** WARNING: there will be spoilers for Divergent. DO NOT read if you haven't read Divergent already.
I feel as if my hands are hovering over the keyboard, not quite sure where to start and what to say other than WOW.
I read Divergent days after its release date last year, so I knew I’d need to refresh because Veronica’s world is so dense and structured. I couldn’t have been happier that I decided to re-read it; there were so many details that I would have been questioning in Insurgent. Veronica springs right into action and doesn’t provide a lot of back story. I think it’s expected of her readers to be well-versed in the characters and story. (This is probably my biggest piece of advice. Re-read Divergent, your notes, a blog… something that provides the ins and outs of all the chaos that goes down before you begin Insurgent.)
Insurgent is full (FULL) of twists and turns. Tris makes a lot of decisions that I didn’t always relate to or understand, but I don’t think she always knew why she was making them either. She’s searching, relentlessly, to find out who she is. Is she factionless? Is she Dauntless? She’s never been very selfless, but maybe she should have stayed in Abnegation. Because of all these uncertainties, there was a lot of friction between Tris and Four.
I know. Friction?!
I wish I could say to expect only the hottest, steamiest goodness from these two, but they’re both packing a lot of baggage. As they each have their own issues, more depth and complexity introduced itself. Sometimes it was hard for me to decide if Tris or Four was right. They both presented persuasive arguments for why they felt one way or another. My heart felt so torn. Maybe shredded is more appropriate. Tris and Four had so much trouble connecting – they were very hit or miss. I must admit that this part was hard for me to read through; sure, it’s only logical that when faced with so much turmoil, the romantical parts of life might be less… romantical, but somehow in Divergent, they always found a way to have sweet, tender moments. (And yes, I hereby instate romantical as a useable word. Go forth and prosper.)
The ride Roth takes us on in Insurgent is intense. I felt as if I were making the decisions right along with Tris. Her strong, rigid exterior was completely broken after the simulation attacks. She emotes so much more vulnerability and mourns the loss of Will and her parents. She takes on what I’d like to call a “savior complex” and feels like she needs to sacrifice herself to honor those who died. There were times when I felt like I, as a reader, was intentionally kept in the dark, though. I’d have questions about the whereabouts of people or how certain things happened, only to have Roth brilliantly explain them later.
There are people, solutions, and questions along the way that constantly left me guessing. Who is to be trusted? Is X person manipulating Y person? What side is that faction really on? The debates are endless.
There’s no doubt that this was my most anticipated book for 2012. I tried to slowly read through it so I could cling to every ounce of goodness, but yet again, I feel as if I should re-read this soon because I couldn’t contain myself. Somehow Roth always stumps me with her impeccable writing and I’m left thinking, “WHAT THE HECK JUST HAPPENED THERE?” or feeling like I missed something big because surely that’s not the way that just went down. The ending, to be sure, left me flipping back through the final pages several times as I was quite flabbergasted.
I hope you love(d) Insurgent by Veronica Roth as much as I did. Please, please link up your review in the comments below because I need to FEEL and empathize with other readers....more
Parker’s mom had a secret, one she kept for many years. She finally decided to be honest and the truth[Review originally posted on Rather Be Reading!]
Parker’s mom had a secret, one she kept for many years. She finally decided to be honest and the truth has rocked Parker’s world. Parker used to be an all-star athlete, extremely involved in her church, and had tons of friends. She’s since quit the softball team, questions her faith, and finds herself lonely as her ex-best friends circulate rumors about her.
Parker’s church has completely turned on her since her mother’s secret was announced. Her ex-best friend (the pastor’s daughter) was forced to end their friendship. (Why she felt the need to be so atrocious, I’ll never understand.) Church ladies gossip when she walks by and she doesn’t understand how her family could be ripped apart like this. She’s just not sure where she stands anymore. A part of Parker still believes there is a God, as evidenced by the prayers she writes (and subsequently burns). She seeks normalcy — for her drug-using-former-perfect-student-brother to go back to his old self and for her dad to acknowledge that things are messed up. Her prayers are her true self – the things she feels she cannot tell anyone. She fears getting close to many people again because they always screw her over.
