The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer is a bestselling five-book series that reimagine popular fairy tales in futuristic settings. The classic fairy tales included are Cinderella, Snow White, Rapunzel, and Little Red Riding Hood.
This series is very clever and merges the digital world with classic stories that have been cherished by children and adults alike throughout generations.
If you’re worried about these books appearing ‘childish’, please don’t. These books put dark twists on the usual happy-ever-afters and incorporate some very adult themes such as military action, imprisonment, artificial intelligence, and psychological deterioration. However, these books are all tailored to YA audiences, so they will be suitable for readers over the age of 13.
This genre is innovative and provides inspiration and entertainment for anyone who reads these books. Incorporating science fiction, (including sub-themes of technology and space), fantasy, and romance is a brilliant way to appeal to large readerships. These novels are versatile and can include something for everyone.
The Lunar Chronicles is made up of short stories and even toys with the darker, dystopian genre. This can provide a whole new dimension for young readers and can create engaging settings and narrative structures that YA readers may not have been exposed to before.
If you enjoyed the dystopian, science-fiction elements of these books but didn’t appreciate the fairy tale aspect, don’t worry, this list will incorporate many books that do not touch on classic fairy tales. However, it will also include some twisted fairy tale retellings for those of you who are set on reading something very similar to The Lunar Chronicles.
This list will include something for everyone, so be sure to stay tuned and find out the 20 best books like The Lunar Chronicles.
A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer
This is a trilogy that concentrates on Prince Rhen, the heir of Emberfall. He is restricted by a curse that forces him to repeat the same autumn – his 18th autumn – over and over again until a girl falls in love with him.
At the end of each autumn, he would turn into a ferocious beast with no self-control or awareness, destined to cause harm and destruction. He ruins his castle and his family and has little left to live for. Until Harper comes along. But is she the one to break the spell?
A Curse So Dark and Lonely is a brilliant, modern adaptation of the classic Beauty and the Beast story. It intertwines emotion, familial issues, and even disabilities to create this beautiful reconstruction, recommended for any romance and fantasy lover.
Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
This is a 4-book series that has become a New York Times best-seller, so it’s jam-packed with positive reviews. Red Queen is a broad-ranging epic, a YA version of Game of Thrones, encompassing betrayal, love, power, and social differences.
Closely following Mare Barrow, Red Queen constructs a fantastic world, divided into Red and Silver bloods, and criticizes conformity and obedience.
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
This brilliant story blends fantasy and horror, following Celia and Marco, two inexperienced musicians, who are forced to participate in the twisted game that comes attached to the circus.
The Night Circus is a story of magic, love, and battle. It’s gripping, character-driven, and will draw you in from the first page.
Fairest by Marissa Meyer
From the same author who wrote The Lunar Chronicles is this similar tale. Fairest is a twisted story that develops the story of Levana, the character who mirrors Snow White.
Beauty, power, and deceit are what drive this story. This is the prequel to Levana’s entry in The Lunar Chronicles and will help you understand more about the character and her troubling past. An absolute must-read for anyone who enjoyed The Lunar Chronicles.
Stitching Snow by R.C. Lewis
A missing princess, a turbulent planet, and a corrupt king – that’s how this story kickstarts. Everyone is determined to get the princess home and the king will go out of his way to find the truth.
Essie is on a different planet. A planet accustomed to freezing temperatures and driven by technology. Will Essie ever make it home? Or has she found her calling in another world?
Stitching Snow is an excellent example of a modernized fairy tale. Like The Lunar Chronicles, it merges fantasy with science fiction and maintains a fast-paced, emotive narrative throughout.
Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
This is one of the more well-known series on this list, by the fantasy master Sarah J. Maas. This series will immerse you in a dangerous world filled with thieves, warriors, and murderers.
The first book in this series follows Celaena, a vulnerable but fierce assassin with one long fight for survival and an action-packed quest. Throne of Glass is very highly rated and has sold millions worldwide since its release.
Uglies by Scott Westerfeld
On your 16th birthday, you are granted the privilege of beauty. Every person is transformed from an ‘ugly’ to a ‘pretty’, which removes all imperfections and allows you to live without aesthetic restrictions.
Uglies follows Tally, a girl keen to receive her transformation until she meets Shay, a girl who wants to escape the shallow society that focuses on appearances instead of anything important. Although the two are so different, their fates are intertwined and soon they will both have to make sacrifices to stay alive.
Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge
Nyx has been betrothed to the dark and sinister leader of her kingdom and has been trained since a young age to kill her own father.
But this intense training has not been effective and on her 17th birthday, Nyx betrays everything she’s been raised to obey. But her personal freedom comes at a great price and she becomes bound by duty and morality to make questionable choices.
Cruel Beauty is a fantastic read, again based on Beauty and the Beast. It is centered around love and tells a brilliant story of desire, strength, and responsibility.
A Thousand Nights by E.K. Johnston
She has heard stories of Lo-Melkhiin, a brutal savage searching the world for a wife. Three hundred women have died at his hands and she knows he can’t be far away.
Her sister is known as the loveliest girl in the village and she knows he’ll want her. So she takes her sister’s place. But what she discovers when she is taken by him will change her perspective – is he really a monster?
A Thousand Nights is a brilliantly emotive story of love, loss, beauty, and pain. It incorporates magic, power, monstrous stories, and one big love story. It’ll have you hooked until the first page.
