To start out, this won’t be much of a review. I lovedASUNDER. No surprise there. INCARNATE, book oThis review first appeared on my blog, Leeanna.me
To start out, this won’t be much of a review. I lovedASUNDER. No surprise there. INCARNATE, book one of the Newsoul Trilogy, was one of my favorite books of 2012. Right now, I’d do about anything to get my hands on book three. I’ll ferret sit, Jodi, if you let me read the manuscript!
I reread INCARNATE before reading ASUNDER, and I noticed something that I hadn’t noticed on my first read through: the author puts some thought into age differences. Can a relationship work when there are five thousand years between the two people? I was happy to see this, and also happy that the theme continued in ASUNDER. It reminds me of vampire novels -- there’s usually at least a hundred years difference between the vampire and girl, yet the girl rarely thinks about that difference. Ana and Sam do think about it, and it brings up some valid questions about if such a relationship can succeed.
I really like Ana and Sam as a couple. If you’ve read any of my reviews, you’ll know that romance isn’t my favorite thing, but Sam is just so damn sweet and protective of Ana. In INCARNATE, I thought the romance came on a little early, but the author further develops their relationship in ASUNDER. I was definitely cheering for them by the end of the book, and they needed cheering. Some sad things happen between them.
I have never been an audiophile. I only listen to music when I’m driving or working out. However, I know music is important for many people, and I finally understood why because of ASUNDER. Music is incredibly important to both Ana and Sam. Music allows Ana to speak in a way that the citizens of Heart can understand, and also lets her leave a lasting legacy. Music is also something they turn to when emotionally distraught.
There are some great questions in ASUNDER, some that I doubt teens usually think about, such as “What happens after I die?” and “What does my life mean?” I know I didn’t, at least not when I was younger. Ana thinks about these questions because she is the only non-reincarnated soul (at the start, anyway). It’s pretty hard to be the only one who hasn’t already lived five thousand years.
The worldbuilding also continues in ASUNDER, with the blend of fantasy and high-tech that I liked from INCARNATE. The sylph are a very interesting creation of Jodi’s, and I liked how she slowly revealed more about them and their background in ASUNDER. Sadly, there are no dragons in this book, and though I missed them (sadface), the sylph and more on Janan made up for their absence.
By the way, ASUNDER doesn’t feel like a middle book. The story moves along rapidly, with lots of big events, and I loved that I had no clue what was going to happen at the end. And the ending left me wanting the last book of the trilogy RIGHT NOW, like I said at the start of this review.
Lastly, ASUNDER is a beautiful book. I HAVE to say how much I love the cover. All too often with YA, the pretty cover doesn’t correlate to the book, but that isn’t the case with the Newsoul Trilogy. Those roses you see around Ana’s eyes? They show up in the book, and they’re an important part of ASUNDER, just like the butterfly motif was in INCARNATE. I can’t wait to see what’s on deck for the last book of the trilogy.
I liked: The uniqueness of the story. Prior to Incarnate, I hadn’t read any reincarnation stories. Ana. I thought her being a newsoul in a world of oI liked: ♥ The uniqueness of the story. Prior to Incarnate, I hadn’t read any reincarnation stories. ♥ Ana. I thought her being a newsoul in a world of old souls was a lot like a teenager around adults. Adults have that world weary feeling of having done everything before, but to teens, it’s all new. I really felt for her, living in a world where everyone else had known each other for 5,000 years. ♥ There’s an intriguing mix of fantasy and modern day elements. For example, the people of Heart have cars, but instead of driving there from the mountains, they walk for a week, with a pack pony. There are dragons and laser pistols. I liked the blending of old and new. ♥ I don’t want to let this book go back to the library. I almost never buy hardcovers, because I don’t have the room for them, but I want to so I can have Incarnate on my shelf. I know I’m going to want to reread it when Asunder comes out in January of 2013. Which is too long to wait, by the way.
I didn’t like: — The romance. It came too soon for me, but Sam is a sweet guy. I can see why Ana fell for him. Hower, the romance wasn’t enough to detract from what I loved about the book. — The Tower confused me. I didn’t quite understand the scene with Meuric there, but I’m assuming more explanation for that will come in Asunder.
Favorite thing: Everything about this book is beautiful. It’s a very well designed package, from the story to the writing to the cover to the chapter illustrations. There is a striking butterfly drawing at the start of each chapter. I really like the author’s writing style -- the descriptions are lush without being purple prose. If I started quoting favorite lines, I’d have ten pages before I knew it. The writing is my absolute favorite part. I hope I can emulate some of Jodi’s style in my own writing.
Second favorite thing: Okay, I loved the cover. I’ll admit it. I choose books with my eyes first, zooming in on covers that I really like. It’s so unusual, and even better -- it fits the story. I’ve said it over and over, but I could stare at this cover forever.
review originally written July 7, 2012. Book reread April 16, 2013
Stars, I loved this book. I couldn’t put Cinder down until I finished it, and now I’m anxiously awaiting the next three books in the series.
Cinder isStars, I loved this book. I couldn’t put Cinder down until I finished it, and now I’m anxiously awaiting the next three books in the series.
