**spoiler alert** A great end to a fun series. One of my favorite things about this series is the way it integrated fairy tales into the story in uniq**spoiler alert** A great end to a fun series. One of my favorite things about this series is the way it integrated fairy tales into the story in unique ways. I had been thinking that Snow White hadn't been worked into story as much until they got to the apple candy and glass cabinet. Now that I think about it more, though, there are so many other notes to story that were probably obvious to everyone else, but went right over my head: Jacin faking Winter's death and killing a wolf instead to show Levana proof of death. Maybe even Winter heading into the "mines" aka lava tubes to find allies like dwarves in the wolves. Ok, maybe that last one is a stretch.
At the end of the series, it's nice to see all the romantic relationships solidified, the last of which was Cress and Thorne (because Cress was annoyingly obtuse). While the story maybe wrapped up too smoothly, with only lesser-known good guys dying and all the bad guys killed, but it's nice to read that sometimes.
Levana needed to die, because there is no way with her power she could have been imprisoned, but I did have a little sympathy for her once hearing her story. It sounds like her family was a piece of work, and I wonder how Cinder would have turned out if she'd grown up in that environment. Either she would have been like all the others, aka a self-centered manipulated, or like Winter, good-intentioned but crazy. I do wonder if Levana's story about her sister was true, or if she was trying to manipulate Cinder in that moment. I guess we'll never know. **updated to add: I see there is now a prequel about Levana. Guess I can know her whole story now!
As for Aimery - good riddance to bad rubbish. I'm glad Winter stepped up and used her powers when it was dire to do so, even if it did break her a little. Hopefully the power block technology can truly help her.
I also appreciated that they addressed how to deal with past Luna/Earth issues, and were able talk about the future. The major problem was always the ability of Lunars to control and glamour others, so it's a relief that they would a way to eventually overcome that. The only drawback I see is it could potentially be something that only the rich could afford, and then you would end up in a situation were the poor would still be abused and used.
Iko is one of my favorite characters, so I'm happy she survived. A future romance with the guard Liam Kenney felt like it was being set up - he was introduced like future major character generally are, and their interactions were ripe for turning into romance. But this is the last book, right? **Edited to add: I know also realize there is a graphic novel that features Iko and also Kenney. So there's that!
Overall, a series I'd definitely recommend (I did this week in fact), and I'll look to re-read in the future....more
The further I get into this series, the more I enjoy it. I particularly enjoy how the different fairy tale characters are intertwined in each other'sThe further I get into this series, the more I enjoy it. I particularly enjoy how the different fairy tale characters are intertwined in each other's lives.
The newest addition to the cast is Cress, aka Rapunzel. From the second she mentioned her crush on Thorne, I knew they were going to be paired up together, and it was sweet watching their relationship bloom into more than just a one-side crush. Cress really loves Thorne for his true character, and Thorne has come to care for her as well, even if he won't admit it. You can tell he doesn't seem himself as the hero type, and therefore doesn't believe he deserves the love of a sweet girl like Cress, no matter how much they have come to depend on one another.
Poor Scarlet and Wolf's separation seems particularly cruel. They had grown close almost ridiculously quickly, but even so, Scarlet's loss being so devastating on Wolf's ability to function came as quite a bit of a shock. I guess being in her presence really did help center him. And then you have the torture Scarlet was put through on Luna. Ugh. At least it wasn't worse? And her journey there let us personally meet crazy Princess Winter, true love of Mr. Whose-side-are-you-on-royal-guard. Speaking of that guy, I can't say I'm a fan, but I guess we'll get to know him in book 4.
I'm relieved that the team is finally making progress in their plan to overthrow Levana, as all the sitting around and training was getting to be a little boring. This book has a lot of great action sequences, and the pacing of those really kept the plot moving along.
So what's next? I wish book 4 was ready today, but it appears that it won't be out until 2015, so I have to wait a while. Here us where this book leaves us: (view spoiler)[Cinder and her team have kidnapped/extracted Kai from the Palace to prevent his wedding to Levana. Despite misunderstandings and not actually saying the words, Kai and Cinder clearly love each other and have a great little makeout session, until it's broken up by hearing about Levana sending wolf soldiers to kill all the townspeople in African who'd helped her, plus all the soldiers there, as well as attacking the rest of the countries of earth.
