#WWW and #WIPpet Wednesday – 09 March, 2016

 First up is is WWW Wednesday, a blog hop in which we answer questions about what we’ve been reading this past week. This is hosted by Sam over at A World of Words. You can join in by commenting on today’s post over on her blog.

  • wwwwednesdayWhat are you currently reading?

Life in Outer Space by Melissa Keil. I read her other novel, The Incredible Adventures of Cinnamon Girl (review here) last year and loved it. There are quite a few similarities between the two (the most obvious being that this has an MC who is an aspiring filmmaker, while Cinnamon Girl had an aspiring comic artist, and they’re both struggling to write), but her narrative voice is just so great, so I’m overlooking it. I think I’m finally out of my reading slump!

  • What did you recently finish reading?

I finished Seraphina by Rachel Hartman last night. I really enjoyed it! It had been too long since I read something with dragons. I would dearly love to read the second book, but I’ve had several people warn me that while they loved the first one, they found the second one severely disappointing. There are lots of GoodReads reviews to that effect, too, so I don’t want to risk it.

I also completed the audio book of Matthew Flinders’ Cat by Bryce Courtenay on my way to a meet-up with my writing group tonight. It’s not the sort of book I’d normally read, but I did enjoy it, in spite of some really tough subject matter at times. My mum is telling me I should read The Potato Factory and its sequels, also by Bryce Courtenay, but I haven’t quite decided yet whether or not I will. Humphrey Bower is a very good narrator, though, and he did all of Courtenay’s books, but to be honest this has has given me an urge to listen to his reading of the Chaos Walking series again.

I eventually gave up on Cogling by Jordan Elizabeth Mierek last week. It just got too boring. I also read a review that said there was a scene where one character was imprisoned and possibly being sexually assaulted, and their solution to that was not to take down the people doing the assaulting, but just swap out their friend with a homeless girl no one would miss. I’m sure the homeless girl really appreciated that.

  • What do you think you’ll read next?

I haven’t decided yet, but I have a few books to choose from. To be honest, I should be putting reading on the backburner for a bit while I start on my uni work. Semester started on Feb 15, and I have my first assignment due March 16… do you think I’ve done any work yet? This is the one disadvantage to studying online/via correspondence.

wednesdaybannerNext up is WIPpet Wednesday, a blog hop we writer types do each week, in which we share snippets from our WIP that somehow relate to the date. You can find our linkup by clicking the little blue guy to the right. Please feel free to join in! Today is the ninth of March, so I’m sharing nine sentences. This follows on from last week’s scene. Jasper Cortain and his wife have been brought to the Palace to be quizzed about the Princess’ whereabouts by the Captain of the Guard.

Two of the guards pushed the doors open and led the way into the room beyond. The room had no windows and Jasper started when he realised the room was lit by a glowing orb floating at about eye-level at the back of the room. He may have suspected the use of magic in the palace, but it was still a surprise to witness it. Below the orb was a desk, and a man in red robes behind it. His had his fingers linked together and was resting his chin on them, watching as the guards parted to give him a view of Jasper and Helena.

“Gentlemen,” he said, addressing the guards. “What have you brought me?”

“Witnesses saw the princess being led to this man’s house,” said the guard who had first spoken to Jasper at his front gate. “He’s as much as confessed to being a
magician on the way here.”

“Did he indeed?”

 The Captain’s name is Eli Masden, and you met him back in December. He’s the psychopath I mentioned last week, though in some of his scenes he has tried to convince me that he’s really a sympathetic character underneath it all. I don’t trust him at all.

I’m going to love and leave you all now. As I mentioned above, I had a meet-up with my writing group tonight, which means time has got away from me, and I should be heading to bed pretty soon. See you all later!

~ Emily

#WWW and #WIPpet Wednesday – 2 March, 2016

Hey, guys! Hope you’re having a good week so far! I have to apologise once again for not getting around to many of your blogs last week. I don’t know how time keeps slipping by me!

First up is is WWW Wednesday, a blog hop in which we answer questions about what we’ve been reading this past week. This is hosted by Sam over at A World of Words. You can join in by commenting on today’s post over on her blog.

