Discovery: It was the first book I saw on a random trip to the bookstore.
+ Language. Chen’s writing is exactly the kind of easy, rhythmic prose that I...moreDiscovery: It was the first book I saw on a random trip to the bookstore.
+ Language. Chen’s writing is exactly the kind of easy, rhythmic prose that I want to achieve for myself, the kind that lulls you in and comforts you even as it leads you into uncharted, terrifying territory. My favourite passage has to be: ”There is a time to study a map passionately, obsessively. To see where you’ve gone, where other have gone before you. To commit to memory every obstacle, every danger. Shakespeare had a term for this obsession: mappery. But there is a time, too, when you say ‘come dragons. I challenge you to find me.’”
+ Themes. The entire novel is a homage to the changes wrought by adolescence. We may not have the obvious birthmark on our faces, but there are blemishes and scars that we all wear and are eager to shed. Each of us are on journeys to find ourselves, each of us try to ignore the detractor in the corner, and none of us feel like we can actually do it. Terra’s birthmark may distinguish her from everyone else, but over the course of the novel, she learns to confidently wield that power. The title is especially poignant in light of this change in Terra: “beautiful” is a word that most girls yearn to be attached to their names, but Chen reminds us that it’s always possible to be more, to reach that pinnacle north of beautiful where we are happy to be exactly who we are.
- Structure. There are three parts to this novel: Terra Nullis, Terra Incognita and Terra Firma. The third and last part was the one I was most pleased with, and the one which was developed best. During the first half of the novel, it does seem as though Chen is feeling her way along the story and her uncertainty is obvious. By the time Terra flies to Hong Kong, Chen has more control over her writing. I only really noticed this after my third reread, so it’s not too much of a problem.
Recommendations: North of Beautiful is a passionate and ethereal narrative, worth passing on to young girls who are entering adolescence as well as older readers who might need a reminder of just how wonderful they are.
Oh God, I have never been so happy to finish a book. I was looking forward to reading this at first, but a) it wasn't compelling at all and b) Parker...moreOh God, I have never been so happy to finish a book. I was looking forward to reading this at first, but a) it wasn't compelling at all and b) Parker Fadley is almost as annoying as Bella Swan. I just didn't care about any of the characters in this novel, and I wasn't really given any reason to.
I found the writing so-so, and the dialogue and characterizations to be quite cardboard in essence. Parker was so whiny, I wanted to kill her halfway through the book. I feel like Courtney Summers was trying to emulate Sarah Dessen, especially with the angsty plotline that was a little bit like Just Listen. That book was way better, imo.
I'll be honest: this book has made me wary of trying Summers' other novels.(less)
Don't get me wrong, I really liked this novel. But I would have LOVED it if it was shorter. I honestly didn't need to know so m...moreLength, length, length.
Don't get me wrong, I really liked this novel. But I would have LOVED it if it was shorter. I honestly didn't need to know so much about Ethan's life, and while I understand that mystery keeps us reading, I can't believe Garcia and Stohl put off the big reveal~~ about Lena until more than halfway through the book. There were times that I just wanted to skip around and find out what was going on, because I just didn't have the patience to deal with MORE descriptions of Gatlin and their small-town attitudes.
Plot-wise, it's great. I liked the witchcraft ties, and the thing with the birthdays was awesome. I've always looked forward to my birthdays, so I can't imagine what Lena must be feeling. I'm not that fascinated with the love story, because it was just so drawn out and slow.(less)
Discovery: I’ve had my eye on this book for two years now. Witchcraft in literature has always been a favourite topic of mine.
+ Dialogue. MacCullough’...moreDiscovery: I’ve had my eye on this book for two years now. Witchcraft in literature has always been a favourite topic of mine.
+ Dialogue. MacCullough’s writing does a lot to make you want to keep reading, but her dialogue just shines. Each conversation Tamsin has with her family is layered so well that you get to know them. When Tamsin talks to Gabriel, the air crackles with tension. Her banter with Agatha is just as telling as her defensiveness towards Rowena. Words are so powerful to witches and I love that the novel illustrates perfectly.
+ Characterization/relationships. I’ve found that I gravitate towards protagonists that don’t always take themselves too seriously. Tamsin is a great example of this: she may be the only Talent-less witch in her family, but she is determined to make a life for herself anyway. I loved her spirit and her passion to be whole and real despite not being what her family wants her to be.
