As promised in my series review of The Lunar Chronicles, here I am with the recommended reading order for The Lunar Chronicles books and novellas.
The Lunar Chronicles Books
The Lunar Chronicles Series includes a quartet of 4 main books (Cinder, Scarlet, Cress & Winter), 1 bridge book (Fairest) & 1 novella (Stars Above).
The Reading Order of the 4 main books is pretty straightforward. They are meant to be read in publication order.
I have linked each book title to my spoiler free review on Goodreads, just to keep this post concise, and relevant to the reading order of the series.
Then there is the bridge book – Fairest, which is chronologically the first book of this universe. As the events highlighted in Fairest take place way before the events of the first book Cinder.
But it’s best to still start with Cinder, because it is set up as the introductory book to the series. Moreover, you’ll be able to enjoy Fairest better, once you are invested in the characters and their stories.
The author recommends it to be read after Cress (Book #3) & before Winter (Book #4) and I completely agree. So Fairest can be considered Book #3.5.
The Series Reading Order So Far..
BEFORE YOU READ AHEAD – Have you read This Introduction to The Lunar Chronicles Series & World?
Stars Above – Reading Order
Outside of the 4 main books of the quartet, and the bridge book – The Lunar Chronicles universe also has a novella – Stars Above, which is essentially a collection of short stories that are meant to be companion stories to the main books of the series.
Most of them can be considered as ‘origin stories’ of the main protagonists, though there is one story which is relatively unrelated to the main books (The Little Android), but still within this universe that Meyer created, and one story (Something Old, Something New) that can be considered as an ‘Epilogue’ to the main series.
That being said, it’s best not to read these stories one after the other, and instead read them at strategic places, mostly between (and in one case after) the main quartet.
I am sharing the recommended reading order (along with my reasons) below, in hopes that you’ll find it useful & it will add to your enjoyment of the series. 🙂
The Lunar Chronicles Books Reading Order
1. Book #1 – Cinder
This is the place (the book) you need to start with the series. It is set up to be the introductory book to the world and the characters, so irrespective of where the events fit chronologically, start with Cinder.
2. Stars Above Short Story – The Mechanic
In Cinder, you read Cinder’s story from Cinder’s POV for the most part. This short story is basically the scene where Kai & Cinder meet for the first time, from Kai’s POV.
Read this short story after you finish Cinder, and not before. Also, do not read up until this point in Cinder, and switch, because Kai knows things which Cinder doesn’t know, at that point in the book, so spoilers.
3. Stars Above Short Story – The Little Android
This short story was an interesting read, but I don’t think it was necessary for/had anything to do with the main story-line of the series. Of-course everything doesn’t have to be about necessity, some things are just entertainment, which this was.
You can read this just about anywhere, but while we are still intrigued with the world of androids, and cyborgs, this was as good a place as any other. Also because the mechanic shop (which is mentioned here) only features in Cinder, so it kinda makes sense to read it here, while it is all still fresh.
4. Stars Above Short Story – The Queen’s Army
I don’t know why but I had assumed that this story would be an info-dump of sorts – about the Queen’s army. But I couldn’t have been more wrong. This story gives insight into the Queen’s Army, yes, but more importantly it gives insight into Z, one of the protagonists of the series.
I read it here, right before Scarlet, because someone recommended the order, to read this just before Scarlet, to get to know Z, and get a glimpse of the Queen’s Army. And it can be read here. I mean there are no spoilers for Scarlet.
But you could also choose to read this right after Scarlet, where Z features in a prime role. And maybe once you know him, you might be more invested in reading / knowing his origin story which is shared in The Queen’s Army. But either of these two places work, right before or immediately after Scarlet.
5. Book #2 – Scarlet
This is the second book in the Lunar Chronicles main quartet and in a way the story of this book starts right where the story was left off in Cinder.
I say in a way, because this book is as much Scarlet and Wolf’s story as it is the continuation of Cinder’s (and Kai’s). The author splits the narrative between these two stories, and does so in a seamless manner.
And as the story progresses, you get to see how these 2 seemingly unrelated stories connect like 2 puzzle pieces meant to fall in place. Even as you know that there are more puzzle pieces to be found that will unravel in the following books.
