Winter by Marissa Meyer

This is the epic conclusion of The Lunar Chronicles. Will Cinder reclaim the Lunar Throne, her birthright? Will Kai ever marry Levana? Will Scarlet and Wolf ever see each other again? Will Cress ever stop being so damn clueless when she’s thinking about Carswell Thorne? Will everyone make it out of this adventure alive? Some things we do know: Kai has been kidnapped by Cinder and the crew of the Rampion. He’s now solidly on Cinder’s side. Scarlet has been taken in (as a pet) by Princess Winter. She is crazy-pants. Letumosis, a disease plaguing the Earthen Union, has mutated and can now infect Lunars. Luna is the only place able to manufacture the cure to letumosis. Levana isn’t just sadistic and cruel, she’s becoming unhinged. And it seems these days like it’s more of a matter of who can take who down first.

In Winter, Cinder is reassembling and redistributing her allies. In the resistance, everyone has a role to play. Rally enough sectors to overpower the thaumaturges, and Cinder wins. Convince enough Lunar citizens that Cinder is the lost princess Selene, and Cinder wins. Avoid run ins with Levana and stay alive long enough to take the throne from her, and Cinder wins. The hard part now will be hitting all of these goals.

Winter fell flat of my expectations, at least in quality of story-telling. It felt like a step backward in all the pacing and character development we’ve learned in the last 3 adventures we’ve taken together. I will admit, though, this book it much swoonier than any (maybe all of) the last books in the series. Cress and Thorne are my favorite. I’m a sucker for a good redemption arc. But I also imagine Kai to be the sweet and concerned, but also aware of a woman’s independence kind of man, and I dig that too. Wolf and Scarlet are so devoted to each other, and Jacin and Winter are definitely the star-crossed lovers we all hate to love.

I liked Princess Winter a lot; she’s kind and she’s broken. This makes her relatable in a way; though many non-fictional people don’t suffer with delusions like Princess Winter does, they do have to fight with the demons in their mind just to get through their days. What’s unique about Winter is that this mental anguish is self-imposed. It’s a result of the Lunar Sickness that develops when somebody with an active Lunar Gift doesn’t use it for long enough. It’s common in Lunars who are hiding on Earth, but why doesn’t the Princess use her gift when not using it causes her so much strife and pain?

 

Jacin has always guarded the Princess, both from threats others who would wish her harm and threats from herself. Jacin is her crutch; he gets her through her hallucinations and allows her to maintain her functionality. They also happen to be madly in love with each other, although they are from two different classes on Luna, which makes any relationship they may have entirely improper. Because that’ll stop them.

This book either needed to be shorter, or it needed to be two books. On the one hand, it had the feel of Harry Potter and the Endlessly Long Camping Trip. Cinder and her merry band of misfits were shuffling back and forth between the sectors and Artemisia and things weren’t really happening sometimes. But on the other hand. A lot of stuff happened. This is the first time we really had a chance to get to know Princess Winter. The entirety of Cinder/Selene’s rebellion happened in this book.

This is stupid, but I don’t care. I wanted them to spend more time on the dresses and the crowns. Selene is a queen, for goodness sake. Give me royalty. Give me regality. I’m with Iko; I’m here for the gowns.

Someone should take the time to explain those Sailor Moon references the Acknowledgements in these books keep alluding to. It’s not like I’ve never seen Sailor Moon, but I’m just not catching them. That’s not actual feedback, I’m just lost.

Advertisements

Cress by Marissa Meyer

Thorne has rescued the hacker locked in her satellite and they’ve crashlanded to Earth. While they’re making they’re way through the dessert, fighting for survival, Cinder is flying Wolf to Africa to find Dr. Erland and save Wolf’s life. Along the way they’ve gathered a guard who says his loyalty lies with his Princess, and they’ve lost Scarlet who was taken by Thaumaturge Sybil Mira. In the middle of all this, they’re still struggling to come up with a plan to stop the royal wedding, overthrow Levana, and put Cinder on the Lunar throne.

