I have a confession to make. I know it’s frowned upon and used as a derogatory expression for mediocre literature, but… well… here it goes: I read fanI have a confession to make. I know it’s frowned upon and used as a derogatory expression for mediocre literature, but… well… here it goes: I read fanfiction. Specifically, I read Sailor Moon fanfiction. It’s been my guilty pleasure since I was 14 and, while I admit that perhaps 80% is trash the rest has been worth the trouble. Yes, they are writing about characters that don’t belong to them and yes, most stories do sound like 12 year-old masturbatory fantasies and are completely pointless, but what can I say? The few good ones I’ve found have made me addicted, and you know what?:
So what does my shameful confession has to do with “Cinder”? Well, you see, I learned of the existence of Marissa Meyer through her Sailor Moon stories. And when I heard that she had landed an agent and was going to get her first original book published I also knew that it was going to be my first YA book in a while, after giving up on the genre because of my less-than-stellar reaction to “Twilight”. Lucky for me, “Cinder” has nothing in common with that sparkly vampire disaster, and everything with the style of writing that made me admire Marissa for years.
In case you didn’t know this is a loose retelling of Cinderella. Our protagonist, Cinder, is a cyborg living in New Beijing with a stepmother that sees her as a disgrace. Cyborgs are thought of as second-class citizens and are often looked down on by the rest of the population, which makes Cinder ashamed of her robotic parts. Unlike her fairy tale ancestor, however, Cinder is also a great mechanic, and spends her days working and making plans for a better future. This is one heroine that doesn’t waste breath waiting for someone else to rescue for her misery, but instead is determined to work for the things she wants. Cinder’s life changes in ways she can’t possibly imagine when Prince Kai, heir to the throne to Commonwealth, comes to help looking for help repairing a broken android, while one of her stepsisters and her only human friends suddenly contracts a disease that threatens to decimate Earth’s population in a very short time.
As I said before, Cinder is not the type of heroine that prejudice has led me to expect from YA books. She makes her own decisions, and although there is a romantic interest it doesn’t turn her into a blabbering idiot incapable of thinking on her own. Regarding Prince Kai, I thought he was a kind kid, stuck in a situation he can’t escape from and forced to grow up at giant steps in order to protect his people. It was easy to care for Cinder and Kai, and that level of empathy turned the book into something I just couldn’t put down. I agree with other reviews that point out the predictability of some plot twists, not surprising I we remember this is after all a Cinderella retelling, but I also felt that the important parts, the ones that will make the sequel worth waiting for, were all original.
Having established my complete satisfaction with this book, I now need to mention something that bothered me a little bit: The whole cyborg theme was in my opinion touched only on the surface. How much of what Cinder thinks and feels is product of her robotic wiring, and how much comes from her human nature? Why are people with synthetic prosthesis deemed dirty and incapable of taking care of themselves? (view spoiler)[ The book wants us to think of the dying Emperor as a just and brave ruler, but if he is indeed such a great monarch, why would he allow the indiscriminate killing of cyborgs in the name of science, and why do they have to endure such an unfair treatment? (hide spoiler)] I really hope the sequel deals in depth with this, since it’s a big part of what makes Cinder who she is. Another thing that I didn’t understand is this: (view spoiler)[ at first the book says that Princess Selene died in the fire when she was 3, but Cinder got her cyborg makeover when she was eleven. Shouldn’t she have needed surgery much earlier? Am I missing something here? (hide spoiler)]
Spoilers and objections aside, this was a book that kept me hooked and interested to the end and I really recommended it to those of you that are into YA stories and don’t mind waiting almost a year for part 2. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Peter Pan was never a favorite character of mine growing up. Maybe it was because I never watched the movie, or because wars and battles weren’t subjePeter Pan was never a favorite character of mine growing up. Maybe it was because I never watched the movie, or because wars and battles weren’t subjects that I found appealing in a fairy tale. As a child, I was enchanted by Snow White, and the Brother Grimm’s tales of unfortunate kids and terrible witches. There weren’t witches in Peter Pan! Or hungry wolves! All I ever knew about it was that it talked about a crazy kid that could fly, a bunch of orphaned children, and a crazy (and a bit stupid) captain with a hook for a hand. Oh! and a crocodile.
So, people might ask, what am I doing reading a retelling of a story I never cared for? I…. I don’t know. All I can say in my favor is this: I don’t regret it. Not one bit. This is one of those books that has you on the edge of your seat the entire time, and stays with you long after the last line is finished. Brom presents a story that really analyses the implications of the seemingly cute and candid happenings of “Peter Pan”: The kidnapping of gullible children, the war between them and grownups with swords and guns, the fact that they can never grow, and the untold consequences for those who do, are all of them explored in “The Child Thief” and given new and incredible dimensions.