To receive a different kind of attention, Parker loses herself to kissing boys and remaking herself into a skinnier new girl. She wants to prove she’s different from her mom. She kisses anyone she wants, but never pursues relationships with the boys, giving her a not-so-great reputation. She’s never felt the need to date someone she doesn’t see herself with in the future. Besides, kissing is just fun.
When she meets the new assistant baseball coach, twenty-three year old Brian Huffman, she’s smitten with him. He’s cute and doesn’t know all her secrets (therefore doesn’t judge her). As the team manager, she gets to spend an abundance of time with the new coach. Their relationship slowly progresses into more than a friendship between student and teacher. Maybe kissing isn’t enough with Coach Huff.
On the flip side, she starts getting to know Corndog (Will) better. He’s always been her biggest competition for valedictorian, but now that she’s been officially deemed number one, their rivalry has subsided. Parker begins hanging out with Will and her best friend Drew outside of practices. It seems that Drew’s withdrawing a bit, and has his own secrets. Things get incredibly complicated as Parker’s secrets and friendships collide with Drew’s secrets and everyone learns the truth. Despite the multiple plot lines that were chaotically interwoven, Kenneally handled each one perfectly and never let anything take away from the story and Parker’s journey.
Stealing Parker definitely felt more intense and somber than Catching Jordan. It’s about a girl’s exploration to find herself and understand her relationship with God amidst a huge small-town scandal that rocks her world. It’s about her endeavor to understand (and explore) her sexuality. Parker is faced with a lot of responsibility being the bearer of her own secrets and eventually Drew’s. The weight of her mom’s decisions and her own, mixed with an obligation to stay true to her best friend, puts her under a considerable amount of pressure.
Kenneally gripped me from the first page with Parker’s story. I couldn’t tear myself away from the pages of Stealing Parker. While Kenneally won me over with Jordan and Henry’s incredible story in Catching Jordan, she has earned my readership for life with Stealing Parker.
(Oh, and…! I’m happy to announce you’ll get to connect with Jordan and Henry from Catching Jordan again via a few awesome cameos!)...more
We’re all told that we shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover (or really, not even by it’s name). For months I’ve been decl[Posted on Rather Be Reading]
We’re all told that we shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover (or really, not even by it’s name). For months I’ve been declaring my excitement for Flirting in Italian and how anxious I was to read it. Unfortunately, I felt like the cute name and cover didn’t match the content inside. I was desperately left wanting more and in a really let down mood — to the point where I was unable to sleep after finishing and didn’t want to pick up another book for several days. I have never been affected by a book in this way — it left me skeptical and afraid the next book would fall short of my expectations, too. (Not sure if you guys feel the same way, but I don’t deal well with reading back-to-back frustrating books and somehow this one took away my hope that the next book would be incredible.)
Note: I am fully aware that I might be in the minority of people by announcing my dislike for this book. Let me try to help you understand why in the least spoilery way.
My first immediate reaction was that I couldn’t connect at all with the main character, Violet. I usually find a way to sympathize with most characters, even if they’re the polar opposite of me. I think that’s a tell-tale sign for a good author — someone who can make us get so emotionally involved despite our differences. Violet was bratty, spoiled, judgmental, competitive, and completely insecure. Her inner commentary drove me mad. She is supposed to live with four other girls for the summer in Italy while she’s trying to figure out why she looks like the mirror image of a girl in an 18th century painting. I could NOT take the constant distrustful and comparative dialogue; it left little hope for friendships to actually bond the girls because Violet was so much “better” than them. For someone who was also incredibly self-loathing body-image wise, home girl sure did think she had it going on and was better than everyone else.
I just wanted someone to put her in her place.
Next issue: I really appreciate when an author assumes their reader will retain information even if they only state it once. I don’t like being berated with duplicate information. So often, Flirting in Italian just seemed like a broken record. I don’t know how many times it was mentioned that Violet had never been to Italy before or picked up a paintbrush; however, once she set foot in Italy, she just wanted to paint everything. I could have dealt with her excitement over painting if she was actually painting. (That didn’t occur until approximately 50 pages from the end. Finally.) Paige, one of the girls studying abroad with Violet, was constantly referred to as the girl who said aloud what was on everyone’s mind and jumped into conversations. QUIT TELLING ME SHE DOES THOSE THINGS AND JUST SHOW THEM TO ME.
