3 Ways to Read Lunar Chronicles Books in Order | Marissa Meyer

The Lunar Chronicles is a series of Sci-Fi young adult novels by Marissa Meyer. The books revolve around the adventures of Cinder, who is half cyborg and half-human, as she tries to overthrow Queen Levana. Reading the Lunar Chronicles books in order will take you on an epic journey with beloved characters.

Before we just into the list of books, though, let’s learn a little bit more about Marissa Meyer.

Who is Marissa Meyer?

Marissa Meyer is the New York Times-bestselling author of The Lunar Chronicles and the Renegades Trilogy.

Her debut novel, Cinder, was published in January of 2012. She has since published 10 novels, 4 novellas, and participated in a few anthologies. Her newest release, Gilded, was published on November 2nd, 2021.

In Cinder, the first book of the Lunar Chronicles, Meyer takes readers on a fantastical journey to New Beijing in what has become a hit fairy tale retelling in a steampunk fantasy setting.

Cinder has since sold millions of copies worldwide and recently received a new look for all four of the books covers.

#1 Lunar Chronicles Books In Order of Publication

Reading the Lunar Chronicles books in order of publication is the way that thousands of fans experienced the books as they released. It’s also the method that I would recommend for any first time readers.

All of the short stories once published individually have been complied into the Stars Above collection. For this list, we’ve still separated them to where they belong in publication order.

The final four short stories were never published individually and first appeared in Stars Above, so that is where they appear in the list.

  1. Cinder (2011)
  2. Glitches
  3. Scarlet (2013)
  4. The Queen’s Army
  5. The Little Android
  6. Cress (2014)
  7. Carswell’s Guide to Being Lucky
  8. Fairest (2015)
  9. The Princess and the Guard
  10. Winter (2015)
  11. Stars Above (2016)
    1. The Keeper
    2. The Mechanic
    3. After Sunshine Passes By
    4. Something Old, Something New
  12. Wires and Nerve Vol. 1 (2017)
  13. Wires and Nerve Vol. 2: Gone Rogue (2018)

#2 Lunar Chronicles Books in Chronological Order

I would only recommend this Lunar Chronicles reading order for those who have successfully completed the whole series and are looking to reread Marissa Meyer’s books with a little twist.

Chronological order sets the story up from the earliest events to the latest, but spoilers will abound for the main books in the series, so do not read the Lunar Chronicles books in this order if you’re a new reader.

  1. Fairest (Novella)
  2. The Keeper
  3. Glitches
  4. The Little Android
  5. The Mechanic
  6. Cinder (Book 1)
  7. The Queen’s Army
  8. Scarlet (Book 2)
  9. Carswell’s Guide to Being Lucky
  10. After Sunshine Passes By
  11. Cress (Book 3)
  12. The Princess and the Guard
  13. Winter (Book 4)
  14. Wires and Nerve Vol. 1 (Graphic Novel)
  15. Wires and Nerve Vol. 2: Gone Rogue (Graphic Novel)
  16. Something Old, Something New

#3 Recommended Lunar Chronicles Reading Order

What if you’d like a mix of the two?

If you’d like to read the short stories and novellas as early as possible to get more information out of the world, but without spoilers. This recommended Lunar Chronicles reading order is for you.

Below, I’ll list the books, and then we’ll take a closer look at why the books are arranged this way in the sections below.

  1. Cinder (Book 1)
  2. The Mechanic
  3. The Little Android
  4. The Queen’s Army
  5. Scarlet (Book 2)
  6. The Keeper
  7. Glitches
  8. After Sunshine Passes By
  9. Cress (Book 3)
  10. Carswell’s Guide to Being Lucky
  11. Fairest (Novella)
  12. The Princess and the Guard
  13. Winter (Book 4)
  14. Wires and Nerve Vol. 1 (Graphic Novel)
  15. Wires and Nerve Vol. 2: Gone Rogue (Graphic Novel)
  16. Something Old, Something New

Lunar Chronicles Summary and Order Explanation

The Lunar Chronicles books in order give you the full story of life on Earth and Luna. Here I will help you get started with your reading order for this amazing set. Here is a recommended order in which to read The Lunar Chronicles series by Marissa Meyer if you haven’t already started reading her books yet.