Thorne had lost his eyesight when the satellite he and Cress were in crashed to earth and he hit his head. Dr. Erland was able to manufacture drops that will eventually bring his eyesight back. Also, Dr. Erland is actually Cress's father, who was forced to give her up at birth because she was a shell and had regretted it his whole life. Thorne gave Cress an epic kiss on the rooftop when they were rescuing Kai and thought they were going to die.
Winter has gone slightly crazy because she stopped using her powers at age 12, and not using them has driven her made up. She's at least keeping Scarlet safe for now, even if she's in a zoo page. (hide spoiler)]...more
I'm finally get back into this series after nearly two years, now that two more books have come out since the initial book, Cinder. This book picks upI'm finally get back into this series after nearly two years, now that two more books have come out since the initial book, Cinder. This book picks up right where book one leaves off, but in many ways, it's a very different book.
For one, instead of following one narrator around, we have three to follow around: Cinder, as she makes her escape from prison and tries to figure out her plans and her powers, Kai, as he deals with the aftermath of Cinder's escape and Levana's attack on Earth, and Scarlet, the new girl who's trying to figure out why these wolf-men have kidnapped her grandmother. Was Kai a narrator in book one? I don't remember, but he definitely has a unique perspective in this book.
Another difference is that, while book one aligned almost too closely to the Cinderella fairy tale, to it's detriment, this book has a much less solid fairytale to follow, and thus feels more natural and organic. What is the Red Riding Hood fairy tale, anyways? Girl goes to visit grandma through dangerous woods, is tricked into thinking wolf in disguise is grandma, grandma is eaten by wolf, girl is also sometimes eaten by wolf, girl is saved sometimes by hunter. Now that I type those plot points out, they pretty much all happen in this book, but the way they are wrapped into the story are much less obvious. Scarlet goes to "visit" her grandma, but really, she's trying to track her down and rescue her from her kidnappers. Scarlet is tricked into thinking a wolf is her grandma, but it is a strong bioelectrical trick from a lunar thermauge, not just the wolf happens to be wearing the grandma's clothes and glasses. Scarlet's grandma is (view spoiler)[bitten and killed by the wolf, but he didn't consume her for dinner or anything. (hide spoiler)] Scarlet is rescued from near death, but not by the traditional hunter, but instead by (view spoiler)[her own dedicated Wolf, who had already fallen in love with her, and whose instincts to protect his chosen mate were already overwhelming his KILLKILLKILL instinct. (hide spoiler)]
As for the relationships in this book, although Wolf and Scarlet seemed very close a little too quickly considering their skepticism and unaligned purposes, I still enjoyed their chemistry together. I'm not sure Wolf deserved the trust Scarlet placed in him at the end, when she had already seen evidence of his betrayal, but I'm glad she could see through it all to the person he truly was. In the end, it's not like Wolf chose to become a monster; he was tampered with, and made to be that way. When he says to Cinder (view spoiler)[that he would serve her because she was his true Queen, I believed him, and not just because supporting Cinder meant staying with Scarlet. (hide spoiler)] I really miss seeing Kai and Cinder together. Kai is in perhaps the most difficult position in this book. He knows now that Cinder isn't the person he thought she was, that their future can never be the one he dreamed of, once upon a time. In the end, Kai has to make a decision between one of two almost equally terrible fates: watch his kingdom and the Earth be killed and destroyed by Levana and her soldiers, or marry Levana, make her an empress, deliver his people to her mindcontrol, and eventually pay the price with her life. Cinder obviously still cares for Kai, and I think one of the reasons why she is eventually willing to learn how to use her power and try to overthrow Levana is because that is the only way she can save Kai. Sure, she'll also be saving the rest of the people of Earth, and liberating the Lunars who have been living under Levana's control. That is a big motivation for sure. But I just get the feeling that saving Kai is the most important thing to her at this point.
