A dark time-traveling tale that alternates between modern day and nineteenth-century Edo era Japan, this story is all about Reiko, a rancorous teenageA dark time-traveling tale that alternates between modern day and nineteenth-century Edo era Japan, this story is all about Reiko, a rancorous teenaged girl whose last relationship went spectacularly sour. Because of the ripple effects of this relationship, she ends up going to Japan to stay with relatives for the summer. She is so full of hate that she has no time for anything, not even learning the Japanese language. Reiko ends up working for her uncle’s graphic design firm and travels to Kuramagi, a preserved Edo village, for work and it seems like the perfect place to plot her revenge. Only she doesn’t count on going back in time to inhabit the body of a young girl named Miyu, whose family is plotting to overthrow the shogunate. She can feel the hatred in this girl and quickly discovers that she enjoys going back in time more than real life. Will she be able to find some peace or will her need for revenge overtake her life? To find out, read this well-written novel. Recommended for ages 15+, 3-1/2 stars.
I did really like the time-traveling part of the book, and going back to a Edo Japan was fascinating, as was the plot to get rid of the shogunate. I liked Jiro’s character, until he turned on her and showed his true nature. I loved Kenji’s character, and was glad at the end she ended up collaborating with him on a comic and he got to get some happiness as well. I am very glad that I’ve read a lot of manga and other things on Japan or I would’ve gotten really lost when they just started throwing out Japanese terminology, especially with the clothing. It would’ve been nice to have footnotes or something in the back of the book to help explain things. I also wished it would’ve been a bit more clear about who we were dealing with, as the story tended to jump around a lot between Reiko and Miyu.
Wow, this book was dark! I was expecting it to be a little bit but not as much as it was. In retrospect though, it made sense with amount of crap she had to go through. She has her first mature relationship with a girl who encourages her artwork, then promptly stomps all over her heart. Then there’s the whole messed up relationship with her brother (who has got quite a few skeletons in his closet), and in turn, her unforgiving relationship with her parents. I also didn’t like the idea that a girl who may or may not be gay automatically must cut herself in order to feel okay. You can be conflicted about your sexuality (that’s honest and normal) and have other outlets to deal with the stress. I just want to give the girl a hug and tell her everything will eventually be okay but it just takes time. I could identify with a bit of the hatred and need for revenge, but not to the extent that she takes it. I wanted to smack her annoying girls she had to work with, and Reiko’s family treating her like a damaged thing that can’t take care of itself. With the incredible amount of hate, the unsurmountable need for revenge, and Reiko’s unstable mental state, the ending seemed a bit too tied-up-with-a-bow perfect. It could have been more realistic.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this ARC from MacMillan Children’s Publishing Group on Netgalley in exchange for my honest review. ...more
Winter isn’t completely the completely useless crazy princess all the nobility on Luna maker her out to be. She is beloved by the common people, sometWinter isn’t completely the completely useless crazy princess all the nobility on Luna maker her out to be. She is beloved by the common people, something her stepmother Queen Levana has never been, and the Queen hates her for it. Winter, in turn, despises her stepmother for using her Lunar gift to permanently scar her face and not allowing her to be with the love of her life, Jacin, a palace guard. She allies herself with Cinder, Emperor Kaito, Cress, Thorne, Wolf and Scarlet as they plot to take down Levana and install Cinder as Queen of Luna. Will they be able to defeat Levana and each be able to find their happy endings? To find out read the exciting conclusion of The Lunar Chronicles! Recommended for ages 14+, 4-1/2 stars.
I reviewed the other Lunar Chronicles books here and here, and although I ultimately loved this book, it was so freaking long I nearly gave up several times. It took me about a month to finish on audiobook, though that was with several interruptions. I mean c’mon, it was 19 discs. We’re almost getting into Game of Thrones territory here (it had 28 discs). I really think it should’ve been divided into two books as the story took so much buildup to get to the point, which was to take down Levana and install Cinder on the Lunar throne as queen. The theme of this book was about Winter, the stepdaughter of Queen Levana who has been mentioned in previous books but you hadn’t heard much about until this book, and was a reference to the fairy tale Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. Winter was so flighty and weird that at first, I kind of hated her character, but as the book progresses the reader realizes that her odd behavior isn’t completely her fault. She has chosen to withhold the Lunar gift (mind control) and therefore has essentially driven herself crazy.
