Stars Above (Lunar Chronicles Short Story Collection) Spoiler-Free Review

Stars Above by Marissa Meyer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Like all short story collections, "Stars Above" is a mixed bag. However, seeing as all of the tales are set within the world of The Lunar Chronicles, I enjoyed every one of them. Here's a brief, spoiler-free summary:
"The Keeper"- This story tells Michelle Benoit's story in more depth. It touches on her relationships with both Scarlet and Dr. Tanner, and finishes with how she came to protect Cinder. Well written and plotted, it manages quite a bit of story and character development for its length. 4 stars.

"Glitches"- This story follows Cinder as she joins the Linh family in New Beijing. She's a child, she has no memory of "the other family," and she's a cyborg. Young Cinder and Peony are precious, and I enjoyed reading this part of the story. 4 stars

"The Queen's Army"- Naturally, this is a story about Wolf and how he became an elite member of the Queen's Army. This story has a decidedly different tone from the previous two, and it was one of my favorites. Taken from his parents and genetically modified, Wolf (or Z, as he's known at the time) must deny his gentle nature and become a killer if he wants to survive. 4.5 stars

"Carswell's Guide to Being Lucky"- A cute story about pint-sized Thorne at school. The most interesting thing about this story was that Thorne was from a wealthy background, and how that shaped his character. Otherwise, this one didn't do much for me. 3.5 stars

"After Sunshine Passes By"- Next is a story about Cress as a child, and how she came to be put in a satellite. This one is quite short, and it is basically a reworking of the beginning of Rapunzel in the world of TLC. 3.5 stars

"The Princess and the Guard"- Winter and Jacin are the titular characters in one of the longer stories in the anthology. Basically, this story just explores their childhoods and backstory. Jacin was the character I felt the most distant from in TLC, so it was good to get more of his personality and character. Winter is, as usual, completely charming with a stain of sorrow. 4 stars.

"The Little Android"- A pretty straightforward retelling of "The Little Mermaid," but with an android (Mech6.0). It was a standout in that only Cinder has a brief cameo (as far as the main LC characters go), and we get to see more of the world and everyday people of TLC. Bittersweet and well done. 4.5 stars

"The Mechanic"- I'll admit that I was primed to like this one, since it is the story of Cinder and Kai's meeting from Kai's perspective. It was great fun to get in his head, since he is one of the more impassive/emotionally unavailable characters. As I suspected, he's pretty funny. I would read an entire book with him as the POV character. 4.5 stars

"Something Old, Something New"- Obviously, there is a wedding involved. This story was the sappiest, and definitely had the most corny parts, but it also surprised me with some truly hilarious bits. The mental images of all the male characters decorating for a wedding together was worth the read by itself. It went on a bit long for me, but it also neatly tied up the story and sent the characters into the next stages of their lives. 3.5 stars

Overall: A fun, breezy read with some standout stories, a liberal dose of humor and mayhem, and more of lovable characters. Definitely a must for Lunar Chronicles fans. 4 stars 

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Top Ten Tuesday: Top 10 Books I’d Like to See as Movies/TV Shows

Image Credit: Broke and the Bookish

After a week-long hiatus due to an (awesome) trip to Manhattan for Book Expo,* I am ready to get back in the ring with a Top 10 Tuesday via The Broke and the Bookish. If you haven’t already, make sure to check out their Top 10s and other features here.

I tend to be leery of book to screen adaptations, though there are really good ones out there.** Still, it’s hard for me to see beloved characters (or awesome plots) destroyed. Movies like Ella Enchanted (which would have made a great movie as is) or the 2008 Prince Caspian had me running for the hills. That being said, I love BBC miniseries adaptations (most of the time), such as the 1995 Pride and Prejudice or the 2006 Jane Eyre.*** (all gifs are from Tumblr.com, and belong to respective copyright holders)

So here are the Top 10 books I’d like to see hit the screen (in varying degrees of detail):

1. The Count of Monte Cristo (Alexander Dumas) as a BBC miniseries

There is a movie of this that lots of people love. I read the book first, so I was pretty disappointed. It’s an epic (read: long) adventure/revenge novel that was practically written for TV. Duels, honor, Betrayal, daring escapes, vengeance, and lots of characters. The BBC’s stellar casting, sets, costumes, and attention to detail are a perfect fit. With the right actor as Edmond Dantes, it could be a cult classic.

