“That mechanic was going to change everything” // Review of “Stars Above” by Marissa Meyer

Title: Stars Above (Lunar Chronicles 4.5)
Author: Marissa Meyer
Genre: Fairytale retelliing/YA/SFF
Date Read:
31/12/2016
Rating: ★★

Review:

This  book is a compilation of short stories set within the Lunar Chronicles universe. While in some cases it was interesting to find out more about how the characters figured into the larger story, I ultimately didn’t think any of them added much of interest.

While I won’t do a full rundown of every story in the collection, a few highlights include the story of how Michelle Benoit ended up hiding the tiny Cinder in her basement, stories of how Wolf ended up in the Queen’s Army, how Cress ended up in her satellite, and an example of Thorne as a young boy. There is also an epilogue that takes place after the conclusion of Winter.

The best way to describe how most of these came across to me is to say they felt like material that the author should have written for herself, so she knows her own characters’s back stories, but it’s not really necessary for us to also know it in this much detail.  We got the necessary information when we were reading the Lunar Chronicles. The only one that I felt really gave us additional insight was The Princess and the Guard, which was one of the longer stories in the collection and gave us some real insight into Winter and why she chose to stop using her Lunar Gift.

I am glad I read this, as it was the only one of Marissa Meyer’s books that I had not got around to yet, and I got through it in  a day because as usual, her writing is extremely readable. But I wouldn’t say you need to rush out and buy it if you haven’t already. Definitely one to get from  the library.


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“She cried for the girl who had never belonged” // Review of “Fairest” by Marissa Meyer

Title: Fairest (Lunar Chronicles 3.5)
Author: Marissa Meyer
Genre: YA/SFF/villain backstory
Date Read: 07/12/2016 – 08/12/2016
Rating: ★★★

Review:

I honestly can’t decide where I sit with this book. Was it supposed to make my sympathise with Queen Levana, the evil queen terrorising the Earthen Commonwealth in the Lunar Chronicles? Or was it meant to show how dark and twisted she was and nothing else? Because I couldn’t work out what the book wanted me to feel, I ended up feeling quite unsettled by the end.

I also have to apologise, because there will probably be spoilers in this review. It was too hard to talk about some of the things I had issue without going into detail.

Levana has grown up unloved and unwanted, the younger, unappreciated princess of Luna. When a palace guard shows her some kindness, she latches onto him and uses her powerful manipulation ability to convince him that he loves her as much as she thinks she loves him. This is just the beginning of the downward spiral that leads to her becoming the feared and despised ruler that Cinder and her friends take down.

Levana is incredibly messed up. And you can see how she would justify her actions to herself. As with Heartless, which I reviewed on Monday, the progression of the main character into darkness is so gradual you almost don’t register it happening. And at first, I really did sympathise with Levana and her plight. However, the story reached a point where her actions were just too problematic (mind-controlling someone into marrying and having sex with you is rape, even if you’re making them think they’re willing), before the point where I felt Marissa Meyer wanted us stopping sympathising.

Given the subject material, perhaps I shouldn’t have been surprised, but the whole tone of the book just felt so much darker than the rest of the Lunar Chronicles. I felt like I wanted to go back and read all my favourite Cress/Thorne scenes just to remind myself what I enjoyed most about the series. Maybe this was Meyer’s intention. Like I said, I was never sure!

While it was interesting to see the whole progression of Levana’s evilness, it didn’t really add a huge amount to the story, and I can see why some people are fairly “eh” about this particularly installment. We saw a lot of familiar characters, and it was interesting seeing exactly how Levana carried out her plans to have Cinder killed and things like that, and also get a bit more of a glimpse into the world of Luna, but I don’t think you’re missing much if you’ve skipped it.


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#WWW and #WIPpet Wednesday – 14 December, 2016

It’s time for WWW Wednesday! This is a blog hop hosted by Sam over at A World Of Words. Link up with us by commenting on Sam’s post for today, and just answer the three questions.

wwwwednesday

What have you recently finished reading?

fairestcoverJust one book completed this week, and that was Fairest by Marissa Meyer. I had mixed feelings about it, as it is a helluva lot darker than the rest of the Lunar Chronicles, and I’m not sure that’s a good thing. My review will be up on Friday.

