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Book Review: Cress by Marissa Meyer (Lunar Chronicles, Book 3)

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Hey, book lovers.

So, today I finished book three in the Lunar Chronicles series, this amazing series of fairytale-retellings in a futuristic world, where each of the fairytale princesses that we know and love come together to kick-ass and save the world. I have so, so, so much to say about this series. If you haven’t read it, you should. Go and do it. I am kind of, maybe, a little bit obsessed with it right now, but you would be too. *Screams.*

I have also reviewed the other two books in the series, and you can find them on this blog. I also have the next book, Winter, and cannot wait to start reading it.

Okay, so in this world, we have Cinder, the narrator of the first book, and she is a cyborg Cinderella- a mechanic, who is really the secret princess (I knew it would be true from the beginning- duh!). But she’s also Lunar, and has never known anything of her past, though she has always lived with her adoptive stepmother, Linh Adri, and her two stepsisters, Pearl and Peony (but you couldn’t call the youngest evil, no way.) She was lovely from the start. I never liked Pearl and Adri, but we’re not really supposed to, I guess. So the prince was flirting with Cinder, after asking her to fix an android that contained secret information, and he has been looking for the lost princess ever since. But it is when the plague reaches her family and poor Pearl shrinks away, leaving Adri to blame Cinder, that Cinder is sent away to a ‘volunteering’ program, where cyborgs like herself are tested on, in order to find an antidote to the plague that is ruining so many lives in the Eastern Commonwealth and the rest of Earth. He fell in love with her, and they were separated.

Now, in Scarlet, the granddaughter of Michelle Benoit, who we come to realise is the woman who helped to protect the princess after her parents were killed, and kept her hidden and cared for. Scarlet is a petite, futuristic version of Little Red Riding Hood. Scarlet’s story intertwines itself with Cinder’s, and after Cinder escapes prison with the help of Dr Erland and Thorne, another prisoner, they find Scarlet and she becomes a part of their crew, on Thorne’s spacecraft, along with Wolf, the one she had come to trust, and come to love as her ‘mate’. Their relationship wasn’t instant, which I liked. It took time for Scarlet to come to trust him, knowing his connections to her missing grandmother and her now late father.

Thorne is just plain comedy throughout, and I laughed aloud so many times from everything he was commenting on, or the questions he was asking. He’s kind of the class-clown everyone loves to hear from, but no one really takes seriously. I loved his character, though. I loved how he was always trying to get closer to Cinder, but she ignored him. In Cress, we see her instant love for him, and his ego, and his pride, and then his slow-growing attachment to her, knowing that she is in love with him and not wanting to hurt her in any way.

I really love the way all of the characters came together, it was so clever. At first you see Cinder’s story, and her relationship with Prince Kai, who soon becomes the Emperor of the Eastern Commonwealth when his father dies as a result of the plague, himself. Then there is Queen Levana, ruler of the moon-inhabiting Lunars, who wants to control his world along with her own, and though everyone despises her, they are also deeply afraid of her and the power she possesses. She is a Lunar with a strong ability to control how others see her, besides the Lunar ‘shells’, who are physically unaffected by these abilities but cannot control others themselves. It has also been revealed that Cinder is the true ruler, and Levana’s niece, but Cinder keeps this to herself throughout most of these stories, until Cress.

In Cinder, the mechanic met a young girl through one of her comm-links, and now, in the first chapter of Cress, we see her properly for the first time. She had helped Cinder get to the ball in the first place, as a great defiance against her mistress-thaumaturge, Sybil, and warned Cinder of Levana’s intended assassination of Kai, once they were to be married, in order to form this powerful alliance for the queen.  Sybil has always had Cress held in a tower on a satellite, and she’s never had her hair cut, so you know, I wonder if you can guess who she is. If not, Rapunzel. This was by far my favourite of all of the books, because you’ve already seen the relationships between Cinder and Kai, Scarlet and Wolf, and the rest of them intertwined, but now there is this forming relationship between Cress and her lifetime-crush, Thorne, when he comes to rescue her and they end up stranded together. (Just, aww! Maybe a little awkward, but aww!) So they end up travelling through Africa together, after falling back from the satellite to Earth, and now they’re forced to work together to get themselves out of the desert. And to top it all off, Thorne has gone blind, so Cress is forced to be his eyes, but he encourages her, as she’s often nervous and afraid, unlike Cinder, who is brittle and often cold, but very strong-hearted, and Scarlet, who is fiery in her own way. Cress is far more quiet, and as Thorne says, a little bit unsociable. But I loved their growing friendship, and then Cress’s admittance of love for him, and their slow-going emotional intimacy, as they find the Lunars in a small african village, who end up supporting them all, in the end, when they finally find Cinder again.