I suppose I’ve never better understood the phrase “show me, don’t tell me” when referring to a book. A lot of unnecessary telling was going on in Flirting in Italian.
My last and probably greatest issue was that Violet went to Italy in search of answers. She was trying to figure out if she was adopted. I thought that would play a huge part in the book and oh, coincidentally, a cute boy would pop into the picture. Nope. Not the case. Three quarters of the way through the book, Violet was just starting to wonder about the castle where the painting was said to have been made. So much attention was paid to the parties and the terrible boy, Luca, that she insta-love-crushed on that it felt like Henderson ran out of time to make her case for the painting. I realized about a quarter of the way through that there was NO way we were going to make our way through 8 weeks in Italy, especially since not even a week had gone by. Aside from the gross, sickening ending that had me audibly gagging, I was infuriated that this book was split into a two-parter.
I kid you not, friends, this book ends by saying to check out the companion novel Following in Love in Italian (which currently has no information available on Goodreads). This story is unnecessarily being split into multiple books; major editing could have been done to strengthen the plot to fit everything neatly into a standalone book.
As you all are aware, I’m a girl who loves kissy scenes. Let me not graze over Luca. I have a bone to pick with his character as well. He was confusing and a d-bag and downright rude. I didn’t find a redeeming quality whatsoever throughout the entire book. He was purely written into Flirting in Italian to provide make-out scenes. That sounds like a big WIN, but their whole relationship was way too dramatic for me. [insert many an eye roll] If what you’re expecting is Stephanie Perkins-esque, stop right where you are. You will be disappointed.
So. *paces back and forth* How do you guys feel about Flirting in Italian by Lauren Henderson now? Have you read it? Did you feel the same way? Please let me know!...more
Timepiece shifts gears a bit – we’re no longer reading from Em’s perspective. We get to really dive into the life of Kale[Posted on Rather Be Reading]
Timepiece shifts gears a bit – we’re no longer reading from Em’s perspective. We get to really dive into the life of Kaleb – a snarky, womanizing, drunk-all-the-time seventeen year old. I enjoyed the bits I got to know of him in Hourglass, so I was super pumped for the change. Often times, changes like this can make or break a series. (Did anyone else throw Breaking Dawn when Jacob’s point of view randomly made an appearance? No? Okay – just me, then.) Because I really enjoy Myra’s writing, I hoped the change would be intentional.
It definitely was. Myra didn’t let me down. Kaleb is broken. He’s suffering from the current state his mom is in – on life support, with all of her memories striped away from her by Jack. He feels completely helpless and isn’t sure how to use his empathetic ability for anything productive. His ability to constantly feel what other people are emoting leaves him extremely vulnerable so he drinks (too often and too much) and casually sleeps with girls to ease the pain.
When Kaleb was introduced to Lily, Em’s best friend, I did a fist pump. Lily put everyone in their place and she took shit from no one. She was guarded and trustful of few people. She said exactly what was on her mind and wasn’t easily charmed by Kaleb’s tattoos and good looks. She sounded like exactly the kind of girl Kaleb needed. Lily has a special ability that was alluded to in Hourglass, but we finally get to see her talents come to fruition. Em feels that Kaleb is a good person to help Lily figure out how to use her skill, so these two end up spending tons of time together. Lily and Kaleb are often at odds with one another. He’s abrasive. She’s a hard ass. This means, as a reader, you’re in for a treat. Their interactions were awesome. I often found myself laughing out loud.
With an ultimatum set in place for the time space continuum to be fixed by Halloween, Kaleb and crew are on the hunt to track down Jack. While some of the time travel talk went a bit over my head (I haven’t read many of these kinds of books), I did find that Myra made it understandable if I was willing to take these sections a little slower than usual. Lily finds out how she can be useful despite there being severe dangers if she exercises her abilities. Kaleb realizes there may be more to his empathizing than he originally thought.
I don’t want to leave you with any spoilers that will take away from Kaleb’s story. Expect to laugh and to enjoy McEntire’s writing. Timepiece was just as enjoyable as Hourglass, and I’m anxious to see how McEntire continues this story in her next book (which just sold to EgmontUSA – congratulations, Myra!). One final recommendation: either re-read Hourglass or read the cliff notes Myra linked to on her blog. I read the posts and opted not to-reread and found it was perfect for me to feel connected to the story again....more
A story that involves secrecy and conspiracy theories? Sign me up.
