If you like fairy tale retellings and sci-fi...
The series takes several fairytales and puts them into a science fiction setting. Earth in the future, with many years of additional history. Cinder, a cyborg mechanic, is at the center. It follows her mission to stop the Lunar queen, Levana, from taking control of Earth. She gathers a crew behind her, the Cinder Squad, to stop Levana.
First off, the characters are so vivid and varied. They come from so many different lifestyles, with colorful personalities. There's so much sass and sarcasm and witty banter, and I love it. The Cinder Squad is basically one big, slightly dysfunctional family of four girls (five if we include Iko, an android) and four guys. So you can guess the madness that could ensue. ;)
But they're able to work together. It works. They have their squabbles, but they get along well. And, with any proper fairytale, there is romance. All of them are adorable, and all of them are super new to the area of love (Thorne too, even though he's a big flirt), which is super cute, because they can be kind of awkward and dorky. My favorite ship is easily Thorne and Cress. They are precious.
I could talk about the characters for pages and pages, guys. I loved them all. Kai and Cinder were precious babies. Winter was a little odd but so sweet. I was leery about Jacin but he's okay now. Thorne is, like, a precious rogue and I love him. Cress is a the angel of the squad, with some attitude. Scarlet is, I think, basically the squad mother and takes no crap from anybody. Wolf is another precious child who needs so many hugs and tomatoes. And Iko is the energetic, bubbly cheerleader who can also kick some butt. XD Many of them have really nice arcs, and the romantic plotlines have their own arcs, and they play a role in the main plot, instead of simply being a side-plot. I just love them all, guys.
Except Levana. She was a REALLY good villain, but the things she did... they are despicable. She's ruthless and merciless. The "prequel" story that tells her story, Fairest, did nothing to gain her sympathy from me (but that's another review for another time).
The plot kept rolling and getting bigger and more complex with each book, especially since each book added at least 2 more POVs. There was plenty of action and events that kept the squad on their toes, with plenty of near-death experiences. But there's also moments of peace, where everyone can breathe, including us readers.
And the worldbuilding. It was vivid too, even in the interiors of spaceships. The cultures even on Earth were shown well, and Luna's worldbuilding was pretty fascinating, utilizing the environment of the moon well, and the potential hazards and disadvantages. It was really cool to learn about its culture, and the abilities of Lunars.
Meyer created a bright, vivid adventure packed with everything, and wove fairytales right into it. From Cinderella to Little Red Riding Hood and Rapunzel to Snow White. She's elevated these princesses to some pretty tough ladies in the female half of the squad, and gave them equally tough gentlemen to work with. B3 I loved this series, and I highly recommend.
Violence/gore: There’s a lot, and it is described, but it’s not over-described, really. There are some instances of torture, too.
Sexual content: Kisses are exchanged between the main relationships of the series. Some light sexual references (as far as I remember). Very little of anything sexual beyond the main couples’ kisses.
Profanity: Not a lot, actually. If there is, it’s brief and rather sporadic, and fairly light language. It was one of the things that made me love this series even more, the absence of language.
Other: Nothing extreme that I can think of? There may be drinking, but I don’t believe there’s much else that I can recall.