So they all come back together on this ship, and their characters, so unique, are mingling, which is really nice to see.

Their plans grow, and the tension develops, as they all work out a plan to go against the evil queen and bring Cinder back to her throne, with each of their skills and each of their characters developing along the way.

There is so much to this series. I couldn’t get enough of it! I would definitely recommend it.

For now, happy reading 🙂

April

xxx

So, Today I Did A Pitch!

Hey, book lovers.

So, today I completed my first assessment for the third year of university.

I had to stand and speak, in front of my lecturers and my class, and talk about what I’ve been doing in the unit in the recent weeks- submitting my book, with mentions of my book, my blog here, and my part-time job in a bookshop, all of which I love.

I don’t usually like standing up and speaking for a long period of time. Everyone who knows me, relatively well, knows that if I’m not comfortable, I won’t be comfortable enough to be myself. But I did it, and I hope I’ve done it well.

I stuttered a little, and forgot things I was going to say, and didn’t stick at all to the cards I prepared, but I think I got most of the information I wanted to show out, so I’m hoping it wasn’t too bad. It’s the first time I’ve ever done something like that on my own, so it was pushing through my comfort zone, but I think I did it.

I’m pretty proud of myself for it. I’m becoming slowly more confident in myself, with people I know well and people I don’t, and I like it.

Hopefully, it can only be up from here!

Happy reading!

April 😀

xx

Book Review: Scarlet by Marissa Meyer (Lunar Chronicles, Book 2)

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Hey, book lovers.

So, I finally finished book two of the Lunar Chronicles series! This series of classic twists on the fairytales really has me hooked. I reviewed the first book, so if you haven’t read it yet, you can find that review here: Cinder review

There is so much to this world, and I’m in love with it all. It’s definitely got a sci-fi twist, with androids and spaceships and cyborgs, and takes on the more fairytale sense that comes with the classic stories- there’s romance, and flirty chat-up lines (especially from Captain Thorne), he made me laugh out loud many, many times while reading this. It was discovered in the first book that Cinder, a mechanic from New Beijing, was the lost princess of Lunar, and now this book has continued her journey through this realisation, and she is forced to take on the evil queen of Lunar, Levana, her aunt. At the same time, this book takes on the perspective of Scarlet Benoit, and she is… drum roll please…. Little Red Riding Hood. Okay, maybe that wasn’t necessary, but hey ho. It works.

So, Scarlet’s grandmother has been missing for a while, when this book begins. She has been in search of the woman for a while, when a stranger appears in her small town, and he is known as Wolf. I adored the references to the fairytale classic here, because of the name (obviously), his long-haired appearance, and his constant hunger. I read this book quickly, because it drew me in so much. I’m not usually a fast reader, at all. But I was enjoying this, and one night when I was feeling ill, I read the most of it, then finished the rest the following morning.

Then, the narration of the story alternates, in a close third person perspective, from Scarlet, to Cinder, to Emperor Kai, to Wolf, and then to Levana, at the very end. I loved this- I found it a lot more interesting to read from all of the different parts of the world, the different journeys taken, when Cinder is moving across the world, to find Scarlet’s grandmother, on Captain Thorne’s ship. Meanwhile, I loved Scarlet’s developing bond with Wolf, as she learns to trust him, and then later discovering his manipulation and betrayal, when he leads her into the ancient theatre, where his pack have her grandmother held. There were so many scenes in this book that I couldn’t stop reading, I didn’t want to leave my room, or go to sleep, because I was so invested in it.

There is so much to it. I think this is a series you need to read, to understand fully. But when you do, it’s definitely worth it.

Happy reading!

April 😀

xx

Editing And Rewriting- A Blessing In Disguise?

Hey, book lovers.

I wanted to do a short post on something I’ve been doing an awful lot of, recently. With one of my novels, I’ve been going through the process of rewriting and editing, an awful lot.

I’d never gone so fully into editing a piece as I have for this novel, to be honest. I do it a lot with my short story pieces for university, as I study Creative Writing, but never for a piece of this length. I’ve found that it’s difficult, complex, and a little tiring, but it makes it worthwhile when you know you’ve improved the story in some way, when you are able to tell people that what once had little story, for example, now feels a lot fuller. That’s probably the best way I can describe it. This process has become more interesting now, because I am considering every little character, every part of my protagonist and her story on her travels through New York, with the discovery she has made to the way she is at present.