Adaptation takes us on a wild ride as we try to piece together what happened to Reese and David after they get in a car accident involving a bird with glowing eyes: Where were they taken? What procedures were done on them? What in the heck happened to them in that facility?
Adaptation drew me in because I wanted to know the truth. I needed answers. Bird attacks have taken down countless planes across the United States and the government seems to be trying to cover up something. Reese believes it’s no coincidence that her last memory before the accident was a bird flying into the headlights of the car she was driving. While I was completely entranced leading up to the accident, my focus was a bit lost after they returned home to San Francisco.
The first 100 pages of Adaptation were strong and fast-paced; I felt connected to Reese and understood the chaos and panic that was overtaking the U.S. It was after this point, when David and Reese are released to go home from the facility, that I felt the story navigated away from its original purpose and became something else. Reese was never a girl who was interested in having a serious relationship — due to her father’s playboy-ish ways, she’s decided to distance herself from dating. When she returns home, she collides (literally) with a girl named Amber on the streets and a relationship quickly blossoms.
This is where I felt the story changed direction. Reese is trying to figure out who she is and is a bit confused by her sudden attraction to a girl. At least a quarter (if not a little more) of the book was dedicated to Reese’s sexuality. While I did enjoy this part of the book, I felt like I was left hanging and very little was progressing with what drew me into the story: what happened to Reese and David. I would have liked to have seen these two stories collide and more of David thrown into the mix to make Reese’s later confused emotions make more sense. (David was a character I wish had been more developed overall; for an event that happened to two people, the focus was primarily on Reese, leaving David very one dimensional.) While later the stories blended together, I felt much more dedicated to the beginning and end of the story.
Please don’t misinterpret what I’m saying – I do understand Reese’s questioning of her sexuality and how a teenager can put everything else aside to chase after love. (Raise your hand if you’ve done this.) I am not discounting the impact or influence Lo will have; I believe it will speak volumes to those questioning or seeking to understand their sexuality and it will resonate with those who have been there. I simply hoped that Reese had been more driven to find out answers about what happened to her. Adaptation would have been more impactful if Lo had fused the sci-fi beginning and end with the very contemporary, explorative middle.
Despite my drawbacks, Lo successfully left me aching to know what happens to her characters. The blending of paranormal elements and conspiracy theories was incredibly intriguing. Pieces of the story felt so real to me that I couldn’t help but be wary of flocks of birds when I saw them. I have no idea what will happen next for Reese, but I am very anxious to see what Lo has in store for us....more
I’ve discovered that I have Aversion to Middle Book Syndrome. I get really antsy, anxious, and nervous[Review originally posted on Rather Be Reading]
I’ve discovered that I have Aversion to Middle Book Syndrome. I get really antsy, anxious, and nervous for the sequels to be released, but then I just. can’t. do it. It takes tons and tons of willpower for me to pick up the book and carry on. With Unravel Me, I just knew there was going to be something that made my heart stop which would then transform into anger at having to wait so long for another book.
What I didn’t expect was that this Huge, Big Thing was going to be abandoning Adam in the midst of tons of grief and running to Warner with wide open arms. (Yes, I know. That makes me sound like a terrible person.)
Before jumping into the million reasons why I cannot stop thinking about and love Warner, let’s reflect on Juliette. I found her character to be so unique and refreshing in Shatter Me, but this time around I was a bit thrown off by her. Mafi does an incredible job molding her into a girl that I completely understand – I get why she doesn’t trust people , why she feels so isolated, and why things never seem to go easily for her. But I reached a point where I just wanted to say, “ENOUGH! Accept this and move on.” I wanted her to fight for herself and to not be the small, fragile girl she had been molded into. Thankfully, Kenji was around to balance out my frustrations, put Juliette in her place, and provide humor by referring to himself as sexy all the time.
Omega Point is where Juliette should have been learning more about her ability and meshing with people who have powers like hers. Time passes by quickly as Juliette is struggling to gain control of her life and make friends there, but despite the good things she has going for her, she remains isolated. I felt a bit like Juliette was a psychological study – lock a girl in isolation and see how she deals in the world when she’s released (and furthermore – immerse her in a world that’s underground and see how she handles it).