I read Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl’s Beautiful Creatures, which is in the same sub-genre as Once a Witch, but I never formed an emotional attachment to Lena and her family. The Greene family was much more accessible and I didn’t have to wait to get through more than three-quarters of the book to find out what was going on. Every chapter paid off with a new discovery.
+ Romance. Gabriel, Gabriel, Gabriel. Besides the historical background to Once a Witch, he’s the reason I was so eager to pick up the sequel. Carolyn MacCullough drops tiny hints about how Gabriel feels for Tamsin, but I finished the book yearning for more interaction between the two of them. It’s easy to see that they belong together, but I want to know about their childhood and how they really see each other.
- Lack of context. I do think that this book could have used more pages. The last few chapters seemed rushed and all of the historical background was belatedly laid out. Tamsin’s ignorance isn’t a burden that she should have had to bear, since her family could have trusted her to handle more knowledge. There are times that the story falters because of all the “could-have-beens” and “what-ifs,” but MacCullough does manage to wrap things up well.
Recommendations: I enjoyed this book so much that I went straight to Always a Witch after finishing it. Once a Witch is a compelling and energetic story, with a loveable protagonist who will enchant any YA reader.
Release Date:April 6, 2010 Publisher: Speak (Penguin) Age Group: Young Adult Pages: 272 For...moreYou can find this review and many more at Mermaid Vision Books!
Release Date: April 6, 2010 Publisher: Speak (Penguin) Age Group: Young Adult Pages: 272 Format: Paperback Source: Personal copy
In the blink of an eye, everything changes. Seventeen-year-old Mia has no memory of the accident; she can only recall what happened afterwards, watching her own damaged body being taken from the wreck. Little by little she struggles to put together the pieces - to figure out what she has lost, what she has left, and the very difficult choice she must make. Heart-wrenchingly beautiful, Mia's story will stay with you for a long, long time.
Discovery: I first read this book in the summer of 2010, but for some reason, I don't remember it at all. I picked up a copy about three weeks ago, reread it and now I can't believe that I passed it over for so long. [I'm not sure why USA Today compared it to Twilight--that blurb is misleading, in my opinion, and had a role in why I put it off.]
+ Characters. I'll just say it: I love each and every one of the characters in this book. (I don't think I've ever said that before.) Mia and her family are so vibrant; their personalities fairly leap off the page and into one's heart. Emotional commitment has always been a selling point for me, so is it any wonder that I fell into Mia's story without a second thought?
Of course, everyone's going to talk about how unique Mia's family is: how often does one read about parents who used to be rock stars? The love in that family is unmistakable, and it quickly becomes one of the driving forces of the story. Mia loves her parents and younger brother, and that loss is earth-shattering at the very least. I didn't realize that I was crying with and for her until close to the end of the book. For many people, family is who they are, and it becomes especially challenging for a teenager to lose them all in one swoop. I loved that If I Stay focused on Mia's courage and inner strength, both qualities she learned from her family. In the end, this is Mia's story, but she is who she is because of the family she's lost and the friends who stay by her side.
+ Structure. If I Stay is told with alternating flashbacks in every chapter, detailing events that Mia remembers as she watches her family deal with the tragedy. At first, I wasn't sure if I liked the way the book was structured, but as I continued reading, it began to make sense. When we deal with terrible situations, it becomes natural to remember better times, to see things we didn't think were important at the time. My fears that the story would be all about the mistakes Mia made were put to rest, and I love that each memory is full of love. This was a family that adored and appreciated each other, and Mia's remembrance of their lives is truly heartbreaking.
+ Romance. All of you who told me that Adam Wilde is a boy to remember--you were so right. Even as I write this, I can't help but giggle helplessly to myself when I remember scenes from If I Stay (and man, Where She Went just about devastated me). With the influx of love triangles in YA fiction, I find myself drawn to relationships like Mia and Adam's. I think people forget about all the very real problems facing couples today: distance, personal insecurities, jealousy, et cetera. None of those things require a smoldering third party to be interesting.
And oh, how Mia and Adam fall in love is so fascinating to me. You could bring Darren Criss into the room, strumming away on his guitar, and I wouldn't budge from reading and rereading their scenes with each other. (This is not a dare.) They are two people who you know belong together, but don't take that for granted. They earn every minute together and appreciate that time for what it is.