I know, through reading and in my lectures, and just in writing the sequel to the book, what it will take to make this book far more readable. I’m being brutal and cutting out unnecessary words and phrases, repetition, similes and metaphors that don’t relate, and trying to fine tune it as much as I possibly can. And I’ve even added in a few chapters and the word count is more lengthy now, but I’m proud of the extracts I have added and feel they give it more weight.

It will never, ever be easy. But I think I’m starting to find my new view on it, and it’s affecting the way I edit my smaller pieces, too. I’m improving, I think, even if I tend to make a lot of mistakes in my first drafts. But I guess that’s what they’re for!

What do you think about the editing and rewriting process?

For now, happy reading!

April 😀

xxx

 

Book Review: Cinder by Marissa Meyer (Lunar Chronicles, Book One)

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Hey, book lovers.

I have so many books to discuss, now. I really can’t wait to get through them all. I went to visit family in Milton Keynes for this weekend, and back home, I finally finished reading one of the books I’ve been wanting to read for a while- Cinder by Marissa Meyer.

It’s young adult fantasy, a novel based on the fairytale of Cinderella, but it’s set in a completely new world, in a country called New Bejing. Our main protagonist, Cinder, is a cyborg, living under the control of her stepmother, the wife of the man who had taken her in as an orphan, and her two stepsisters, Pearl and Peony.

I loved the way this story was brought out, and the ways in which it related back to the fairytale at heart. Cinder is a mechanic, working for her keep, until one day, the prince comes to her and asks her, the country’s best mechanic, to fix his android. There is a big, futuristic feel to this book- the citizens wear ID chips, controlled androids do their work for them, and technology is advanced. Their main issues are a plague that has set upon the world, called Letumosis, which takes four stages to kill. Cinder’s guardian was killed by this plague, and her sister soon contracts the disease, when she follows Cinder to the scrap heap, where she has gone to look for parts for an old car, for Adri, her stepmother.

Cinder is sent off, as a cyborg, to be tested upon, and discovers that she won’t die from the disease, because she is immune. There, the prince continues to court her, but not wanting him to know what she really is, she refuses. He asks her several times, to be his guest to the ball.

At the same time, the evil queen of Luna, the moon country, is trying to take her place as Empress of the Commonwealth, so that she can persuade the country to do as she requests, with her strange, persuasive abilities.

Cinder is forced to find a cure to the disease, with the help of Dr. Erland, who she discovers is another Lunar, who has chosen not to use his skills in the way the queen has. He reveals to her, through her blood research, that she is from Luna, and she knows it is the truth, as she has never known her early life. The queen and her thaumaturges believe it when they see her, but it becomes known that she is also the true heir.

If you enjoy fantasy and sci-fi novels, I would recommend this book. I can’t wait to read the rest of the series.

For now, happy reading!

April 😀

xxx

So, I’ve Added Six Books To The Reading List…

Hey, book lovers.

So, as the title state, I may or may not have bought six new books, and will have therefore more to review. Please don’t judge me- I just can’t help myself sometimes!

And, opening up those packages (I usually deliver to home from online), makes it feel like Christmas has come early. A month early, in this case.

They are:

Scarlet by Marissa Meyer (Lunar Chronicles, Book Two)

Cress by Marissa Meyer (Lunar Chronicles, Book Three)

Winter by Marissa Meyer (Lunar Chronicles, Book Four)

The Potion Diaries by Amy Alward

Illuminae by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

The Unbecoming Of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

So, there will be reviews of these pretty soon. I’d bought the first book in the Lunar Chronicles series, Cinder, and really enjoyed it. Well, I just finished reading it on the bus to Luton, so that will be up pretty soon. I’m loving this series already, and I can’t wait to read all of the rest. I’ve heard pretty good things about all of them.

For now, happy reading!

April 😀

xxx

This Morning We Met A Published Author And Illustrator!

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Hey, book lovers.

So, in university, studying Creative Writing, we sometimes have the opportunity to meet people from the writing industry. Today, we met local author Mike French and the illustrator of his graphic novel, Karl Brown. Both had a really good working dynamic between them, and it was quite funny to watch, but they both seemed like really nice people, who were happy to come in and speak to us final years about the industry. I found it really useful, considering I’m kind of in the position Mike was once in, with trying to send out my novels.

