I have been looking for something light and fun to read. Something that wasn't over the top, but had detailed characters. I ran across this series and...moreI have been looking for something light and fun to read. Something that wasn't over the top, but had detailed characters. I ran across this series and being a dance fan, fell in love with it.
I found this the perfect book for my needs. The characters are fun, the drama is age-appropriate, and it really gives people a good insight into the dance world. I absolutely LOVED IT. (less)
I admit it. When I read Cinder – Book 1 of the Lunar Chronicles – I wasn't impressed. There was an idea there and I felt the need to add all these new...moreI admit it. When I read Cinder – Book 1 of the Lunar Chronicles – I wasn't impressed. There was an idea there and I felt the need to add all these new technologies and illnesses overshadowed from how great the book could be.
I still kept up with the series and Scarlet was a little bit better and showed just enough improvement that I continued on to Cress. All I can say is I am glad that I kept up with the series, because Cress was the book that did 'it' for me and now has me hooked.
Looking back, I think the Lunar Chronicles is a series that gets better as you read it. Cinder is filled with so many new and interesting things that it is almost overwhelming. Scarlet, keeps those new things, yet focuses more on developing all of the characters. Cress sort of ties up a lot of loose ends and questions that I had and really pushes the main plot – the war – forward.
Cress introduces a handful of new characters to the mix, which takes some time getting used to while reading. Meyer doesn't just throw a character out there and hope readers 'click' with them. She takes a character and really spends time developing them, building up a background/story for them, and really just lets the character grow/change before the reader's eyes.
Just because there are new characters doesn't mean the old ones have gone stale or stalled in terms of development. All of the characters, even loveable Iko, still continue to grow. Cinder still struggles with her new found powers/background, Throne is faced with new challenges, and Kai is slowly coming to terms with the arrangements that he has made and what his future holds.
One of the biggest highlights of Cress – and this entire series – is that Meyer has taken well-loved and very familiar fairy tales and made them her own. While reading these books, you get a familiar sense that you know the story, but it isn't the same old, same old. There is something new and unique added to each and every character. This could be a different background and new personality trait, no matter what it is different.
Another highlight is that Meyer takes readers to new, exciting areas within the same 'universe'. Cress is mostly held within a remote African village. This keeps the series 'fresh' and exciting.
Does Cress have some flaws? Of course. Throne, one of my favorite characters, seems to do a 180 in personality. I found him lacking some of his former 'spark', which was a little disappointing.
I also found that Cress is a typical 'mid'-series book. It is designed to move into the big war between Earth/Lunar, but it doesn't start the war. This means there is a lot of plotting, scheming, and mindless wandering. That isn't to say it isn't good, but it is clear this book is meant to leave readers wanting more.
A few chapters to the end, Cress introduces Winter to readers. Winter is mad as a hatter and probably one of the characters I am most excited to explore in the next novel. She's crazy – or so you might think. Giving readers just a small taste of this character was brilliant. It made you want more of her, yet you'll have to wait till the next book for more.
Overall, Cress was a good read. In fact, better than I expected. The quirks and questions that I – and many others – raised throughout the series are slowly starting to get answered. Meyer continues to grow as a writer, while keeping her ability to bring new takes on old classics.
If you love this series, Cress certainly won't disappoint. If you haven't tried this series and love fairytale retellings or are just looking for something new, I recommend you try this. If you were like me and found Cinder lacking, I'd say to give it a try again because this series certain gets better as it goes along. (less)
The children's literature section is packed with fantasy books that tell tales of magic, witches, and wizards, but the sci-fi section is sorely lackin...moreThe children's literature section is packed with fantasy books that tell tales of magic, witches, and wizards, but the sci-fi section is sorely lacking. There are only a handful of books that I have encountered that have attempted bringing sci-fi to younger children and those seem to be overlooked.
Earthfall is the first book in a series, but it attempts to introduce children to the sci-fi genre in a fun, exciting way. Packed with adventure, aliens, and mystery this book is sure to captivate almost any reader's attention – regardless of age.
