Book Review: Scarlet (Lunar Chronicles #2)

ScarletDetails:

Title: Scarlet (Lunar Chronicles #2)

Predecessor: Cinder

Author: Marissa Meyer

Narrator: Rebecca Soler

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends (Macmillan Publishers); Macmillan Audio (Audiobook)

Released: February 5, 2013

Genre(s): Young Adult, Romance, Dystopian, Sci-Fi

Pages: 452

Listen time: 11hr 20min

Synopsis:

Cinder, the cyborg mechanic, returns in the second installment of the Lunar Chronicles. She’s 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. It turns out that there are many things Scarlet doesn’t know about her grandmother or the grave danger she has lived in her whole life. When Scarlet encounters Wolf,  a street fighter that may have information as to her grandmother’s whereabouts, she is loathe 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 Queen Levana, who will do anything for the handsome Prince Kai to become her husband, her king, her prisoner.

My First Thoughts:

The synopsis doesn’t leave a lot of room for the imagination does it? Well, I’m hoping that this novel will be better than Cinder. People still think highly of this series and of this book, so why not?

Overall Thoughts/Opinions:

Let me answer my first question from the previous section. Yes, the synopsis didn’t leave much to the imagination and gave away some of the stuff to the next book too! What do I mean? Spoiler! The last two sentences literally reveal the end of the book, the big bloody reveal, the plot twist, the major conflict, whatever you want to call it. Just like Cinder there were no surprises. None of the twists shocked me because I saw them a mile away. And my disappointment doesn’t stop there, no this entire book frustrated me.

Scarlet has to be one of the most infuriating characters that I have had the displeasure of reading about in a long time. She was a raging little girl parading around as an adult with  terrible reasoning skills and thoughts that gave me whiplash! She hates him. She tolerates him. She hates him. She likes him and feels sorry for him. She hates him. She wants to kiss his face off. She loathes him. She trusts him. She hates him. She loves him, trusts him, and defends him. All of this happens within a few days, yes a few days. The romance in this book was laughable, no real reason behind it, and takes the cake from Disney about being the fastest most illogical romance ever! And for being raised on a farm around weapons like shotguns and pistols, and having a gun license, she has no concept of how to use them properly, but is treated like she does. Scarlet was an annoying and frustrating character with no depth, no development, and no real reason to be in the book because the only point in her story was to find Cinder, which happened by complete accident.

Wolf, Scarlet’s counterpart, was less frustrating and more likable. His role in the story was predictable, his actions towards the end weren’t surprising at all, but his presence made Scarlet’s parts in the story more durable. He’s also the only male, other than Dr. Erland, that was tolerable and barely stereotypical YA male.

The other characters introduced were either annoying or infuriating or both, except for Scarlet’s only friend. I wished Emily had more in the story. Even some of the characters from the previous novels infuriated me. For instance, Kia not only pissed me off but disappointed me, he had potential. Instead, you briefly see him struggle, you see his accusations and thoughts toward Cinder, but no real reason to the changes to his thinking in the beginning or the end. Basically, Kia went from could be a round character to flat as a board. In fact, most of these characters were flatter than boards. Some of them were understandable, they were minor characters or had brief roles. The main characters, they had no excuse and Cinder was the only one with any sort of roundness to her and that was just barely visible. The character with the greatest development was bloody Iko, who is still my favorite character in the series! And any man that was presented, briefly or otherwise, was a complete pig or a loser of a human being. The only exception was Wolf, and maybe Kai (he wasn’t a pig, but maybe a bit of a loser). Every other man was demeaning toward women, disgusting, or too cocky to even try liking, sometimes a combination of the three.

After the characters themselves, it was their actions and the author’s loose grasp of reality that frustrated me to no end. That sounds a bit harsh, but it’s true. The author, therefore her characters, didn’t seem to understand a lot of basic things when it comes to weapons, wounds, or the human body. I gritted my teeth as not one, but two characters who should have both been trained in shooting, aimed a shotgun both close and long range at a person’s head! Close range, maybe you won’t miss the person’s head if the kickback doesn’t knock your aim. Long range why bother using a shot gun at all? And a shotgun, or any gun other than one with excellent aim, should never be aimed at the head when there are larger parts of the body that could still be fatal if wounded! Hell, shooting a person in the thigh may be more affective and easier to hit than their head. Then there were all the times that the characters should have suffered from serious diseases or infections because of the filth and ill-treatment of their wounds. But nothing happened when characters trekked through sewage or wrapped an untreated, not cleaned wound. The Lunars might have had an excuse, but the humans, no way. And I won’t even start on how unrealistic the wounds in this story were treated or acted or the human body, that’s a whole other rant and a half. All in all, this really bothered the scientist in me and made the story highly unenjoyable, along with all the other blunders this story had to offer.

Final Thoughts:

If you really enjoyed Cinder then you may enjoy the sequel as well. However, if you enjoy just a bit more than a dusting of science fiction or dystopian themes in your stories, then don’t read this novel. Or, if you’re disappointed when a plot becomes easy to guess then I suggest finding another book to read and save your disappointment.

I do have to say that this will be the last of the Lunar Chronicles that I will read in a very long time. If I ever see the end to my reading list, then I might consider adding the others to the list. However, I feel that I shouldn’t waste my time reading the rest of the series when I have other authors asking me to read theirs and other more enjoyable series to read.

Rating(s):

Story: 2/5-meh

The story was barely enjoyable. The only parts that I liked where the parts that focused on Cinder. Scarlet was a complete disaster as a character. She was flat, annoying, and gave me whiplash. The romance in this story would give Disney a run for its money as being the shortest build-up and was laughable. But what hurt the story the most wasn’t the lackluster characters, the terrible romance, or the author’s loose grip on reality, but how predictable it was. Nothing surprised me, none of the reveals or plot twists, nothing. So everything else that I listed just put me in a fowler, less enjoyable frame of mind making it impossible for me to truly like this story.

Narration: 4/5

The narration to this story wasn’t terrible, I believe Soler really tried in this installment of the series. My only complaints are that I still don’t care for the accent she’s given to Americans, and her male voices need work. Some are rather good, though with more and more male characters they either sound a like or like frogs. But, I did notice that when the scenes were full of action she read them just a little faster, to give the illusion of an adrenaline rush.