The Wrath and the Dawn by Renée Ahdieh
Khalid has a reputation. He takes a woman as his wife each night only to kill her the morning after. Every family is terrified that their daughters or sisters may be next. So when Shahrzad volunteers herself, everyone is in shock.
But she has a plan. She is driven by revenge and is determined to find out what this twisted man does behind closed doors. She plans to stay alive and will do anything she can to kill the man responsible for such horror.
But Khalid isn’t what he seems and Shahrzad soon finds herself losing control of her plan.
The Wrath and the Dawn is a brilliant tale that has captivated readers across the world. It has an excellent premise and is beautifully written – a must-read for any romance or fantasy lover.
Scarlet by A.C. Gaughen
This trilogy mirrors the popular story of Robin Hood and follows Scarlet, the mysterious character known differently by everyone. Her past is a mystery until someone appears ready to tear the facade.
Scarlet is a great mystery that incorporates intriguing characters and fast-paced action. Brilliant for any fan of fantasy, violence, or thrillers.
Caraval by Stephanie Garber
This is the first in a 4-book series and follows the dangerous lives of two sisters, Tella and Scarlett. Scarlett is young and dreams of seeing Caraval, the annual performance known for its interactive audience.
But when she and her sister escape hell to attend, they soon realize they’ve stepped into another nightmare. Caraval is a story of manipulation, mind games, and theatricality. It is disturbing, gripping, and rich with mystery – a brilliant read for anyone who’s looking for a dark twist.
The Isle of the Lost by Melissa de la Cruz
This story is overflowing with fantasy and is perfect for Disney lovers craving a twisted story. The Isle of the Lost is set on an island on which all evil villains live after being banished from the kingdom of Auradon.
Mal, the daughter of Maleficent, is discovering new things about the land and her mother all the time, but when she learns about the Dragon’s Eye, she is captivated and must find out more. This is a journey that explores the differences between good and evil and relies on friendship and courage.
Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
This is a romantic, coming-of-age story, perfect for any YA reader. Anna and the French Kiss follows Anna as she is forced to move her great life to a bleak boarding school in Paris.
But Paris is known as the city of love and before Anna knows it, she is wrapped up in a love triangle destined to cause harm.
Legendborn by Tracy Deonn
This series follows 16-year-old Bree, grieving the death of her mother and trying to navigate the everyday pressures of school. When she enrolls in a magic school, things seem to look up – this may be the escape she was looking for.
But she witnesses a violent attack upon arrival and quickly realizes she is way out of her depth. Legendborn is an excellent mysterious series, dripping with fantasy and guaranteed to keep you on the edge of your seat.
A Spindle Splintered by Alix E. Harrow
A Spindle Splintered is a powerful reimagining of the classic fairy tale Sleeping Beauty. It follows Zinnia, a 21-year-old woman who is destined to die at 21. As a last send-off, her best friend is keen to help Zinnia experience her Sleeping Beauty fantasy.
But things don’t go to plan and Zinnia ends up traveling through different worlds, unaware of what will happen next.
This is a mysterious and fantastically-written story grounded in feminism and friendship.
The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden
Jam-packed with fantastical creatures, mystery, and wintery magic, The Bear and the Nightingale is a brilliant page-turner that blurs the line between good and evil.
Set in Moscow and driven by political, spiritual, and familial turmoil, this is one epic story of love, loss, and misfortune.
Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson
In a society divided by powerful Epics and ordinary mortals, many struggle to fit in, and those who do, live in fear. The Reckoners are a group of brave humans who have dedicated their life to removing the Epics and restoring normality to the world.
Steelheart follows one huge assassination plan. It is a story of revenge, violence, and social upheaval, guaranteed to keep readers engaged until the very end.
Loop by Karen Akins
This is a futuristic coming-of-age story full to the brim with magic and mystery. It incorporates the standard teenage issues: crushes, friendships, and school drama; with the less common fantastical elements: heists, time travel, and mind-boggling twists and turns.
Loop has been recommended by thousands of readers worldwide and has become known as a genre-bending masterpiece that will undoubtedly leave you with questions and a fast heart rate.
NIL by Lynne Matson
The NIL series follows Charley, a confused 17-year-old who wakes up in the middle of a strange island with no clothes and no hope.
When she meets Thad, she realizes that she’s part of a game. A twisted game that will turn into a fight for her life. She has 365 days to escape, otherwise, death is inevitable. The last thing you need is a love interest guaranteed to distract you.
Fantasy, science-fiction, mystery, and dystopia are just a handful of things to expect from these brilliant novels. If you loved The Lunar Chronicles, or you just enjoyed one certain feature, you’re bound to find something on here to enjoy!
Frequently Asked Questions
Is it beneficial for YA audiences to read fantasy?
Yes – fantasy can boost creativity and imagination and frequently includes themes that are also found in other realist genres.
Are these books scary?
It depends on how sensitive the reader is to certain themes. Dystopian society, violence, and technological disaster can all be found in these books but they are all suitable for readers over the age of 13.
Why do people enjoy reading fantasy so much?
Fantasy books are a form of escape for many readers, meaning that fantasy books are usually quite relaxing and are the perfect way to forget your daily issues.
What is the difference between fantasy and science fiction?
Although there are many elements of science fiction that could be deemed fantasy, such as unusual creatures, science fiction is typically grounded in science fact, meaning that the stories often correlate with real scientific principles, making them far-fetched but still plausible.
How many books has Marissa Meyer written?
She has written 17 different books, 4 of which are included in The Lunar Chronicles.