We finally get a glimpse of the brutality of the Lunar Court. Scarlet was taken, given as a toy to be tortured by some terrible Lunar boy, and brutally interrogated by Queen Levana. When the Queen was through with her, she gave Scarlet to her step-daughter who is slowly losing her mind.

Thorne is rightfully struggling with self-esteem. Cress worshipped him when she was on the satellite. One-by-one he debunked all of the heroic ideas she’s had about him, and doing so has really hit his ego. His honesty only seems to make Cress like him more. With his remorse, and his concern for Cress and the other members of his crew, he seems almost swoonworthy (instead of being a giant eyeroll as per usual).

The point of this book is assembling our Avengers. We’re getting all of the necessary pieces in the same place so we can put our big plan into action. We got rid of some dead weight, used knowledge from other characters to advance our cause, and now we’re ready for the big boss battle. Because of that, most of these plot lines are continuations without major development.

Marissa Meyer’s story writing ability continues to improve with every novel she puts out. Cinder’s finally turning into an interesting character. The pace of the novel makes more sense. She’s beginning to show us how important political events of the past are especially relevant to current events in the Earthen Union. Each of these books has continued to improve and I’m excited to read Winter next.

 

 

Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

13206760
Amazon|Goodreads

Cinder has fled the Eastern Commonwealth into space. She’s supposed to meet Dr. Erland in Africa and talk about next steps regarding Princess Selene, but they need a new power cell for the ship and Cinder needs answers about her past. Answers that might be with the person who took her in when she escaped from Luna: Michelle Benoit.

But halfway around the world, Michelle Benoit is missing and her granddaughter, Scarlet, is desperately searching for her. The police keep telling Scarlet that her grand-mere is crazy and she’ll find her way home soon, but Scarlet knows something is wrong. She meets Wolf, a mysterious man with a strange tattoo and problematic allegiances, who seems to know more about Michelle’s disappearance than he’s sharing. And when Cinder and Scarlet meet, they must work to stay one step ahead of the Lunars out to kill them both.

I liked Scarlet better than Cinder, probably because I like Scarlet as a character better than I liked Cinder. She’s stronger; she’s got a lot of fire to her. A little Mary-Sue-ish, sure, but she’s angry and she’s ready to act. Cinder just wanted to run. I’m not usually a fan of changing characters between books, but Meyer did it so well. She tied the two storylines together really well. I’m looking forward to seeing how Cress will come into play in the next novel.

I also think the coupling in this novel worked better than in Cinder. In Cinder, Kai was uselessly flirting with Cinder and he invited her to the ball. But Cinder spent the whole book pretending to be someone different. She didn’t want him to know she was cyborg, she didn’t want him to know that Adri couldn’t afford nice things, she didn’t want him to know anything about her, really. Scarlet doesn’t have time for that. She’s on a mission and pretending to be someone she’s not would expend energy she just doesn’t have for that. Her determination gives her a genuineness we didn’t see from Cinder. Plus there was some actual romance involved.

It’s frustrating that Cinder chose not to travel to Africa to meet up with Dr. Erland. He’s obviously got answers to her questions, but she’s afraid that he wants to put her on the Lunar throne. Instead she goes looking for answers on her own and almost gets herself killed because of it. I get it, she’s never been autonomous; Adri was always in charge. Now she’s got some freedom and she’s not ready to throw that away. But there are people dying. For her. The least she can do is indulge Dr. Erland’s request that she see him.

Like I said about Cinder; this isn’t the greatest literary work I’ve ever read, but it’s entertaining and it’s fun. Once you pick it up, you’re not going to want to put it down.

 

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

 

11235712
Goodreads|Amazon

Years ago, Adri’s husband, Garan, travelled to Europe and brought home a cyborg baby and a case of the plague. Garan died and left Adri with the baby, named Cinder, who grew up to be a gifted mechanic. When Cinder’s sister, Peony is diagnosed with the uncurable plague, Cinder’s guardian donates her to the plague research department, which is usually as much a death sentence as contracting the plague on its own. Upon her enlistment Cinder learns several truths about her heritage and her own past and the relationship between her planet and the Lunar colony on the moon.