I loved the character and relationship development between the couples: Kai and Cinder, Thorne and Cress, and Wolf and Scarlet. Kai and Cinder are so awkward when the book starts, probably because of the kidnapping but once he understands everything, they are too cute together and apart (especially when he is dealing with Levana). Wolf and Scarlet were interesting because she was tortured and he was genetically modified, but they are still so in love with each other no matter what has happened. Thorne and Cress are my favorite relationship and characters, aside from Cinder. Cress is very brave despite feeling insignificant all of the time. And Thorne is such a dashing rogue (very Han Solo in my opinion), though at the same time completely petrified at the thought of losing Cress, even though he can’t seem to voice it until the very end.
I found the part at the end, the face-off between Cinder and Levana in the audience room to be completely insane but fantastically written by the author. The way Levana keeps using Cinder’s friends against her physically and keeps thwarting all her attempts, even pretending to surrender; it honestly was kept on the edge of myself till the last minute wondering who was going to come out on top. Apparently there’s a short story about one of the characters getting married in the author’s book Stars Above, so I am definitely going to check that out later. ...more
Using watercolor in the Art Deco and film noir style, Matt Phelan introduces us to a fresh take on the Snow White and the Seven Dwarves story. After SUsing watercolor in the Art Deco and film noir style, Matt Phelan introduces us to a fresh take on the Snow White and the Seven Dwarves story. After Samantha White’s (aka Snow) mother dies of tuberculosis in the 1920s in NYC, Snow and her father are heartbroken. Ten years, her father, “The King of Wall Street” is lonely and discovers that the “Queen of the Ziegfeld Follies” is performing on Broadway. He is captivated with her elegant style and bobbed hair and promptly marries her. The Queen is not pleased that Snow is around and promptly sends her to boarding school in the country. She soon gets rid of her husband, but he still gets the last laugh, which she discovers during the reading of the will. Her husband has gone behind her back and left Snow three-quarters of the estate. The Queen is furious and vows revenge by getting rid of Snow, but the Huntsman spares her. She is rescued by the Seven, a group of street children that adopt her and try to protect her, though she still falls to the Queen’s poisoned apple. The Seven put her in a glass cage. Will she be rescued by her Prince Charming and live happily ever after? To find out, read this charming version of Snow White. Recommended for ages 10+, 4 stars.
I was honestly not a fan of the artwork until I learned more about it from the author, via this interview. I liked that he not only loved the Disney Snow White version (one of my personal favorites), but also enjoyed film noir movies such as Citizen Kane and the Thin Man movies (which I also enjoy) and these influenced how he created the graphic novel. I really loved the story line and the twist on the classic tale. The Ziegfeld Follies were always cool to see on movies from the 1920s and 1930s, and they must have been spectacular in real life, so yeah I can see how the King would be dazzled after seeing the Queen of the Follies dancing so glamorous and looking like a real stunner on stage. I liked that the Seven were a group of abandoned street kids because in a way, they are kind of like Snow, forced to fend for themselves even though they’ve definitely gotten a more rotten deal. I also liked that they made the Prince a working detective instead of a superficial pretty boy. ...more
A beautiful book on a sad and scary topic, my son and I really enjoyed this book. It is a semi-biographical fantasy about the author being left aloneA beautiful book on a sad and scary topic, my son and I really enjoyed this book. It is a semi-biographical fantasy about the author being left alone by herself as a small child in China, while her parents went to work, and chronicles an event where she got lost on the way to her grandmother's house (which in the book expands into an adventure with a stag). Recommended for ages 5+, 4 stars. ...more
This one is my son's current favorite book. Bunnicula, Harold, Chester and Howie (the Monroe's new puppy) are getting ready for Halloween. Howie is scThis one is my son's current favorite book. Bunnicula, Harold, Chester and Howie (the Monroe's new puppy) are getting ready for Halloween. Howie is scared of everything and Chester is suspicious of Bunnicula and thinks he is the cause of all kinds of trouble. A witch comes in and causes some mischief. Who is she and what does she want? To find out, read the exciting third book in the series. Recommended for ages 5-8 year olds, 4 stars. ...more