My reviews of Heartless by Marissa Meyer and Eléonore by Faith Rivens went up this week. Click the links to read them.

What are you currently reading?

pyramidscoverI’ve got to be honest, I’ve been barely reading at all over the past week. I’m really tired and in need of the Christmas break, and don’t have the attention span for anything. However, the two books that are on my GoodReads currently reading shelf right now are Letters to the End of Love by Yvette Walker and Pyramids by Terry Pratchett.

My copy of Pyramids was picked up for $2 from a market raising money for an animal shelter, and when I opened it, I discovered an inscription that appears to be from Terry Pratchett himself. I’ve compared it to a few photos of his autograph online and it resembles some more than others, so at some point I’m going to post on the official TP forum and ask.

What do you think you’ll read next?

motherofdreamscoverI’ve still got Mother of Dreams edited by Makoto Ueda and Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank to read to finish my challenges for the year, so it will be one of those. I’m not entirely sure I’m going to get the challenges finished, but I’m going to try!

What are you reading this week? 🙂

wednesdaybannerThe other blog hop for this week is WIPpet Wednesday. If you’re a writer, you are very welcome to join us in this one by posting an excerpt from your WIP that somehow relates to the date. You can click the blue guy on the right of this blog to be taken to the link up.

So today’s excerpt is not exactly related to the date but to the fact that this will most likely be my final WIPpet before Christmas. Imagine that you’re from a medieval-verging-on-Renaissance-era fantasy world, and you’ve ended up in today’s modern world. The person you’re protecting has had her memories altered so that she fits into this world (and for other reasons), but you need to remember that you’re protecting her, so you’ve had to keep your regular memories and wing it. This is Max’s situation with Princess Clara right now. Clara dragged him Christmas shopping, and they’re waiting for the bus.

They had waited for Thursday night and late-night shopping so that they could do their errands in the early evening and not have to spend too much time outside. Even so, waiting just a few minutes for the bus was long enough in the hot weather. 

“One day when I’m rich and famous,” Clara remarked, “I’m going to have a chalet in the Swiss Alps so I can have cold Christmases every year, like it was supposed to be. Mulled wine and ugly sweaters and all of that.”

Max just nodded attentively. He had done a lot of research into Christmas over the past month. He had been confused for quite a while, as everything he looked at referred to snow and baked dinners and ugly sweaters, and he couldn’t work out why people would put themselves through that when the weather was so sweltering. Eventually, he had mentioned it to Clara. She had gently slapped him on the upside of his head and told him that he was reading about European Christmases and that the seasons were reversed here. He’d gone away and researched Europe and hemispheres and how the seasons worked her, and eventually grasped the rough idea of why it was different in Australia.

Back in Ye Olde Days, Australian families used to try to emulate an English Christmas with baked dinner, etc, but thankfully, times have changed. I travelled around Europe at Christmastime in 2013 baffling everyone with my talk of 40*C/104*F Christmas Days and seafood and salad Christmas lunches. And you have lunch and open presents and then just lie in front of the air conditioner with a cold drink while you digest, because that’s all you have the energy for.

There should be more Australian Christmas stories! Every year around this time, I say I’m going to write a one (or maybe a play), and it still hasn’t happened. One day! (I say that, but actually, cold English Christmas is 2013 was basically my favourite Christmas ever).

That’s it from me for now. This may well be my last unscheduled post for the year (apart , as next Wednesday, I will be getting my bags packed to head to my parents’ place the next day. With that in mind, I hope you all have a wonderful holiday season, whether you’re celebrating anything or just enjoying some time off. I’ll be back in 2017 for more!

~ Emily

#WWW and #WIPpet Wednesday – 07 December, 2016

It’s time for WWW Wednesday! This is a blog hop hosted by Sam over at A World Of Words. Link up with us by commenting on Sam’s post for today, and just answer the three questions.

wwwwednesday

What have you recently finished reading?

heartlesscoverI mentioned last week that Heartless by Marissa Meyer had come in for me at the library. I read it over a few short days and loved it. The ending felt like a bit of a punch in the gut but I’m not sure what else I was expecting for an origin story about the Queen of Hearts. My review will go up on Monday.

thetwocoverI also finished listening to The Two by Will Carver. I didn’t enjoy it as much as Girl 4; I felt there was a bit too much misdirection so the twist didn’t feel so much like a twist as it becoming a completely different story.