Related Books/Reviews:

Cinder

Advertisements

(Audio)Book Review: Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles #1)

Cinder

Details:

Title: Cinder

Author: Marissa Meyer

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Release Date: January 3rd 2012

Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Dystopian, Fairytale Retelling

Audio: 10h 8m

Narrator: Rebecca Soler

 

Synopsis:

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.
Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic 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.

My First Thoughts:

I’ve heard a lot of good things about this book and I’m honestly curious. Also, while I was looking at reviews for Spinning Starlight (which I absolutely loved) I found that quite a few people accused that novel as being a copy of Cinder. I really wanted to find out for myself, see if their claims were true or not, and I enjoy listening to audiobooks, even when I’m not driving so I thought this would be interesting.

Story Breakdown:

If I gave you a breakdown of this story I would reveal way too much and spoil the whole book. I can’t even say much about the characters in general without giving away something….

Overall Thoughts/Opinion:

A part of me really wants to stop picking up widely popular novels, but that would be wrong because there are novels out there that actually deserve their praise. I’m not saying that Cinder didn’t deserve the praise it got, just no all of it. While listening to the book I was constantly hit with the thought of ‘wow, this is definitely a first time author!’ After doing some research I found that I was absolutely right, Cinder was Meyer’s first novel and boy did it sound like it too.

 

First, I would like to say that no, this book is nothing like Stitching Snow. Why?

  1. Stitching Snow is a Snow White retelling while Cinder is a Cinderella retelling.
  2. More than one female character of all time can be a kickass mechanic.
  3. They aren’t even the same subclass of Science Fiction
  4. Their journeys are nowhere close to each other.
  5. Their characters are vastly different.
  6. (Completely my opinion) Stitching Snow is the better debut novel…just saying!

 

Anyways, now that that is out of the way. While the story wasn’t fantastic, it was still mostly enjoyable to read. If you hadn’t guessed from the book cover or the title, this was a fairytale retelling of Cinderella. I haven’t read a lot of retellings of that story, but this honestly didn’t strike me as super impressive.

Cinder was an enjoyable character to follow, I was a little disappointed that the author pretty much made her appearance to be pretty blank, as in letting the readers design her as they pleased. Which is fine, but can often lead to confusion. For instance, I heard that she was an Asian character and expected her to look it. However, upon getting into the actual story you find out that that’s not exactly the case. Cinder had a very Asian-esc name but she was not born in Asia, therefore there was no real evidence to lead to her being Asian, other than her name and where she lived. Which was a little unsettling, though not really a mark against the author. I did enjoy her being cyborg, which I haven’t really seen much in YA. I saw a lot of people complain that she was too human, which made me laugh because theoretically anyone with a paste-maker is a cyborg because they have inorganic/man-made material helping them live, but that’s a different topic for discussion. I actually found her cybernetic aspects to be quite interesting, especially how she used them in her daily life and how they affected her wellbeing. Cinder’s cyborg features were my favorite parts about her because I can’t really say much about her character. Sure she was a strong female character, who was very much out for herself only, and was done with how she was being treated. However, she didn’t really have any defining character traits, she just appeared to be a very classic YA heroine, very much from the cookie-cutter. She may get better as the series goes, but for her debut she fell a little short.

As for the other characters, there’s not much I can say about them. Prince Kai is very much a ‘Disney Princes’-like character with very few flaws other than being completely and utterly naïve. He’s not a terrible character, I enjoyed the parts of the story that he appeared in, but again cookie cutter. The step sisters were fine, only one of them was evil to Cinder but the one who wasn’t didn’t really do much to help Cinder…at all, but don’t worry because the step-mother made up for it. The step-mother was a work of art, in the bad way, constantly using Cinder as her scapegoat and not seeing any sort of reason, only hatred for someone who couldn’t help who she was. But, she wasn’t the evilest, no that medal goes to Queen Levana. While Queen Levana was a very stereotypical sick and twisted villain, I actually enjoyed how cruel she was to people and the means she took to get what she wanted. Her character was actually more enjoyable than most.

Out of all the characters, my favorite would have to be Iko. She was an adorable little android with more personality than everyone combined, except for maybe one other character. It may be possible that my opinion is skewed because I really enjoyed how the narrator portrayed her. However, she is definitely one of the more memorable characters and I loved every scene that she was in.

As for the story itself, it was pretty enjoyable. The world building was pretty neat, though I wish the Meyer did more of it in the first book. Hopefully, this futuristic dystopian Earth will be better explored in the next installment. While the story ran smoothly, for the most part, there were parts in the book that could have been devoted elsewhere. Basically, there were scenes that were meant to show character development and/or traits, but instead beat a dead cow with things the reader already knew or didn’t need any elaboration on. Instead, those scenes should have been replaced with scenes that showed the reader more of why there was an attraction between Cinder and Kia.

Speaking of romance, it was pretty dry. Sure there were parts of ‘aaaaawwwwww!’ but they were very few, and the romance just felt very Disney or movie-esc where after a few encounters the audience was supposed to believe that there was a valid attraction. But I ask, where was it? I honestly don’t see how Kia was smitten by Cinder or how Cinder liked Kia. Sure, he was very princely and charming and she was different than what he was used to and not fawning over him, but there has to be more to win someone over and I just never saw it! I take my romance very seriously, most of the time.

And while I enjoyed the Cinderella themes, they made the book very predictable. That was the worst part about reading, not once, did this story surprise me. I was able to guess every twist and every turn, usually chapters before they happened. That doesn’t make the writing terrible, it’s just something that Meyer needs to work on. Yes, I believe in leaving little hints for the reader to guess at the bigger picture, but most of the time Meyer was too obvious. Within the first chapter or so I knew where the story was heading, and about a third of the way I was able to guess the major reveals at the end of the book. Maybe I’m more perceptive than most. Maybe I’ve read too many books or written too many stories myself, making it easier for me to pick up on all the signs and writing on the wall. Either way, the predictability of the book made it less enjoyable than it could’ve been.

 

Final Thoughts:

If you enjoy cyborgs and androids in a futuristic, mildly dystopian setting than you would enjoy Cinder. If you thought that Disney’s Cinderella always needed a metal foot rather than glass slippers, or a cute little android friend rather than little animals, then look no further! Or if you’re looking for a little dash of Asian to sprinkle onto your reading list, this may be it. While it doesn’t explore Asian culture in depth, it does provide an interesting innovated setting, mixing both new technology with old architecture, style, and customs.

