Tell Me More:One of my favourite book-related memories is being handed a copy of the fi...moreYou can find this review and many more at Mermaid Vision Books!
Tell Me More: One of my favourite book-related memories is being handed a copy of the first Animorphs novel, The Invasion, and getting lost in my first taste of science fiction. Granted, I'm on the fence about the existence of aliens, but the reading experience that Animorphs gave me influenced my imagination in ways I am still discovering today. When I heard that Katherine Applegate and Michael Grant were writing another novel, and that it would be science fiction as well, I jumped at the chance to read their new offering. My excitement was justified: Eve & Adam is not only smart and compelling, but one of the most enjoyable books I've read all year.
Despite my own approach to it, I must warn you: this is not a book you should read with expectations. It's a strange story, with layers that seem transparent at first, but have secret compartments and trapdoors to catch the unwary reader. It is a story that makes it easy for readers to assume things about the characters and their actions, before surprising and shocking them. The pacing that Grant and Applegate employ will feel familiar to Animorphs readers, especially during action scenes. Both authors have a gift for making the reader feel as though they are watching a film, with seemingly small details coming out of nowhere to be the key to several puzzles.
And what puzzles there are--Eve & Adam moves briskly for a science fiction story, and yet it manages to take on complicated issues such as genetic modification and the limits of scientists (or lack of) without talking down to the reader or preaching. I especially appreciated the grittiness of the setting making it clear that this is the kind of world we could be living in now. The decisions that Eve, Solo and Aislin face in this story are ones that our generation might be facing in a few years, and it certainly makes one take a step back and consider the possibilities. I'm very eagerly looking forward to the second novel!
The Final Say: Mix The Adoration of Jenna Fox with some turbulent emotion and reckless decisions and you've got Eve & Adam. The breakneck pace and highly intriguing plot will satisfy readers of all ages, and certainly start up some interesting discussions on what it means to be a "perfect" person.
Release Date: February 5, 2013 Publisher: Feiwel & Friends (Macmillan) Age Group: Young Adult Pages: 464 Format: Hardcover Source: ARC won from Indigo...moreRelease Date: February 5, 2013 Publisher: Feiwel & Friends (Macmillan) Age Group: Young Adult Pages: 464 Format: Hardcover Source: ARC won from Indigo Teen Blog
Tell Me More: My approach to Scarlet was very different from how I usually approach sophomore novels, especially ones in series. Second installments are most often written after the first book has already been revised and edited, but if you're familiar with Marissa Meyer's publication story, you already know that she wrote Cinder, Scarlet and Cress in a month, which is a feat in and of itself. Naturally, it was interesting to learn just how the story evolved through both the rapid writing and publication process, and she does not disappoint. Scarlet is an even stronger novel than Cinder, and I think it's safe to say that any expectations you might have for it will definitely be met.
The challenge posed by Scarlet and the succeeding books in the series is to make the reader care about a whole host of characters, not just Cinder. Our favourite half-cyborg heroine is nowhere to be found in the first few chapters--instead, readers meet Scarlet Benoit, a girl who cares deeply for her grandmother, enough to pick a fight when locals suggest she's run away or killed herself. Scarlet's faith in her grandmother and the unwavering instinct that something is wrong lead her to an encounter with a mysterious street fighter who fulfills the "tall, dark and mysterious" trope frequently used in YA fiction. That said, Wolf is no typical anti-hero. He is genuinely compelling to read about because one can never be sure what he's going to do (or not do) next. Scarlet is a kindred soul, and together they are able to carry the weight of this story on their shoulders.
And what a weighty story it is: not only does Scarlet embark on a journey to track down her lost grandmother, Cinder's commandeering of a spaceship with fellow prisoner Captain Thorne fills the other half of the novel. The banter between these two characters was fantastic to say the least, witty and poignant all at the same time. Marissa's ability to write quick zingers into the dialogue is something that I greatly appreciated in such a serious novel, and the moments that made me laugh weren't few and far between. The humour in this story is perfectly balanced with the heartbreak--in fact, they only add to each other's intensity.
Scarlet and Cinder's shared uncertainty develops into a confidence that both ladies use to their advantage and which will win readers over before they even get halfway through the novel. The men might be interesting (and super cute), but there's no doubt that this is a series written about and for young women who won't be shut away or dismissed. They learn what their limits are and then they break through them, making decisions and fighting for their lives on their own terms. This book became something I wish I'd had the privilege to read as a teenager.
The Final Say: Rarely do I feel as comfortable, content with and excited for a series as I have with The Lunar Chronicles. With another pack of memorable characters led by the fierce Scarlet Benoit, Marissa Meyer proves once again that the universe is the limit when it comes to superb YA fiction.
Find out more about Ms. Meyer in my interview with her. Fun facts about Scarlet can also be found in my blog tour stop, and in my recap of Marissa's event here in Toronto!(less)
Tell Me More: One of the very first YA novels I remember reading was a dystopian novel, The Giver. Over the years, I've developed a soft spot for similar novels--and therefore always give them a chance--but sadly, Crewel did not live up to my expectations.
On the surface, Adelice's story appealed to the feminist in me: who wouldn't love to read a novel about women who used their talents to bring about a better world for everyone? I loved the magical quality of the Spinsters' work, and I wanted to know just what it would take to control and weave time. I loved the conspiracy and the danger that Adelice would find herself in. All in all, Crewel seemed to be exactly the kind of dystopian novel I was looking for.
Unfortunately, the story doesn't support its premise very well. Adelice's narration was muted at best, boring at worst. I couldn't get a clear sense of who she was within the first few chapters, which makes it difficult to go on in a dystopian, since it is particularly important for the reader to want the protagonist to succeed in their endeavours. If I don't know who Adelice is, and what she wants out of life, how can I throw my support behind her? How can I be sure that what she tries to do makes sense for her character? Part of the difficulty lies in Albin's choice to begin the novel in media res--the reader is immediately brought into Adelice's world in an alarming way, but it feels a lot like entering an empty film set and seeing the lack of a ceiling.
The plot itself is predictable, but again, I say this having read many dystopians. I don't mind the same kind of setup because I read those books for the characters, which quickly became a problem with Adelice. Because of the lackluster introduction to her character, I couldn't muster up enough interest to want to see her deal with the usual dystopian problems, not to mention the inevitable love triangle. Neither Jost nor Erik were intriguing enough to make me fall in love with them, and there were times that it felt like this specific plot device was just another checkmark on the Official Dystopian Tropes list. Likewise, the villains never felt all that dangerous or ruthless. The conflict never reached the promised high stakes, and by the last few chapters, I didn't hate the book, but I was ready to move on.
The Final Say:Crewel doesn't quite hold its own as a dystopian novel, but readers new to the genre may still find lots to love about Adelice and her dangerous world.