Then I read a graphic novel version of the Strange Case of Doctor Jekyll and Mr Hyde, which is not on GoodReads! I know I could add it myself but I’m lazy. 😛

elenorecoverAnd last but not least, I finished Eléonore by our very own Faith Rivens (who was kind enough to provide me an ARC), and quite enjoyed it, particularly in the second half. I’ll have a review up on Friday.

I’ve also posted reviews of Sam Zabel and the Magic Pen by Dylan Horrocks and Heat and Light by Ellen van Neerven this week.

What are you currently reading?

fairestcoverI have started reading Fairest by Marissa Meyer. It’s the Lunar Chronicles prequel focusing on Queen Levana. Possibly reading this so soon after Heartless will leave me feeling rather down, but oh well. This should be quite a quick read, I read the first 15% in my half-hour lunch break.

What do you think you’ll read next?

lettersendoflovecoverI mentioned last week that my last Australian Women Writers Challenge book for the year is Letters to the End of Love by Yvette Walker. I definitely want to read that next. I did post a full December TBR last week. I’m hoping to finish the challenges I signed up for at the start of the year. I’m so close!

What are you reading this week? 🙂

wednesdaybannerThe other blog hop for this week is WIPpet Wednesday. If you’re a writer, you are very welcome to join us in this one by posting an excerpt from your WIP that somehow relates to the date. You can click the blue guy on the right of this blog to be taken to the link up.

This week I’ve added the digits of the date and the month together and I have ten sentences. Clara has just been forced to witness the execution of her parents. Maybe. They just disappeared in a flash of blue light so I’ve left myself open. Either way, Clara is assuming the worst. She’s in a room in the palace, the execution takes place outside in a courtyard.

“No!” Clara screamed, finally finding her voice.

As heads turned towards her, the guard who had opened the window hurriedly closed it again.

“No!” she screamed again. “No, no, no, no!”  She pounded on the glass with her fists before she was pulled away and the curtains were drawn. Once again she was being dragged out the door, down the corridor. She struggled in the soldiers’ grip, but it was to no avail. They were far stronger than she. When that failed, she let herself go limp in their arms; she wasn’t going to make it easy for them. They grunted as they were forced to support her entire weight, but they continued to drag her along with them.

On the upside, this does at least lead to Clara escaping (temporarily) from the guy who is rather successfully taking over her kingdom right now.

That’s it from me for now. I will do my best to get to your blogs this week, but I have choir practices tomorrow and Friday nights, then an audition and our concert on Saturday. But I’ll try to squeeze it in!

~ Emily

December 2016 TBR

Who else can’t believe it’s already December? I certainly can’t! I’ve still got two reading challenges to finish, and while I have the various things I need to finish over this month recorded in various places, I thought it might be a good idea to list it all here. In any other month, I wouldn’t be too worried about trying to finish this number of books, but December is always so busy, and I barely have a free weekend between now and Christmas. We can only hope!

Australian Women Writer’s Challenge

lettersendoflovecoverThe goal I set for myself at the beginning of the year was to read and review at least 12 books by Australian Women, including two by Indigenous authors and two by LGBTQI* authors. While I have reviewed 15, I still need to read one more by a lGBTQI* author. The book I have chosen is Letters to the End of Love by Yvette Walker. This book sounds really enjoyable from the blurb and the reviews, so I’m hoping I enjoy it. I have this one out from the library at the moment, so I can get to it asap.