However, if you aren’t interested in science-fiction or retellings of fairytales, than don’t even try. If you tend to be perceptive, and hate the predictability of a book, than you have been warned and read at your own risk!

 

Rating(s):

Story: 3/5

With everything said, I found this story to be average and a modest attempt for a writer’s first novel. Meyer made a lot of rookie mistakes, but with practice and time I’m sure she’ll be a wonderful author. The story kept me intrigued enough that I want to continue the series just to see how things play out in the other novels, and to see how Meyer has grown since 2012.

Narration: 4/5

I really enjoyed Rebecca Soler’s narration, she definitely made my drive back to school more enjoyable. I also loved how she portrayed Iko, I cannot stress that enough and I hope to hear more from her in the future!

 

Related Reviews/Books:

COMING SOON!!!

 

Book Review: Cruel Beauty

Cruel Beauty

Details:

Title: Cruel Beauty

Author: Rosamund Hodge

Publisher: Balzer + Bray

Release Date: January 28th 2014

Genres: Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult, Fairytale Retelling, Paranormal

Pages: 342

Synopsis: (from the paperback)

Since birth, Nyx has been betrothed to the evil ruler of her kingdom−all because of a reckless bargain her father struck. And since birth, she has been training to kill him.

Betrayed by her family yet bound to obey, Nyx rails against her fate. Still, on her seventeenth birthday, she abandons everything to marry the all-powerful, immortal Ignifex. Her plan? Seduce him, disarm him, and break the centuries-old curse he put on her people.

But Ignifex is not what Nyx expected. The strangely charming lord beguiles her, and his castle−a shifting maze of magical rooms−enthralls her. As Nyx tries to free her homeland by uncovering Ignifex’s secrets, she finds herself unwillingly drawn to him. But even if she could bring herself to love her sworn enemy, should she refuse her duty to kill him?

Based on the classic fairy tale Beauty and the Beast, Cruel Beauty is a dazzling love story about our deepest desires and their power to change our destiny.

 

My First Thoughts:

Originally I bought the book because I had ordered Hodge’s newest book Crimson Bound, and wanted to read her earlier works while I was waiting for it to arrive. The cover looked amazing; it was definitely beautiful and eye catching. I loved how the spiral staircase was interlocked with red petals, making the design into a rose, which shows up all the time in Beauty and the Beast stories. In the past I haven’t read a retelling of Beauty and the Beast that I have liked, so when I saw that this version would be very different, with Beauty as an assassin, I was extremely excited to read Cruel Beauty.

Story Breakdown:

Nyx Triskelion is the heroine of this story. Her fate was sealed when her father made a deal with the Gentle Lord, a demon who makes deals with mortals and rules over the world of Arcadia. Since birth, Nyx was trained in the Hermetic arts (think alchemy) to kill her future husband, the Gentle Lord, and free Arcadia from his evil tyranny. As she grew and trained, Nyx developed a deep hatred for her family. She hated her father for making this fool’s bargain and never truly showing her any sort of love. She hated her Aunt Telomache for teaching her the art of seduction and other kills they believed Nyx needed, and for sleeping with her father. And she hated her twin sister, Astraia, for being too naïve and sheltered, for receiving all the love from their father and aunt, and being not the one chosen to marry the Gentle Lord. But her devotion to family and country help her to turn her anger into a weapon that she will use against the Gentle Lord, because if it were not for him none of this would have happened!

Ignifex, or better known as the Gentle Lord, is the Lord of Bargains and rules over Arcadia in the ruined castle of the old kings. For nine hundred years, Ignifex has been commanding demons and striking deals with the mortals of Arcadia. With the beauty of Adonis, the only thing that reveals his demon nature is his cruelty and his red cat-like eyes. Nyx will be his ninth wife, and possibly his doom.

Then there is Shade. The shadow of the demon, Shade is the captive and save of Ignifex. By day, he is but a shadow that creeps across the walls of the house. By night, he is something more real. Shade is the first friend, and possible ally, to Nyx and he helps make her stay in the Gentle Lord’s home more bearable, and helps her in her plan to kill Ignifex.

Finally, Cruel Beauty is set in Romana-Graecia Arcadia, which has been ripped out of time from the world by the Gentle Lord. The people here live under a parchment sky, where the sun is painted and its light just a cheap imitation. The aristocrats follow the Greek Pantheon while the peasants believe in the hedge-gods, or the gods that their people believed in before being conquered many generations back.

Overall Thoughts/Opinion:

Unfortunately, this book frustrated me to no end. I went in with such high hopes, because of all the raving that I have heard for this author and her first book, and I believe that I just set the bar too high. The story is nothing special.

I loved most of the story ideas: the use of Greek mythology, a setting out of time, a demon being the ‘Beast’, a house with a mind of its own, the Beauty being forced to marry the Beast and being trained as his killer, etc. However, all these ideas combined seemed good in theory but was mixed poorly in execution. While Ignifex is a cruel demon, which can be beast-like, he is drop-dead gorgeous with a crude sense of humor, but a gentleman nonetheless. And honestly, he wasn’t that much different from the main character, Nyx.

Nyx, another thing that drove me crazy. I could not, for the life of me, like this character consistently enough to make this story enjoyable. She is a hateful, spiteful woman who can’t make her own decisions without being completely influenced by someone else. I can see how this can be realistic, because the author made her father out to be a total tool, who never showed her any love and trained her to be a weapon to fix his own mistakes. But the constant switching back-and-forth between doing what she wants to do, like love a demon lord, and what someone else wants her to do, like kill said demon lord, gave me whiplash. In the end, her decision was her own, but it was several pages too late for me. Another thing that I hated about Nyx was how her opinions/feelings for the other characters changed almost at the drop of a hat. One minute she loves her twin sister, the next she hates Astraia and wants her to take her place; Nyx feels guilty later, but she keeps hating her sister at all the wrong times. The same goes for Ignifex, she attracted to him, she’s repulsed by him, she wants him, she wants to kill him even though she really loves him. The back-and-forth was just too much for me at times.

Then there was the love triangle that was never advertised on the back of the book. Yes, there’s a love triangle that was so important to the plot that it should have been in the synopsis because it changes the whole story! I’m okay with love triangles if they’re done right, but this had one side that was instant love and made no sense while the other was a slow burn kind of thing. To me, the love triangle read like it was added in during the final draft. Like the publisher said, “Hey, this story needs more drama so make this guy love Nyx too because everyone loves love triangles! Yay money!”