 

Disclaimer: I have read this book before. It’s been a while, and I realized I needed a reread before I got into Winter, the last book in the series. It’s a quick read and it’s fun, so I don’t mind.

Seeing Cinder be so ashamed of being a cyborg is frustrating. It’s understandable because of the level of prejudice she sees due to being a cyborg, but watching her wrestle over telling Kai about it is frustrating. On a similar note, her guardian’s treatment of her is frustrating. I get that Adri blames Cinder for her husband’s death, and I understand that she’s not her child. She doesn’t need to love Cinder, but she does need to treat her like a decent human being. And the fact that laws require even adult cyborgs to have a guardian, to be owned, is degrading.

Despite Adri’s desire for Cinder to live a life of deprivation, Cinder’s cyborg circuitry and programming is remarkable. When she’s delivered to the royal labs for letumosis experimentation, they tell her so. Who decided to give an orphan state-of-the-art hardware? Why didn’t she know she was equipped with that? These are questions we’re left wondering about.

Marissa Meyer has a knack for plot development. She poses the right questions at the right times. She reveals the best twists at the time when it would provide the most impact. She creates tension in a way that doesn’t also create frustration. The characters are compelling enough (especially Iko, the eccentric teeny-bopper android we can all relate to), but Cinder‘s true merit lies in it’s plot development and the correlation between seemingly unrelated plot points.

This book isn’t an all-time favorite of mine, but it is good. It’s fast-paced and a lot of fun to read. I like picking out the parallels between Cinder in her hundreds of years in the future (after the Fourth World War) society, and Cinderella, a fairytale that’s really old, even in the present day. I’m excited to rediscover the Lunar Chronicles and share my thoughts.

Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson

5152478
Goodreads|Amazon

Cassie hasn’t spoken to Lia in months until she calls Lia 33 times in one night. The next day, they news breaks that Cassie died alone in a motel room. She called Lia 33 times. Lia was sent to inpatient before her and Cassie stopped speaking. She was being treated for an eating disorder after she passed out while driving. Lia restricted, Cassie puked. And together they would be the skinniest girls in school. But then Cassie died. She called Lia 33 times.

 

Laurie Halse Anderson writes as if she’s in Lia’s mind. The thoughts are scattered and rushed. Forbidden concepts are crossed out and written over; still there, but too scary to consider. Lia looks at food, and she sees numbers. She looks at herself and sees a giant, distorted, fat version of her body. She steps on the scale and it reads “NOT GOOD ENOUGH”.

Reading Lia’s thoughts and seeing her compulsions play out is… tough. It’s enabling, it’s triggering, and it’s terrifying. My biggest complaint is that we see these obsessions, we see these thought processes, we see the low self-esteem. But we don’t see how this started or how it developed. Her eating disorder is all-consuming now, but it wasn’t always. We see Lia and how she is, but never how she was.

I was unable to empathize with Lia on any level, and her story felt oh-so familiar. Broken family, with a step-sister she loves more than any other human on the planet. Her family, who usually chooses to ignore her struggles, is suddenly hit with reality when someone close to her and in a similar situation dies. Lia hits rock bottom, nearly dying before she realizes she wants to live. It’s the same anorexia story told time and time again. And Lia’s a flat, paper person who I had a terrible time trying to connect with. The compelling part of this novel should have been Lia and her bottoming out, her development and her growth. Instead the highlight was simply the writing style.

 

 

Legend by Marie Lu

 

Legend (Legend, #1)
Amazon|Goodreads

June is a wealthy young daughter of the Republic. She scored perfectly on her Trial exam and is being trained, like her parents and her brother to serve the Republic as a member of its military. When her brother is killed by the Republic’s most wanted criminal, she seeks revenge. But on her journey to avenge him, she finds he’s been hiding some of the Republic’s darkest secrets for her to find.