The book is his fourth published, and is about a novel-writing android. Karl has designed many of his drawings of his own accord, with Mike giving him free reign in many ways. I’d never actually met a published author face-to-face before, so it was interesting. I really enjoyed the session, and their Q&A really made me realise that this is what I want to do.

You can find the book and read the full description here: An Android Awakes Amazon

I love sessions like these. It makes me feel like maybe one day it can happen, for me, too. I just have to be determined enough!

For now, happy reading 😀

April

xxx

Book Number Two Finished!

Hey, book lovers.

So, today was pretty awesome, to say the least. Have you ever had that awesome feeling when you’ve been writing a novel for a long time, and you’ve not planned too much but then suddenly, you know how it’s going to end, and you finish it? Well, that’s what happened to me today, and I am so damn happy about it.

I started writing this one for an assessment piece in the first year of uni, (I’m studying Creative Writing at Bedfordshire), and for some units, we’re able to write the beginning of a novel, so that’s what I did. I somehow managed to get myself an A- on it, the highest grade I’ve had in my degree, ever, so that was a nice achievement in itself. But, of course, it’s not about the grades, it’s about the story and the writing style. I was just very happy, at the time, to actually do that well in an assessment. So, yeah, anyway, as you might have guessed, this book is one I’ve only recently finished the first draft on, today. I am rather happy with how it went, although I know there are a lot of changes to be made, and some more chapters to be put into in the middle. But I have enjoyed writing my characters, and I want to continue the story, and have started writing the sequel, from another character’s perspective within the same world.

The basic concept is this: Anna is sixteen years old when she discovers a strange letter on her doorstep, which claims to be from her birth mother, although she didn’t know she was adopted. She later comes to find that the letter was passed onto her by her biological father, a gang leader, with his own dark intentions for bringing her back to them. 

She encounters many dangers, and her world changes completely. I have enjoyed writing this one, and can’t wait to get on with its sequel, because, you know, I’ve started to want to write in a series lately. Not sure why, but it works.

So, now I’m working on one finished novel, one first draft of a finished novel, the sequels to each of those, a fantasy novel for my Writing Fantasy Fiction assessment piece, and soon, my Special Project, which will also be a fantasy novel. God, I love writing!

Excuse my rant. Have you been writing? Let me know.

For now, happy reading 😀

April

xxx

Book Review: A Thousand Nights by E. K Johnston

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Hey, book lovers.

So, I just finished reading this imaginative novel by E. K Johnston (an author I had never heard of before, as is usual, to be honest- I love finding new authors), called A Thousand Nights. The main concept of this book is that the king, Lo-Melkhiin, is on the hunt for a new wife. He has had an awful habit, previously, of taking wives from many cities and villages across their world, and killing them with his light-magic, and our protagonist, completely unnamed throughout the whole novel, takes the place of her gracious and beautiful sister, and becomes the king’s new wife.

The issue, here, is that there is a demon within the king, controlling his violent and brutal actions. When the desert girl leaves her sister and their mothers, their father and their brothers for the palace, she realises that there might still be a good king within the man. She becomes attached to the king’s mother, who truly believes this better side of him still exists, and as she grows within this palace, counting each day as one where she has not yet died, like the many others before her. She weaves each morning, as she used to, and the servant girls of the palace and the religious men there develop a fondness for her. She has magic of her own, which she intertwines with the king’s whenever he comes to see her, and magic which can help her to build and create anything she wishes. Lo-Melkhiin is the only character named throughout the entire book. I thought this was very clever to do, and I can imagine it would have been rather difficult, but E.K Johnston has done this well.

I loved the setting. You can feel the desert sand and hold the images of what she experiences in your mind as you read, and I could see it clearly as day. The dialogue had a fairytale style to it, and I’ve recently acquired the book of Grimm’s Fairytales, and this reminded me very much of the stories in this collection.

I really enjoyed reading into her character, her relationships with her family, her close bond with her sister. I thought she was strong throughout the book, even with her sickness from her dwindling magic, and I loved the idea of the rebellion towards the end, when her family decided to rebel against the king, her husband, and she came to defy them and save the king from himself.

The only thing I might say less positively about this book, is that I thought it felt quite, short. Three-hundred pages, and I don’t think she spent much time with the king himself, though those moments were special, and come to love him in the way I expected her to before I began reading. She spent a lot of her time in the palace, away from her family, with the other servants or in the garden. I think the plot could have been developed a little more, but other than that I really enjoyed the book and I would definitely recommend it.

For now, happy reading!

April 😀

xxx

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