There were a few other things that drove me nuts. At times the sentences were way too long in the action sequences, which brought me out of the mood too much. Some of the characters’ personalities changed so suddenly without any sort of hints or explanations, which confused me. And by the end of the book, the original plot line was made moot after a big discovery, but the author decided to stick with that plot line anyways, which pissed me off to no end. The last hundred pages were the hardest to follow, and I had to reread them a few times to actually understand why things were happening as they were.

Final Thoughts:

The book was sub-par, end of story. The main character was a strong heroine, who unfortunately has many unfavorable traits found in media’s idea of strong women. The love triangle frustrated me and most of the love did not make any logical sense. Time was wasted in certain points in the story that made it too long. There was way too much whiplash for me. And while the world that the story was set in was described beautifully, I believe that it wasn’t described well enough, meaning there were many holes in the mind’s picture. Though the mythology used was done well, the author didn’t spend too much time ‘educating’ her readers in the mythology that she was using. Instead she used enough information for the stuff to make sense to her readers, especially if they don’t have the same knowledge of it like I do. In the end, it isn’t my favorite book or retelling of Beauty in the Beast that I have read, but it is one of the better retellings, which is absolutely sad.

Rating(s):  2.5/5

I’m giving this book a 2.5 just because I enjoyed the mythology used in the book and I liked most of the ideas used individually, just not altogether. This book could have gotten a better rating if the characters, especially the main character, were more likable and if the author didn’t have to resort to time travel to fix some pretty big plot holes.

Related Reviews/Books:

Stitching SnowA Curse of Ash and IronA Court of Thorns and Roses

Book (and Audiobook) Review: A Court of Thorns and Roses

A Court of Thorns and Roses

Details:

Title: A Court of Thorns and Roses

Author: Sarah J. Maas

Publisher: Bloomsbury Children’s

Release Date: May 5th 2015

Genre: New Adult, Romance, Fantasy, (possibly a retelling-ish)

Audio: 16 hours and 8 minutes

Reader: Jennifer Ikeda

Synopsis:

When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution for it. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin—one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world.

As she dwells on his estate, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she’s been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But an ancient, wicked shadow grows over the faerie lands, and Feyre must find a way to stop it… or doom Tamlin—and his world—forever.

My First Thoughts:

In all of my readings I have yet to find a book that retells or uses the elements of Beauty in the Beast well enough for me to enjoy. Yes, I have read Crimson Beauty and I will be posting that scathing review at some point. Anyways, I decided to give this book a shot because I’ve enjoyed Sarah J. Maas’s writing in her other series and I love original lore faeries (not Tinker Bells). I just so happen to also be doing a lot of driving, with visiting back home and my boyfriend, so I finally decided to get audiobooks to listen to during the long road trips. This was the longest audio that I could find that I also wanted to read, so two birds with one stone.

Overall Thoughts/Opinion:

Overall this book was pretty fun and beautifully written. While I didn’t fall in love with this book as hard, or as quickly, as her other series Maas did a wonderful job reeling me into this story. As I have said before, up until this book I had yet to read a story that really impressed me by using the themes from the original Beauty in the Beast. This book, by far, is the best compared to all the failures that I have read in the past, and let me explain.

First, this book never proclaimed to be a fairytale retelling of Beauty in the Beast. Once a book advertises that it’s a reimagining of a story, no matter what fairytale it is, you are guaranteed to upset a lot of fans of the original fairytales or the Disney versions. Disney was never the masterminds of their popular Disney Princesses, their stories came from all over the world from centuries before Walt Disney was ever even an embryo. However, these versions of the fairytales are what young readers are most familiar with, so many retellings will only retell the Disney version of the story, angering fans of the originals and angering other readers by their lack of originality. On the flip side, books the retell the original gruesome stories recorded a few centuries ago anger fans of the Disney films because the books are vastly different from what they were expecting. The Lesson: Don’t market a story as a retelling, in the end someone is always upset. A Court of Thorns and Roses never advertised that it was a retelling, but used some of the themes from The Beauty in the Beast, which in my opinion, allowed many readers, including myself, the ability to identify it as a totally different story.

Now, what themes from The Beauty in the Beast can be found in A Court of Thorns and Roses you may ask? Well the biggest is the forced imprisonment of the heroine Feyre. Her imprisonment is through no fault of her family, like in many previous stories, instead it’s her own punishment for a crime she committed. Now, I was a little disappointed that there was no mention of Stockholm syndrome, however, I was happy that it was not love at first sight and that the relationship within the story was a slow burn. Another major theme borrowed from the fairytale was the heroine’s ability to see past the superficial characteristics of “The Beast” and fall in love with his personality and who he was as a person. The last major element that the story used was the idea of a “curse” that transformed the love interest into the “beast”. However, I was rather impressed with how Maas used this theme but made it into her own thing. She ‘cursed’ her love interest, who already had natural beast-like characteristics, by magically fusing a mask to his face, allowing Feyre to see only the bottom half of his face. And the ‘curse’ the Maas crafted was a very clever one that wasn’t the easiest to guess at before she revealed all aspects of the curse to her readers, and there was no cliché idea of using a beautiful plant to count down the days until the curse was permanent. Other than those three major themes, the rest of the similarities that I found with the original were rather minor.

 

The rest of the story was brilliantly crafted by Sarah J. Maas. I loved how she started using faeries in her original series, Throne of Glass, and I was absolutely giddy with the faeries she used in this story. Many ‘fey’ that popular books use nowadays are very elfish or Disney Tinker Bell, some cases their a little larger. However, Maas uses faeries that are very similar to the ones found in Celtic and other Old European folklore. Her faeries are very animalistic, some being highly majestic while others being the things of nightmares. It was a lot of fun to try and imagine what these faeries looked like as she described them to us, and each species had their own unique characteristic and caste. I loved how dark the story got in places without being too terribly gruesome in the imagery and how she kept true to the relationships between the humans and the fey from the old legends.

