Book Review – ‘Stars Above’ (#4.5 The Lunar Chronicles) by Marissa Meyer

A great collection to fill in the gaps between the novels in the Lunar Chronicles.

Genre: Y/A, Science Fiction

No. of pages: 400

The Keeper: A prequel to the Lunar Chronicles, showing a young Scarlet and how Princess Selene came into the care of Michelle Benoit.

Glitches: In this prequel to Cinder, we see the results of the plague play out, and the emotional toll it takes on Cinder. Something that may, or may not, be a glitch….

The Queen’s Army: In this prequel to Scarlet, we’re introduced to the army Queen Levana is building, and one soldier in particular who will do anything to keep from becoming the monster they want him to be.

Carswell’s Guide to Being Lucky: Thirteen-year-old Carswell Thorne has big plans involving a Rampion spaceship and a no-return trip out of Los Angeles.

After Sunshine Passes By: In this prequel to Cress, we see how a nine-year-old Cress ended up alone on a satellite, spying on Earth for Luna.

The Princess and the Guard: In this prequel to Winter, we see a young Winter and Jacin playing a game called the Princess and the Guard…

The Little Android: A retelling of Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Little Mermaid,” set in the world of The Lunar Chronicles.

The Mechanic: In this prequel to Cinder, we see Kai and Cinder’s first meeting from Kai’s perspective.

Something Old, Something New: In this epilogue to Winter, friends gather for the wedding of the century…

This was a great collection of short stories to flesh out the Lunar Chronicles. It’s mainly connecting scenes between and after the series with all our favourite characters. Some stories add to the fairy-tale retelling of scenes that were omitted in the novels, and others bridge the gaps in the narrative over the entire storyline continuum.

While I enjoyed each of these stories and appreciated getting background and extra information, each short story was not a fully developed story in its own right. This collection felt more like scenes cut from the novels in the editing process rather than short stories. That whole beginning-middle-end structure of storytelling focusing on a theme or exploring a question didn’t really ring true. I didn’t get a sense of resolution, but rather a part of a larger story. So this collection is more for die-hard fans of the Lunar Chronicles looking to expand on the universe.

We do get a peek into what happens after the conclusion of the series, which was a joy to read.

We get to meet all our favourite characters, and back story on a few others which really added to the Lunar Chronicles universe as a whole.

Stars Above’ is a pretty quick read with nine short stories, so you can jump from story to story, or take a break after each and revisit the collection until completion. Marissa Meyer’s writing style is as effortless as ever and it was easy to slip back into the world of either Earthen locales or the Lunar landscape.

There’s not much else to add without spoiling plot points because the stories are so short. ‘Stars Above’ is a great addition to the Lunar Chronicles and gives a glimpse into the future at the end.

I’d only recommend this for fans of the series, the stories will not make sense if you read them out of context, or haven’t completed the series beforehand (and let’s face it, who would pick this up if they hadn’t read the Lunar Chronicles prior.) We do get new information, but you won’t miss anything major if you don’t read ‘Stars Above.’

Overall feeling: oh, OH!

© Casey Carlisle 2021. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


#BQ The Yellow Wallpaper by Casey Carlisle

The next of the top 5 quotes from the most memorable novels read has to include the short story ‘The Yellow Wallpaper‘ by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. A narration on mental illness, post-partum depression, and being trapped in a archaic marriage, unable to play the role of a dutiful housewife. It was the first time I’d read anything so heavily steeped in symbolism. It was required reading for my first year of university and seemed to open my eyes in regards to feminism, equality, and gender roles.

Are there any books that opened your eyes to views on society?

Book Review – ‘The Marque’ by Michael Patrick Harris

Western meets Space Invaders.

The Marque Book Review Pic 01 by Casey CarlisleGenre: Science Fiction

No. of pages: 57

From Goodreads:

The world has fallen beneath the rule of alien invaders. The remnants of humanity are divided into two camps: those who resist, and those serve.

Darrel Fines serves. He is a traitor, a turncoat who has betrayed his people, his wife, and most of all, himself. In this new world order, in which humanity is at the very bottom, Fines is a lawman for the violent and grotesque conquerors.

When the offspring of the Marque goes missing, Fines is charged with locating and recovering the alien. Caught in the crosshairs of a subdued worker’s camp and the resistance cell that he was once allied with, Fines is forced to choose between a life of servility and a life of honor.


