“But what order do I read them in?!”

Posted on: 2nd Mar 2015  /   Categorized: Cinder

Hello everyone! I am back from my Fairest book tour and month-long maternity leave and anxiously waiting for the Winter copyedits to land in my inbox. (Which should be happening any minute.)


I wanted to take a second, though, and give a huge thanks to everyone who has sent me their kind and encouraging (and sometimes shocked and devastated!) words about Fairest. I really love having Levana’s story out in the world, and hearing how many of you have enjoyed getting a glimpse into her dark and twisted past has meant so much to me. Next up: WINTER!! *dances*


So with Fairest coming out prior to Winter, I’ve been getting lots of uncertain emails from both long-time fans and new readers to the series:


If Fairest is a prequel to the other books, what order should they all be read in? And when should I read the companion short stories?


The answer is both simple and complicated.


I personally think the books and stories should be read in the same order that they’ve been published, which is also the same order that I wrote them in. However, I recognize that this opinion is biased, because it’s impossible for me to imagine the takeaway from any one book or story without having the knowledge you gain in all the previous installments. That’s how the stories came to me, so that’s how it seems they should be read.


I also worry that skipping ahead in the series could ruin certain reveals in the books. But then, maybe reading things in this order ruin what otherwise would have been great reveals if you didn’t already know them? I don’t know. It’s difficult for me to wrap my mind around reading them in a different order and how that would impact the reading experience. See? Complicated.



My Suggested Reading Order, as Written and Published:


Cinder (Book #1)


Scarlet (Book #2)

The Queen’s Army*

The Little Android* <~ Note: As this short story is not directly related to the events in the books, it doesn’t really matter when you read it.

Cress (Book #3)

Carswell’s  Guide to Being Lucky

Fairest (Book #0.5)

The Princess and the Guard

Winter (Book #4)



*Glitches, The Queen’s Army, and The Little Android can be read for free at


2018 Update: All of the short stories listed above, along with some brand new TLC tales, can be read in the short story collection Stars Above, now available from your favorite book seller.



THAT SAID, I have heard from plenty readers who started with Scarlet or Cress, and they’ve told me that they had no trouble following the events of the book, and many of them even went back and read from the beginning afterward. I have tried to write each book so that it could potentially be read on its own. (If you don’t mind cliffhangers, ha!)


I also understand many readers are choosing to wait to read Fairest until after Winter, because they don’t want to feel undue sympathy for Levana. I’m honestly not sure this is worth being concerned about (she’s really just not that sympathetic…) but I understand, and I think this will be fine. Though I also think you’ll enjoy Winter more knowing Levana’s backstory. But it’s totally up to you.


And then there are readers who are determined to read things chronologically. While again, this wouldn’t be my first choice, I don’t think it will ruin anything for you. You’ll just get certain reveals in the wrong order. Er, at least, a different order than how I’d planned them.


In other words—it’s totally up to you!


To read the story chronologically, go in this order:


Fairest (Book #0.5)

The Queen’s Army


The Princess and the Guard

Carswell’s Guide to Being Lucky

The Little Android

Cinder (Book #1)

Scarlet (Book #2)

Cress (Book #3)

Winter (Book #4)


I hope that answers all your questions and doesn’t just confuse you more!



Have you read the books and stories out of the order I suggested above? Did you feel that they were easy to follow and didn’t harm your understanding of the story? Let us know in the comments!



On a side note, I’m going to be sporadically in and out of this blog for the next couple of months, as I work on finalizing Winter and Heartless, among other projects, but I will be sure to let you know whenever exciting new stuff is happening!


  1. Blythe commented on:

    Oh my land! I’m so excited for “the Princess and the Guard” and “Winter”. I read them from Cinder to Cress and then read the short stories and then Fairest, and I’ve loved them=)…

  2. ~T~ commented on:

    I’ll admit I was a little annoyed that Fairest came out before Winter. Now that I’ve read it, I’m glad. Fairest is interesting, and helpful for understanding Levana. But, being the story of an evil queen, it’s kind of a downer. I don’t think I’d want to go back to it after reading Winter’s (presumably) happy ending. (It’s a reasonable presumption, isn’t it?)

  3. Your Name commented on:

    I read the books in the order they were published. After reading Fairest, I actually still think Levana is super evil. My sister read the books starting with Fairest though, and she was a little confused. It did spoil a couple things for her. But she still loved the series! I can’t wait for Winter!

