Place(s) Traveled To: Kerenzie IV and Deep Space via the Alexander and Hypatia (Year: 2575)
First Line(s): "So here's the file that almost killed me, Director."
When I first picked up ILLUMINAEby Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff I wasn't sure what to expect but I do adore a good sci-fi and I was intrigued by the mixed media concept. So I crossed my fingers that I wouldn't be disappointed by another poorly done sci-fi story and I dove in expecting to read this one slowly over the course of the month.
Well the joke was on me because it wasn't long before I found myself unable to put this book down. I was totally immersed in ILLUMINAE and this series of gives pretty much sums up how I felt once I was fully invested in the story:
Seriously. I was a puddle of emotion and even now I find it really hard to put all my thoughts into words. This book just took me by surprise and even now long after I've finished it I am still locked in its grip. There is action and mystery and horror and romance and suspense and just so much more. The books formatting makes for a quick read and while there are times when mixed media can feel cold and impersonal in a book it really works well with this story. Despite the entire story being told in "found documents" (emails, video transcripts, IMs, etc) you really get to know all of these characters. Oh how I felt for Kady and Ezra and OH MY STARS how terrified I became of Aidan!
ILLUMINAE is a book that took me totally by surprise and literally made me gasp aloud. I can't tell you the last time that happened with a book. It also brought me to tears and made my heart ache so very much. It was filled with everything that I love in a story and was also so much more. The story...the characters...the setting...it was just all so right and even though this book is 600 pages in length I devoured this book in just 2 days. And let me tell you the ending...oh that ending...it was the worst part. Cliffhanger.
Which I hate because I have the patience of gnat but at the same time it was just so fitting for the story. ILLUMINAE is filled with lots of delightful twists and turns and I can not wait to see where things will go in the next book. This is one of those books that you really need to read to understand just how amazing it was and if you trust my reviews at all then trust when I tell you that you need to read this book. It was just that good.
Place(s) Travled To: Rieux, France // Paris, France // New Beijing // Earth's Orbit
First Line(s): Scarlet was descending toward the alley behind the Rieux Tavern when her portscreen chimed from the passenger seat, followed by an automated voice: "Comm received for Mademoiselle Scarlet Benoit from the Toulouse Law Enforcement Department of Missing Persons."
When I finished CINDER by Marissa Meyer (my review) I wasn't as pleased with it as many others that I know. I expected more from the story and always hate when science is done so unbelievably and I was a little reluctant to pick up SCARLET. But I was told that SCARLET is a favorite read from fans of the Lunar Chronicles series and the hold I'd forgotten I'd placed at the library came up so I decided to give this audio a try. Walking into the story I was wondering how Meyer would connect Scarlet and Wolf's stories to Cinder since they were set half a world apart and that's when I quickly learned of the crazy POV switches. Oh my stars does this book shift POVs. SO much so that it gets a little confusing at times and not all shifts seem to have much purpose. I did enjoy seeing more scenes with Captain Thorne but Scarlet often bored me. There wasn't a whole lot of things happening in this book and things just felt off.
There were facts that didn't seem to mesh well and distances in Paris that were just wrong. I get that this is a dystopian world and that buildings have crumbled and become abandoned while the city center shifts to allow for the newer more futuristic world. But there were locations that were mentioned in the book that as far apart as described in the narrative. (Google people...its your friend.) ANd yes, I am the sort to map things out when mentioned in a book but I was also in Paris last year so things are still pretty clear since I walked all over that city during the week that I spent there. Though I'll take miscalculated distances over poor science any day so was glad when not mentioned was mentioned about Letamosis and the need for an "antidote" (*cringes*).
I found the plot to be really predictable and so very repetitive not to mention how everything always seemed to fall right into place just at the very right moment. My eyeballs sure did get a work out from the frequent eye rolling that I did at some scenes. I was also frustrated with just how obtuse these characters could be much of the time and yet were supposed to buy that they are all geniuses because they finally figuring out that the x on the map meant there was treasure thought they'd been staring at the answer key for hours.
Listening to SCARLET on audio was a slow slog and often tried my patience. I did enjoy Rebecca Soler's narration, mostly, but felt there were times when she'd confuse her voices. Especially when she was reading another POV when the character voices getting mixed up weren't sharing the page. And IKO...my stars...is there a more annoying voice? I don't think so. Or maybe that's just the character who was just like nails on a chalkboard. As a whole I wasn't all that more impressed with SCARLET than I was with CINDER and I don't get why so many love it. I really didn't buy the new romance or thought that the story moved forward all that much. While I will probably read CRESS at some point, because now I'm sort of invested in seeing if my theories from CINDER come true, I know that this will never be a favorite of mine.
Place(s) Traveled To: New Beijing, The Commonwealth (Future)
First Line(s): The screw through Cinder's ankle had rusted, the engraved cross marks worn to a mangled circle.