Part of the complication is Adam. He and Juliette hit a crossroad. It’s one of those things where you throw your hands in the air and wonder why. There are so many revelations (with Adam and Warner, specifically) that will have you icing your jaw because it’s dropped so many times.
Speaking of the whole Adam v. Warner debate… let this be my two cents: For all that I am supposed to love Adam, I feel I am not fully convinced Warner isn’t better. I no longer feel like I know Adam’s character – I didn’t see enough of him and there are just so many complications. I was constantly frustrated with the tension and how on-edge Juliette always was. I hope so badly that I am not wrong about Warner. I feel like I’m being lured in to love him and quite possibly, something will happen to him or he’s going to prove me wrong and leave me weeping in a dark corner.
This fear of Warner proving me wrong? The not being able to know what happens for a whole year? That, friends, is why I have Aversion to Middle Book Syndrome....more
An assassin. How is it possible that I just read a book about a female assassin and I loved it? Thi[Review originally published on Rather Be Reading!]
An assassin. How is it possible that I just read a book about a female assassin and I loved it? This is so not me, you guys. Maas just killed my perfect track record of avoiding books with castles and horses and kings – and she made me want more. Let me tell you about all the awesome…
Celaena is a badass assassin. The Captain of the Guard, Chaol, and the Crown Prince, Dorian, arrive at Endovier where Celaena is in prison. She was the world’s greatest assassin who was finally captured and sentenced. Upon the very first meeting with Chaol, Dorian, and Calaena, I was in love. She’s tough and sarcastic and inappropriate at the most inopportune times. She doesn’t take crap from anyone and has an overwhelming problem with submission. She gets put in her place when she has to portray a weaker criminal during the King’s competition – she’s forced to pretend to be weak, mediocre, and she balks that she has to hide who she really is.
She must fight for her freedom. The king has summoned assassins, thieves, and ex-guards to train and fight in a competition to become his personal champion. The winner will be granted freedom after serving the king for a given amount of time. Celaena is the only female in the competition – the men she’s surrounded by are disgusting, inappropriate, and completely inferior to her. Who doesn’t like to see a girl triumph over twenty-three guys?
A mysterious murderer is roaming the castle. This person is taking out the champions before big tests and causing chaos. There’s a big game of whodunit as the reader is given glimpses into more than just Celaena, Chaol, and Dorian’s whereabouts. I had a list of people I didn’t trust and wanted so badly to figure out who the killer was. So much suspense!
The world was so vivid. I could picture exactly what her room looked like, where she trained, the lands they traveled through to reach the castle, and had a rich understanding of the glass castle. While I love to fall into the setting of a book, I don’t like being overwhelmed by paragraph upon paragraph of dense description. Maas described the world without me realizing what she was doing — I never felt bogged down in the details, but did walk away wishing I could physically experience the snowy, winter days from within the glass castle.
The third person narrative was very effective for telling this story. I’m accustomed to reading so many first-person contemporary books, but the third person change was refreshing. It gave me the chance to understand more than just the protagonist’s perspective. I had insight to Dorian and Chaol’s whereabouts or actions that let me know things Celaena wasn’t aware of. Maas told the story in a way that still felt very personal and intimate, despite being distanced from Celaena’s every thought.
There’s a love triangle … and I didn’t mind one bit. Dorian is very agressive with his feelings — he’s upfront about how he feels, what he wants. He doesn’t fail to be suggestive or use sexual innuendos to communicate what he desires. He’s known as a bit of a playboy and is accustomed to getting what he wants since, ya know, he is the Prince. Chaol feels that by neglecting his feelings, they won’t exist. How could he, the Captain of the Guard, fall for an assassin? He and Celaena’s mutual hate for one another morphs into a friendly banter. Their friendship is a slow progression. Both boys, clearly, have their strengths and it will be quite entertaining to see who readers favor.
What I hope to learn: I do want to know more about Celaena’s history and what happened to her parents. How did she become involved with the King of the Assassins? There are a few ebooks that tell Celaena’s story prior to where the Throne of Glass begins. Should I read those? I would love to know more about her training and how she came to be the girl I adored so much.