  4. Hannah commented on:

    I personally always read/watch/play things in the other they were published/released, so excited for Winter and the Princess and the Guard, though I still need to read the other short stories :3

  5. Ruby commented on:

    Ditto what Hannah said! Like, exactly! 😀

  6. Shanti commented on:

    I have read them in order so far, but I haven’t read the Queens army yet, and I’m sporadically reading The Little Android (adorable so farbtw) Oooh, can we hear any adorable stories about your kids? I really want to read Fairest… and some friends are coming from the US in a months time, so hopefully they can bring it 🙂
    I always try to read in order if possible. The audiobook of Cinder is extremely cool (the story plus the accents ! )

  7. Annie commented on:

    Dear Marissa,
    I had a question: I read on your website that there won’t be printed any advance copies for Winter. Does that mean that you won’t be hosting any contests on your website for the fans to win ARC’s?
    That would be very sad :(.
    That said, I simply adore your books! I love sci fi, and I love fairytales even more, so the combination of the two is simply amazing!
    Love from Belgium!

  8. Mackenzie commented on:

    I don’t know how to start this message, so I’ll just start awkwardly.

    Hey Marissa,
    I just recently found this and decided to read your most recent post.
    I’ve read all of the stories in published order (excluding the short stories unfortunately) and I think that Fairest was published in just the right spot. I was honestly curious about why Levana was so cruel and when this came out it answered a lot of my questions.
    I do feel sorry for her, but she honestly sounds like she had some sort of mental illness. She believed that all the things she did were for the good of her people, but really she just wanted the power. Levana attempted the murder of her niece and successfully killed her husband and the nursemaid person. Mostly, I feel sorry for the things that she did.
    I love your books and I keep waiting for an announcement about a future movie development (that won’t be like the Percy Jackson movies) because I feel that they really should be made into movies. You are one of my inspirations and I thank you so much. I realize that this must have been a lot to read (if you did read it), so thank you. I have one last thing.
    Is it hard writing from so many P.o.V.’s? Because you’d have to keep track of who’s where and what they’re doing, and also; do you think it’s hard writing from a guy’s P.o.V?
    Thank you (for much more than you could ever know),
    Mackenzie the Lunartic

  9. Victoria commented on:

    I usually read the short story before the book

  10. ellis commented on:

    Okay, so I read Cinder first, then Scarlet, then I read the short story the Queen’s army (it was included at the end of Scarlet) Then I read Cress, then Fairest.
    I finally decided to read Glitches and The little android after all the other books.
    I think this is the best way to read them: Fairest before Winter because, hey, I couldn’t wait to read another book. Also it includes some background stuff for Winter I am told.
    1. Cinder
    2. Scarlet
    3. Cress
    4. Fairest
    5. Winter
    6. Any other short stories

  11. Amber commented on:

    I actually started reading in this order:

    1. Cinder
    2. Scarlet
    3. Cress
    4. Fairest
    5. Winter

    I am not sure if i’ll have time for reading the short stories since I am a busy full time mother.

  12. Nayeli commented on:

    Dear Marissa:

    I read the books in the order that you first suggested, which is the publishing order. I found that it was still intriguing, and if you read a prequel/short story before its book (e.g. Fairest & Glitches before Cinder), you probably won’t be interested because you don’t know what will already happen. You also miss out on the foreshadowing you never would’ve known. I find reading them in publishing order (rather than chronologically) is easier and won’t give you doubt on whether you will get spoilers or not. Plus, you just won’t know about how the events in the prequels led to the series!

    Hugs & kisses,

    (P.S. Have fun with the #YATruthOrDare!)

  13. Pingback: Novella Review: Glitches by Marissa Meyer | 26 countless possibilities

  14. Hollie commented on:

    I am wondering if The Princess and the Guard is out yet for reading?

  15. Zain Rajani commented on:

    I just started reading this series for the first time ever. Though I read all the short stories that were released many months ago. But by the time I read the actual books, I didn’t have strong memories of the short stories I read but would briefly remember something from the short stories for some of the Lunar Chronicles books. It was actually fun that while reading from Cinder to Cress, I’d suddenly get a flashback to the short stories I read. I prefer reading Fairest after Cress since almost every question starting with Cinder does get answered by the time you’re done with Cress. We’re all prepared for that revolution, but then Fairest got me questioning how well that’s going to work out in Winter if Levana is shown in the books to be a strong leader compared to the rest of her family. Reading Fairest first would be very spoiler-ific but to each their own.

  16. Nicole commented on:

    I read cinder then scarlet then cress and now I’m getting winter tomorrow on my iPad becaus with pre ordered it and I had no idea about the short stories till now… does that effect anything????? super confused I tried reading them on wattpad but I got a little confused …… 🙂

  17. Tony commented on:

    I’m super confused by the description for Winter. Lunar princess, scarred face, loves a palace guard whose name starts with a j? When I saw that, I thought to myself, I’m pretty sure I’ve read that already…

  18. Erin @ The Hardcover Lover commented on:

    I read them in publication order, minus the short stories. I didn’t know about them until after I binge read books 1, 2, and 3. I’m just going to read the stories when the collection of them comes out.

  19. Crazy fan commented on:

    I discluded all the short stories cuz I didn’t know where to read them at. Can’t wait to read stars above. I also wish you would write more fairytale stories like beauty and the beast and sleeping beauty.