Cinder Lunar Chronicles Books in Order

Cinder

New Beijing’s streets are crowded with androids and humans. A deadly plague afflicts the population. A ruthless group of lunar people watches from space, ready to move. One girl determines the fate of Earth. Cinder is a skilled mechanic and a cyborg.

Her stepmother has made her a second-class citizen. She also blames her for the illness of her stepsister. Her life is suddenly entwined with Prince Kai’s, and she finds herself in the middle of an intergalactic conflict. She is caught between duty and freedom and loyalty and betrayal.

She must discover secrets about her past to save her world’s future.


The Mechanic (Short Story)

This is the scene in which Kai and Cinder meet, from Kai’s perspective. This short story should be read after Cinder. If you read this before finishing Cinder, I suggest that you don’t read past this point in Cinder before first reading The Mechanic. Kai can tell us things that Cinder doesn’t.


The Little Android (Short Story)

The Little Android is a retelling of The Little Mermaid, set in the world of The Lunar Chronicles. This tale doesn’t have any impact on the main story. You can skip it if you like.

When android Mech6.0 saves the life of a handsome hardware engineer, her body is destroyed and her mechanics discover a glitch in her programming. Androids aren’t meant to develop impractical reasoning or near-emotional responses…let alone fall in love.


The Queen’s Army (Short Story)

It is time. The boy must leave his family to serve in the Queen’s army. To be chosen is an honor. To decline is impossible. The boy is modified.

He is trained for several years, and learns to fight to the death. He proves to the Queen—and to himself—that he is capable of evil. He is just the kind of soldier the Queen wants: the alpha of his pack.

I would recommend reading The Queen’s Army before Scarlet. You could also read it right after Scarlet, where Z plays a prominent role. Either way will work. But if you’d prefer to stay true to the publication order, read it after Scarlet. There aren’t any spoilers if you read it before, though.


Scarlet Marissa Meyer

Scarlet

This isn’t the fairytale that you will ever forget. It’s a fairytale you’ll never forget. Scarlet Benoit’s grandmother has gone missing. Her case has been closed by the police. Scarlet cannot turn to Wolf because she is a street fighter. Scarlet does not trust him, but they seem to be attracted to one another.

Cinder, who is currently in New Beijing, will be the Commonwealth’s most wanted criminal fugitive. She will escape from prison to keep one step ahead of Queen Levana. Scarlet and Wolf uncover one mystery and meet Cinder to unravel another.

They must work together to challenge the evil queen who will do anything to make Prince Kai, her husband, and her king her prisoner.


The Keeper (Short Story)

The Keeper is all about Scarlet’s grandmother, Michelle Benoit. You’ll also get some glimpses of Cinder and Scarlet’s origin story.

Because of this, the Keeper falls fairly early in the Lunar Chronicles chronological reading order, but I wouldn’t recommend reading it before Cinder unless you’ve already been through the series once before.


Glitches (Short Story)

Glitches picks up where The Keeper left off. So as with the last one, I wouldn’t recommend reading this before Cinder unless you’re doing a reread. It also goes without saying that you should read the Keeper first in either scenario.

Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. In Glitches, a short prequel story to Cinder, we see the results of that illness play out, and the emotional toll that takes on Cinder. Something that may, or may not, be a glitch…


After Sunshine Passes By (Short Story)

After Sunshine Passes By is one of those short stories that was never originally published on it’s own. It came out a year after the series was completed in the Stars Above collection.

As such, the tale isn’t necessary for main story, but if you want to read it, After Sunshine Passes By should be read right before Cress. That’s because this story tells of Cress’s origin.


Cress Lunar Chronicles

Cress

This book in the Lunar Chronicles Books in Order follows Cinder and Scarlet as a popular Lunar Chronicles trilogy. Cress, a satellite prisoner who is an expert hacker and trying to save the world, is not your typical damsel in distress. Cress was born as a prisoner.