The 2016 Choose Your Own Challenge Challenge

This challenge has been run out of a GoodReads group. At the beginning of the year, I chose 20 prompts, and I still have five to go, but I’ve worked out which books to read to fill them, and I have copies of all of them, so here’s hoping!

elenorecoverElenore by Faith Rivens = a book with a protagonist who has your occupation

Librarian, that is, not demon hunter. I’d be no good at that. Faith was good enough to provide me with an ARC of this book, and I’m really excited to read her debut.

motherofdreamscoverMother of Dreams edited by Makoto Ueda = a book about a culture you’re unfamiliar with

A colleague who recently passed away wanted her library to given away to family and friends. She was very interested in Japanese culture and had a lot of books pertaining to that among her shelves. This is one of the, uh, seventeen that I ended up with.

fairestcoverFairest by Marissa Meyer = an “in between the books” book (i.e. Book 1.5, 2.5, 3.5 of a series)

I recently replaced “the 16th book on your TBR” with this prompt, as for various reasons, that one wasn’t going to happen. But I’m gradually working my way through Marissa Meyer’s books that I am yet to read, and I’m excited to finally get to this one.

Pyramids by Terry Pratchett = a book published on the year you were born pyramidscover

I already had this on my list and was planning to get it from the library when I picked up a copy from a local market stall. It’s been a while since I read any Terry Pratchett, and this one is quite short, so I think it will be a good one to get back into his books with.

annefrankcoverDiary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank = a book from the Rory Gilmore Challenge

I remember starting Anne Frank’s diary once before, but I never finished it. I understand a lot more about the Second World War now, though, and I have seen the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam (I didn’t go in as the queue was around the block and I was quite sick; I ended up going back to the hotel and sleeping). I have a feeling this one is going to result in lots of tears.

So that’s it! I have 29 days and six books to get through (plus the one I’m reading at the moment)! Wish me luck!

~ Emily

Book Review: Winter by Marissa Meyer

Title: Winter (Lunar Chonicles #4)
Author: Marissa Meyer
Genre: YA/sci-fi/fairytale retelling
Date Read: 10/11/2015 – 14/11/2015
Rating: ★★★★

Review:

wintercoverWhen I first read Cinder, the first of the Lunar Chronicles, I wrote on my LiveJournal that it was pretty enjoyable but I wasn’t 100% sure that I was actually interested in continuing. Except then Scarlet, the second book, arrived for me at the library before I had time to cancel the hold, so I figured I might as well read it. And then I read a couple of things that I didn’t enjoy at all, and I figured the Lunar Chronicles were fun if nothing else, so I bought the e-book of Cress, and fell in love with Cress and Thorne. Kai and Cinder also grew on me a lot in that one, so I was actually very keen to see where their revolution led them in book four. While my GoodReads review is littered with snarky updates, I actually did really enjoy Winter and it was a great conclusion to the series.

While this book is long (it comes in at over 800 pages), there are nine or ten point-of-view characters, so it is hardly surprising. I had to slog through some of it, but I would be hard pressed to actually name any parts I would cut. While I was obviously interested in some characters more than others, all the storylines are woven together so well that you really need all that length for the story to conclude properly.

The characters undergo a huge amount of growth in this book, as they gear towards a revolution to depose the evil Queen Levana. They are all put a long way out of their comfort zones, and seeing them deal with this was exciting and at times, even shocking. We really saw how evil the Lunar regime was. The series wraps up really well, and I actually got a bit teary at the end, seeing how everything worked out for the characters. Apparently I got more attached to them than I ever intended to. While Marissa Meyer has other fairytale-inspired books in the works, it is always a bittersweet feeling saying goodbye to an enjoyable series. Highly recommended!

Read my reviews for Cinder, Scarlet and Cress.

#WIPpet Wednesday and #WWW Wednesday – 18 November, 2015

So I’m pretty sure I fixed the WIPpet Wednesday linky so it’ll all be all right. The advantage of living where I do is that I’ll probably be the first one to try using it, so I should know if anything goes wrong.

I officially declared the first draft of Operation: Sugarplum completed on Monday. It’s actually not entirely finished, but I was getting sick of trying to join up the bits of the ending that I had written, so I’m going to fix it later. I’m still going to use it for the next couple of WIPpets though, as I’m actually… planning my next WIP. I know, I know. Calm yourselves. I started out using the Snowflake Method, though I’m only up to Step 4 and have already broken some of the rules. It’s fine, though. It’s more planning than I’ve ever done before. Which is good. You have actually read a couple of bits from it under this category, but those two bits don’t actually exist anymore.

wednesdaybannerAnyway. You’ll hear more of that in coming weeks. For WIPpet Wednesday this week, I have added the 1 and the 8 of the 18th together and have 9 paragraphs. This is not long after last week’s excerpt; Max is persuading Clara she needs to go back to her house. The house that is full of Creelans. For extra context, Creela and Max’s country, Thelidon, have been at war for years, and Max, as the magical heir to the throne, is expected to deal with them .

