This recommendation contains spoilers for other books in The Lunar Chronicles, but not for Stars Above. If you haven’t read all of the previous books in the series, don’t read on!
In a lot of cases, I don’t enjoy the trend of companion short stories and novellas that’s becoming common for YA series. In certain cases it works (Nicola recommends some excellent examples here) and in others it just feels forced. I typically avoid novellas as the main books in the series come out to preserve my reading process. Marissa Meyer’s collection, Stars Above was a great way to conclude the series.
The collection is a combination of prequel stories and one of the wedding stories we’ve all been waiting for. It was just what I needed to close down my love for The Lunar Chronicles. I’ll admit that Winter felt a little rushed for me. Even with the knowledge I gained in Fairest, I felt like Winter didn’t really get a fair shake as a character. Even at 800 pages, Winter felt like not enough.
For me, Stars Above added in everything I’d been wondering about. It closed the gaps in my understanding about characters and events from previous novels and gave me closure on a series I’ve loved and supported from the beginning. With Winter, the main thing I felt was missing (and had been missing since she was introduced as a character) was the reasoning for why Winter would choose to get Lunar sickness. Why wouldn’t she just use her power a little bit and avoid the mental torture of not using her gift? Yes, the story is relayed on a surface level in Winter, but with so much else going on, it lost its impact for me. Stars Above clears this up in heartbreaking detail.
My other favorite stories let us in on characters like Thorne and Cress, who Meyer always hinted had compelling backstories, but we never got to know them. Who is Carswell Thorne, really? All those reasons Cress loved him before she even knew him were supported in Stars Above. How did Cress end up on the satellite? Explained.
But my favorite story by far was how Wolf became Wolf. One of the most powerful things in Winter is Wolf’s tragic transformation. He is so ashamed of his beastly mutations, but Scarlet loved him exactly the same, if not more. Getting a chance to understand the depth of his revulsion at the lupine mutations made the whole series that much richer.
Not all the stories are sad, and not all are about main characters. I was surprised at the graceful range Meyer includes in the collections, and the ordering of the stories/novellas takes on a life of its own, as any good collection should. I felt it built to a meaningful conclusion in its last story. I felt satisfied about the series in a way that was lacking for me at the end of Winter.
If you’ve read all of the books, and even if you loved Winter and felt satisfied with the way it ended, I promise you will love Stars Above. It was wonderful to get more time with all of our favorite characters and so good to see them all again at the end in a story that feels like a real conclusion to the series.
Allison Carr Waechter is ready for Spring and reading in her hammock.