  • What are you currently reading?

wwwwednesdayI’m about 50% or so of the way through Cogling by Jordan Elizabeth Mierek. But, well, it’s so boring! It has such great reviews on GoodReads so I had really looked forward to it, too, but the main character is annoying and the world-building is very clumsy.

I have also started Seraphina by Rachel Hartman but I am contemplating placing a hold on the audio book instead, as it was recommended to me. Seraphina is a musician and apparently the music is really well incorporated into the audio book.

I’ve started listening to Matthew Flinders’ Cat by Bryce Courtenay. There’s some language in it that was acceptable in the 90s when it was written but isn’t really now, which makes me cringe. And while I’m sure it’s an accurate depiction of the homeless population of Sydney, every second word of dialogue being “fuck” and variations thereupon does wear thin after a while. But hearing things from a cat’s POV is very cute, so I’m holding out for the parts where Billy is recounting Trim’s life.

  • What did you recently finish reading?

I read Trim by Matthew Flinders, which is about the titular cat in the above book, and was very cute. Matthew Flinders is known for being the first to circumnavigate Australia, and Trim was his beloved ship’s cat. He wrote this little essay (it was really short) while he was in prison on Mauritius. The State Library of New South Wales has a quite a lot of Flinders’ papers, and there is a bronze statue of him on one of the outside windowsills. The cafe there is also called Cafe Trim. A doctor my dad sees quite regularly is on the same street as the library, so my parents eat there quite often. I’m actually thinking of getting my mum this book for Mother’s Day, as I asked her if she’d read it and she said no, but I think she would love it.

I ended up not finishing The Shadow Cabinet by Maureen Johnson, as the heroine’s stupidity outweighed my desire to know the ending. Also, the first book was all fun with murderous ghosts and then in the second book it became more about a weird cult and in the third book there’s all this Greek mythology and Celtic mythology or something and it just wasn’t the series it started out as.

  • What do you think you’ll read next?

Since Seraphina is the last thing I have out of the library (apart from audio books), I’ll probably try to get to my own copies of Dear Fatty by Dawn French and Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn before I take anything else out. I mentioned them several posts ago as potential next reads, then all my holds came in at the library. I finally gave in an purchased the ebook of The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater, since my library doesn’t have it anymore but I want to continue the series, so that’ll also be sometime soon.

wednesdaybannerOnce again, not the greatest reading week! But I was able to keep a steady stream of writing up so it’s not all bad. Next up is WIPpet Wednesday, a blog hop we writer types do each week, in which we share snippets from our WIP that somehow relate to the date. You can find our linkup by clicking the little blue guy to the right. Today is the second day of the third month, so I’m sharing five paragraphs that follow on shortly after last week’s excerpt, where Jasper notices royal guards outside his house. He and his wife have both been arrested (his wife is for leverage). On their way to the palace to be confronted by the King (because the suspicion is that Jasper knows where the missing princess is), Helena tries to get Jasper to tell her where the hell their daughter is.

“Were you teaching her about magic? Is she in trouble?”

“She’s not in trouble. I’ve… sent her out of the Kingdom. Somewhere she won’t be bound by the King’s laws.”

“Magicians caught fleeing the country incur higher penalties than those who turn themselves in,” said a guard.

“I never said she was a magician,” Jasper replied. “And what could possibly be a higher penalty than death?”

“It’s not the death itself. It’s what comes before it.”

I discovered in writing later parts of this scene that the Captain of the Guard is really quite psychopathic and happy to leap straight to torture without any sort of middle-ground. That part is currently still in a handwritten state, I think when typing it up, he and I might have to have a chat about unnecessarily drastic measures.

I’m going to head off now and face the very unexciting prospect of cleaning my kitchen. I’ll try harder to get around to your blogs this week!

~ Emily

#WWW and #WIPpet Wednesday

Edit: I totally forgot to include this in the post when I was writing it last night, but if anyone would be interested in taking part in my cover reveal for A More Complicated Fairytale, or helping out with any other promo, please send me an email at fuzzyagent999[@]yahoo[dot]com[dot]au. I’m hoping to do the reveal and some promo throughout March, with a release some time in early April. I’ll get in touch with people over the weekend to work out specifics. Now on with the show!