Earthfall is written in such a way that adult readers will find it a page-turner and captivating, while younger readers will find it thrilling and exciting. Some adult readers might find the plot a little 'elementary', but I felt there were enough twists and turns that even the most seasoned sci-fi adult readers would enjoy it.
Mark Walden does a lot right in this novel. First, the novel is approximately 280 pages. This means that readers aren't weighed down with lengthy descriptions or unnecessary information. The book gets right to the heart of the story, while still leaving a sense of mystery surrounding the entire plot.
The 280-page novel is also ideal for children. It isn't too intimidating, but it doesn't 'dummy' things down for them either. It is the perfect length for children venturing into the sci-fi genre for the first time.
Another thing that is just right is the plot development. There is just enough details given to create an amazing story, yet it isn't scary or overly complicated.
While Earthfall is amazing, there are a few things that could have been improved. One of them was the structure of the paragraphs. Sometimes, there would be incredibly long paragraphs that took up the entire page. I found this a little odd and hard to read, but nothing that completed distracted from the novel.
Another area that could have been worked on was the names of the alien creatures. Sometimes they were called Hunters, sometimes Voidborn. This was because the characters created their own names for the aliens and other creatures, which weren't the right names. When the truth came out, they find out the 'true names', and that was where things got confusing. It works itself out, but it was a tad confusing.
Overall, I was impressed with Earthfall. It was a quick, mysterious, action-packed novel that was ideal for readers of all ages. Whether just getting started with sci-fi fiction or an avid fan looking for a quick, yet good read, this is certainly a book for you.
: Palace of Spies is a unique novel that combines historical facts, thrilling adventure, mystery, and of course – spies. Choosing a rather unique time...more: Palace of Spies is a unique novel that combines historical facts, thrilling adventure, mystery, and of course – spies. Choosing a rather unique time period of 1778 (roughly), this entire novel documents that trials and tribulations of young Peggy.
Peggy, an orphan, is left in the care of her overbearing and strict uncle. The novel starts off with the announcement of Peggy's betrothal to a wild, obnoxious man whom Peggy has never met. Upon their first meeting, the young man assaults Peggy. Peggy is only freed from a worse fate by the appearance (and help) of a mysterious man – who offers her his assistance if the need should ever arise in the future.
When Peggy tells her uncle, he doesn't believe her and instead tosses her out of the house with nothing but the clothing on her back. Peggy is forced to turn to the help of the mysterious man from the previous evening. It turns out the man is a part of a partnership and they have need for a young woman to take the place of a lady of the court who has recently passed away under suspicious circumstances.
Peggy agrees to the job position and the rest of the novel is focused on her adventures. Peggy soon finds herself the center of attention in the court of Princess Caroline, Princess of Wales. She is thrown into all the petty fights, political games, and mystery that come with being a member of the court.
What Peggy does not expect is to find out that the young lady of the court she is replacing soon turns out to be what appears to be a spy and her death may not have been as natural as everyone is pretending it to be. Peggy works to uncover the mystery surrounding the lady of the court's death, while seeing who exactly she is working for as a spy.
Palace of Spies is a great novel for those that love historical fiction and are looking for something a little out of the norm when it comes to this type of genre. There is mystery, romance, and spy espionage. If none of this appeals to you, it probably is not a novel that would be for you as it doesn't really offer much else.
I found Palace of Spies to be mediocre. The beginning was extremely slow moving. Considering this is a first novel of a series, readers are treated to a lot of descriptions and forced to 'get to know' the characters in the novel.
Unfortunately, I found myself not really liking anyone in the novel. I was indifferent to Peggy; the ladies of the court were secondary characters and didn't play a huge role in the novel. I did enjoy Peggy's cousin, but she didn't really show up until the end of the novel. (She'll have a bigger part in other books).
I think a major part of why I did not like the characters is because of how the novel was written. It is written in the first person narrative of Peggy. Peggy's style is to talk about events, but put in little 'asides' to the reader. It wasn't a bad style to write in, it just did not make the main character appealing to me at all.