6. Stars Above Short Story – Keeper
This is essentially Michelle Benoit’s (Scarlet’s Grandmother’s) story. Which also includes Cinder’s origin story. And some of Scarlet’s too.
Chronologically speaking, the events of this story take place much before Cinder & Scarlet, but it’s better to read this story here, when you already know the girls, and actually care about them. Plus this story has major spoilers for both Cinder & Scarlet, so it’s better to read it only for additional insight – after – you have read the first two books.
7. Stars Above Short Story – Glitches
This story starts moments after Keeper ends, and is pretty much the continuation of Cinder’s origin story. It highlights the time when Cinder first came to live with her adoptive family, including her step father’s death, and also shares how she first discovered her interest for mechanics.
This story doesn’t have any spoilers for Scarlet, so technically it can be read before Scarlet. But since it’s almost like a continuation to Keeper, it’s best read right after it.
Looking for more Sci-Fi Fantasy Series? Check out The Raven Cycle
8. Stars Above Short Story – After Sunshine Passes By
This is basically Cress’s origin story. It gives insight into her childhood, her time on Luna, and how she came to live in the satellite.
This is definitely best read here, right before Cress, where she comes to be a pivotal character in this saga.
9. Book #3 – Cress
Cress is the 3rd book in The Lunar Chronicles main quartet, and to be honest, this was the one book I was the most excited to read (well once I started reading the series, I guess).
And this was mostly because I was super curious about Cress, this futuristic version of Rapunzel who was locked away in a remote satellite on the evil Lunar queen’s command.
After having read it – let me just say – this book did not disappoint. It met all my unrealistically high expectations!
10. Stars Above Short Story – Carswell’s Guide to Being Lucky
This is essentially what you might consider to be Thorne’s origin story. It shares a small glimpse of his childhood, giving a little insight into Thorne. Nothing ground-breaking, but still interesting.
You could technically read this anywhere, even before Cress. But I recommend reading it here, because most folks would be most curious about getting to know Thorne better, right after reading Cress.
11. Book #3.5 Fairest
This is the bridge book you need to read right after Cress & before Winter. Though I know that once you are done with Cress, the LAST THING you would want to do is read anything else but Winter, to see how the saga concludes.
You would especially not want to read 200 odd pages worth of backstory. Especially the psycho villian’s backstory. But just trust me on this – read Fairest first. You will be glad you did.
12. Stars Above Short Story – The Princess & The Guard
This is one story you need to read before you read Winter. And I mean it when I say need to read. Because this isn’t just a story that will give you some random, interesting, yet relatively unnecessary insight into Princess Winter.
But this one will show you how Winter turned out to be who she is – the darling, beautiful princess, who is slowly losing her mind.
It gives the readers a sneak peek into her formative years, which shows why she chose to not use her Lunar gift, how she dealt with her father’s death, and Levana scarring her face. It also highlights her bond with Jason.
All of which is especially great, because the book that follows, which is titled after her, doesn’t give as much insight into her, as this short story does.
13. Book #4 – Winter
This is the final book of The Lunar Chronicles series, and it holds the perfect finale to an epic series.
14. Stars Above Short Story – Something Old, Something New (epilogue to the series)
This story is absolutely mandatory reading, especially if you are the kind of person who loves to know what the characters are upto or where they end up, years after the events of the final book.
This particular story is set 2 years after Winter, so 2 years post the war, and features a wedding, and the reunion of the entire Rampion crew.
I loved this sneak peek into the future of the old gang. It was as amazing as I always imagined it would be.
If you are considering to read this series – Start with Cinder, pick it up here on Amazon (or here’s the link for Amazon India).
If you have read the 4 main books of the quartet, and were unaware of Fairest & Stars Above, I’d still insist you don’t skip them.
Start with Fairest first – check it out here on Amazon US, and here on Amazon India.
And then pick up Stars Above – check it out here on Amazon US, and here on Amazon India.
That’s all from my end, guys! If you are intending to read the series, I hope this post was useful. If you have already read the series – I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments. Do you agree with the reading order? Do you have additional suggestions? I’d love to hear them.
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