The final say: At its heart, If I Stay is a story of love and its many manifestations, all of which will bring readers to bittersweet tears and a need to hug the people they adore.
Release Date:February 1, 2008 Publisher: Little, Brown Young Readers Age Group: Young Adu...moreYou can find this review and many more at Mermaid Vision Books!
Release Date: February 1, 2008 Publisher: Little, Brown Young Readers Age Group: Young Adult Pages: 224 Format: Paperback Source: Personal copy
As children, Jennifer Harris and Cameron Quick were both social outcasts. They were also each other's only friend. SO when Cameron disappeared without warning, Jennifer thought she'd lost the one person who would ever understand her. Now in high school, Jennifer has been transformed. Known as Jenna, she is popular, happy, and dating—everything "Jennifer" couldn't be. But she still can't shake the memory of her long-lost friend.
When Cameron suddenly reappears, they both are confronted with memories of their shared past and the drastically different paths their lives have taken.
Sweethearts is a story about the power of memory, the bond of friendship, and the quiet resilience of our childhood hearts.
Discovery: I first heard about this book from my best friend Aimee, who fell so hard and fast for Cameron Quick that she got whiplash. Needless to say, that set up some really high expectations.
+ Themes. Most of the talk surrounding this novel involves the touching romance between Jennifer and Cameron, and while I'm inclined to join in that discussion, I would like to highlight the beautiful character development and themes in their story. Jennifer's insecurities will be familiar to teen and adult readers alike--who wouldn't want a chance to reinvent themselves and be one of the "cool kids?" As someone who knows exactly what Jennifer went through in elementary school, I found Sara Zarr's take on bullying to be terrifyingly accurate.
Bullying isn't restricted to kids who look different or who may identify as a different gender. It is easy to forget that there are kids out there without an alliance or celebrities to look after them and tout their cause. And as readers will find in Jennifer's story, there is nothing more difficult than getting past all the hurt and bitterness. It's even worse when you have no idea why you were chosen to be the laughingstock of the class. Zarr brings contemporary teen fiction to a whole new level with this no-holds-barred look at what life is like for the quiet kids, for the kids who don't fit in, and the daily challenges they face.
+ Romance. Cameron Quick. Those of you who've already read Sweethearts told me that your heart skips a beat when you hear that name. I'm happy to count myself among your number now. I was expecting a flat-out obvious romance between Jenna and Cameron, but what I got was more beautiful and heartbreaking. I can't recall a YA love story that relies so much on nuances and distance, and yet manages to show the reader just how deeply the characters feel for one another.
There is no guarantee of a happy ending. I reread this book a few days after my first go, looking for clues to the ending. Sara Zarr sprinkles the story with touches of hope and yearning, but never quite lets the reader relax. As adults reading this book, we know deep down how it will end. But the power of Zarr's prose makes us believe, makes us wish for Jenna and Cameron and their childhood love story.
The final say: Anyone who wants to read contemporary YA should not pass this jewel up--Jenna and Cameron's story is a precious shooting star of a novel.
Discovery: Just working my way through all of Jackson Pearce’s books.
+ Enchanting characters. I haven’t gotten attached this quickly to characters sin...moreDiscovery: Just working my way through all of Jackson Pearce’s books.
+ Enchanting characters. I haven’t gotten attached this quickly to characters since Harry Potter. The story isn’t too complex, but I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t wish Viola, Jinn and Lawrence were real so I could hang out with them. They are refreshingly real and made me laugh a lot while reading. I did find that many of the minor characters were a little on the flat side, but it is understandable. I loved Viola and Jinn so much that I kind of wish there was a sequel.
+ Light, fluffy plot. After the last few books I’ve read, is it any wonder that As You Wish‘s bubbly plot won me over so quickly? A few years ago, someone told me that there are books out there that are like Twinkies: they aren’t the most healthy snacks, but sometimes you’ve just got to have one. Jackson Pearce’s first novel is a Twinkie with a sprinkling of hot fudge. I won’t pretend that it’s the most intelligent novel I’ve read, but I also won’t deny that I had a great time reading it. The novel wasn’t written with people my age in mind, which means that it sometimes felt a little shallow, plot-wise. Still, the writing is snappy and easy to follow.