It’s Wednesday! And I have good news on the writing front! Last week I was bemoaning having really had no drive to write for a quite a while. I think part of that was because I was trying to write in order, from beginning to end. And when I got stuck, I didn’t know how to deal with that. Writing linearly has never worked for me, so I don’t know why I was trying this time. So I’ve been writing a bit every week day. And I think I might be getting a bit too attached to some side characters. Usually when this happens, it’s with characters who are supposed to die, so then I get all guilty. At least that isn’t a problem this time. So I’m back to sharing from Worlds Apart.

This week I have six sentences for you. After Princess Adelyn came to see him, Jasper Cortain sent her off with his daughter, Carrie, as a guide, to find a magician who can help her get back the memories that have been wiped. Of course, it’s been noticed that the Princess is missing, and people have bewednesdaybanneren searching. Jasper’s just coming home from work now.

Jasper was fairly sure the figure was a member of the Royal Guard. He wasn’t surprised to see them outside his house. It had been nearly twenty-four hours since he had sent Carrie off with the princess, and they would have been searching for the Princess ever since. Someone would have said they saw her leaving, or perhaps Mary herself had told them she had brought the princess there to protect herself. Either way, there was no point in running. Better they capture Jasper and waste time interrogating him

If you’re unfamiliar with WIPpet Wednesday and are curious, it’s a blog hop we writer types do each week, in which we share snippets from our WIP that somehow relate to the date. I shared six sentences by adding the two and the four of 24 together. You can find our linky by clicking the blue link to the right. If this scene has confused and/or intrigued you, you can click on my Worlds Apart category to read previous snippets that I shared.

Next up is WWW Wednesday, a blog hop in which we answer questions about what we’ve been reading this past week. This is hosted by Sam over at A World of Words. You can join in by commenting on today’s post over on her blog.

  • What are you currently reading?

wwwwednesdayMadly reading Unwind by Neal Schusterman before it’s due back to the library tomorrow. I had it on hold at the library for months, and it finally came in, but I was not paying attention to the fact that it’s a high demand book, therefore I only get it for two weeks, not four. I’m enjoying it in spite of some implausibility, but I have a freakish talent for hand-waving implausibility in YA dystopians. I should finish this tonight or tomorrow morning.

I’m also in the middle of The Shadow Cabinet by Maureen Johnson, the third in the Shades of London series. I’ve read book reviews before where reviewers have referred to the heroine as TSTL (too stupid to live), and in those cases, I’ve always thought, “Oh, come on now, was she really that bad?” But Rory’s making some decisions in this book which have had me using the term, so… yeah. You’re on the run from everyone, but you’re going to go out by yourself, to a place you’re unfamiliar with, to try to contact a ghost you’ve never spoken to before, without telling anyone and leaving your phone in the safe house where you’ve been left because it’s freaking safe… yeah, I have no sympathy for you when bad things happen.

  • What have you recently finished reading?

Nothing this week. 😦 My weekend reading time was compromised by having my mum visit.

  • What do you think you’ll read next?

Seraphina by Rachel Hartman is my next library read (my mum read the first few chapters before bed on the weekend, and was impressed, which is saying something because YA fantasy is way down the list of genres she enjoys, so I’m hoping that’s a good sign), and I also need to get back into Cogling, since that’s a Netgalley copy and I should probably read it soon.

That’s it from me for this week. My partner is hassling me to hurry up so we can go get some take-away for dinner. I’ll catch up with you all soon!

~ Emily

Book Review: The Golem and the Djinni by Helene Wecker

Title: The Golem and the Djinni
Author: Helene Wecker
Genre: Historical/fantasy/magical realism
Date Read: 21/10/2015 – 10/11/2015
Rating: ★★★★

Review:

golemdjinniThis was a really beautiful book, though it took me a while to get into it. It didn’t help that I was pressed for time over the first two weeks that I was trying to read it, so I was reading in small drips and drabs. I nearly returned it to the library unfinished, but something stopped me. I read the last 300 pages over two days and got all emotionally invested and suddenly I didn’t want the book to end.

