Comic Book Review: Empress #1

Synopsis:

Imagine you’re married to the worst bad guy from your favorite sci-fi movie. An alien dictator feared throughout the universe, who will kill you if you leave — but you need to escape for the sake of your three children. All you have are your wits, your bodyguard, and three guns.

What I First Thought:

I found this comic one day when I went with my boyfriend and his family to their local comic book store. They had the first four issues and it looked interesting enough, so I grabbed it. I’m still new to comic books, I still haven’t quite figured out how to judge whether or not I’ll like it before buying it. This time I went with my gut, so hopefully that was enough!

Ratings:

Art: 5/5

I loved Stuart Immonen’s art! Not going to lie, but at first I was a little leery about the heroine’s character design because from the cover it looked like she would be an unrealistic “space babe”. After seeing the artwork, time and again Emporia was portrayed with realistic body proportions that weren’t too over the top. I think what I liked most about the artwork is that it already appears pretty smooth, some of the past comics I’ve read were a little rough in the beginning. Every line has a purpose, the scenes aren’t cluttered with too much detail, there’s just enough to give the readers all the information they need. The action sequences weren’t overcrowded or overpowered, just enough explosions when needed.

Story: 4/5

This was a pretty good beginning to the series. I’m really intrigued with the setting of this story. The story is set 65 million years ago with dinosaurs, aliens, and space travel; to date I don’t think I’ve ever read a story (outside of watching those few episodes of Doctor Who) in which those three are combined. I’m excited to see where Millar will do with this setting. Already I’ve seen a T-Rex fighting in an arena and a ship having to avoid a flock (?) of pterodactyls, but will there be more to it and will the dinosaurs actually play some sort of role in the story.

This story had just enough information to keep me from getting lost, but still left me with questions. I would’ve liked for a little more background, but I think that’s more my speed. I’m still curious to see what happens next!

Overall: 4.5

Details:

Title: Empress

Issue: 1

Publisher: Icon

Writer: Mark Millar

Illustrator: Stuart Immonen

Colors: Ive Svorcina

Letters: Peter Doherty

Released Date: April 6, 2016

Pages: 32

Genre: Science Fiction, Space Opera

Book Review: The Senator’s Youngest Daughter

32073917**The views of this book do not reflect our political views or ideals. This book was provided in exchange for an honest review, which reads as follows:

Details:

Title: The Senator’s Youngest Daughter

Author: Kelley Rose Waller

Publisher: Versive Press

Release Date: October 1, 2016

Genre: Science Fiction, Dystopia

Pages: 313

Synopsis:

Senator A.C. McFerren has been missing for more than six months. The obvious prime suspect in his disappearance is the homegrown terrorist group known as the Army of Social Justice.

Searching for her kidnapped father leads Brenna McFerren Jefferson to the terrorists’ elusive “Death of Government” headquarters, known as The Doghouse. But nosing around where the federal government won’t investigate puts a target on her family and sets in motion a rebellion she isn’t prepared to lead.

Dreams of liberty cause the Senator’s daughter to disguise herself for undercover recon, recruit a high-ranking defector, and partner with a subversive news agency that combats government propaganda. As Brenna’s strength and family ties are tested, she unites a political party that commands the power to transform the United States.

My First Thoughts:

I was so excited to read this book. Dystopia is probably my favorite genre, and I especially love really political, espionage-y ones. From the synopsis, this book sounded like it was right up my alley.

Overall Thoughts/Opinion:

It’s taken me a long time to write this review; I couldn’t figure out what to write about it. I don’t really know if I enjoyed it or not. I found that the writing was fine. It was easy to follow and clear. The characters were developed, if a little lacking in dimension.

This story is narrated by the main character, Brenna, and I found that the narration did match her dialogue, which I appreciated. However, as a fellow teacher, I did find her hard to connect with at times. She mentions often how all she wanted was to be a kindergarten or first grade teacher, but she left because of how government restrictions were affecting the education system. Now, there are many teachers who are frustrated and feel restricted by what we currently deal with in education and there are many teachers who leave because of it. However, the teachers that talk like Brenna talks throughout the story are never the ones who do, because they know they need to be there for the students. They work with and around restrictions; they don’t normally just give up. As someone who had to fight tooth and nail to get where I am in my career, Brenna’s thoughts about teaching are almost infuriating.

Here’s the part that has been killing me about writing this review: This book reads like a republican’s nightmare about socialism. That’s not to say that I am in favor of socialism, because I’m not. When I took my “What is your political alignment” test in my government class, I was almost in the exact center. While I can see how aspects of socialism have had positive impacts in several countries, I believe there are fundamental differences between the US and those countries that make it so it probably wouldn’t work here. However, this book seems to ignore the fact that it has worked other places and that there are positive ideas in this. It also runs off of several misconceptions about socialism, portraying a more communist society than a socialist society. Politics and society are difficult and complex, but the viewpoint of this book is very simplistic and fear based, rather than a critique based on research.

