peony and Cinder. We don’t get to know much about her in Cinder, and it was nice to read about how welcoming to Cinder she is. This is the same for Garan.
The Queen’s Army
At age twelve, eligible young boys are conscripted into the Queen’s Army. Ze’ev never wanted to be a soldier, but he must go when he is called. He can only work so that he doesn’t become the monster they want him to be.
Ze’ev’s story is probably my favourite of the bunch. Wolf gets very few scenes in his point of view, and Wolf’s past is very interesting, and while not necessary to the main plot, this really does contribute to his character. It’s also a very good description of the hybrid soldier life, an aspect of Meyer’s world that wasn’t really touched on in the novels.
Carswell’s Guide to Being Lucky
Carswell is saving for his own space ship. A Rampion, to be precise. He can’t be bothered with school, with his parents’ expectations, or Kate Fallow. Well, maybe the last one…if she can help him with his math homework.
What I like about Thorne’s story is that it is a fine balance of considerate human being and cunning scumbag. Somehow Meyer makes young Carswell both despicable and endearing, without really going too far in either direction. The most important thing about this is that it still leaves a lot of room for his character development in Cress.
After the Sun Passes By
Cress is a shell, a Lunar without the Gift, and her blood is harvested every two weeks. But she is so much more than a science experiment. She can hack computers, she has learned to read. And finally, finally, the Queen has noticed…
This is probably my least favourite story in the anthology. While Cress’ life as a captured shell and transfer to satellite definitely add to her backstory, it wasn’t as if I learned anything new about her. I wasn’t really invested in the story, and it felt like Meyer needed a story for Cress so she wrote this. I was discussing this with my sister, and we agreed that a better story about Cress would have been about Darnel giving up his baby daughter, who is a shell.
The Princess and The Guard
Princess Winter’s Lunar gift is the most promising of the Lunar court. But when she uses it to stop a woman from committing suicide, she never expected the consequences. Vowing to never use her gift again, she is ridiculed and threatened. Only a guard can protect her, her childhood friend.
A huge complaint about Winter was that novel wasn’t really about Winter. This story is what Winter was missing. The character development of Winter and Jacin were spot on, and it was really interesting reading about life in Lunar court. It’s probably the longest story, but it is well put together.
The Little Android
She wasn’t supposed to fall in love. No android was supposed to fall in love. But she did.
The best thing about this story is that it’s very independent. I think that it’s a real testament to Meyer’s ability to adapt a fairytale to a new setting without relying on her previous works. I mean, Cinder does make a cameo, but if it was just a story about an android, it stands well on its own.
Kai is in desperate need of his android’s repair. Nainsi, his robotic tutor, holds information about the lost Lunar heir, Princess Selene—his only escape from a marriage alliance with Levana. They tell him the best mechanic in New Beijing is Linh Cinder. But he didn’t expect Linh Cinder to be a teenage girl.
Like Cress’ story, this story wasn’t exactly necessary, but I enjoyed it a lot. I don’t know why, but it was strangely refreshing to have Kai’s point of view of this scene. And I know this style of writing (that of a well known scene from a different point of view) is very hit and miss, but it really worked.
Something Old, Something New
The big day has finally arrived! It’s the wedding of the century—the first wedding between a Lunar and an Earthen in a century. It’s unheard of! It’s a huge political statement! It’s…it might be driving the bride crazy.
I have never been so glad that I was so wrong because I was so wrong in who was getting married—and I can’t imagine this story any other way. No other couple would be married this way, and it was just buckets of adorable and awesome. From the character interaction to the overall plot, the wedding was a success.
I do have some issues with the epilogue though. Cinder’s fast dissolution of the Lunar monarchy was greatly disappointing and unrealistic to me. One year is barely enough time to establish a stable government, and a laughable amount of time to reform a country/moon.