2. The Lunar Chronicles (Marissa Meyer) as an anime (or movies)

As Sailor Moon was one of Meyer’s biggest inspirations, it would be fitting for her Lunar Chronicles to go the anime route. Can’t you just see New Beijing as an anime city? With the right group of artists and writers, this could be an awesome cross-cultural phenomenon. Everything from the characters to the futuristic world would translate so well. And seriously, Prince Kai’s fan club was meant for anime—->

3. The Dante Club (Matthew Pearl) as a movie or miniseries

Tell me I’m not the only one who wants to see Longfellow and his literary cronies solve murders connected to Dante’s Inferno? Cast a group of brilliant actors, and sell it as the murder mystery/costume drama that you didn’t know you needed. I think it would be awesome. I haven’t seen an old school straight-up murder mystery on the big screen in awhile (there might be one, I just didn’t see it).

4. The Others Series (Anne Bishop) as a miniseries

I have gushed about these books other places, so I’ll just say that now is the perfect time for a serious urban fantasy/political thriller fusion. Meg Corbyn is such a kind, unique heroine, and the world of Namid is fascinating and brimming with great material. And who doesn’t want to see Howling Good Reads as a tv set? With a vampire and a Wolf manning the counter? And Tess, Tess would be a great TV character. Actually, they all would. (You can read an excerpt of this book here

5. The Queen’s Thief Series as a Miniseries

Roman/Greek inspired mythology, politics, adventure, costly mistakes, awesome characters, and at the center, cheeky thief Eugenides. I think you could split each of the books into segments and air them in groups of three. Irene and Gen, when played by the right actors, could be one of those pairs that keeps everyone watching on the edge of their seats. (One of those will they end up getting married or getting executed things)


6. Sabriel (Garth Nix) as a movie

Another book I have yakked on ad nauseam. Sabriel has everything: fantasy, anti-necromancers, a world of decaying grandeur, slow-burning romance, and most importantly, a strong and logical heroine who wears practical clothes and is more worried about saving her dad than getting the guy. The Old Kingdom would be epic on the big screen.

7. Crown Duel/Court Duel (Sherwood Smith) as movies

Described as “a fantasy of manners,” this book (my edition was one volume) is one of my favorite pick me up reads. It’s a little Scarlet Pimpernel, a little Pride and Prejudice, and some general silliness (and the fan language!). There are pokes at fantasy tropes, and manners madness, and adventures. It would make a great movie (or two) for those days when you are tired of “dark, gritty, realism.”
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8. Neverwhere (Neil Gaiman) as a movie

There is an excellent radio adaptation of this book, with a cast that should have been grabbed for an actual movie. James McAvoy as Richard. Natalie Dormer as Door. Sophie Okonedo as Hunter. And Benedict Cumberbatch as The Angel Islington. At the very least, seek out the audiobook and imagine it as you listen. So good.

9. The Two Princesses of Bamarre (Gail Carson Levine) as a movie

TPoB is actually my favorite book of Gail Carson Levine’s. I discovered it on one of those family vacations (the ones where you’re supposed to participate instead of reading) and fell in love with the story of two sisters. The fantasy world is lovely, but it is really Addie and Meryl’s relationship that makes this book so special. Addie, with her hard won courage and terror of spiders, always struck me as such a real girl. I think that (in the right hands), this could be made into a classic fantasy movie. There are some great fan-casting pics here at iflist.com
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10. The Monster Blood Tattoo series as a miniseries/movies.

Sort of steampunk series that has Dickens vibes and awesome characters. It would be a cool miniseries, as long as the (many) monsters were well done. However, the whole thing would really hinge on the actors playing Rosamund and his mentor Europe. Europe is a little ex-society girl, a little Natasha Romanoff, and all boss-so you’d have to have a great actress with just the right balance of edge and superiority. Rosamund would be best suited by a pale English waif with phenomenal acting powers. I could just see all the quirky other characters as famous cameos. Maybe Guillermo Del Toro could achieve the mixture of dark, sober, and whimsical necessary?

Close contenders: Rot & Ruin, The Silmarillion (not the whole thing though! I think Beren and Luthien’s story would make an epic miniseries), Artemis Fowl (which they’ve been talking about forever), The Witch of Blackbird Pond, Sorcery and Cecelia, Captain Blood (yeah, I know there’s an Errol Flynn one, but I want a reboot with Orlando Bloom as Peter Blood!), and every single Marvel comic with the Winter Soldier (Black Widow too).****

So is there any book you’d really like to see come to life? Do movie adaptations of your favorites scare you too? Are you better at casting book/movies than me? (Probably, I’m terrible). Sound off in the comments

Footnotes:
*BEA post to come, promise!
**The Princess Bride is a perfect example of the book-to-movie adaptation.
***Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell would have been on this list if it wasn’t already a miniseries. Which I can’t watch until the BBC lets us have it!
****Speaking of comics-they tend to adapt better. Netflix’s Daredevil is my new favorite thing. So. Well. Done.