I'm still trying to get a handle on who exactly Carswell Thorne is in the grand scheme of the story. Is he just a convenient and useful companion for Cinder? Does he have any real investment in the war? Is he destined to be someone's True Love? I'll be curious to see how he fares in the upcoming books.
I'm hoping the third book develops the relationship between Cinder and Scarlet more. These are two fiercely strong women, and it would be great to see them develop a meaningful and supportive friendship with each other. Right now, they only really know each other as girl-my-grandma-died-protecting and girl-whose-grandma-had-the-answers-I'd-been-looking-for. As they spend time together, though, hopefully they will grow to be more than just those things.
I'm planning on diving into book 3 right way, but just in case, here is a self-reminder of how things are at the moment: (view spoiler)[Kai has agreed to marry Levana on the next full moon in order to get her to stop the wolf-man attacks across the globe. They have temporarily stopped the search for Cinder. Cinder, Thorne, Scarlet, and Wolf are in Thorne's ship (into which Iko's personality chip has been imbedded for the time being, allowing her to control the ship), and headed towards Dr. Ekhard in Africa, in hopes that he can give Cinder some answers and help her build and control her powers. Wolf has also agreed to let Cinder practice her skills on him, since the wolves are so much harder to control. Levana is building even more wolf-like armies of soldiers on the moon, and clearly won't be satisfied with just marrying Kai. (hide spoiler)]...more
This past April in NYC, I saw the play based on this book, and I FELL IN LOVE. It was cute, it was funny, it was smart, it was entertaining. It was thThis past April in NYC, I saw the play based on this book, and I FELL IN LOVE. It was cute, it was funny, it was smart, it was entertaining. It was the best thing I saw my whole trip, and trust me, I saw some amazing shows.
As you can imagine, when I heard it was based on a book, I knew I had to pick it up and read it. "Surely it will be just as magical!" I thought. My hopes were high. Let me get the comparisons out of the way right from the start. Many of my most favorite moments from the play (Christian Borle as Black Stache! I love you!!) were added by the writers, directors, and actors of the play. Sure, the basic storyline was the same (Peter, Pirates, Island, etc), but the lighthearted zest and joy that I felt from the play was pretty much entirely absent from the book. Instead of a fun, silly Black Stache, someone that you love to hate, and can't help loving, you get an actually terrifying, scare-you-to-death Black Stache.
That's not to say that everything about the play was better than everything about the book. The book is actually quite enjoyable to read, with an entertaining storyline and fascinating characters. Molly is very earnest and caring, and Peter just wants to find some place to belong. Without the star stuff, who knows what kind of life he would have been left to live. Meeting Molly not only introduced him to a true friend, but pushed him down the path of his destiny as Peter Pan of Never Land. I felt quite bad for Molly at the end, because she has to leave Peter and grow up, and there is a deep sadness in letting go of the past. In the end, though, it is the only decision she can make.
The mermaids in the book are much more fully-formed as well. We get a sense of their evolving wants and desires, and the interesting connection Peter has with them. They are all people born of star stuff, and because of that, have something in common that will never change. Peter's willingness to save the lives of those who might in other circumstances wish him harm is commendable and honorable. Saving Teacher, the mermaid, provided him with invaluable allies and friends, and saving Fighting Prawn provided him with a place to live for as long as he desired. Saving Molly was hardly a sacrifice for him, but for that he was also rewarded: a green bird transformed by star stuff into a fairy, hence known as Tinker Bell.
In the end, I would definitely recommend this book, especially to those who enjoy the story of Peter Pan or even just revisionist stories in general. I can imagine that if you haven't seen the play, you will like it even more than I did....more
A really enjoyable book, though I can't believe I'm starting another series that I'll have to wait years to see the end of. Sigh.
Though I love fairytaA really enjoyable book, though I can't believe I'm starting another series that I'll have to wait years to see the end of. Sigh.