Without a doubt, the most intriguing character of all is Peter. He’s the hero we’re used to root for: the symbol of our wild and untamed side, the representation of everything that’s good and playful. That is, of course, until we are faced with his dark side: the one that is so invested on his mission, so stuck in his ways and prejudices, that becomes blind to death and to the sacrifices others make for him. Who knew that an eternal boy could be so interesting?
And speaking of interesting characters, the Captain blew my mind, but I can’t say anymore without marking this review with a big SPOILER tape on top of it. So let’s speak about my other all-time favorite character: Nick. When we first meet him, he’s running away from home with a bag full of provision and methamphetamines. The tenants of his house are drug dealers and Nick, blaming his mother for the abuse these people put him through, decides to go and make a life with the money he hopes to get in exchange for the stolen drugs. Unfortunately things don’t go as planned, and he’s in the process of getting his ass kicked when Peter makes an appearance and saves the day.
Nick is a fantastic character. We see him grow and confront his own demons while being the only “devil” that can see through Peter and his schemes. He doesn’t always do the right thing, but who does? Being thrown into a world you know nothing about, with dangers that surpass your wildest expectations, and surrounded by a little kingdom that stands on the cult of a kid that, at the best of times, has little idea of what to do with himself, is no piece of cake. But Nick pulls it off and deals with trouble in a realistic way, showing the author’s mastery with words and a great ability in terms of character developing.
Avalon and its mythology are also a strong point. The island is all that remains of a once world full with magic, and is now seriously threatened by “flesh eaters”, or men that are determined to extinguish it by destroying its leader, the Lady. Peter wants them dead at all costs, using as his main weapon the disposition of the children he manages to transport to Avalon and turn into little killing machines, or “devils”. The climax of this war, and the end of the book, was the only part of the book that left me wanting more (and heartbroken, but I can’t tell you why), and the reason I almost took a star out of the book. It felt like a rushed way to end it all: You build up the tension to eleven, set the stage for a battle of epic proportions, and deliver something good, but not incredible. (view spoiler)[(You also kill everyone I cared about, so by the end I couldn’t care less about Peter and his epiphany) (hide spoiler)] However, this does not mean that the book is in any way, shape or form bad or not worthy of any fantasy fan’s time and energy. (I’m giving it 5 stars!!) As you can probably tell I’m no expert when it comes to retellings of classic children’s tales, but it seems to me that there aren’t a lot of ways anyone could actualize Peter Pan better than Brom. It was a magical experience that will stay with me for a long time. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
I wish I could talk about the plot, but it's so convoluted that I wouldn't know where to begin. All I can tell you is that it involves weird dogs, soyI wish I could talk about the plot, but it's so convoluted that I wouldn't know where to begin. All I can tell you is that it involves weird dogs, soy sauce, wig monsters, doors to other dimensions, ghosts (I think), and some sort of insect/lizard god who wants to take over our world. Oh! and blood, and people exploding, and meat monsters. What more do you want? The writing style is great, (it feels like the best Cracked.com articles) and it made me laugh a lot, probably because dick jokes don't bother me. The ending was cool, John was fantastic even if he didn't make sense most of the time, and I had a blast reading his and Wong's retarded adventures. ...more
I want to write a review that does justice to this AMAZING book, but I can't. It has too much goodness in it, too many memorable lines, interesting chI want to write a review that does justice to this AMAZING book, but I can't. It has too much goodness in it, too many memorable lines, interesting characters and important things to say about the human condition, so I’m going to give it a rest, read it again in a couple of months (where I’m not recuperating from any stupid surgery or illness) and try again. Hopefully I’ll manage to come up with something half decent by then. ...more
I'm surprised to say that I liked this book! The journey into Stacy's vagina was not pleasant, and sometimes I needed to put it aside for a minute toI'm surprised to say that I liked this book! The journey into Stacy's vagina was not pleasant, and sometimes I needed to put it aside for a minute to think "am I really reading this?", but for the most part it was a good experience.
The thing I like the most about "The Haunted Vagina" is that it has a plot. It may not be the best, but it's also clear that this isn't just an attempt to shock with a big title; a real story lurkes underneath. It goes like this:
For as long as she can remember, Stacy has felt and heard weird things coming out of her vagina. At first she believes that all girls struggle with similar issues, until a girlfriend (in a rather rude way) sets the record straight and informs Stacy that her situation is not common, or acceptable. Later on, she meets our narrator, Steve, who loves her enough to embark upon a journey of exploration down her girlfriend's vagina, with unexpected results.
So what do you think? Too far-fetched? Maybe, but the results are good. And while I admit that it's not the best book you'll ever read, or the most outrageous, it will be a good way to spend a slow sunday afternoon. ...more