I don't know how to feel. I hated how Jem was treated. Not what happened, but how he was brushed off, both by characters and the author. All of his ma...moreI don't know how to feel. I hated how Jem was treated. Not what happened, but how he was brushed off, both by characters and the author. All of his major plot points happened "off screen". it was infurating.
With that said I did like what happened with Will. I think I liked Tessa's relationship with Will and Tessa's relationship with Jem, but not both of them happening at the same time. Maybe I don't like Tessa...and maybe I don't like her because I see so much of myself in her, and she is flawed.(less)
Shades of Earth is the best of the three in the series, especially the first half. We start off with the shuttle crash landing on Centauri-Earth and t...moreShades of Earth is the best of the three in the series, especially the first half. We start off with the shuttle crash landing on Centauri-Earth and tensions mount as the people break into two groups, Earthborn and Shipborn. I thought the racism was really well done and I could totally understand Amy's frustration at being caught in the middle. I did enjoy their first impressions of the planet. My mind was coming up with all kinds of theories about what was going on with this planet and what kind of dangers they would face. Unfortunately I felt like my imagination was bigger than the planet because I felt like what actually happened on the planet was a bit of a let down.
The twists weren't all the surprising, I pretty much called everything that was going to happen. I didn't appreciate Amy's parents as much as I wanted. Her dad was all military all the time, and was set up as an antagonist which I thought was a step back in terms of plotting and the character development of Amy. Her mom had no personality and was there basically to just be the scientist so new plot elements could be revealed easily. That too felt like a cop out. I honestly found the plot to be really confusing. I literally just finished the book and I was trying to explain it to a co-worker and I couldn't summarize it. Something about corporate greed and slavery? It felt like Beth Revis was trying to get allegorical but also trying to do it subtly and it just didn't come out in a clear way.
Also I thought the love triangle was ridiculous and completely unnecessary. I hated how jealous Elder got, your girlfriend is allowed to be friends with other guys, though I thought Amy handled the whole situation pretty well. Amy and Elder's relationship as a whole didn't really work for me, and honestly I would have rather Amy choose herself and learn to live as her own independent person. Alas, what YA heroine ever gets to do that?
Overall the Across the Universe series improved with each book. I really appreciated that Revis stepped away from the sexual assault and intimidation in the second book. That was a plot device that I really hated, as well as the general sense of sex is scary and bad that was in Across the Universe. I appreciated the different allegorical themes throughout the series, but I did think some were more successful than others. I think Across the Universe addressed racism very well throughout the whole series, whether it was the shipborns not trusting Amy because she looked different or the earthborns thinking they were better than the shipborns. I thought the theme of government control were well explored at the beginning of the series, but fell flat later on. Finally I don't think the evils of corporate greed were written about in great depth. That portion of the story felt rushed and very surface level.
I would recommend the Across the Universe series to people who are looking for a science fiction with a lot of parallels to our current society. While the series didn't really work for me, I know that many will find it compelling and surprising. (less)
I am a literature sadist. I don't know why, but I have a sick need to finish every book that I've started, no matter how painful, stupid, or rage-indu...moreI am a literature sadist. I don't know why, but I have a sick need to finish every book that I've started, no matter how painful, stupid, or rage-inducing. I really did not like Sever, nor the Chemical Garden series as a whole. I think this story could have definitely been a stand alone because all of the plot really happened in the first book and the second and third were full of pretty prose of little consequence. I was particularly disappointed with this series because there were so many really interesting ways this story could have gone and a lot of great topics that could have been explored but none were really committed to which just left for a weak series that didn't say anything.
Sever was a very monotonous ending to the series where nothing really happened and none of our questions were answered. The first third of the book was Rhine hanging out at Lindon's uncle's house (did we know about this uncle before book 3? I don't think so, and this character suddenly living just down the road was very convenient) doing nothing. I thought finding her brother was really important but she's really not in any hurry to do anything other than putz around. I also was wondering what was going on with Gabriel, but Rhine must really have an out of sight, out of mind personality because I don't think she spared one thought for him for at least 200 pages. But you know what, Rhine and Linden should have stayed together because they're both as exciting as a bump on a log covered with a wet blanket. I seriously don't think I've read two more wishy washy characters in my life. The only semi redeemable character in Sever is Cecily (I know I was surprised too). There was some character growth there and Cecily actually took some action in this book. I couldn't believe it.
I also had huge problems with the general plot of Sever and how the big issues of the world were glossed over or just not addressed at all. I don't want to post too many spoilers, but the big revelations about Rhine's parent's work on genetics or Vaugh's motivations behind his terrible abuses or how the world because the messed up society felt so contrived, like the author didn't know how to tie things up so she just brushed it under the rug with the barest of explanations. The plot of this series is so sloppy, it's laughable. All of the pretty prose in the world can't replace a well thought out story.
The other aspect of Sever that is really damaging is sex, namely the lack of sex that our main character has. I mentioned this in my review for Fever, but to have a world where young girls are forced into marriage and prostitution as basically broodmares, and then put your main character into situation after situation where all of her peers are forced into sex but somehow miraculously she doesn't have to have sex is so ridiculous I can't even properly form words. This is the biggest cop out I have ever seen. If you're going to create a world like this and put your character in those situations (I mean, she was in a prostitution circus FFS) then you have to follow through, even if that means bad things have to happen to that character. If you don't back up your world building the entire series falls apart and I won't be able to take the story or the characters seriously. That's a problem with YA in general I think, writers don't want to do anything really bad to their characters so they put them in dangerous situations but don't actually put them in any danger.
Sever, and frankly the entire Chemical Garden series, is just a hot mess. Weak characters, weak plot, and very weak world building makes up this train wreck of a series. Flowery prose cannot make up for this pile of pseudo scientific drivel.(less)
Scarlet is the second book in the Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer. I read the first book, Cinder, last year when it came out and I absolutely loved...moreScarlet is the second book in the Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer. I read the first book, Cinder, last year when it came out and I absolutely loved it. In fact it was my second favorite book of 2012 so to say that my expectations for Scarlet were high is a bit of an understatement. However I'm very pleased to report that Scarlet definitely lived up to my expectations! The Lunar Chronicles is quickly becoming one of my favorite YA series. (FYI this review might have some spoilers for Cinder, so you have been warned).
Scarlet picks up directly after the ending of Cinder. What's interesting in Scarlet is instead of just following Cinder's story we are following three different characters, Cinder who is busting out of jail, Prince Kai who is trying to deal with the evil Queen Levana, and a new character named Scarlet who lives in France and delivers vegetables from her grandmother's farm. I wasn't too sure how I would feel about the POV changes, but I think they were done very smoothly though I have to admit I enjoyed my homegirl Cinder's story more.
I did like the new characters, espeically Scarlet and Thorne (another prisoner who escapes with Cinder and really reminds me of Captain Jack Harkness). However because Scarlet and Cinder don't come together until the very end of the novel I don't think we get the same level of attention paid to the new characters. I didn't buy into Scarlet and Wolf's relationship the same way I did with Cinder and Kai.
My favorite thing about Scarlet though is the introduction to the big plot. Cinder was an introduction to the world and the main characters but in Scarlet we really get our first glimpse at just how bad the Lunars are and how dangerous Cinder's situation really is. I also really LOVED the ending but the "big reveal"? Yeah totally saw that one coming lol.
Overall Scarlet and the Lunar Chronicles as a whole are some of the best YA novels out there. The balance of the fairy tales that we all know and love with the completely new world Meyer has created is fantastic and comes together to create a wholly original story. (less)