- Cliches. Jen from Almost Grown Up pointed this out in her review, and I have to agree: the cover is definitely reminscent of old Disney Channel movies. I’m also not a big fan of the constant repetition of the “lesson” Viola has to learn about belonging and loving yourself. Again, this makes sense because the novel seems to be directed at a younger audience, but it did elicit some uncomfortable twinges of memory from my high school days.
Recommendations: Younger readers will find much to love in this debut from Jackson Pearce, but older audiences can choose to focus on the sheer exuberance that leaps from every page.
Discovery: I’ve loved Libba Bray’s books ever since the first Gemma Doyle, A Great and Terrible Beauty.
+ Humour. Everyone and their mothers will say t...moreDiscovery: I’ve loved Libba Bray’s books ever since the first Gemma Doyle, A Great and Terrible Beauty.
+ Humour. Everyone and their mothers will say this, but Libba is truly one of the funniest women I’ve ever encountered in literature and in real life. Her signature brand of crazed humour is the biggest stamp on this novel, keeping it from tipping into preachy territory. Miss Rhode Island’s secret is a particular favourite subplot and I love the not-so-subtle digs at popular culture. This book seems custom-made for 90s kids.
+ Characters. The Miss Teen Dream pageant is populated by colourful characters, each of whom bring a whole set of insecurities and goals to the island. Each of them are forced to face more than their fears: they also have to come to terms with what they want out of life. Miss Texas is the key example, and while I can’t talk about her too much without spoiling anyone, I will say that I’m pleased with her ending. A desert island changes people, as we all know from countless castaway books and films. Libba Bray reminds us that that change is also a choice.
- Length. To be honest, I’m on the fence regarding the length of this book. It was longer than I expected, and keeping all the names and plot lines straight was challenging. Bray quickly switches from using the state titles to the girls’ names, sometimes in the same paragraph and it can get difficult to keep up.
- Lack of focus. I also thought that certain subplots were unnecessary and/or not explained very well. I’m still a little confused about the Corporation’s role and the motivations of certain antagonists. The book’s focus was on the girls, but I think I needed a bit more exposition to really understand the underlying story. Going Bovine may have been stream-of-consciousness but Cameron tied the story down excellently. This book seems to flit from one theme to another without ever really settling down.
Recommendations: This is a satire of everything feminine, so take it with a grain of salt. I would recommend this to the older end of YA readers, who are better equipped to follow the references and inside jokes with which Bray fills this novel.
Discovery: I’m working my way through a list of faery YA novels.
+ Mythology. To be honest, I didn’t see anything that I haven’t encountered in the oth...moreDiscovery: I’m working my way through a list of faery YA novels.
+ Mythology. To be honest, I didn’t see anything that I haven’t encountered in the other faery novels I’ve read, but I liked seeing the nods to the wide variety of fae. Being able to recognize kelpies, redcaps and bean sidhe before Meghan is told what they are? It feels amazing. I am a little sick of Titania and Oberon, so the new enemy was a refreshing change. (I can’t talk too much about them because it’ll spoil the story.)
- Predictability. A lot of the same problems that I saw in City of Bones also popped up in The Iron King. Meghan is just as naive and reckless as Clary and I did find myself frustrated with her actions more than once. The dreaded love triangle reared its head and I’ll tell you right now that I’m not on Team Ash. I don’t see any reason for that relationship. There was practically no build-up, beyond Ash wanting to kill her and can I just talk about all the problems I have with that trope? Really, thin line between love and hate, I know, but that’s just not a healthy relationship to present to teenagers.
I also thought that the big conflict in the novel could be seen through heavy fog from thousands of miles away. Nothing really surprised me or made me want to know more. I feel let down by this novel and I didn’t particularly want to finish it.
- Special Snowflake Syndrome. The majority of YA novels revolve around characters who discover hidden powers or abilities and must learn to use them against ancient enemies. The Iron King‘s Meghan Chase is no exception, but unlike a lot of these characters, Meghan Chase is not that likeable. I first started to dislike Meghan on page 17, when she rails at “inflate-a-boob” Angie: “Ms. Perfect Cheerleader, who’d flip out if she saw a caged gerbil or a speck of dirt on her Hollister jeans. I’ve pitched hay and killed rats and driven pigs through knee-deep mud. Wild animals don’t scare me.” This passage bothers me. A lot. For one, I don’t think Meghan has to compare herself to a cheerleader to get her point across. She grew up on a farm and it’s not necessary to sling aforementioned mud at Angie just because Angie didn’t grow up that way too.
