If this collection is anything to judge her by, short stories aren’t really Meyer’s forte. Most of the stories in this collection were just “meh.”
The standout stories for me were “The Little Android,” which is her version of The Little Mermaid story, following the Hans Christian Andersen version more than the Disney-fied one. It was well written and sad and really satisfying. The other one I really liked was “The Queen’s Army,” which is the story of how Wolf was recruited into, wait for it, the Queen’s Army on Luna, and how he was transformed into an ordinary Lunar kid into a wolf soldier, and eventually leader of his pack. It was good backstory, but it also stood on its own as a complete story.
“The Keeper” (a prequel story showing Scarlet’s grandmother and how she first got pulled into taking care of Cinder), “Carswell’s Guide to Being Lucky” (following a very young Carswell Thorne), “After Sunshine Passes By” (how Cress came to be trapped in the satellite), and “The Princess and the Guard” (following Winter and Jacin as they grow up on Luna) were all just okay. None of them except “The Princess and the Guard” felt necessary to me, but they didn’t get my juices going either. “The Princess and the Guard” just made me mad once again that all that backstory for them wasn’t in Winter. The more I think about it, the more I’m convinced Winter shouldn’t have had to share her book with the rebellion. She really got the shaft, and the book was a mess as a result. This short story, the Levana novella published early last year, and about half of Winter should have been in Winter, and then there should have been a fifth book to wrap everybody up and give them and the story a send-off.
SPOILER Also, it made me mad in “The Keeper” that Scarlet’s grandmother never told her Lunar fellow (whose name I can’t remember) that she had his baby. I frickin’ hate it when characters and people in real life pull that shit. END SPOILER.
“The Mechanic” was just pure fan service, Cinder and Kai’s meeting from Kai’s POV, a la the famously unfinished and unpublished Midnight Sun. It wasn’t bad or anything, but there wasn’t really a point to it, unless you love this series so much that you just think it’s fun. Which is valid! I’m just not at that level of appreciation. At least for Kai and Cinder.
The centerpiece of the book is the novella at the end, which is basically an epilogue to the entire series. It was fun and cute and all that stuff, but it was basically like she shoved every happily ever after that ever existed into one story. It was a bit much for me.
So anyway, if you’re only a so-so fan of this series, this book probably isn’t for you. If you love it with the passion of a thousand suns, you will eat this up.