“They’re not going to go away of their own free will. I’m going to have to deal with them somehow.” He looked over at Clara. “I could use your help.”

Clara shrugged. “Okay, fine.”

Max turned into a side street and used someone’s driveway to turn around. He started heading back towards Clara’s house. Clara felt her stomach knotting up the closer they got. Max parked the car around the corner from the house, and then turned to Clara again.

“Don’t do anything crazy. Try to keep the King distracted, at least, while I get inside.”

“Once you start killing off his minions, he’s not going to listen to me for much longer.”

“I know. But we’ll cross that bridge when it comes.”

“I love a man with a plan,” said Clara sarcastically.

“You’ll be fine. Just be careful.” Max leaned over and gave her a quick kiss. “Okay, go. I’ll follow in a few minutes.”

Clara sighed, and got out of the car. She gave Max a small wave and then turned to walk towards her street. A few minutes later, she found herself approaching her house with a growing sense of dread for the second time that night.

To join in on WIPpet Wednesday, simply post an excerpt from your WIP that somehow relates to the date, and then join up with us via the linky at the top-right of my blog.

Next up is WWW Wednesday, which is hosted by Sam over at A World of Words. You can join in over there by leaving a link to your own WWW Wednesday on today’s post. All you need to do is answer the three questions.

wwwwednesday

  • What are you currently reading?

The Beast’s Garden by Kate Forsyth. This is historical fiction, set in Nazi Germany, but also a retelling of the Beauty and the Beast variation, The Singing Springing Lark. I’m only a few chapters in, but I have high hopes.

I’m also listening to Looking for Alibrandi, which is a classic Australian YA that I never read as a teenager. It’s very 90s, but I’m not minding that. I am enjoying that the narrator ends half her sentences with an upper inflection. It makes her sound like such an Australian teen. (Adam Hills has an amusing routine about how we go up at the ends of our sentences).

  • What did you recently finish reading?

I finished Winter and the damn book made me cry. I loved seeing the final journey for these characters, though it always hard to let a series go when you’ve been enjoying it. I would really like for Marissa Meyer to write a new series that is about Cress and Thorne having galactic adventures, and Thorne forgetting he’s gone straight half the time, and Cress reminding him. I guess I’ll have to make do with whatever fanfiction exists. (I am blaming this book for the fact that the new story I’m planning went from “and the Princess confronts her father about his treatment of her and the people” to “and the Princess leads the people in a revolution” during early plotting stages).

And then I followed this up with another book that made me cry, A Monster Calls, by Patrick Ness. This was a very beautiful book, and I listened to the audio, which was read by Jason Isaacs (if you don’t know him from anywhere else, he played Lucius Malfoy in the Harry Potter movies). His voice was perfection.

Also, two reviews went up in the past week, for Bitter Greens by Kate Forsyth and  A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab.

  • What do you think you’ll read next?

I also have The Wild Girl by Kate Forsyth from the library, so that will be next, followed by some books I picked up at a St Vincent de Paul warehouse sale recently.

That’s it from me. I have my final astronomy class tonight, so I’ve got to head out for that soon. I’ll see you on your blogs later!

~ Emily

#WWW Wednesday and #WIPpet Wednesday – 11 November, 2015

Hello and Happy Wednesday! I apologise for not making any rounds last week, but once I got my final essay handed in, I just sat on the couch and read books when I should have been doing other things, like cleaning the house, or cooking, or blogging. I’ll try to be better this week!

wednesdaybannerFirst up on today’s post is WIPpet Wednesday. This is a blog hop wherein writers share a snippet from their WIP that somehow relates to the date. We have a linky, which you can find by clicking on the little blue guy just to the right. WIPpet Wednesday has been graciously hosted for some time by K. L. Schwengel, however starting next week, I’m going to be taking over the reigns, with a couple of other WIPpeteers acting as backup when I am detained. I apologise now if I manage to muck it up.