Having no other company, she is forced to serve Queen Levana’s will. This means that Cinder and Emperor Kai, her handsome accomplice, must be tracked down. Levana doesn’t know that the men she loves and those she seeks are conspiring to her demise.

For Cress, Scarlet, and Cinder, happily ever after is closer than ever as their paths cross and the cost of freedom increases. This isn’t the fairy tale that you know. It’s a fairy tale you’ll never forget.


Carswell’s Guide to Being Lucky (Short Story)

This short story can be read anywhere as it contains no spoilers and provides little insight into the main story. It does, however, give you more background and details about Carswell Thorne.

I recommend reading it after Cress because Cress is where Thorne is introduced into the story. If you read this before Cress, you won’t really have any idea who Thorne is or why you should care about him. So reading it after makes sense because you’ll naturally be more interested.


Fairest Levana's Story

Fairest

You need to read Fairest after Cress but before Winter. You really do. Once you finish Cress you’re not going to want to. Trust me on that. But curb that tendency to skip Fairest. You’ll be glad you did.

I liken this to fans of Sarah J. Maas’s Throne of Glass who, upon finishing Empire of Storms, want to skip Tower of Dawn and jump straight to Kingdom of Ash.

No!

That’s a terrible idea.

Yes, I know the book ended in a cliffhanger. And, yes, I know you want to know what happens. But just take my word for it. Read Fairest.

DO IT.


The Princess and The Guard (Short Story)

The Princess and the Guard is another story that needs to be read before Winter. It’s not as long as Fairest seeing that Fairest is a 200-page novellas and this is a small short story. So hopefully you won’t yell at me when I recommend yet another story to delay your reading of Winter.

A lot of the times short stories can be skipped. Novellas? Not really, you need those. But short stories? They’re rarely important and just provide added in insight. But in this case, that insight will benefit you greatly.

The Princess and the Guard reveals how Winter became who she is. And while, yes, technically you could just read the main 4 books in the series and get everything you need. Reading the Princess and the Guard before reading Winter will make Winter that much more powerful.

You can take my word to the bank on that.


Winter Marissa Meyer

Winter

The Lunar people admire Princess Winter for her kindness and grace. Despite the scars on her face, her beauty is even more stunning than that of Queen Levana, her stepmother.

Winter hates her stepmother and knows Levana will not approve of her feelings towards Jacin, her childhood friend and the palace guard. However, Winter isn’t as weak and obstinate as Levana thinks she is. She’s been thwarting her stepmother’s wishes for many years.

Finally, Winter, Cinder the CyborgMech, and her allies might start a revolution and end a long-running war. Can Cinder Scarlet, Cress, and Winter defeat Levana to find their happily ever afters? This is a thrilling conclusion to Marissa Meyer’s bestselling Lunar Chronicles series.


Something Old and Something New (Short Story)

Something Old and Something New is an epilogue of sorts. You know book series’ end and you wish there was more?

Ta-da! Here it is!

This is the final story in the Stars Above collection, and if I had to guess, it might have been what inspired the collection to begin with. Oftentimes, authors are just as reluctant to part from their worlds as you are.

Marissa Meyer wrote us a short story to let us know what’s going on with Cinder and the crew after the dust settled from the ending of Winter.

Something Old and Something New takes place 2 years after Winter and is a fitting way to end your reading of the Lunar Chronicles books in order.


Conclusion

The Lunar Chronicles is a story of love and war, family and romance. It’s about the heartbreak of betrayal and the thrill of new love coming in to bloom when you least expect it. And so much more than that—the books are also an epic adventure with twists around every corner, heroes who will sacrifice everything for what they believe in most, and villains who would destroy our world just to rule over everyone.

This article will help you start your reading order for this amazing series, let us know what we missed in the comments below!

Looking for more book lists?

You might enjoy this list of YA Fairy Tale Retellings or this list of the Shatter Me books in order.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.