 

I really didn’t know what to think of any of her characters at first, even the main ones, because they were all a bit rough in the beginning. However, over time Maas really fleshed them out and gave each of them distinguishing characteristics. One thing that I have noticed with Maas’s other series, is that she doesn’t just show character development in her main characters, a lot of the minor characters have taken great strides as well and this book isn’t an exception. The biggest character development that I saw, and that surprised me, was actually with one of her minor characters that ended up having a profound effect on Feyre. A lot of stories that I have read mainly focus on the main cast, which is perfectly fine because minor characters are usually made to be static and contrasting to the major characters. However, I’m always impressed when an author shows growth with their minor characters, whether they’re in a series or a single book, because they stick out better in our minds. Granted, a lot of characters stayed a bit static but Sarah J. Maas has at least another book to round those characters out if she wanted too.

 

The story itself was really fascinating to listen to. The author did a wonderful job building the story’s world, giving it some geography, lore, and history as well. Not only did she create a human world, but also a faerie world that included its own beliefs and traditions. A major development in the story even surrounded a celebration that was loosely similar to some of the old Celtic traditions. And a lot of the last part of the book played into some of the fey traditions and characteristics. Maas created two vastly different worlds that were only separated by a magic wall, one with the diluted traditions of the other. One thing that I noticed, that I found to be rather loud, was that the more animalistic of the two societies was also the most religious and bound by honor.

Final Thoughts:

I didn’t really have a lot to say about the characters themselves like I normally do, but that doesn’t make them any less interesting. For instance, I fell in love with Feyre because she wasn’t a dandelion of a heroine, but a self-supported woman that was strong while not being too haughty to ask for help. The interactions between the characters were a lot of fun to listen to, but the thing that stuck out to me the most was how Maas really fleshed some of them out, even the more minor characters.

I labeled this as a New Adult book because Feyre is a lot older than a lot of Young Adult heroines. She also goes through a different stage of life and general obstacles that a lot of Young Adult books don’t get into right away. Also, the book has sex, which is occurring more often in newer YA books, however, this story goes into more detail but not as much as Adult books. It’s nothing major, but it was really awkward when I arrived to that scene while driving back to school one weekend. My face got rather hot and I was thankful no one was in the car with me.

If you really enjoy reading fantasy, especially with more old traditional faeries, then this book may be a lot of fun for you. The romance is a slow burn, once it gets going though it speeds up a bit, but not enough to make you sick. There is sex, but not a lot, so you’ve been warned. The story is also a bit darker in some places, just because the faeries are usually rather dark and cruel themselves. The world building in the story is rather thorough for the first book in a series, so if you enjoy reading the history and lore that influences the characters then you’re in for a treat. And if you’re looking for a book that isn’t necessarily a fairytale retelling, but still uses the themes from a popular fairytale then this book is right up your alley. Also, if you enjoyed Sarah J. Maas’s Throne of Glass series, then you may enjoy this story as well. While A Court of Thorns and Roses is a different story from her original series, there are many similarities in writing style and story telling that I loved from the latter in the former.

Rating(s):

Audio: 4/5

I really enjoyed listening to this book. I haven’t been read to in a while so it was weird and disorienting at first, but I got into the swing of things pretty quickly. This story was great to listen to while taking long drives or doing a bunch of house work, just because it’s so long. Jennifer Ikeda did a fantastic job trying to capture the personalities of each character as they spoke. While it was hard for me, personally, to distinguish between the various male roles at first, she did a fantastic job fleshing out the characters with her voice.

Story: 4/5

Personally, I did not enjoy this book as much as I enjoyed Maas’s first book, Throne of Glass. However, on its own, A Court of Thorns and Roses was captivating once the story picked up. I was fascinated by the lore she created and the faerie lore that she used, specifically naming some of the more common fey species. I enjoyed listening to the story and its characters, how they changed and interacted. I also enjoyed the mystery in the book. Maas liked to leave little bread crumbs until the big reveal, some of the mystery and riddles I was able to solve, other caught me by surprise though. All in all, a fantastic fantasy that combines the word of Faeries and some of the elements from The Beauty and the Beast.

Related Reviews/Books:

COMING SOON!!!

Book Review: Spinning Starlight

Spinning Starlight

Details:

Title: Spinning Starlight

Author: R.C. Lewis

Publisher: Disney Hyperion

Release Date: October 6th 2015

Genre: Young Adult, Space Opera, Romance, Fairytale Retelling

Pages: 336

Synopsis:

Sixteen-year-old heiress and paparazzi darling Liddi Jantzen hates the spotlight. But as the only daughter in the most powerful tech family in the galaxy, it’s hard to escape it. So when a group of men show up at her house uninvited, she assumes it’s just the usual media-grubs. That is, until shots are fired.

Liddi escapes, only to be pulled into an interplanetary conspiracy more complex than she ever could have imagined. Her older brothers have been caught as well, trapped in the conduits between the planets. And when their captor implants a device in Liddi’s vocal cords to monitor her speech, their lives are in her hands: One word and her brothers are dead.

Desperate to save her family from a desolate future, Liddi travels to another world, where she meets the one person who might have the skills to help her bring her eight brothers home—a handsome dignitary named Tiav. But without her voice, Liddi must use every bit of her strength and wit to convince Tiav that her mission is true. With the tenuous balance of the planets deeply intertwined with her brothers’ survival, just how much is Liddi willing to sacrifice to bring them back?

Haunting and mesmerizing, this retelling of Hans Christian Andersen’s The Wild Swans strings the heart of the classic with a stunning, imaginative world as a star-crossed family fights for survival in this companion to Stitching Snow.

My First Thoughts:

When I saw this book over the summer I flipped out and marked my calendar. I even had a little count down for its release back in October! I enjoy fairytale retellings, but a lot of them retell the same fairytales over and over and over. You can only retell a story so many times before all originality is used up. However, I find that setting fairytales in space and turning them into space operas is pure genius! I loved Lewis’s first book, Stitching Snow, and I knew that I would like this one too.

Overall Thoughts/Opinion:

I’ve found that I have a love/hate relationship with the fairytale retelling genre. While I love the idea of retelling an original work and spinning it into your own creation, many of the retellings focus on the top Disney Princess movies. Honestly, I can’t tell you how many books I have seen that are based on Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Beauty and the Beast, and Rapunzel, which, those are perfectly good stories, however, you can only spin something so many times before all the retellings start to sound alike. That’s why I have really enjoyed reading Lewis’s books. She uses the original story as an outline, but then creates a picture so unique that some people might not realize it was a retelling until told. If I hadn’t done some background research on The Wild Swans, I wouldn’t have been able to pick up that it was a retelling.