 

Day is a poor boy from the slums. Or was before he failed his Trails. Instead of being sent to the death camps like the rest of the children the Republic deems unworthy of service or work, Day manages to escape. Now he does his best to stay alive and wreak havoc in the Republic’s cities. When his brother is diagnosed with the plague, one of the many illnesses that ravage the poorest sectors of the city, Day must steal a cure from the hospital, one of the most well-guarded buildings in the city.

I’m a big sucker for the Robin Hood stories. Steal from the rich to give to the poor. They really don’t need the extravagance anyway. I also really like a show-off. Needless to say, I loved Day. He was witty and quick on his feet. Impulsive and protective of his family and his people. He lived by his own rules and his own morals, like many children on the street do.

June is meant to showcase the difference between the two worlds. They are essentially the same person – smart, showy, with extreme physical prowess – but one of them was raised as a legacy, with everything that entails. She inherited her family name and their home in the high rise. She attended their alma mater and earned a coveted spot in well-respected patrol. She was afforded chances that Day was not simply because of her name and status.

Meanwhile, Day comes from the wrong side of the tracks. He’s had none of June’s education and none of her family history to bolster him. As a result, the Republic decides he is unworthy and unusable. He’s sentenced to die and escapes because of his own skill, in the process turning himself into Public Enemy number 1.

The dystopian genre really is my favorite. It gives rise to strong characters; these are heroes that I look up to. They’re entirely normal people until, for whatever reason, they find they can’t be. Reading dystopian gives an insight into a human thirst for power and how it develops, manifests, and makes itself known. As far as dystopian novels go, this book was really enjoyable. Honestly, give me any book with an angsty teenager who hates the government instead of his mom or a young women who is the only one who can spark the rebellion and save the citizens. It’s like my crack.

Was it any more than fun? Not terribly. It’s the same overpowering government using the same control tactics we see in so many other dystopian novels. There was room for improvement in the history and world-building department. The characters’ pasts could have been better fleshed. But for a quick, addictive read, it was fun, and I’m looking forward to reading the sequel.

Fans of Legend should also check and out Metaltown by Kristen Simmons. The two books have similar themes, ideas, and writing style, although Legend is a bit more high-tech and high profile.

 

Long May She Reign by Rhiannon Thomas

 

30320053
Amazon|Goodreads

Freya is twenty-third (you heard right, 23rd) in line for the throne.  Tragedy strikes during a party that the current king was hosting and the whole line of succession before her is wiped out.  Suddenly, Freya is queen and insistent on finding the killer.  Oh and shes an inventor on the side.

 

The character development was nice to see in this book.  When we first meet Freya, she wants nothing to do with the ruling the kingdom or even going to the kings extravagant parties.  In fact, she would rather hole herself up in her make-do basement laboratory.  However, after she becomes queen and realizes the amount of debt the kingdom is in, she immediately starts thinking of new ways to fix their growing debt.  We also see that she is a compassionate ruler, after learning the town is being taxed for ridiculous reasons.

She goes from a timid character, letting her advisors do most of the work while she merely sits by and nods her head, to an outspoken queen who wants nothing in return other than knowing her kingdom is happy.

The mystery of who killed the line of succession is kept a secret very well.  I am impressed with how exceedingly difficult it was to figure out who the culprit is.  We also get to a look into basic chemistry whenever Freya conducts her expirements.

The small amount of romance is just that, small.  It doesn’t overwhelm the book, and it isn’t lacking either.   Fitzroy, who is the deceased kings bastard son, gets roped into helping Freya figure out who killed his father.  There is a bit of distrust in the two and Freya soon starts to trust Fitzroy with more than just information.   And Freya meets Madeline, who is her successor.

We know that Freya is a decent detective with all the information she throws at us.  She finds the back story and makes sure to make sure its a solid alibi before crossing any names off of a list.

I enjoyed this book.  It was definitely a good read for me.

  • 4/5 Stars
  • Mysterious and romantic
  • Great character development
  • Decent plot
  • Definitely recommended.