My last words: Celaena is a character I want to spend more time with and I want to know everything about. I can’t wait to see what happens in her future and I am so excited Maas has given me a new world to fall in love with. By the way, I’m totally Team Chaol....more
If you think back to your high school days, was there ever a time when it seemed everyone around you ha[Review originally posted on Rather Be Reading]
If you think back to your high school days, was there ever a time when it seemed everyone around you had a boyfriend but you? That’s kind of how Rae feels. She’s not sure she’s relationship material because she’s super picky. Then one magical day, a new boy (Nathan) appears at her school and he’s immediately interested — blatantly staring at her, making sure she knows he’s interested.
While Rae would like to take things a bit slower, her best friends encourage her to take the risk and go for it with Nathan. What her friends don’t know is how badly Rae wants to be loved, how dire her home life is, and how easy it is for her to fall under Nathan’s spell. Her mom is married to a scumbag of a guy because he promised her a better life (that, unfortunately, will likely never come to fruition). He gets fired from his low-paying job and forces Rae to relinquish nearly all of her wages from her job at the floral shop to “help the family stay afloat” (aka: hand over money for his alcoholic ways).
Nathan quickly begins pressuring Rae for more than just make-out sessions. She would rather build a relationship on something more than the physical. When their relationship falls apart, she feels free of Nathan’s constant watchful eye. She finds solace in her job and her newfound friendship with Leo, the boy who works at the coffee bistro next door (…and is easygoing and happy, makes silly movies, and takes Rae on unexpected adventures). Nathan begins showing up in random places, stalking her, and becomes more possessive and threatening.
Falling For You begins in present day where we see that Rae is in the hospital, not doing very well. The exact details of what happened to her are unknown, but we rewind six months to the beginning of Rae’s relationship with Nathan and her step-dad’s downward spiral. The big question is What happened to Rae? There’s lots of speculation on behalf of the reader, but the real heart of the story is seeing Rae’s life, both the highs and the lows, unfold.
For those of you that loved The Day Before (written entirely in verse), don’t fret. Schroeder incorporates poetry through Rae’s personal diary entries and her anonymous submissions to the school’s newspaper. Through the poetry, we’re opened up to a side of Rae that she shares with no one — she is raw and honest, holding nothing back. This was a lovely incorporation that opened my eyes to how necessary writing is for some people as an outlet when they feel they’re all alone in the world.
Full of charming imagery with awesome I-want-to-know-you-in-real-life-characters (I dare you not to love her boss and co-workers!), Schroeder’s Falling For You will make you want to open up your guest bedroom for Rae to give her a safe, loving place to live. You’ll be eager to get to the end of the story to find out what happened to her, but hesitant to finish the story because you won’t want to leave Leo behind....more
[Please note there will be spoilers for Cinder. If you haven't read it yet, don't read beyond this poin[Review originally posted on Rather Be Reading]
[Please note there will be spoilers for Cinder. If you haven't read it yet, don't read beyond this point!]
Cinder was classified as A Book Magan Should Have Read Sooner. Much sooner. Thankfully upon finishing, I was able to dive right in to Scarlet. (Recommendation: Reading these back-to-back was flawless so if it’s been a while for you, do a refresher so you can remember all the details).
We meet Scarlet right away — her grandmother is missing. Law enforcement doesn’t believe she’s been kidnapped. They close her case because they want to believe that her grandmother chose to leave. They allude to suicide, but Scarlet knows better. Things seem super sketchy, right?
If you’re nervous about what happens to your favorite Cinder characters and you need answers + more Prince Kai, never fear. Cinder is still locked in prison and she’s just found out she’s Princess Selene. She desperately needs to escape before she’s taken back to Luna. The only way out is to ask another prisoner, Thorne, for help. Unbeknownst to Cinder, Thorne becomes her sidekick. He is comical, quirky, and despite being a nuisance 99% of the time, he proves he’s quite useful when he needs to be.
Ultimately, Cinder and Scarlet’s stories begin to interweave and this is where Marissa Meyer blows your mind. At times, the pacing seemed a bit slower than Cinder was, but I was still very engaged as a reader. I wanted to how/when/where Scarlet and Cinder’s stories would intersect. Kai was more of a peripheral character for me (I always, always want more Kai); he’s confused about Cinder. Did she use her glamour to persuade him to trust her? Did she manipulate him? He’s frustrated that Queen Levana has forced him to make abrupt decisions. Ay, yi, yi — Queen Levana — detestable woman!