Though I love fairytale retellings, the Cinderella aspects of this book were maybe a little too predictable. Or maybe predictable isn't the right word? They just felt a little out of sync with what was otherwise a fascinating and unique story. Obviously she was going to make it to the ball eventually. Clearly her loose foot was going to pop off when she ran down some stairs. I even guessed pretty early on that she would turn out to be (view spoiler)[the missing Princess Selene (hide spoiler)]. The parts I enjoyed outweighed all that in the end, though. I appreciate it that Cinder and Kai were attracted to each other and wanted to explore that without immediately jumping to an OMG-WE'RE-IN-LOVE state. The disparity in their positions in life are nothing to ignore, and they seem like rational, well-reasoned people who would analyze their options, whatever they are, and come up with a solution. Bonus: they sizzle when they kiss. :)
Both Cinder's "stepmother" and "sister" Pearl were suitable horrible. I'm glad they gave Cinder at least one sympathetic sister, though why they had to (view spoiler)[kill her off (hide spoiler)] is beyond me. Maybe to completely isolate Cinder from her "family"? The society they live in is unique from most worlds: The minute Cinder had cybernetics supporting her organic system, she became a second-class citizen. Add to that the fact that she's a minor, and you have a situation where Cinder can't even run off and support herself, despite her skills as a mechanic. It is literally against the law.
Also interesting is the idea that humans would evolve differently if they lived on the moon, so much so that they would become a different race of sorts, with differently evolved survival techniques, like the mindbending Earthens are so afraid of.
This was a good start to the series, and I'm looking forward to seeing where Meyer takes it in the next few books. I see that the next book features Scarlett (aka Little Red Riding Hood), and did anyone else get a Rapunzel vibe from the Lunar girl on the other side of the DCOMM chip? She said that she was Sybil's ward/slave, but maybe she's actually Levana's daughter, too? No? To remind myself when that time comes, here's where we left off. (view spoiler)[Cinder has been placed in the palace jail and will be take back to Luna with Queen Levana as a political prisoner. The queen has recognized that Cinder is in fact Princess Selene and the only one who could dethrone her, but no one else knows that, other than Dr. Erland. Kai is confused and upset because he didn't know Cinder was a cyborg OR a lunar, but regardless, there was no way he could risk his country over Cinder. He still refuses to marry Queen Levana. Dr. Erland has visited Cinder in prison and brought her a new fancy metal hand and foot, full of tools so she can escape, eventually join his in exile in Africa, and plot her way back onto the Lunar throne, overthrowing Levana. Cinder is obviously upset, because this is all news to her: that she's the Princess, that they expect her to escape prison, eventually become Queen. The book ends with her slicing out her own ID chip and preparing to run. I also got the implication that she would possibly implant her sister Peony's ID chip in her own wrist, in order to fly under the radar. (hide spoiler)]...more
Here's the thing: if an author can't make me care about the characters, then I have no reason to keep reading. I felt like giving up on this book fromHere's the thing: if an author can't make me care about the characters, then I have no reason to keep reading. I felt like giving up on this book from the first chapter, because not only was the plot awkward, but the interactions between the characters, as well as the characters themselves, felt strange and foreign. It felt like we were expected to love Scarlett and Rosie from the beginning, before we knew anything about them. I never got to know them really, and so didn't feel invested in whether they lived or died. I felt bad for the sucky life Scarlett was left with, but I couldn't really feel her anger when she found out about Rosie and Silas. I couldn't even really feel the live between Rosie and Silas - it just felt more convenient than anything else.
When Silas told Scarlett he had been in love with her his whole life, "up until Rosie," it annoyed me more than anything else. Really, you suddenly love the pretty little sister? That's convenient. If I cared more about them, I would be as pissed at that as I still am with Laurie "falling in love" with Amy March. And I don't buy this, "you're in love with the hunt" crap. Are you saying Scarlett is so damaged That there is not a person out there for her to love?
Moving on to Silas, I knew he was the potential from the second they mentioned what that was. It was just too convenient, the wolves always being drawn to them. And I find it hard to believe his father would really keep such a serious thing from them, considering the fight training and other things he'd taught them to survive.
All in all, I kept reading this book because it moved quickly, and because I hate giving up on books. I can't really recommend it, though, and I just really wish there was more to the Red Riding Hood of it all....more