Final Thoughts:

In conclusion, my feelings about this book are mixed. I was ok with the writing, characters, and overall story; this is a genre I really enjoy. However, the political situation and climate is so one sided and filled with the fearful ideas I hear constantly in the conservative place I live I found it jarring. It was hard to read, not because it was bad, but because it hit close to home.

Rating(s):

2/5

I would recommend this book to people who don’t understand why some people cannot see “How socialism would be a benefit to society.” I think it is a very good perspective into the thought processes of people who are fearful of socialism. It is also a fine political drama, but one that I did find was so extreme it would pull me out of the story and turn me off reading it for a while.

Related Reviews/Books:

COMING SOON!!!

Comic Book Review: Steven Universe (2017-) #1

steven-universe-1Details:

Title: Steven Universe (2017- )

Issue: 1

Publisher: kaboom!

Creator: Rebecca Sugar

Writer: Melanie Gillman

Illustrator: Katy Farina

Colors: Whitney Cogar

Letters: Mike Fiorentino

Genre: Graphic Novel, Science Fiction, Slice of Life

Released Date: February 8, 2016

kaboom_stevenuniverse2017_001_b_subscriptionSynopsis:

(As read on Goodreads)

Writer Melanie Gillman (As the Crow Flies) and artist Katy Farina (The Amazing World of Gumball) are teaming up for the start of a new series of adventures for the entire gang. Based on Cartoon Network’s Emmy Award-nominated animated series created by Rebecca Sugar about a boy with magical powers who goes on adventures with The Crystal Gems, a team of beings who safeguard the universe. The show is approaching its fourth season and has earned millions of fans of all ages worldwide. In this kickoff issue, Steven, Lapis, and Peridot rescue a baby songbird on the ground outside the barn and work together to reunite it with its mother.

First Thought:

I was brought onto the Steven Universe ban wagon by my best friend our freshman year of college. While our roommates were out partying we watched Steven Universe while indulging ourselves on campus pizzas and smoothies. Since then, I have also dragged my boyfriend into the fray and he was the one to tell me about the new comic coming out, saying that it looked pretty good. I was a little cautious because I have seen the other comics and they just didn’t grab me, and their art bothered me. However, when we went to the local comic book store to find this issue I was instantly attracted to the beautiful covers and I knew I wanted to read this series! I ended up buying both of the covers that the store had on hand because I honestly couldn’t just pick one…

Ratings:

Art: 4/5

Story: 5/5

Overall: 5

I really liked the art in this issue. I believe that Katy Farina did a fantastic job with the characters and the world around them. The art wasn’t 100% like the show, which is totally fine with me, but it felt enough like the Steven Universe I got used to to not distract me from the story. This issue just felt like another episode of Steven Universe with a cute little story and message to go with. Melanie Gillman did a wonderful job with writing such a short story, like many of the episodes within the show, and creating a simple one issue plot. There’s nothing bigger, nothing grand, just Steven spending time with Lapis and Peridot building their characters and their friendship.

This first issue really is just a cute little read, one that will help cheer you up when you’re down and a nice little fix for the pauses between new episodes. If you like Steven Universe, want to try out comics (or new comics), or need some cheering up, then go to your local comic bookstore and pick up this issue. Do it, I promise you won’t regret it when you get wrapped up in the cuteness of Steven and the baby songbird!

Book Review: The Golden Spider

the-golden-spider

Details:

Title: The Golden Spider (The Elemental Web Chronicles)

Author: Ann Renwick

Publisher: self-published

Release Date: August 8th 2016

Genre: Steampunk, Romance, Mystery

Pages: 482

Synopsis:

London papers scream of dirigible attacks, kraken swarms, and lung-clogging, sulfurous fogs. But a rash of gypsy murders barely rates mention.

Lady Amanda is tired of having both her intelligence and her work dismissed.

After blackmailing her way into medical school, she catches the eye of her anatomy professor from the moment she walks into his lecture hall. Is he interested in her? Or only her invention–a clockwork spider that can spin artificial nerves?

Lord Thornton, a prominent neurobiologist, has been betrayed.

Secret government technology has been stolen from his laboratory, and a foreign spy is attempting to perfect it via a grisly procedure… using gypsies as test subjects. The last thing he needs is the distraction of a beautiful–and brilliant–new student, even if her spider could heal a deteriorating personal injury.

Until her device is stolen and used in the latest murder.

Lord Thornton has no option but to bring her into his laboratory as well as the investigation where they must fight their growing, yet forbidden, attraction. Bodies accumulate and fragile bonds are tested as they race across London, trying to catch the spy before it’s too late.

My First Thoughts:

I always love to find good steampunk books and there are never enough of them! So when I was presented with story I immediately said yes.