What remains to be one of Meyer’s most striking storytelling tactics is how she alludes to details and lets her readers in on secrets before the characters have fully come to realize them. She continues to give clues that we can use to figure out what’s going to happen next, but I must say… Wolf confused the heck outta me. Scarlet is a Little Red Riding Hood retelling so naturally, I refreshed my memory because I wanted to know what to expect of Wolf. I didn’t want to fall in love with a character I was only supposed to hate! But oh, no! Meyer took my heart on a roller coaster ride and while I had a few suspicions about him from the very beginning, I still didn’t know whether or not to love him. He was dark and mysterious, carrying around lots of baggage. (If you like brooding boys, brace yourselves, girls!)
Scarlet was very much a — Who do I trust? / What’s happening in this world? / How does this piece together? / Where do things go from here? book. I feel like I have a grasp of what Meyer intends to do in the grand scheme of things, but I cannot wait to see what she does with the characters we’ll be introduced to. Believe me, guys, Scarlet is awesome. Remember how you felt about Cinder? Multiply that awesomeness by a million....more
You know those books you see pop up a TON on review blogs? You read incredible reviews for the book[Review originally published on Rather Be Reading!]
You know those books you see pop up a TON on review blogs? You read incredible reviews for the book and add it to your TBR list on Goodreads, but somehow it takes you months to pick it up?
Yup, that was me with Cinder.
I sincerely wish a blog had blatantly stated SKIP EVERYTHING ELSE AND READ THIS NOW. I absolutely loved Cinder that much. So, this is me telling you to stop what you’re doing and read Cinder immediately.
Fairy tale retellings are a popular thing right now. It’s such a great way for us big kids to relive the stories we used to adore as children, but with a shiny new twist on things. Cinder was precisely that for me – unique and artistic, fresh, and oh-so-good.
Meyer took a lot of creative liberties and didn’t follow the original Cinderella to a T. It’s set in the future and our beloved Cinder is a cyborg, a human that’s been “fixed” by having a foot and an arm replaced with engineered, metal ones. Her step-mother is as atrocious as ever, but the circumstances are different. Cinder is adopted into the family by her step-father (who does, as in the original, pass away). She’s one of the best mechanics in town and undertakes as much work as she can to provide the cushy life her step-mother has grown accustomed to.
Cinder is a mere sixteen years old, but she’s tough and unbreakable. (I suppose having a wretched step-mother can callous you.) I loved her hard core attitude and the way she fumbled over her words when she was in the presence of Prince Kai when they first met. Kai isn’t your stereotypical arrogant/conceited/egotistical prince. He’s a little quirky, very funny, kind and tender-hearted. He was so sweet and immediately had my heart swooning.
Part of the brilliance of Cinder was that the entire cast of characters felt so fully developed. I connected and sympathized with Cinder, but my love wasn’t just for her. All the layers of Kai were peeled back, allowing us to see him for more than just a prince. (I wrote a list of moments I adored with him: when his father passes away, when Cinder arrives at the ball, quiet moments with her in the elevator, and meeting Cinder for the very first time at the festival.) But Meyer didn’t stop the amazingness with the primary characters. She gave Cinder an opinionated, original robotic friend, Iko and the sweetest, most innocent younger step-sister, Peony. Iko and Peony helped show us more than Cinder’s abrasive, distrusting side.
Oftentimes, I dislike when I can guess where a plot is headed (I like to be outsmarted by the author). Something I’ve learned to really like about Meyer’s writing is that she gives her readers just enough subtle hints without spoiling it entirely. Instead of feeling let down that I guessed the ending, I felt a rush as my suspicions were confirmed because I felt like I knew something Cinder didn’t know. I do think Meyer is intentional in the little breadcrumb hints she leaves along the way – she builds anticipation by allowing us to know things and be surprised when the truth is revealed to the characters.
I could go on and on about my love for Cinder, but I hope you’ll take my word for it and pick it up soon. You’ll want to be prepared for the sequel, Scarlet, to come out in February! (This time we get to meet Little Red Riding Hood!)...more