I’ve run into this kind of negative characterization time and time again and not just in YA novels. I understand that books are often written from one perspective and that that perspective is almost always skewed. But I’ve always seen it as a sign of weak writing to resort to saying “I can do things cheerleaders can’t” as a way of proving that you’re a better person. I’ve found that characters who do this can be just as petty and shallow as the people they profess to hate. They may think that they’re better people, but when you sum up a person based solely on what they wear, listen to or read, you do yourself a disservice too.
Recommendations: I know that this series has many fans, but it just wasn’t for me. I wouldn’t personally recommend The Iron King, though in the interest of fairness, I’ll be reading the next two books.
Ugh my heart hurts so much. I am not coherent enough to write a proper review right now, but I LOVED IT....moreMy original post:
I can't believe it's over.
Ugh my heart hurts so much. I am not coherent enough to write a proper review right now, but I LOVED IT. Thank you, Melissa, for such a wonderful, thought-provoking series.
A proper review:
Discovery: I’ve been patiently waiting for this novel, the final book in the Wicked Lovely/Tattoo Faeries (depending on who you ask) series, for years. I first read Wicked Lovely in November 2007 and it remains one of the best birthday presents I ever bought myself.
+ Ensemble/world. One of the things I love most about this series is the vibrant cast of characters. Only Fragile Eternity (Book 3) served as a real sequel–Ink Exchange and Radiant Shadows opened different curtains on the WL stage. Darkest Mercy brings all the fey and humans together for one final satisfying stand. I really enjoyed the character development, especially in Niall, Irial, Donia and Keenan.
On a related note, I will be forever in awe of the world that Melissa Marr created. It’s creepy and passionate and so very alive that I’m scared the translation from text to screen (Wicked Lovely is going to be a movie!) will either take it too far or not far enough. The fey and their courts are perfectly nuanced in their presentation and it’s not hard to imagine this other world surrounding us.
+ Seth. It’s no secret that for the last four years, the teenager in me has harboured a tendre for Seth Morgan. This is a point for Melissa Marr’s characterization because I’ve never really found tattooed and pierced guys attractive. His attitude and actions speak far more than his appearance, though, and of all the characters in the series, he undergoes the most startling transformation.
I suppose what I like most about Seth is his determination. Wicked Lovely introduced him as Aislinn’s friend-who-wants-something-more, but didn’t stop there and that’s the best thing about it. The five books have seen him grow and experience pain and make decisions that speak of his maturity and acceptance of the faerie world around him. More than anything, his devotion to Aislinn isn’t blind: he pursues her and her world actively, making sure that when it all ends and whether either or both of them die, they see each other as equals.
+ Conclusion. I will argue with anyone on this, because I feel like it was the one of the most satisfying series endings I’ve ever read. I can’t say much without spoiling anyone, but I loved the simplicity and integrity of it. One of the themes in WL is the importance of compromise. These days, so much of the world is coloured gray and it isn’t easy to live a black-and-white existence. Marr’s faeries reflect our own on-the-fence choices and in the course of the series, they are each faced with decisions they don’t want to make. How they deal with it brings about conclusions none of them can foresee and the sheer bravery they display in return is commendable.
- Action scenes. In the course of reading this novel, I couldn’t help but compare it to Radiant Shadows, the previous book which I’ve read maybe 20 times. At times, it felt as though I was watching the action scenes happen through a blurry glass window. They didn’t feel real enough and I found myself wishing it would end so I would know who survived. In Radiant Shadows, I could barely keep myself from whimpering as my favourite characters took hits.
Recommendations: A stellar conclusion to a gorgeous series, this chapter will satisfy young adult readers, and provide lots of discussion, especially for faerie lovers.
Oh God. I am not coherent enough to write out a review right now. I'm just going to go crawl into a sock...moreMy original post:
CRYING ALL THE TEARS FOREVER.
Oh God. I am not coherent enough to write out a review right now. I'm just going to go crawl into a sock drawer and sob for days.
A proper review:
Discovery: Early buzz on Goodreads and book blogs that I follow. Oliver’s first novel, Before I Fall, was an excellent read and it interested me enough to want to check out her follow-up books.
+ Gorgeous, intricate language. The novel deals with the subject of love in a very clinical manner, going so far as to medically label the “disease” amor deliria nervosa. It’s reminiscent of Lois Lowry’s The Giver in this way, though Lena is a far more introspective character than Jonas. She is whip-smart, but there is a deep sense of loneliness and distance in the way she sees the world around her.