While I didn't really care for the characters, I did find the amount of historical detail – while maybe not 100% accurate – amazing and captivating. I also enjoyed the mystery element to the novel. I found myself wondering what side the previous lady of the court was playing, what her scheme was, and what happened to her. I really feel if there hadn't been such a mysterious element to it, I would have stopped reading after the first few chapters.
Palace of Spies is the first novel in a series. While the main plot of the mystery surrounding the lady of the court who died is solved, there are hundreds of other 'lose ends' left out there for readers. In fact, I walked away with more questions than I expected. If you do not like cliffhangers, this is not a book for you.
Overall, I found Palace of Spies to be 'alright'. I enjoyed it, as I love historical fantasy books about England and found the time period unique, but not really connecting with characters made it less than enjoyable. I will probably wait to see how the second book is in the series before deciding. (less)
On the surface, All Our Yesterdays appears to be just like any other YA dystopian novel but with a little time travel thrown into the mix. Readers hav...moreOn the surface, All Our Yesterdays appears to be just like any other YA dystopian novel but with a little time travel thrown into the mix. Readers have their strong 'hero', love triangle, and what appears to be the end of the world.
Sounds just like every other YA book out there, right? Well, not exactly. All Our Yesterdays is much, much more than just your standard run-of-the-mill dystopian novel. It is a captivating, riveting YA debut novel from an amazing writer.
All Our Yesterdays details a young woman on her quest to go back into time and prevent a potentially dangerous and life-altering machine from being built. The machine is built by someone she idolized, worshipped and loved making the task difficult. This may sound like just any time travel novel, but there is more.
The young woman has tried and failed 14 times to complete her task. This first novel details the latest attempt, while giving readers a detailed history on how this machine came to be and the sordid past of all characters involved.
There are a lot of things that make All Our Yesterdays unique. The biggest and most standout thing is the use of dual narratives. The entire story is told from the point of view of 'Em' and 'Marina'. Dual narratives are nothing new, but in this case the twist is that 'Em' is the present day version of 'Marina'.
This use of two narratives from the same people makes it extremely interesting. The two narratives are completely different – in that you can see just how far the character has grown and it really changes up the pace of the novel making it a page-turner.
The use of Em and Marina narratives was also a great way to move the story along. It didn't feel like readers were being 'bogged' down with facts and lengthy descriptions, but the Marina narrative provided just enough background to answer questions and really explain to readers what type of situation the characters were up against.
Another thing that really made All Our Yesterdays stand out from the hundreds of YA books published a year, is how well thought out the plot was. It is obvious from the first pages that Cristin Terrill has carefully thought out where she wants to take this book, what she wants to happen, and exactly what she wants to convey to readers in each and every installment.
All too often there is a feeling of 'flying by the seat of your pants' in YA fiction. This sometimes leads to great novels and sometimes leads to the feeling of 'well that was fast-paced, but where is this novel going'. All Our Yesterdays did not have that feeling. Things might have taken some time to come together, but once it 'clicked' the book really took off.
It should be noted that the book starts rather abruptly. There is no explanation of who Em is and there are times when there is a 'Cassandra' mentioned. Cassandra is the time machine and once it is clear who everyone is, the book is smooth sailing.
I know some people are reluctant to get involved with 'time travel' books because they fear it will get too confusing or things might get too technical. All Our Yesterdays does a wonderful job of explaining things. It doesn't 'dumb' down things, but I never got the impression that things were super technical.
Also, when Em and Marina do come into contact and share scenes things are explained and drawn out in a way that makes it non-confusing. Sometimes when the same character is confronting their past/future self it can get really confusing who is who. That did not happen.
Overall, I was really impressed with this debut novel. In fact, it doesn't even feel like a debut novel. The characters really jump out at you and connect, the plot is engaging, and the pace of the book is page-turning. I encourage anyone with any interest in dystopian novels, YA novels, time travel, or just looking for a wonderful read – to try this out. You won't be disappointed! (less)