This week’s WIPpet takes place a little while after last week’s. Clara has managed to escape her house, and has been chased by the Creelans. Max was conveniently driving by, and has picked her up. Now they’re driving around while they try to work out their next plan. I have 11 paragraphs for the 11th of November. Don’t worry, they’re all nice and short.

Max frowned again. “The King is here?”

“That’s what they said. He certainly behaves like a royal jerk.”

Max didn’t respond to Clara’s joke. “As soon as we arrived in Thelidon, we started hearing reports that the Creelans had found a way to open the portal, but no one mentioned the King.”

“He made it sound like he only came through today. And besides, he was probably in disguise.”

“Hmm.”

“Hey, can I ask a question?”

“Sure.”

“This thing.” Clara held up the stone pendant. “The King was pretty angry about me having it. He said it was stolen from a dead Creelan soldier.”

Max shrugged. “It probably was. They wear them in battle.”

“Isn’t that kind of… disrespectful?”

“Isn’t invading an unprotected country due to some stupid dispute generations ago kind of disrespectful?” Clara flinched away. Max didn’t raise his voice very often, but she supposed this was a bit of a sore point for him. She decided not to press the point any further. The car was silent for what felt like an eternity.

Next up is WWW Wednesday, which is hosted by Sam over at A World of Words. You can join in over there by leaving a link to your own WWW Wednesday on today’s post. All you need to do is answer the three questions.

wwwwednesday

  • What are you currently reading?

Winter just came out! I actually probably should have re-read Cress before this, as there are a lot of things being referred to that I’d totally forgotten. As with the other books in the Lunar Chronicles, even though it’s long (nearly twice as long as Cinder was), it’s very readable, so I’ll get through it quite quickly. Thorne and Cress still hold the keys to my heart. I still could not care less about Scarlet and Wolf. Cinder and Kai are somewhere in between those two extremes, as are Winter and Jacin.

  • What did you recently finish reading?

So many things! As I said, I just stayed on the couch and read books all weekend.

First, there was another Doctor Who audio, The Empty House. It was pretty good though I wasn’t a fan of the narrator. I’ve been rather spoiled with the narrators on the first three I listened to, so I suppose I had to run into one I didn’t like so much eventually.

I finished How To Write A Novel Using the Snowflake Method by Randy Ingermason. I really liked it and am really looking forward to trying this out. The book is actually in the form of an allegorical novel (with a easy-access list of all the steps at the end) and he also includes an appendix with the snowflake method planning for the book itself, which helped clear up a few questions I had about some of the later steps.

Then there was 5000 Words Per Hour and Lifelong Writing Habit by Chris Fox (these were both quite short). These had a lot of really good advice, but the tone put me off. I felt like he was saying “Unless you do exactly as I say, you’re not serious about your writing.” =\

After that, I finished Chasing Nonconformity by Michelle Proulx. This was a fun sequel, though I still think Varrin needs a good punch to the nose sometimes.

I polished off Mothers Grimm by Danielle Woods in one afternoon, even though I didn’t really like it. I’m all for deconstructing the “good mother” trope, but her way of doing that seemed to be to say “Motherhood is a godawful experience that simply ruins your life and why would you do it?” Surely you can still have some positive aspects without going into “good mother” territory. I don’t know if I would feel differently about it if I was a mother, and had experienced the sleepless nights and all of that, but as it was, it just felt like she set out to write four fairly depressing stories. Oh, and the links to the fairytales were so tenuous they might as well have not been there.

And I finally finished The Golem and the Djinni by Helene Wecker. I recommend reading this in as few sittings as possible, as I think it was the fact that I was only managing dribs and drabs that made me take so long to get into it. Once I was able to really sit down and read 100 or pages at a time, I actually got really into it. It’s definitely one of those books where the characters stay with you for a while afterwards and you just want to go back to their world rather than doing the housework, as I had to do when I finished.

I also posted my review of The Incredible Adventures of Cinnamon Girl in the last week. Since I’m reading so much lately, I’ve decided to post two reviews a week for a little while (Fridays and Saturdays), rather than one per fortnight. It was getting to the point where I was scheduling reviews for three months after I’d read the book. So watch out for those!

