Monthly Archives: September 2014

Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

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There is a reason I haven’t blogged in a week. It’s not that I haven’t been reading, or haven’t finished a book…it’s that I’ve been too absorbed in this series to pause long enough to blog about it. (I’m already well into the third book by now…but I digress.)

Fans of Cinder will certainly delight in this much-loved sequel. Readers still follow the cyborg, post-ball, post-fairy tale, but are also introduced to the non-robotic happenings of Scarlet (Scarlet is a shade of red – which fairy tale has the word “red” in it???), who is on the hunt throughout France to find her missing grandmother. The simultaneous story lines very much work for this series. Scarlet has her own plot unfolding, with a base of a well-known fairy tale guiding the plot; but, sporadically dispersed into this is the no-longer-fairy-tale plot of Cinder (and sometimes the prince) on the run from the law. I never once found myself more invested in one plot over the other, as so often many multi-character plots go.

On the way, Scarlet receives help from a mysterious gent named Wolf – not that she really needs it; Scarlet is one tough cookie. She’s got all the characteristics of a true heroine (fight, determination, selfless sacrifice, and piloting skills) along with the believable fallibility: she loves flirting and attention, just like her father did, and sometimes she doesn’t care about the consequences of this on others.

*Spoiler alert* : Perhaps my favorite part of the series as a whole (at least at this point, two books in) is the conclusion of the love story of Scarlet. At the end of Cinder, there is no happily ever after, at least not yet; Cinder is put in prison and believes Kai wants nothing to do with her anymore. But at Scarlet‘s end, it looks like, after a tumultuous ride, that she is all but dating her love interest (despite a few qualms, of course, to be presented in the third book). The contrast is a pleasant one; so often authors narrate all their love stories is the same manner, and I was very much expecting Scarlet to end up alone at the end of her book, and maybe in even in jail à la Cinder. (Of course, I would have expected her to end with her dream guy at the series’ conclusion, but that’s another matter.) Meyer reminds us that not all characters are a blueprint, that not all characters share the same story arc.

Spoiler alert concluded, if you haven’t indulged your childhood-fairy-tales-enjoyment-meets-young-adult-bliss, you should jump right into The Lunar Chronicles. If I haven’t made this clear already, you’ll be pretty glad you did.

The Liebster Award

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Thanks for the nomination from Life of a Bookworm

Here are my answers to your questions:

How long does it take you to finish a great book? When I read a great book, I become obsessed, which means I read every spare second I can. But, I can never rush something I’m really enjoying. Sometimes I even like to read certain pages over and over again. So, that all being said, the answer to that question is…as long as I need!

What do you think makes a wonderful book? Number one, the characters. Number two, the prose writing.

What is your favourite book series and why? At the moment, it’s Cassandra Clare’s Infernal Devices series. But, at different times throughout my reading, it’s been Libba Bray’s Gemma Doyle Trilogy, or, of course, Harry Potter!

How did you come to love reading? For my birthday one year (probably around age 9 or 10) my sisters bought me The Great Gilly Hopkins and Charlotte’s Web – two favorites from my childhood. I’ve been hooked since then.

What inspired you to create your book blog? I have pretty strong opinions about what I read, and I thought I could share my passions with others!

What is your least favourite book and why? I could never choose! Everything has something to share!

Favourite childhood book? The Great Gilly Hopkins.

Which fictional character would be your best friend? Peeta Mellark.

Where do you love to read? The subway. It’s great for tuning out all the background noise.

Do you read one book at a time or several? One.

Do you like to keep your books clean or are they destroyed by the time you’ve finished reading it? Clean!

 

I do believe the rules are, I nominate 11 people and ask them 11 questions. In lieu of my being new to the whole blogging thing, I’m actually going to cheat and only nominate the people who liked my most recent blogpost:

Alexandrapub

Amanda

Eye-Dancers

Fangirl

And here are my questions:

Why do you read YA?

Do you like to write?

What makes you decide to read a specific book?

Do you have a favorite book of all time?

Do you prefer series or single novels?

When you like an author, do you tend to read all of his/her work?

Are you in a book club, or would you like to be?

Do you/did you study English or writing in school, or is it strictly a hobby?

When you read a book, do you take into account the publisher of the book?

If you could go to one character’s fictional world, whose would it be?

If you could be one character for a day, who would it be and why?

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

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In my junior year of college, I took a class on fairy tales that managed to open to me this whole new world of fantasy stories and adaptations. Since then, I’ve been hooked on every fairy tale spin-off I could find, from the paperback compilation My Mother She Killed Me, My Father He Ate Me to the Bartok opera Bluebeard’s Castle

And the first installment of Marissa Meyer‘s delightful YA series The Lunar Chronicles is certainly no exception.

My best friend (whom you should follow here), who jumped on the Cinder bandwagon much earlier than I (the book was published in January of 2013), swears that she told me about her obsession with the series ages ago. On her account, she explained the plot – a Cinderella adaptation with a half human, half robot – to our other best friend and me, and the two of us laughed and dismissed the concept. I promise, I have no recollection of this occurrence.

In any event, this post World War IV (godda love the post-apocalyptic/dystopian government element) is equipped with humans, android handymen, and cyborgs, or crosses between humans and androids. Cinder is a teenage cyborg whose stepmother forced her to make the family money by laboring as New Beijing’s most capable mechanic. (Get it? Because she’s still dirty all the time, like Cinderella was, but this time it’s mechanic’s grease and dust doing the job instead of the mansion’s dust bunnies.) Because her services are so incomparable, she finds a worthy client in the handsome, young, kind, smiling prince who – let’s face it – is the very-perfect interest.

There’s also a power-hungry queen (whose story will be told in a prequel series coming in 2015), a corrupted kingdom, a missing heir to the throne, and the loss of Cinder’s…well, you get the idea.

I had few qualms, the most notable being the novel’s major twist. No matter how much I read, I can never predict these twists, with the notable exception of Fight Club, which no one saw coming, and I strangely predicted in the first five pages; but other books’ plots? I didn’t even have a clue as to what the first horcrux could be. (And don’t even get me started on the mysterious R.A.B.; I was more lost than Harry, and I didn’t have the stress of the whole pending-wizard-going-to-kill-you thing.) But, when it came to Cinder‘s twist, I called it. It didn’t ruin, not even spoil, the novel for me; but I saw it.

Amazon promises this novel is for grade level 7 and up. I don’t know if I’d go that far; it’s not too complex, but it’s a for-sure page turner, albeit wonderfully guilty pleasure. It’s certainly rated G; maybe that’s the basis of Amazon’s rankings? Nonetheless, Meyer does an excellent job on maintaining excitement throughout an already well-known tale. We know there’s a prince. We know there’s a ball. We know there’s a shoe. But she also adds her own exciting elements that create their own intrigue, and even unexpectedness; the fairy godmother-magic pumpkin adaptations were done exceptionally well.

I certainly cannot wait to start the second installment…which evidently introduces new fairy tale heroines???