The book is about Chava, a master-less Golem, and Ahmed, an Djinni imprisoned in human form, both of whom arrive in New York in 1899. When they meet, they form a fragile friendship that is threatened when a chain of events nearly leads to their true identities being revealed. It takes all they can give to rebuild what they had and discover their true identities and destiny in a strange new world.

The two titular characters do not meet until page 176 of this book; the time before that is build crafting a solid picture of turn-of-the-century New York, as well as establishing how fish-out-of-water these two characters are in their separate worlds. Even when they do meet, the pacing is quite slow, and I think this is why I was getting bored when I was only reading short bits at a time. There were times when I was thinking “Is this flashback relevant?” or “Why are we spending so much time with this supporting character?” but all of it was drawn together beautifully at the end. I had a lot of “Oohhhhhh!” moments when I suddenly made connections between certain characters or events.

I loved Chava from the moment I met her. She was rendered master-less almost as soon as she was awakened, and she was scared and vulnerable, but learned to make do. Ahmed had to grow on me; it wasn’t really until he met Chava that he mellowed a bit into someone more likable. There is an interesting villain, whose identity I won’t spoil, though it’ll become obvious soon after you start reading. He’s the one I had the most “Oh!” moments about. There are a lot of great side-characters as well, such as Rabbi Avram Meyer, who recognises Chava for what she is and takes her under his wing, the Rabbi’s athiest nephew, Michael, and Boutros Arbeely, who takes Ahmed on as an apprentice metal-worker. The descriptions of both the Jewish and Syrian communities are vivid, and you feel like you know the people in both of them.

Once I finished this book, I had to just sit for a while and ponder it. I wanted to talk to someone about it, but I don’t actually know anyone else who has read it. It is definitely a wonderful book, but I do recommend you save it for a day when you can sit and read it it one sitting.

Book Review: Bitter Greens by Kate Forsyth #AWW2015

Title: Bitter Greens
Author: Kate Forsyth
Genre: Historical fantasy
Date Read: 05/10/2015 – 16/10/2015
Rating: ★★★★

Review:

bittergreensFirst of all, a note on the hashtag in this post’s title. I recently learned about the Australian Women Writers challenge, a challenge which aims to highlight quality books written by Australian women. While I feel I’ve come in a bit late to join in on the challenge properly for this year, I thought I might as well jump on the bandwagon where I can. And now on to the review!

This book was recommended to me by a colleague, who allegedly got drunk with Kate Forsyth on one occasion. That’s not why he recommended it to me, though; that has more to do with the fact that I had been talking about Grounded: the Adventures of Rapunzel, and how I was interested in tracking down other Rapunzel adaptations.

Bitter Greens weaves together the stories of Rapunzel (here called Margherita, or Petrosinella) and the witch who holds her captive with that of Charlotte-Rose de Caumont de La Force, the French novelist who wrote the fairytale we now know as Rapunzel. Unlike many (most?) of the fairytale retellings I’ve read this year, this one is actually adult fiction, in a historical fantasy style, so it was quite different to what I’m used to. I still enjoyed it a lot, though.

The majority of the book is focused on Charlotte-Rose, and alternates between her time imprisoned in an abbey by order of the King (this is where she hears the Rapunzel story) and earlier times in her life. Forsyth’s descriptions of Versailles and life at court are opulent and sensual, made more so I think by the fact that these sections are in first person.

The story of Selena Leonelli, the witch, are also in first person, but only take up a few chapters of the book. It doesn’t defend her actions, but it does explain why she does what she does. Margherita’s story is in third person, and to be honest, it was the one I had the most investment in (I was there for the Rapunzel story after all). Seeing Margherita’s struggle to not go mad as she is shut up in that tower was exactly the kind of thing I had been looking for when I asked for Rapunzel recommendations on GoodReads some months back.

As I said, this story did have elements of fantasy in it, but I would also consider it my first foray into historical fiction. It’s definitely got me interested enough in Kate Forsyth’s writing to look up some more of her works, particularly The Wild Girl, which is the love story of Wilhelm Grimm and Dortchen Wild (does that not sound perfect?) and The Beast’s Garden, a retelling of Beauty and the Beast, set in the Second World War. I think she is definitely an author worth plenty of time.