Cinder is a retelling of Cinderella, complete with androids, cyborgs, space travel, an evil queen, a good prince, and a deathly plague. There are no love triangles, vampires, werewolves, or any of that sort of thing.
Cinder is a refreshing protagonist. She works as a mechanic, and has a reputation as being one of the best. It’s the reason Kai, the prince of New Beijing, comes to her to have his android fixed. I liked that there was a reason for them to meet, and that it wasn’t a chance encounter that started off their relationship. I also liked that Cinder wasn’t in love with Kai right away.
A few parts of the story were predictable, but overall, I enjoyed how the author fit everything together. Another plus is that the book doesn’t end on a total cliffhanger. There are plenty of questions to be resolved in the series, but at least we get a few answers at the end of Cinder.
The worldbuilding is pretty cool, as well. The humans that live on the Moon, the Lunars, have evolved differently than the humans on Earth. The Lunars have a magical power, a glamour, that allows them to manipulate minds.
Cinder herself is a cyborg, with over 30% of her body made of metal parts. Being a cyborg makes her a second class citizen, the ward of her legal guardian. It’s a twist on the Cinderella story, because Cinder’s stepmother has a reason — albeit misguided — to dislike her.
There’s a lot to like in Cinder, and a lot to keep your attention. I can’t wait until it comes out in paperback. I also can’t wait for the next book, Scarlet!
This review originally appeared on my blog, Leeanna.me.
The second book in the Lunar Chronicles, SCARLET picks up where CINDER left off, continuingThis review originally appeared on my blog, Leeanna.me.
The second book in the Lunar Chronicles, SCARLET picks up where CINDER left off, continuing Cinder’s story while bringing in a new character, Scarlet. The fairy tale influence for SCARLET is Little Red Riding Hood, but I promise you’ve never seen it done this way.
Marissa Meyer is a superb storyteller. I’ve read CINDER and SCARLET multiple times since each book’s release, and I often mention the Lunar Chronicles as one of my favorite series. The books are such a great combination of fantasy, adventure, creative worldbuilding, brilliant characters, and fairy tale retelling.
At first I was worried to start SCARLET, because I loved Cinder so much and I wanted every book to be all about her, and no one else. But I fell in love with Scarlet too, with her impulsiveness and how she was so determined to rescue her grandmother. Wolf was like a whipped puppy, and while I’m normally meh on male characters, I couldn’t help but like him. I like pretty much every character in this series, because they all have personalities. They’re all real. I’m a character-driven reader, so I couldn’t get enough.
After escaping prison, Cinder and a fellow convict go to France in search of information about her past. At the same time, Scarlet is trying to find her kidnapped grandmother. I’m making this sound so much more boring than it really is -- SCARLET is full of action and adventure, near misses and escapes. What I really want to say about the different plots is that Cinder and Scarlet’s stories mesh seamlessly. Although I had originally wanted the series to be all Cinder, now I can’t imagine it without Scarlet, and Wolf, and Captain Thorne… and I’m sure I’ll keep saying that with every new book and new characters.
This review originally appeared on my blog, Leeanna.me.
UNDER THE NEVER SKY is a book I’ve read twice since its release in January 2012. To put it blThis review originally appeared on my blog, Leeanna.me.
UNDER THE NEVER SKY is a book I’ve read twice since its release in January 2012. To put it bluntly, like Perry would: I freaking LIKE this book.
The book is told from the alternating viewpoints of the two main characters. Aria, a Dweller, lives in a protected Pod, safe from starvation, boredom, and Aether storms. Perry, an Outsider, lives in the savage, dangerous remnants of Earth. Thrown together, they must overcome their differences to find Aria’s mother and rescue Perry’s nephew.
Usually I don’t care for different points of view, but in this case, I really liked it. Having both Aria’s and Perry’s voices represented gave me a clearer look into each of their worlds, as well as their characters. Aria and Perry see things very differently, a result of the way they live and what they believe. The chapters were different enough that I didn’t feel like the author was just slapping “Aria” or “Perry” at the top of each chapter; I could have easily identified who “wrote” each chapter without being told.
UNDER THE NEVER SKY is a mix of fantasy and science fiction, with some adventure and romance tossed in. Unfortunately, there’s no worldbuilding on how Earth came to be wracked by such violent climate changes, BUT its current state is well-established. Dwellers like Aria are privileged, living mostly in virtual reality, while Outsiders like Perry struggle to find enough food to eat. Usually, a lack of worldbuilding drives me crazy, but based on what’s revealed in this book, I think the author will fill me in, and soon.
Another big plus for this book: Aria and Perry don’t fall in love the minute they see each other. Instead, they really don’t like each other, and work together only reluctantly. Eventually, of course, that changes, but I liked that they took the time to get to know each other first. Also a plus: Perry isn’t a bad guy or a jerk, like so many YA love interests. He’s a bit short on words, and violent (but with cause), but inside, he’s a very nice guy.