I’m going to head off now and get another review or two lined up. See you later!

~ Emily

Book Review: Cress by Marissa Meyer

Title: Cress (Lunar Chronicles #3)
Author: Marissa Meyer
Genre:
YA/sci-fi/fairytale retelling
Date Read: 25/03/2015 – 31/03/2015
Rating: ★★★★

Review: 

cresscoverI’m going to just come out and say it: this is by far the best book of the Lunar Chronicles so far. It is a retelling of Rapunzel, focusing on the character of Cress (short for Crescent Moon), a Lunar shell who was imprisoned on a satellite at the age of ten, and has since then been the resident hacker for Queen Levana and her thaumaturges. When a rescue attempt from Cinder and co. goes wrong, Cress and Carswell Thorne find themselves plummeting towards Earth in a powerless satellite. They survive, but this is not the end of their adventures, and tension is ramping up for the rest of the main characters as well.

In book two, Thorne was incredibly annoying. I couldn’t stand him. I already knew that a) he was the love interest in book 3 and b) that people were saying this was the best book so far, so I was sincerely hoping that he improved. Fortunately, this was the case. I was far more invested in his and Cress’ romance than I had been in either Cinder and Kai or Scarlet and Wolf’s. One of my colleagues even caught me grinning stupidly to myself because I’d been reading on my lunch break and it had left me in a really good mood.

While I continue to be impressed with how well Marissa Meyer has woven the different fairytales together, and the hints for future books in the earlier ones and all that sort of thing, the problem that is starting to emerge with this series is that it is developing quite an ensemble cast. This is not necessarily a problem, but with so many characters in so many places, it made for a fairly long book, and book four is supposedly another 250 pages longer again (going by GoodReads’ estimate). There were times when the plot did start to drag a bit, where it seemed that we just cutting to another character for the sake of checking in with them, rather than anything really relevant. When there are so many characters, it’s hard to have equal investment in all of them, and I was sometimes just waiting to get back to the characters I really cared about.

The next installment in this series isn’t out until November, so unless I want to read Fairest (Queen Levana’s backstory)or some of the short stories, this will be it for a while. While I have been enjoying it, I think I am happy to wait until then, though. I’ve been discovering lots of other fairytale retellings to tide me over.

Book Review: Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

Title: Scarlet (Lunar Chronicles #2)
Author: Marissa Meyer
Genre:
YA/sci-fi/fairytale retelling
Date Read: 03/03/2015 – 06/03/2015
Rating: ★★★

Review:

scarletcoverI actually had a couple of people tell me when I finished Cinder that I could probably just skip Scarlet and go straight on to Cress, the third book in the Lunar Chronicles, as Scarlet doesn’t really add a huge amount to the overall story. This was pretty true, but I have to admit thatI am finding this series pretty damn entertaining and I am still glad I read the second installment.

In book two, we meet Scarlet Benoit, a small-town French girl whose grandmother has gone missing. Between meeting a street-fighter called Wolf, who seems to know where her grandmother is, and fugitive Linh Cinder landing a space ship in her garden, Scarlet’s life takes a turn for the dramatic. She ends up in Paris as a prisoner of a Lunar thaumaturge and the wolf-Lunar hybrids created by Queen Levana to make her first attack on Earth.

Meanwhile, Cinder has escaped prison with the aide of a very annoying man called Carswell Thorne, and is beginning to learn more about her true identity. Back in New Beijing, Prince Kai still has Cinder on his mind as he continues to try to prevent a war with Lunar.

As I said, there isn’t a whole lot in this book that really contributes to the plot, apart from some more in-depth character development and their pasts. The only real action comes towards the end, though there is enough tension building up to that to keep the reader interested. I liked Scarlet as a character, though I found Wolf quite contradictory. It seemed the author was going for “tough but sensitive” but even when the reasons for his sensitivities were explained later, I still couldn’t really reconcile them with “hardened fighter”.

Having said all that, Marissa Meyer does have a very readable writing style, so in spite of everything, I was still able to knock the book over in a few days. I’ve now also read Cress, and the review for that will be up next fortnight. 🙂