Small fact about me. I have issues reading the last book in a series so there are times when I'll wait to read a series until all the books are out (and yes, this totally is a trait of my mother but we won't share that with her, right friends?). Another small fact, hyped up books and I don't always get along. So its because of those two small facts that I waited until now to give CINDER by Marissa Meyer's a shot. Because even though I know that hyped books and I are like oil and water I still get pulled into the buzz around them and right now everyone seems to be all aglow over the upcoming release of WINTER (Goodreads) which is the final book in the Lunar Chronicles series. I thought to myself, if I start CINDER now and liked it I can then bounce from book to book and get to WINTER around publication and therefore not end up with yet another unfinished series on my plate. For I do hate to say goodbye to a beloved story.
Unfortunately, CINDER and I didn't really get along as well as I would have hoped. First, there were just too many things that happened for convince. Like Cinder's net-link in her brain so that she can easily look up anything that she could ever possibly think of so it makes getting out of tight situations so much easier. CINDER was also highly predictable. I pretty much knew very early on just how this whole book was going to go and not just the book but the rest of the series too. This is not something that a reader should be able to guess at only 20% into a story. Friends on Twitter tried to feed me red herrings but seriously folks that just frustrates me more than the predictability of a story. If I'm right just say I'm right and no cryptic bullshit...because I am not a fan of the cryptic. I was also bored throughout most of the story because once again in a YA fantasy/sci-fi book nothing happens until the tale end of the story. I get that CINDER is the first in a series and since its a futuristic world that there is more setup and world building involved than your typical contemporary read.
I get it I do and if the world building was there I may have enjoyed things more as I unearthed the treasures of this futuristic Earth. But the world building was just not there. There was very little detail given other than the very basic of things. We're in the future...ok so flying cars! And internet everywhere. Hmm...what else can we toss in robots? OK! Oh and aliens who aren't really aliens but lets give these former humans POWERS because why not? Yup...OK we now have a futuristic world no more details. Oh wait...in the future things must get worse before they can get better so lets give this one lots of dystopian qualities because dystopia is HOT HOT HOT now. It was just all so very generic and as such made it hard to visualize this world that Cinder lives in. And then we get to my other least favorite part of CINDER. This is probably the part that I disliked the most in the book and turned me off the story more than anything else. The virus that was quickly spreading and killing off the world's populace. The virus that seemed to change from person to person in the blink of an eye. The virus that had no clear means of how it was spread. That no one could figure anything about despite being so technologically advanced.
Another small fact about me. I am a science nerd and at one time thought about becoming a Virologist. So if there is one thing I know about its viruses and this book just things wrong on so many levels. But the most basic of which was how throughout the book they were all looking for an antidote. It was said over and over and it just made the science nerd in me cringe each and every time. Why you might ask? Well, I'm glad you did. Let's do a quick google search on the word and see how antidote is defined.
ANTIDOTE: an·ti·dote / ˈan(t)iˌdōt/ noun
1. a medicine taken or given to counteract a particular poison.
Do you see the world virus in there at all? No? Now lets do another quick google search:
VACCINE: vac·cine / vakˈsēn/ noun
a substance used to stimulate the production of antibodies and provide immunity against one or several diseases, prepared from the causative agent of a disease, its products, or a synthetic substitute, treated to act as an antigen without inducing the disease
Now of these two words which is the most likely to use to combat a deadly virus? If you said vaccine then you get a gold star. I could have forgiven and overlooked so much on CINDER and how terrible its plague was written if Meyer had just gotten this one small word right. Ok, maybe not but this incorrect use of the word antidote really made my eye twitch and just grated on my nerves in its wrongness. And because I listened to CINDER on audio I wasn't able to change the word in my head everytime it came up because someone else was reading the story to me. Which just made it all the more pronounced.
Even though there was much about this book that annoyed me, I did enjoy Rebecca Soler's narration of it. I liked how she breathed a little bit of life into a dull story because this is one that I'd tried in print several times over the last few years but I kept putting it aside as it never grabbed my attention. Soler was Cinder and I liked what she did with the story. However, CINDER is a book that often jumps POVs and in that head-jumping way that I dislike so much and so there are several times when we are in a male POV and as such I would have preferred a male narrator. Granted since CINDER is filled with head-jumping this wouldn't be an easy thing to do but Soler didn't do the best with male voices and it was often hard to tell who was supposed to be speaking since they all sounded alike.
In the end I was left with a feeling a disappointment there was nothing about this book that had me dying to move on to the next book in the series SCARLET (goodreads). Other than the fact that my Lunar Chronicles obsessed friends on Twitter say that SCARLET is their favorite and its better than CINDER. I just wish that I felt the love of CINDER that they did because the premise was interesting it just fell apart throughout its execution.