I also love that she picked a fairytale that hasn’t been super popularized by Disney. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with Disney, but I love seeing other folk tales get a chance at the spotlight too. In fact, I would’ve never known about The Wild Swans if it weren’t for this book and the research I did to familiarize myself. Now, I’m even looking for a copy of the original story by Hans Christian Anderson to read and own for myself. And that’s what fairytale retellings should do, to introduce readers to new fairytales and folk tales from other cultures and time periods.

Now that that part of my rant is over…to the actual reading! I find that Lewis made the smart decision of writing this book as a space opera, instead of a hardcore sci-fi book. What’s the difference? Space Operas focus more on the setting that the story is in space rather than the technology used in the story, like Star Wars, it is a subset of sci-fi. Hardcore science fiction novels focus more on explaining the technology and the science behind the story than the setting, hence the science in science fiction. Since Lewis spent more time building the worlds and the story than the technology she described, I would classify this story as a space opera. This seems fitting for me because many fairytales have been turned into plays and operas since the creation of theater, so setting it in space is a bit of an upgrade. And because this story is a space opera, Lewis didn’t have to spend a whole lot of time describing the technology, like the conduits or Dom, which allowed for the story to run more quickly and smoothly. If some people couldn’t follow the technology mentioned in this book, imagine if she actually went into great detail and spent an entire page explaining one piece of it…

Anyways, another complaint that I heard for this book was that people found it irritating that Liddi couldn’t speak, so they couldn’t read hardly any of her dialogue…I’m sorry? I wish there were more books in which the main character, or any character, couldn’t speak! That creates such a challenge for an author to be able to tell a story with one less character, especially a main one, being able to communicate. I loved reading about how Liddi tried getting around not being able to use her voice; I believe that it really added to her character as well. Trying so hard to keep from screaming through pain, yelling in frustration, or spewing the words burning on her tongue really showed how strong she was as a person, and how much she loved her brothers. I mean, come on, how many of us would be able to keep from screaming when they get their leg broken? Anyone?

The lack of ability to communicate also allowed Tiav to get to know Liddi in a way she never could with anyone else outside her family. This also created another challenge for Lewis, to spin a love story in which only one side could speak and the other couldn’t give away everything either. Sure, this book was more focused on the love part of the story more than Stitching Snow, but I found this love was not completely unique, but more refreshing than many of the books that I have read recently. So, in my book, Lewis accepted the challenge and aced it with flying colors!

But just like in her previous book, Lewis was able to create a unique cast of characters that really livened up the reading. I absolutely loved how Liddi had so much self-doubt, but she worked through it and overcame her own mountain to help her brothers. Sure, there are a lot of stories with self-doubting heroines, but Liddi actually comes up with the plans to save her brothers all on her own. I really connected with Liddi, because I always doubt myself and my intelligence even when people tell me I’m smarter than I think. It was refreshing to read a character that doubted her own intelligence like myself, but then overcame her conflict with only supporting help from other characters. Liddi didn’t need anyone to dangle the information in front of her, or spell it out, she came up with her own solution, and Tiav was only there to help her in the execution of her plans. Okay, so she wasn’t your stereotypical heir to a multi-million dollar company, but how would we know how an heir to a technology and science based company would act?

Speaking of Tiav, he is very much like Dane from Stitching Snow, not in personality, but in role. Tiav again wasn’t your bad boy or knight in shining armor. Instead, he was guy with some duties to his people and a curiosity that allowed him to get to know Liddi. He was never described as super attractive with chiseled muscles and the body of a god. Tiav was just your average young man in appearance, who loved to help other people and driven by curiosity. It was refreshing to read about such a normal sounding guy, I almost forgot that they existed in young adult fiction, I swear, they’re like unicorns or something! Even when stories have ‘average’ male leads, they never really read as average, there’s always something about them that makes them super sexy or the heroine is in denial. Tiav is actually average, but in a good way, and his reactions to the various things happening around him came across as normal as well. He wasn’t super gallant, and ready to save the day even when Liddi screwed up, but he also didn’t have meltdowns or fits of rage either. Tiav was very cool headed and didn’t completely react until all the information was presented, or at least what he thought was al given. And he never stole the show from Liddi like many other male leads from popular YA novels. Instead, he assists Liddi in her greatest moments, lending support when needed.

As for the other characters that I mentioned before I got side tracked, they had brief appearances, but colorful productions! Each of the minor characters was unique in their own way, making it easy to remember each of them. Well, okay, the eight brothers were a bit hard to distinguish at first, but as the story went on and you learned more about Liddi’s family through her flashbacks (great idea by the way) they become more easily discernable from each other. The other minor characters were mostly aliens, it was really fun to read about how each of the major groups looked like and how they acted. As I keep seeing with Lewis, she never half-asses anything when it comes to world building, with the actual worlds and the people that inhabits them. The aliens she describes are each unique in appearance and behavior, even down to religious beliefs and customs, which I found interesting to read and discover for myself!

Final Thoughts:

Not a fan of super heavy science fiction, but still love space and futuristic worlds and aliens? Looking for a romance with no love triangle and a realistic acting/looking male lead? Want a story with a strong heroine that overcomes herself doubt and saves the day on her own? Looking for interesting worlds and cultures to explore, where the world building is complete? Want a retelling of a fairytale you’ve never heard of or is rarely done? If you said yes to any of these, then Spinning Starlight may be for you!

I know that it was more than anything that I was expecting, and trust me, my bar was set high!

Rating(s):

5/5

Once again R.C. Lewis has written another book that has made it to my favorites shelf! I was able to connect with Liddi and really get engrossed into her story. I absolutely loved the relationship between her and her brothers, and of course the love between her and Tiav. Lewis definitely did a fantastic job setting up unique challenges for herself and her writing, and being able to meet each of them in turn. There were times when I couldn’t put the story down, even when I needed sleep and trust me, sleep and I are very close. I was again blown away by the detailed writing that Lewis put into her world building and the unique aliens that filled the pages. The science wasn’t super complicated, but there was still enough of it to give a futuristic feel to it.

Also, I can never stress this enough, but I loved how Lewis added in the details from The Wild Swans. She wove enough from the original story that anyone paying attention could pick them out. However, if the person wasn’t familiar with the story, or didn’t know that it was based on a fairytale, then it didn’t affect the reader’s experience. I’m so happy that she picked such an unfamiliar fairytale, at least amongst the younger generations, and spun it into a wonderful space opera!