#WWW Wednesday & #WIPpet Wednesday –

Hello, and happy Wednesday! Today is my biggest blog hop day of the week! First up, we have WWW Wednesday, a blog hop hosted by Sam, in which we answer three W questions about what we’ve been reading.

  • wwwwednesdayWhat are you currently reading?

I’ve started Throne Of Glass and I’m enjoying it so far. The thing that annoys me most is that all the main characters are Really Attractive. Which is fine, except the narration keeps reminding me of it.

I’m also listening to the audio book of Matilda, read by Kate Winslet. She’s really good! The reason I haven’t listened to too many audio books in the past is that often the version I ended up with didn’t have a narrator whose voice I felt really fitted the story (also because I can’t afford to buy many and the ones you get from the library on CD are usually all scratched up). But Kate’s got a nice regular reading accent and fantastic accents/voices for each of the characters. I’ve only got about an hour left, but it came up with a weird message about not being able to process the file or something. Hopefully, the worst case scenario will be I have to re-download it.

  • What did you recently finish reading?

I finished For Darkness Shows The Stars and I really loved it! I tend to flail a lot when characters I want to get together are about to get together, and there was lots of flailing at the end of this book (it’s based on Persuasion, so I feel like that isn’t really a spoiler). I learned there is a not-quite-sequel-more-of-a-companion-novel based on the Scarlet Pimpernel, which is a favourite of mine, so I might have to track that down (the library doesn’t have it, and the ebook is expensive, but I am told the library buys pretty much anything that is suggested within reason, so…)

  • What do you think you will read next?

I have this all worked out. I’ll finish Throne of Glass, then read Crewel and Dust Girl, both of which I have from the library. Then I am going to read The Viper and the Urchin by fellow WIPpeteer Celine Jeanjean. And after that, I’m not sure, but this should keep me going at least a couple of weeks. And I also bought the cheapest audio version of Persuasion that I could find on iTunes. I’m not sure if the narrator is English or American and I’m really not sure I can listen to Jane Austen being read in anything other than an English accent, but it was only $2, so if I end up also buying the $9 one where it is read by Miss Marple (aka Geraldine McEwan), it will be no great loss.

Now I have to tell you something. I started a new writing project today. I have been trying to write every day, but I just haven’t been feeling Grace and Frederick’s story for the past week. I did some brainstorming on their back story and I think those ideas need to really percolate and solidify before I can keep going. I was trawling through the NaNoWriMo Adopt a Plot forums and one of the ideas there reminded me of a story that I considered writing at uni, but never got around to. It had a bit of urban fantasy in it then, but I decided that wouldn’t really work, so I’ve stripped that way and basically have a contemporary romance left in its place. I only have a main character and some plot points so far, but I really quite like her, even if she is a rather cliched university student.

So that’s my exciting news. And after having led with that, I bother to mention that you’re still getting a WIPpet from Grace and Frederick’s story, since that’s what I have actually words of right now. I have five paragraphs for the fifth of August. Last week, Grace persuaded Tristan to let her stay in the Merrow House overnight to see if she could get in touch with Frederick’s ghost again. He shows up, finally, and they have a bit of an awkward chat. The reason for the age comments is that Grace is 129-years-old and Frederick has been dead 90 years.
ghost
Now that Frederick was here, she found herself wishing she had just gone back to the hotel after the seance. She had thought that surely enough time had passed since she and Frederick had last crossed paths, but now her stomach was in knots just looking at him.

“You’re looking good for your age.”

Grace cocked an eyebrow. “You’re not looking too bad yourself.”

“Grace…” Frederick reached out a hand to touch her cheek. Somehow, his form was solid once again and she could feel his knuckles against her skin. She closed her eyes for a moment, but then quickly pulled away.

“Frederick, you can’t just show up again after all these years and expect me to be the naïve, stupid girl who hero-worshipped you as you taught her magic.”

It’s worth noting Grace was nineteen when all that was going on. It’s been a long time.

