Jessica Day George's clever adaptation of the fairy tale The Twelve Dancing Princesses elaborates just enough on the source material to keep the advenJessica Day George's clever adaptation of the fairy tale The Twelve Dancing Princesses elaborates just enough on the source material to keep the adventure and mystery alive throughout. Much of the book focuses on Galen, the soldier-turned-gardener who comes to the rescue of the weary dancers. His resourceful fearlessness is just the right temper to Rose - the eldest princess - with her maternal determination. I couldn't help but be curious about the land of Under Stone, the nature of the twelve dark princes, and the history of the magic that bound the wicked lord beneath the earth, and I wish more of that had been a part of the story instead of a backdrop to it. Much of the book's charm is in its extra characters, and I wish that we'd seen more of Galen's aunt and cousin, more of Rose's sisters Lily, Violet, and Hyacinth - each distinctly interesting in their own way - and even more of the King's advisors, especially the doctor and the good bishop (there's a bad one, so the distinction is relevant). But all that development would have made this a very long book indeed, and I can only hope that Princess of Glass - which tells the later story of the young Princess Poppy - features at least a few moments with these favorites. It will be interesting to compare this with Entwined, Heather Dixon's adaptation of the same fairy tale, released in 2011....more
It is very important, when picking up a new book, to look closely at the title page. Then one might notice details that the book itself does not makeIt is very important, when picking up a new book, to look closely at the title page. Then one might notice details that the book itself does not make necessarily obvious until the final couple chapters. Such as the fact that this is the first of a series, that the story of Cinder and Kai and the imminent lunar war upon Earth just might take four entire books to complete.
I am so very tired of first-books-in-a-series, but I suppose that's just what one gets when one (I really will stop speaking in "ones" in a moment) is able to finish a book in six hours. I suppose a six-hour book really ought to be only the start of something greater, if the story is worth its salt.
Cinder is worth it. Set in a very far future almost two centuries after the close of World War IV, Kai is the soon-to-be-emperor of one of the largest of six countries that make up the entire peaceful union of Earth. No longer fighting against each other, Earth's greatest threat comes from the Lunars, a strange people capable of manipulation and illusion, hailing from - where else - the moon. Cinder is a cyborg who's "stepmother" has been using her for free labor, abusing her fascinating talent for fixing machines, and keeping her tethered to service by a claim of ownership. Cyborgs, after all, are not considered human.
As far-fetched as the premise may be, the world-building is so confidently managed and the characters of Cinder and Kai so thoroughly believable that the reader is willingly and delightfully pulled into the narrative. Cinder's mechanical parts are only the first of her problems, and Kai's ailing father is just the tip of the iceberg for him. What begins as a curious and clever take on the Cinderella story quickly becomes a much more complex story of identity, oppression, and deceit - with a dash of hopeful romance thrown in for good measure.
Perhaps I should have mentioned this first, but it was almost two years ago that I first declared cyborg fiction would be the next "it" subgenre for teens. If Marissa Meyer's Cinder is anything to go by, I was ever so briefly a prophet. This is the sort of book that will draw imitations, and plenty of willing fans in the process. Apart from being bitter about waiting for three more books in the series, year by tedious year, I couldn't be more pleased....more
A lot of people came to this book with preconceived ideas. Which is usually a bad way to start a book. I'm grateful I came to it without having read aA lot of people came to this book with preconceived ideas. Which is usually a bad way to start a book. I'm grateful I came to it without having read a single review, and only barely having skimmed the book blurb. It stood on its own, and on its own it was beautiful. The transition Cassia makes from contented subject to rebel is gradual and believable. Nothing seems hidden at the beginning, but the unravelling details that damn the dystopia are just the right kind of insidious for us to rebel right along with her. It's an homage to every dystopian novel before it, while remaining a simple, precious, and endearing romance. I am usually upset/annoyed by love triangles, as they're generally overused, unnecessary, and not particularly romantic (seriously, there's really nothing romantic about hurting two perfectly decent young men over love). This is unfortunately not an exception, as Xander and Ky, who both could have used better names, both lacked flaws of any kind (other than their names) to nudge our preferences in a particular direction. The result is a love story tainted by a tertiary character destined for disappointment. However, Cassia's parents were wonderful - it's always refreshing when a character doesn't need dead parents to have her own story - and her brother was darling. The book ends at just the right moment for transition to book two - much like Delirium, in fact. I appreciate any book that uses poetry as unawkwardly as Matched manages to (Lies Beneath, by Anne Greenwood Brown, is another). I can only hope we'll have a new generation of readers buying volumes of Tennyson and Dylan Thomas. ...more
I don't know what to say about this except that the majority of my copy of this book is underlined, and there are at least two people I already want tI don't know what to say about this except that the majority of my copy of this book is underlined, and there are at least two people I already want to buy copies for....more