Good afternoon, all! Blogging’s back on track.
Today’s book review is a double feature: The Lunar Chronicles, books #1 and #2.
Cinder, #1 of The Lunar Chronicles
“Even in the future, the story begins with Once Upon a Time…
Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl…
Sixteen-year-old Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past and is reviled by her stepmother. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalectic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future. Because there is something unusual about Cinder, something others would kill for.”
This was an amazing retelling of the beloved fairytale. It was so cool to see how Meyer took events and people and twisted it all into something new. The writing was beautiful. The world was beautiful. The characters were beautiful. I was highly impressed. Here are some things I liked.
First of all, Cinder. She is an amazing character. I just love everything about her. Her personality, her complexity, her sarcasm. All this good stuff is squashed into a lovable character with strengths and weaknesses and… realness.
Secondly: The retelling. It was awesome. So creative. Adri was an excellent evil stepmother, just maddening enough that you’re gnashing your teeth but can’t stop reading. And Pearl… Heh heh. I guess she was really well done, since most of her part in the story was me wanting Cinder to throw a wrench at her head. I also thought it was neat how the ball worked in with everything else, and that rather than the traditional shoe flying off in Cinderella’s escape, it was in fact her metal foot.
Okay. And can I just say… Iko. She is THE BEST. Her obsession with girly things and her hilarious attitude made her pop right out of the book to me. Cinder aside, she’s my favorite character.
A dislike: The villainy. I mean, y’know, I was supposed to dislike the villainy. Queen Levana was very nicely (or nastily) done. But what I got so tired of was all the bribing and conditions and diplomacy and sloooowness. So annoying. I wanted ACTION.
Oh, and then of course I also have to criticize the actual action. I’m not really this hard to please, trust me. The whole part where (SPOILER) Cinder grabs the gun and fires at Queen Levana was confusing. Maybe it’s just me. I’m kinda slow.
This book’s rating: 4.5 stars
(I really, really liked it!)
Scarlet, #2 of The Lunar Chronicles
“Even in the future, beware of the big, bad wolf…
Cinder, the cyborg mechanic, returns in the second thrilling installment of the bestselling Lunar Chronicles. She is trying to break out of prison – even though if she succeeds, she’ll be the Commonwealth’s most wanted fugitive.
Halfway around the world, Scarlet Benoit’s grandmother is missing. When Scarlet encounters Wolf, a street fighter, who may have information about her grandmother’s whereabouts, she is loath to trust this stranger, but is inexplicably drawn to him, and he to her. As Scarlet and Wolf unravel one mystery, they encounter another when they meet Cinder. Now, all of them must stay one step ahead of the vicious Lunar Queen Levana, who will do anything for the handsome Prince Kai to become her husband, her king, her prisoner.”
There were many things I liked about this one, but also quite a few I didn’t.
The first problem: Scarlet Benoit was not my favorite character. I didn’t hate her, she just had some annoying qualities. Her tendency to be something of a manipulative flirt reared its ugly head several times throughout the book. She’s hot-tempered and stubborn, which was sometimes endearing and sometimes just exasperating. And then she’s impulsive. So darn impulsive. All in all, I have to admit I like Cinder as a character much better. But Scar did have her good points. And she’ll do anything, absolutely anything for her loved ones.
Another problem: (SLIGHT SPOILER) The whole brainwashed-savage-wolf-men thing. Running wild though the streets and killing people. Creepy, much? There weren’t many graphic descriptions, but I just felt kind of ugh about the whole concept.
Problem number three: (SPOILERS) When Wolf kills Ran. I didn’t like that at all. I get that this guy needed to be killed off by somebody. I wouldn’t have even minded so much that it was Wolf. But it was the way he went savage and killed him, IN A SOMEWHAT GRAPHICALLY UNPLEASANT WAY. It threw me off, because hasn’t Wolf been fighting against this, the inner animal? It was almost like a break in his character arc.
Anyway, here are some things I did like.
The well-done characters. Oh my. While I’ve poked holes in Scarlet and been disappointed by Wolf, they – all the characters – were undeniably three-dimensional and real. And don’t get me wrong, I liked Wolf. He was a darling character, so fiercely protective yet so sweetly shy and a little inept. And Thorne. He made me laugh with his witticisms and ridiculous bravado.
Another like: Scarlet and Wolf’s romance. (FOR THE MOST PART.) There were a couple things about their relationship I didn’t like. But the way it grew throughout the course of the story was sweet. And I did think they went well together.
This book’s rating: three stars
(I would rate this one two and a half stars, but the writing and characters really were beautiful. And I’m in a nice mood.)
Tell me your opinion! What did you think of Cinder and Scarlet? Do you agree with my criticism/ramblings? Is there anything significant you disagree with? I’d love to hear from you!