Related Reviews/Books:

Stitching Snow

Book Review: Stitching Snow

Stitching Snow

Details:

Title: Stitching Snow

Author: R.C. Lewis

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Release Date: October 14, 2014

Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Fairytale Retelling, Romance

Pages: 328

Synopsis:

Princess Snow is missing.

Her home planet, once known for lush landscapes, is now filled with violence, fear, and corruption at the hands of King Matthias and his new wife as they attempt to punish the princess’s captors. The kings will stop at nothing to get his beloved daughter back-but that’s assuming she wants to return at all.

Essie has grown used to being cold. Temperatures on the planet Thanda are always sub-zero, and she fills her days with coding and repairs for the seven loyal drones that run the local mines.

When a mysterious young man named Dane crash-lands near her home, Essies agrees to help the pilot repair his ship. But soon she realizes that Dane’s arrival was far from accidental, and she’s pulled into the heart of a war she’s risked everything to avoid.

My First Thoughts:

I actually never liked Snow White as a kid, well more specifically the Disney version of the story. However, when I saw the cover of this book, I knew right away that it was going to be a retelling with Science Fiction being a heavy influence on the story and that immediately drew my attention. And when I saw that this was the first book for the author, I thought: What the heck? Let’s give them a try!

Story Breakdown:

Essie is the main heroine of this retelling, and let me tell you she deserves that title. She is everything that I wanted Snow White to be when I was a little girl. Essie is tough and independent, you see her taking on men twice and thrice her size in cage fights to earn some extra cash and she lives by herself in a settlement full of men. Well, she doesn’t live completely by herself; she has her seven drones which are pretty much the seven dwarves’ rougher robotic counterparts. Essie can also think on her feet and solve a lot of her problems on her own. She is definitely a heroine that I can stand behind, especially because she doesn’t need Dane to save her all the time. In fact, I think he saved her from a few situations, but even he had help in the rescues.

Speaking of Dane, he’s the other main character in the story. I believe that he is a nice middle ground between valiant knight and dark rogue/outcast. What I mean, is that he isn’t overly knightly or completely dirty. He’s a character that grew up in tough times, learned how to solve his problems in the noblest way possible, but isn’t afraid to get his hands dirty when he needs to. Dane is a very realistic character that doesn’t fall into the two main categories for guys in current books, hot valiant knight or irresistible sexy bad boy.

Looking at the size of this book, I never would have imagined going to four different planets, having quite a few sub-plots, mini-story arches, and meeting so many different characters, especially more than one bad guy! In this retelling you get to travel with Essie and Dane to four different planets, staying there long enough to get a good picture in your head of what the planet looks like, what their society, people and living conditions are like. Lewis definitely spent the time to make sure that each planet was different enough so that you don’t get them confused. The fast pacing in this story makes all the different events flow together quite well, and there’s hardly any wasted time, so it definitely doesn’t lull. Now, just because the pacing of the story is fast doesn’t mean that the romance follows suit. In fact, the romance in this story has a slow build that is very realistic and doesn’t give you whiplash!

Overall Thoughts/Opinion:

For a first novel, this author absolutely blew me away. She crafted not only one, but four different planets with enough detail to make each of them believable and easy to picture for the readers. Her detailing and descriptions are perfect, just enough to paint the scene but not overkill either.

I can’t say this enough, but I absolutely love Essie. She follows her head and her instincts. She’s tough, independent, and doesn’t rely on other people to fix her problems, but that doesn’t mean that she’s macho-woman or the next Wonder Woman. Essie asks for help and accepts it when she needs it, but only when she can’t overcome an obstacle on her own, but she tries hard to solve it on her own first. And I have to say that I absolutely love her drones even though you don’t spend a lot of time with all of them. Each one has a different personality that is expressed in the names that she gives them. One of them is named Cusser, and that’s all I’m going to say!

The romance is slow, and she goes through realistic stages of love. She didn’t experience “love at first sight”, it was a slow burn that started with caution and distaste. The plot spends no time meandering around, waiting for the action to pick up. Instead, the plot gets to where it needs to be without delay or getting into sub-plots that might show up in a sequel.

I would love to see a sequel to this book, but honestly I don’t see one coming. The author ends the book without a cliffhanger, like many books nowadays seem to do, and all of the plot-points are tied up. There’s nothing really left for the author to use for a sequel, but as I have found in Science Fiction you can make a sequel out of anything.

Final Thoughts:

If you love fairytale retellings then you are going to love this book, especially if you enjoy strong heroines and realistic ‘princes’. Snow White has needed a make-over since before I was born and this totally takes the cake. If you liked Snow as she was, then maybe you might not like Essie, but if you were a tomboy, then you’ll connect with Essie in the first chapter.

If you love Science Fiction, then this is right up your alley. Not much of a fan of Sci-fi, you still might like it because the technology in the story isn’t overly complicated. There are no aliens but it is set in space, and there is space travel. Actually, looking at this story it has elements of a Space Opera, like Star Wars, so it isn’t pure Science Fiction.

Finally, if you like a slow build romance then this book will make you happy. If you like love at first sight, Disney-style romances, then sorry but there’s nothing I can do for you.

Rating(s):

5/5

The only reason why I put this book down when I was reading was because I had classes to go to and homework to finish. If it weren’t for those things, I would have read this book in a day and happy to skip my meals. Unfortunately, life does take precedence, but this book was amazing and made it hard to finish my work. For a first novel and being a Calculus teacher, R.C. Lewis did a fantastic job creating a story full of amazing characters and worlds. I will definitely be looking for her next book in October of 2015!

Related Reviews/Books:

A Curse of Ash and IronCruel BeautySplintered

A Curse of Ash & Iron

A Curse of Ash and Iron

*This is a picture of the book cover and the photo does not belong to me, but the author.

Details:

Title: A Curse of Ash & Iron

Author: Christine Norris

Publisher: Curiosity Quill Press

Release Date: May 21st 2015 (first published September 2nd 2014)

Genre: Science Fiction, Steampunk, Fantasy, Fairytale Retelling

Pages: 288

Synopsis:

Benjamin Grimm knows the theater is much like real life. In 1876 Philadelphia, people play their parts, hiding behind the illusion of their lives, and never revealing their secrets.