Aria and Perry both have unique gifts. Aria’s is genetically engineered by her mother: she’s an amazing soprano. Perry has the ability to scent “tempers,” which basically lets him read someone’s emotions and thoughts. He also has amazing night vision. Their talents mean different things in their worlds; Aria’s is a luxury, Perry’s are useful. I’m curious to see how those talents will factor into the rest of the trilogy.
I could go on about UNDER THE NEVER SKY all day long. I know it’s a book I’ll reread again and again. I just had FUN reading it. The author drew me into Aria’s and Perry’s worlds, and left me emotionally invested in their characters and journeys. I cannot wait to dive into book two of the trilogy, THROUGH THE EVER NIGHT.
This review originally appeared on my blog, Leeanna.me.
Part historical fiction, part romance, and part scandal-filled drama, CINDERS & SAPPHIRESThis review originally appeared on my blog, Leeanna.me.
Part historical fiction, part romance, and part scandal-filled drama, CINDERS & SAPPHIRES is the young adult, book form of Downton Abbey. I don’t usually like making comparisons between books and telly shows, but I think it’s an apt one to make in this case. I find Downton Abbey ridiculously addicting (I’ll watch 4-5 episodes a night), and CINDERS & SAPPHIRES is the same -- I’ve read it twice this year, and can’t wait to read DIAMONDS & DECEIT, the second book in the series.
This is fun historical fiction. There’s not a ton of emphasis on the history aspects, although the author does bring in feminism, with Ada (one of the main characters) wanting to attend Oxford and supporting women getting the vote. There’s also mentions of British/Indian relations with Ada’s father leaving his post in India due to scandal, and her own interest in Ravi, an Indian boy attending Oxford. Otherwise, most of the focus is on various scandals and relationships between characters (both platonic and romantic).
CINDERS & SAPPHIRES is told from the viewpoints of various characters, both upstairs and downstairs, so you get a better picture of pre World War I Britain. Obviously, many of the things that happen in the book wouldn’t be so shocking today, but in the early 1900s, something as simple as looking at a boy not in your social class could ruin your reputation. Needless to say, the characters of this book are involved in a lot more than that.
There’s also not a lot of character development in CINDERS & SAPPHIRES. I was skeptical of Ada “falling in love” so quickly with Ravi, since they kiss once and she decides she’s fallen for him. Charlotte, Ada’s step-sister, is rather petty and jealous without much explanation of why. But, unusually, I didn’t really care. I was too into the book and just having fun reading it to analyze too much. CINDERS & SAPPHIRES is very fast moving; I read it in about 2 hours. I just couldn’t get enough.
I’m going to start this review off in an unusual way: I’m going to list all the things that aren’t in The Cadet of Tildor.
No: — Love triangles. — RomanI’m going to start this review off in an unusual way: I’m going to list all the things that aren’t in The Cadet of Tildor.
No: — Love triangles. — Romance. — Swooning girls. — Weak characters. — “I’m so special, everything is going to go just my way” heroine.
Instead, what do we have? ♥ A kick ass main character named Renee. ♥ Fighting. Lots of fighting. ♥ A politically heavy storyline. ♥ An engaging cast of side characters.
If you’ve read any of my reviews, you know that I was jumping up and down for joy after making those lists. The Cadet of Tildor is full of things I want in books, and it more than delivered on my excitement. I walked around with my nose in this book for a whole day, until I finished it. I even tried to paint my nails while reading, which didn’t really work. (The nails waited until after I finished).
I loved Renee. On notice that she may be cut from the Academy because she’s not a strong enough fighter, she pours all her energy into trying to become stronger. On the way, she makes some stupid mistakes, and while characters making stupid mistakes usually bothers me, here, Renee learned from them. And in her situation, I probably would have done the same thing. I empathized with Renee’s struggle to succeed in a male-dominated world, and to follow her dreams.
The Cadet of Tildor is dark, gritty fantasy for the young adult audience. Although Renee is sixteen, she acts beyond her age, and I think this book would also appeal to older readers.
Sometimes, it’s hard to figure out who you’re supposed to like and who you’re supposed to hate. Renee starts out almost hero-worshipping Commander Savoy, the leader of one of the most successful fighting units. But he turns out to be, well, sort of a jerk, and Renee alternates beyond thinking that he’s helping her and that he’s trying to break her.
The Cadet of Tildor isn’t told solely from Renee’s point of view, which helps us get into the other character’s heads, particularly Savoy, and get a bigger picture of the story. At the heart of it is loyalty, and doing what is legally right versus doing what is morally right.
Think about this. In Tildor, mages are required to submit to registration. If they do not, they are arrested and executed. If, as a cadet, you came across an unregistered mage, say one who is the Healer for their village, responsible for the health of everyone in that village, would you arrest them or let them go? I’m using an assignment of Renee’s, but it gives a great picture of the moral dilemmas Renee struggles through during the book.
I enjoyed thinking through those moral struggles myself, and learning along with Renee that everything isn’t black and white. Over the course of The Cadet of Tildor Renee grows immensely, as do the other characters. Every character, from Renee’s best friend to a thug that attacks her on the street has their own personality and their own backstory, and it all comes together richly to make a great book.
Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.