+ Alex and Lena’s relationship. It’s obvious from the first moment that Alex and Lena meet that a relationship will develop, but the reader is never quite sure about who falls first. Alex’s introduction is intriguing and fits his mischievous nature really well. Their relationship is written in a way that suggest their feelings for one another–the reader is taken along on an unpredictable ride, filled with uncertainty, fear and a stark and unavoidable fascination.
+ Friendship. It’s easy to forget that Lena has an important relationship before Alex: her best friendship with Hana Tate. Oliver managed to touch the innermost fears of most girls–not looking pretty enough, not being talented enough, not being daring enough–and relate it to how they approach friendships with people they believe embody the traits they want to have. Lena is a brave character, but it’s only when she is with Hana that the true Lena shines.
+/- World-building. Dystopian novels depend on a solid world, and if an author is lazy or indifferent, even the best writing will fall apart. I did think that The Book of Shhh was named rather strangely, but I’m willing to give Oliver the benefit of the doubt and hope that it’s explained in the sequels. As for its contents, I was amazed by the detail and reinterpretation that she came up with, as it’s creative enough to pass for a real book. I’m also curious about the examinations and how exactly they were created.
- Pacing. While I was very quickly caught up in the book, I did think that there were slow chapters. Lena’s scenes with her family are jarring compared to the dreamy mood of the rest of the novel. Some chapters move extremely quickly, while others take their time.
+/- The ending. It was brilliant. Really. But I have to put it down as a negative point too, because after reading it, I had to put the book down and actually reconsider picking it up again. I read this book five days ago, and I still haven’t decided whether or not I’m going to read the sequel.
Falling in love is beautiful, but it is also painful. The ending of this book is much the same way. It’s difficult to describe that pain without spoiling the novel, but suffice it to say, the last pages of your copy may experience heavy torrents. It’s the kind of ending that makes you throw your book across the room, even as you want to hold on tight.
Recommendations: Not for the faint-hearted. I would recommend this book to everyone who has ever wondered about love. Just be prepared to cry.
Release Date: January 3, 2012 Publisher: Feiwel & Friends (Macmillan) Age Group: Young Adult Pages: 387 Format: Hardcover Source: ARC received from Macmillan Children's Publishing Group
Discovery: I've been friends with Marissa for the last few years, thanks to the Sailormoon fandom. When she first started talking about writing a futuristic fairytale for NaNo, I was amazed by her dedication to the story (three books in one month!). Fast forward three years and Cinder is now on shelves (at least here in Ontario). It's more than a little heartwarming.
+ World-building. This is actually going to be a two-part discussion (see Questions), so let's dive into the positives first. Cinder and her "family" live in New Beijing in the Eastern Commonwealth. Meyer peppers the story with amazing detail and subtle changes in mood. It's not difficult to imagine living in this era, when we all imagine technology will be at its best and everyone is content. Not so for the residents of the Earth Kingdoms, who have to deal with a terrifying scourge called letumosis. Needless to say, the descriptions alone were enough to make my skin crawl. It is a brave and unique decision to have a disease looming over the fates of the characters--Meyer never makes the reader feel secure or that their favourite characters will be safe.
+/- Characters. As the book has come to be known as "Cinderella as a cyborg!," it's pretty obvious to casual perusers that they'll find the evil stepmother, stepsisters and Prince Charming himself in the story. Plus, who could forget the iconic glass slipper and the meek girl going after her dreams? But there's the rub: I don't particularly feel for Cinder herself. I'm interested in her story so far as it fits into the bigger picture of the Lunar Chronicles. Strangely enough, reading this book reminded me of my reintroduction to Sailormoon. I don't really mind Usagi/Serena/Sailormoon, and I'm glad she's there, but her personality doesn't make me desperate to know her. Likewise, Cinder is strong and smart and sometimes a little inconsistent, but while she has some awesome traits, I don't relate to her. I do love her place in the story and I am eager to see what she does next, so I suppose my full judgment will have to wait until at least Scarlet in 2013. (Full disclosure: I am not a big fan of Cinderella-the-Disney-Princess at all.)