When he reunites with his childhood friend Eleanor Banneker, he is delighted. His delight turns to dismay when he discovers she has been under a spell for the past 7 years, being forced to live as a servant in her own home, and he realizes how sinister some secrets can be. She asks for his help, and he can’t refuse. Even if he doesn’t believe in ‘real’ magic, he can’t abandon her.

Ellie has spent the long years since her mother’s death under the watchful eye and unforgiving eye of her stepmother. Bewitched and hidden in plain sight, it seems no one can help Ellie escape. Not even her own father, who is under a spell of his own. When she sees Ben one evening, it seems he is immune to the magic that binds her, and her hope is rekindled along with her friendship.

     But time is running short. If they do not find a way to break the spell before midnight on New Year’s Eve, then both Ellie and her father will be bound forever.

My First Thoughts:

Steampunk fascinates me. I love science fiction to begin with, but something about mixing old with the new and creating something totally different is amazing. The back reads like a fairytale, specifically like the Cinderella tale with different twists, which I’m excited to find out for myself.

Story Breakdown:

Eleanor Banneker, Ellie, is one of the main characters of this adventure. In this story, she is definitely the Cinderella, but she is nothing like the Disney Cinderella most girls are familiar with. Daughter of the social elite, she is stripped of her identity and the life she would have lived due to a spell that was cast upon her. For seven years she worked as the maid to the home in which she lived, doing her stepmother’s every biding while the world, including her father, forgot about her. Except for her childhood best friend: Ben.

Benjamin Grimm, no not the alter ego of the Thing from Fantastic Four, but a young man born into the lower working class of society, is the only one who can see through Ellie’s enchantment. During the working day, he works in either the bookstore that his mother owns or at the local theater as a simple stage hand. By night though, he tinkers in his shop making all sorts of wonderful designs meant to wow the audience with illusions, because one day he wants to leave Philadelphia and become a famous Illusionist. When he recognizes Ellie, it seems like fate was on her side and she decides to ask for his help to break the enchantments on her father and herself. Though Ben is more than willing to help his childhood friend, he doesn’t believe in all of the magic hoop-la that Ellie does and believes there is a more logical reason for her life’s misfortune. Could he be Ellie’s Prince Charming? Or is there another that plays that role in this story?

One role that is filled for sure is the evil stepmother, who is played by Olivia Banneker. The former governess of Ellie, Olivia has only wanted what was best for her daughter, Rebecca, and herself. When she marries Ellie’s father, she jumps feet first into the world of the social elite, trying so hard to fit in with the people she had once coveted. But how she obtained what she once coveted is a mystery, a mystery that could be explained by magic and secret meetings with an enigmatic stranger.

Then there is Rebecca, the younger stepsister to Ellie, who gets to live the life that Ellie had dreamed of as a child. The younger girl seems quiet and out of place in the world in which her mother so wants them to live in. But inside that quiet mind is a tinker and possibly something more.

Overall Thoughts/Opinion:

This book took me by surprise. I have read retellings before but this one is fantastic and cleverly written. Ellie is not your average Cinderella, she tackles her curse without the help of a fairy godmother. Instead, her best friend helps her not for money or love, but because of the friendship they had as children. It was wonderful to watch Ellie go from a young girl that just took what was given to her, to a young woman that took her life and problems into her own hands. Ellie was strong, but willing to ask for help and receive it, and she didn’t have a complete bitter and hateful attitude. Ellie had grace and knew when to lash out her fiery tongue.

Ben was a wonderful character. I loved reading about his illusionist projects and how they worked; it was definitely a fascinating read. He was so devoted to helping Ellie, and it was nice to watch his character grow as they worked together to break the curse. Some of the other characters, like Rebecca, surprised me and it was amazing to see how the author had written them into the story.

For a retelling, it didn’t really scream retelling to me while I read. There were some of the major themes that were taken from the original ideas, but other than that the author made it her own story, which is what you’re supposed to do. In fact, it was when I ran across these themes that I reminded myself that this was a Cinderella retelling! The steampunk tones were very well done as well. Some stories that are ‘steampunk’ want to drown the readers in it with all this extra detailing that might not actually be steampunk. In this story, the steampunk is very subtle; actually it’s easy to miss if you are unfamiliar with it.

Norris does a good job recreating this historical world and adding some of her own twists to it without disrupting the flow too much. I will admit, the story was a little slow in the beginning, but after the first few chapters it really picked up and the last hundred or so were a rollercoaster! The story had so many twists but a lot of clues as well, and the author actually left a lot of the mystery up to the reader to figure out before revealing things later on. It was refreshing actually being able to use my brain instead of having the author spoon feed me everything.

Final Thoughts:

If you love history and going back in time, this book may be for you. There’re some tidbits of history thrown in that aren’t common knowledge, but the author actually explains them at the back of the book. Also something rather interesting, the author actually named her characters, at least their first names, after some of her ancestors that she has found. In fact, she was related to a Benjamin that worked at the Walnut Street Theater in Philadelphia.

If you like slow burn romance, or romance that kind of takes a back burner to the story, then you’ll enjoy this one. The love in this story is very slow, and unlike Disney and other stories, Ellie doesn’t jump into it all like a cannonball.

If you like your heroine to be strong, but not a bitch, then you’ll like Ellie. She takes on her problems and tries to fix them in whatever way she can. Ellie is clever and isn’t a crybaby that waits for Prince Charming to come rescue her. She is a woman conscious of her world and the environment around her, and she decides what she will do with her life.

Rating(s):

4.5/5

This was a fantastic book and very well written, definitely one of my favorites of late. The only thing keeping it from getting a full 5 out of 5 is the way the author would switch scenes or point of view between Ellie and Ben. Occasionally, Norris would stop in the beginning of an action or conversation that the reader never experiences later. Personally, I don’t like to end scenes with a loose piece of dialogue, but that’s just my preference. The other thing that hurt the rating was that the author kept every reveal secret until the last possible second, which is fine for the bigger reveals but it got a bit annoying for all the smaller revelations. I’m all for allowing the reader to think for themselves and try to figure it out on their own, but sometimes I want to know word for word what this letter said or who surprised them and such. But other than those, this book deserved every point it got because it was a fascinating Cinderella retelling with some magic and a bit of steampunk!

Related Books:

Stitching Snow