You can and totally should join in on WIPpet Wednesday! Just post an excerpt from your current WIP that somehow relates to the date. Our linky is over here. Since beginning this post, I’ve gone out and played some netball with friends, so it’s now fairly late. I’ll finish up and hope to see you all either on my blog or yours pretty soon!

~ Emily

Book Review: The Martian by Andy Weir

Title: The Martian
Author: Andy Weir
Genre: Sci-fi
Date Read:
22/04/2015 – 28/04/2015
Rating: ★★★

Review:

TheMartianUKCoverI had such high hopes for this book. Every single person I know who has read it has given it five stars. And while I can see where they were coming from, this book didn’t do it for me.

The Martian focuses primarily on Mark Watney, the seventeenth human to set foot on Mars, who accidentally gets left behind when an accident leaves his crew thinking he’s been killed. Most of the book takes the form of Mark’s log entries, though we also meet characters who work for NASA as they realise he is still alive and try to work out how on Earth (or Mars) to rescue him before he dies of thirst or starvation.

At first, the book was really interesting. Mark was figuring out how to grow food in Martian soil, as well as provide himself with water, and find a way to contact NASA. However, after a while, this starts feeling more like a Mars survival guide than the log of someone who has been completely deserted up there. There was so much science-talk, which is fine, but most of it went over my head. Not only that, but Mark was always chipper. Even when things went wrong, he just swore a bit and then spent a couple of days figuring out how to fix whatever it was. There were no moments of depression, no existential crises or anything else you’d expect from a character who has been left on another planet. And because he was always in such a good mood, it never felt like the stakes were particularly high.

The characters at NASA were a bit more interesting because they had each other to react to, and the techno-talk in these scenes was generally a bit more accessible. However, I did lose track of who some characters were, as we switched between NASA divisions and subsidiaries, and that did also make it hard to stay engaged.

The amount of research that went into this book is incredible, and I definitely applaud Andy Weir for that. People at NASA, as well as Dr Karl Kruszelnicki and others who are far more scientifically-minded than I, have said that the majority of the science provided in the book is sound. But a scientifically-sound book is not necessarily an engaging one, and that was where this book fell flat for me.

Book Review: Jackaby by William Ritter

Title: Jackaby (Jackaby #1)
Author: William Ritter
Genre:
historical/paranormal mystery
Date Read: 15/04/2015 – 21/04/2015
Rating: ★★★

Review:

jackabycoverWhen I first started reading this book, I was thinking it would get four stars for sure. However, while I still greatly enjoyed it, there were enough little things that bothered me enough to bring it down to three.

Jackaby is narrated by Abigail Rook, fresh off a boat in New England after taking off with the money her parents had allowed her to pay for her university education. In her search for employment, she meets R. F. Jackaby, an investigator with unconventional methods. The police force of New Fiddleham tolerates him because he assists on some of their less explainable cases (i.e. the supernatural ones). However, along with some relation between the Jackaby character and Matt Smith’s Doctor, I really felt that was where the similarities ended.

The mystery itself was actually very well-crafted, and I appreciated William Ritter’s use of magical creatures we don’t usually see in books being written today. There are redcaps and banshees present, and Jackaby also refers to some Eastern European magical creatures that have made their home in Abigail’s hat.

The two lead characters, though, I felt were a bit bland. Jackaby’s switches between sweet and terse left me with a bit of whiplash (sometimes he’d be cranky because people are so stupid but then he’d be half-smiling at Abigail with a tinge of pride showing through a moment later). Abigail herself was fairly plucky, but never really got much development. Maybe that’s coming in future books.

The thing that bothered me the most were the little things, like an English narrator saying “mommy” instead of “mummy” in her narration. I know the author is American, but that made it feel a little less authentic. There was other language as well that felt a bit out of place in 1892. As I said, only little things, but enough to pull me out of the story.

There is a lot of humour in the book, both in the form of the banter between characters, and some running jokes, like one of Jackaby’s former assistants now being in the form of a duck and refusing to use the magic which would turn him back. While it was overall a fun, light read, I don’t think I’ll be rushing out for the second one when it’s released later this year.

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. 🙂