  20. Lauren commented on:

    I did not know about the short stories (Except for Glitches, which I read) so I didn’t read those, but other then that I read the books in the way you described, and I think it made the book Winter a lot better, because you know when she talks about Evret, and him dying, and why Jacin and Winter are such close friends. I also just wanted to say that I loved your books so much that I finished Cinder in 3 days, Cress in 2 days, Fairest in a day, and Winter…(i don’t know yet, I’m almost done). But, what I mean is your books really inspired me, so thank you!


    I know you probably won’t be able to answer questions, but do you think in the future you might make a story that ties TLC to the knew story that you are creating?? Just a thought…

  22. Kay commented on:

    Hi, I recently brought the Winter book from the luna chronicles – not knowing there were others before it – would it ruin the story for me if I was to read this first before getting the others??

  23. Pingback: Series Review: Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer - SERIESous Book Reviews

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  25. Rachel commented on:

    Dear Marissa,
    Where does “Stars Above” fit in

  26. shhh.... commented on:

    okay so i should read fairest after winter. and also i read it in the order you said except i will be reading fairest aftrer

  27. Your Name commented on:

    I was planing on reading Fairest after Winter but after reading this, I might reconsider. I was also wondering what order to tell my little sister to read them in, when she gets older. I’m glad you said that it doesn’t really matter. I read any short stories in the order I find them, they’re just bonus really.

  28. Pingback: Winter – Book Review – Blame Chocolate

  29. Emily commented on:

    This book series is my favorite out of all the books I have read (which is a lot). I read Cinder, Scarlet, then Cress before Fairest or Winter had come out. Early in 2016, I decided to reread the first three books and then read Winter. Only recently did I read Fairest and then all of the short stories in Stars Above. The Lunar Chronicles will always be my favorite series. I am currently rereading the entire series again.

    Final order:
    Stars Above

    Marissa Meyer, if you get a chance could you answer my question? In The Little Android short story, when Mech6.0 is meeting with Cinder, right after Mech6.0 had offered the holographic Kai trading card with Cinder turning it down, it states that Cinder “was rubbing her fingers against her temple…leaving a dark smudge on her skin.” Is this the same smudge that she had on her forehead when she first met Kai?

  30. Medusa commented on:

    I’m literally in the bookstore right now and googled “do I read winter or fairest first” because I really couldn’t tell! Glad I found this topic. I finished Scarlet last night and started on Cress and I’m sure you all understand the nightmare of finishing a book and not having the sequel within reach already. Thanks for clearing it up! I’ll read Fairest before Winter now 😉

  31. Anonymous commented on:

    What about stars above?

  32. Your Name commented on:

    how want to be able to read the book winter for free online bur I can’t

  33. Your Name commented on:

    I read them

    1. Cinder
    6.Stars Above

    Then short stories

  34. Anonymous commented on:

    What do you mean, “Levana isn’t that sympathetic”!?!? I went on a half hour rant after (spoiler alert!!!) Cinder showed that video of her. Imagine that you hated your appearance to the point where you will only leave the house with a thick layer of makeup on. You have no friends at school. In fact, everyone hates you, but they are also afraid of you, because you have huge muscles and are slightly aggressive (Your home life ain’t the best.). Then, some new girl comes along and ruins your reputation and exposes your “ugliness” for all to see. Not that sympathetic? My butt! The only book I cried in was Fairest, and I sobbed like a baby.

    Disclaimer: I get Levana in every character test I take.

  35. Aaron sweet commented on:

    I started reading 2 days back and I just completed the first book within these 3 days this is how beautifully written it was……… I am so sad that cinder is not in the lead in the other books……. But now I think that must be something for good of excitement of reading………… I love your way of writing………

  36. Anonymous commented on:

    I read them based on a website I found which told me to go like this:

    Stars Above

    And I loved all of them

  37. Pingback: Cinder {Review} – Miss Bookie's Blog

  38. Grace commented on:

    My 11 year old daughter has just read cinder , scarlet and cress in 10 days . She driving me crazy as fairest hasn’t arrived yet . She happy as long as she has a book in her hand , which is most of the time as she’s home educated so can read to her hearts content . Is there any other books you think she may enjoy?

  39. Levana Vivante commented on:

    My name is actually and truely Levana (Hebrew name meaning both: Moon (Luna) and White).
    I just found about these books and I’m going to start reading them! So excited.

  40. commented on:

    I just recently started getting into the Lunar Chronicles. I own every book including Heartless; however, I was curious to know if I could read Heartless without reading Cinder, etc first? I haven’t starting reading the series yet and would like to know before I do!

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  42. Ashley Benner commented on:

    Now that there are more books… can we get an update?

  43. Pingback: Stars Above (Mėnulio kronikos #4.5) – Marissa Meyer – Knygų jausmas

  44. ..... commented on:

    What about stars above?



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