This review will be short and sweet – because ‘The Marque’ is only 57 pages long.

While I enjoy sci-fi and horror, this combination was akin to Stephen King. Though I’m uncertain of the message.

The writing is gritty and dark and fiercely masculine. I think that is what disappointed me a little, I was hungering for a bit more perspective! A bit more mythology.

The Marque’ was more like a soundbite. A premise of a great story. A snapshot of an interesting character facing a moral crossroad.

And then it was all over.

Fantastic writing and imagery, great concept… but that is all this is.  I’d love to read a full length novel by this author, I have a feeling it would be incredible. Checking his back catalogue I can see he has only listed short stories and novellas on Goodreads. While I enjoy this medium of storytelling, I prefer novels. I like to get lost in the world building, character development, and feel the build of a fast-paced plot. You don’t get that in a shorter lengthed tome. Michael Patrick Hicks is definitely a talented writer and I recommend you check him out (but only if you enjoy mini-bites of fiction.)

Overall feeling: Not too shabby.

The Marque Book Review Pic 03 by Casey Carlisle

The Marque Book Review Pic 02 by Casey Carlisle


© Casey Carlisle 2019. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


#BQ The Marque by Casey Carlisle.jpg

I came across a short story that has all the elements I enjoy in a Stephen King novel… I definitely want to read a full length novel by Mr Hicks because 57 pages just was not enough. Aliens, cowboys, bounty hunter, and gore!

Overcoming writers block and being stereotyped into a genre … by Casey Carlisle

When your path is obstructed, dig under it in a futuristic tunneling machine, fly over it on your dragon, or will it into non-existence with your psychic powers….


In a recent discussion with an interviewer for an upcoming podcast, I was asked how I overcome writers block, and if was I afraid of being typecast as a YA Author. I thought I’d share some of my ponderings here and leave it to other writers for comment; what do you do to blast away that creative geyser? How many of us write in more than one style? Granted keeping within a certain demographic for marketing is beneficial for the dollars to come rolling in, but does that satisfy your inner muse?

For me, the key is to ignore the fear of switching to another project when inspiration for the one you’re working on dries up….

I feel you don’t have to get stuck writing within a single genre for the rest of your career – write about what ever takes your fancy – it’s all practice and helping to hone your skill as a writer. If stepping too far away from your signature style raises issues with your publisher or fans, there is always the option of publishing under a ghost name, right? Or simply the satisfaction of having vacated ideas out of your system, knowing it will never see another set of eyes than your own?

Interspersing your writing with short stories and blogs acts as a pallet cleanser for me – allowing the cerebellum to take a brief hiatus from the subject matter, all the while still flexing its IQ muscle, before returning with a fresh take to pick up where you left off with renewed vigor. Those small projects also add a sense of accomplishment, reinforcing the satisfaction from pulling a piece of literature out of the ether and jotting it down on paper (or the computer screen if you will).

I don’t think I will ever stick to a certain genre, certainly I will repeatedly return to my favorite, a comfort zone where I can let my freak flag fly, but essentially I crave variety and will occasionally meander to invent a new reality in the written word.

I always find it somewhat annoying, and amusing, when asked what types of books I write, or what are they about… do you have a spare day or two? A short answer will never satisfy or truly capture my work; I live eat and breathe the world inside the pages, growing with each keystroke. It is all consuming, and to sum it up in a few sentences feels insulting. No-one ever wants a long diatribe of your characters, arcs and plot line (they’ll read your book for that)… but that is exactly what writers have to create. We all need a blurb, a teaser, a summary, something to hand over to marketing and publishing professionals, hopefully with enough zing to get your masterpiece on the shelves to reach the masses. I’ve found the best solution to help me with this challenge is to ask my beta readers to write their own versions of blurbs: the results can be so left-of-field and exciting.

So my old noggin is always churning out prose, scattered among way too many projects, but over the years it has enabled me to keep the flow, and stick to a routine of writing daily. No more staring blankly at the screen waiting for inspiration.

The whole notion of being typecast for my writing – well I gave up worrying what people say or think about me in high school. If a finished work does not look like it will gel with my existing brand, then it’s like to add another brand! I like to think about reaching for the stars, it can only take you that one step closer to something extraordinary.

My biggest problem now is not having enough time… that and cake. Yes there is never enough cake!


© Casey Carlisle 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.