That said, how I love the supporting characters! I was immediately intrigued by Prince Kai (my closest friends can probably guess why) and while I was afraid that he might be a little stereotypical, I loved that he was also highly intelligent and valued integrity. I definitely want to know more about Adri and Pearl--their bitterness is palpable in every scene they're in. Queen Levana is the one to watch, it seems, and I cannot wait to see more of her in the next three books. These characters become even more fascinating to watch when they're together. Is it bad that I'm hoping for a Levana/Adri sparring match later in the series?
- Questions. I spent the first few days after reading Cinder completely enthralled. I liked the story, I liked the characters and I liked the themes. (And that cliffhanger was upsetting!) But in the month-and-a-half that followed, I've reread it and have come up with some questions that I feel have to be addressed in the next three books.
The story is a tad predictable, but that can be easily overlooked because of its readability and great writing. However, I don't think some of the story was set up as well as it could have been, especially when it comes to the Lunars. It's understandable that the reader won't get all the answers in the first book, but I don't think it would have hurt to get a few throwaway sentences about how the discovery of the Lunar Race came about. Their power seems so absolute and their presence so strong in people's lives that it makes me wonder how they could have gone unnoticed for so long. The Doctor Who fan in me likened them to the Silence of series 6, which were absolutely terrifying at first meeting, but grew less so with so few logical explanations behind their existence. Their discrimination against other races is also something I want to see explored further--there is almost always a reason for this, and if there isn't, it needs to be more obvious.
I also want to know more about how Cinder can actually exist. I've heard comparisons between this and The Adoration of Jenna Fox, which is one of my all-time favourite novels. Granted, Jenna Fox was a one-off with just a companion novel and Cinder is part of a four-book series. But I trust Meyer's iron grip on the story, especially since she's mentioned that a 60-page document with character profiles and timelines helped her to craft the series. Many of the things I wonder about are little nitpicky inquiries, and I'm hoping that Scarlet will answer some of them for me.
The final say: Dancing in glass slippers isn't the only challenge for Marissa Meyer's Cinder, and readers are sure to be enchanted by the plucky heroine and her dangerous new world. If you love fairytales, don't forget to add this one to your list!
Release Date:April 5, 2011 Publisher: Dutton Juvenile Age Group: Young Adult Pages: 260 For...moreYou can find this review and many more at Mermaid Vision Books!
Release Date: April 5, 2011 Publisher: Dutton Juvenile Age Group: Young Adult Pages: 260 Format: Hardcover Source: Personal copy
It's been three years since the devastating accident . . . three years since Mia walked out of Adam's life forever.
Now living on opposite coasts, Mia is Juilliard's rising star and Adam is LA tabloid fodder, thanks to his new rock star status and celebrity girlfriend. When Adam gets stuck in New York by himself, chance brings the couple together again, for one last night. As they explore the city that has become Mia's home, Adam and Mia revisit the past and open their hearts to the future - and each other.
Told from Adam's point of view in the spare, lyrical prose that defined If I Stay, Where She Went explores the devastation of grief, the promise of new hope, and the flame of rekindled romance.
Discovery: After finally finishing If I Stay, I immediately--and I do mean immediately--went to the bookstore and bought Where She Went.
+ Intensity. Where If I Stay was poignant and pensive, Adam's story is deeply devastating. The pages bleed with his emotion. It's commonly assumed by people that artists feel too much (Van Gogh is just one depressing example out of many) and in this case, they would be right. Adam Wilde's torment is a silent kind, which he himself has difficulty voicing. The reader quickly realizes that only one person can understand him, and it's the one person he can't bring himself to be with. All in all, these factors make for an explosive and emotional book that I devoured in a single hour.
+ Romance. Contemporary romance is something I've always struggled to enjoy, because it can feel very cheesy and uncomfortable to read. It's also rife with cliched dialogue, which is one of the biggest turn-offs in my reading experience. Thankfully, Gayle Forman succeeds with another beautifully-written story of love in all its forms. Just when I thought I'd reached a threshold for adorable and emotional moments between Mia and Adam, another one would break through my defenses. I was reduced to speechless hand-waving and head-holding. The pages fairly sizzled as Adam and Mia talked and wept and existed with each other for the first time in three years. To be honest, I couldn't take this book in all its unashamed, gritty glory, dear readers. It was simply too much for my fragile heart to handle--it was so very real.
The final say: Gayle Forman concludes Mia and Adam's story with emotional gentleness and incandescent prose, ensuring that readers' hearts will never be the same again.