Overall Thoughts/Opinion:

This story was absolutely fantastic! While this book is a romance, that single element doesn’t drive the story like other books. The Golden Spider is very much a mystery novel with a side of romance and a touch and steampunk.

The mystery of this story was quite interesting to follow, and it had me guessing for most of the book. The murders weren’t too gruesome to read about, the author didn’t go into a lot of detail describing the look of the body and such. When she did go into detail, she used very scientific words, which made sense because both of the main characters are in the medical field, to describe what had happened to the body and thus allowing the reader to be slightly removed and less repulsed by the image in their mind. By the end of the novel none of the big twists shocked me. This isn’t a slight against the story telling, most books fail to shock me with their big twists because I’ve guessed them early on. The mystery did stump me for most of this book and there were some minor twists that I didn’t see coming.

The characters were likeable enough. I really enjoyed Thorton more than Amanda. Lady Amanda was fine, however she seemed rather basic. It’s not uncommon for the heroine of a romance novel to be extraordinary in some way, normally there super smart compared to their peers. I wouldn’t go as far as to say that her character was cliché, because the author took great strides in proving how intelligent her female lead was by showing her thought process and even including the right terminology when necessary. However, Lady Amanda fails to stand out in my mind, which isn’t a point against the author, unlike her male counterpart. Thorton was different. I’ve never read a story before, especially a romance, where the male lead is handicapped in some way and is a bit self-conscious about it, afraid of receiving help from others but needing it in the end. Normally, a male character with his kind of personality would turn me off, but his injury and all the related baggage helped round out his character, making him rather likeable.

For the most part, the minor characters were interesting as well. There were a few that were quite forgettable, but the others had unique characteristics or actions that helped them stick in the mind, the gypsies were my favorite.

With any steampunk, I’m curious about how the author weaves the normal elements of the genre into their story. For many stories, the steampunk elements are mostly in the detailing of the environment, the fashion, etc. Not many stories that I have read actually do much with steampunk ideas beyond ‘oh look I added gears and steam to everything’. The Golden Spider actually weaves the elements into the plot, especially with Amanda’s device and the work that it does. I was absolutely fascinated with the world that the author created with steampunk, and I enjoyed the detailing and the functionality of her creations.

For the most part, this book is fantastic. My only complaints are the ending and some of the random sections with our killer. A few times the author chose to write from the killer’s perspective, as a way of giving the readers some clues as to who they might be. However, they were random and very far from each other. I would have preferred if we saw more from the villain’s side, not much, but a few more times to make those sections appear less disjointed with the rest of the story. As for the end, it was a fine ending but with how the rest of the story read I was expecting more. Everything seemed to wrap up so nicely with most of the loose ends getting tied in the last couple of pages. I wanted to know more about the killer’s motives and some answers to some of the backstory that was presented earlier in the story. I guess I’ll just have to wait for the next installment, which I will definitely be looking for.

Final Thoughts:

I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves steampunk, romance, or mystery, or all of the above. No one genre dominates the story, which I appreciated because sometimes romance driven mysteries are rather dry and cliché. This mystery is well balanced, not very gory, and fun to follow. There are some pretty heavy scientific and medical terms in this book, they are scientists so it makes sense, however, there’s enough context to make it easier to get a general idea of what’s being said without relying on Google. Also, there is sex in this book, just to warn you in case it turns you off like some of the other reviewers I’ve read.

Rating(s):

4/5

Overall this book is fantastic. The world the author creates is detailed and well imagined while leaving the reader with enough questions to want to keep exploring in later books. The romance, while a little cliché, is realistic and enjoyable without stealing the spotlight. Some people might not enjoy the technical jargon or medical terminology, but they’re easy enough to understand. What keeps this story from getting 5/5 for me is the ending and the few sections told about our killer. There were 2-3 times in which the story followed the villain, which is fine, but they seemed so random and jarring that it took me out of the story a little. Just a few more sections with the killer, and it would have been fine. As for the ending, it was too short and clean for me. Most of the loose ends were taken care of, but they were all told to us and not shown. The rest of the book goes through great lengths to show and not tell, and I feel like the ending falls short of the standard the rest of the book set up. I understand if the author didn’t want to  go into too much detail, however, I think the readers deserved more than two or three pages. All in all, I’mm looking forward to the next book!

Related Reviews/Books:

A Curse of Ash and Iron

Book Review: Kyle Evans and the Key to the Universe

kyle-evans-is-shitNOTICE: I was given a free copy of this book by the author in exchange for an honest review, which reads as follows:

Details:

Title: Kyle Evans and the Key to the Universe

Author: Rob H Hunt

Illustrator: James Chapman

Publisher: self-published

Release Date:  March 2nd 2016 

Genre: Action/Adventure,  Science fiction, Middle Reader

Pages: 166

Synopsis:

Some kids love adventure, and dream of being a hero. Ten-year-old Kyle Evans is not one of those kids, but when a giant hole appears in his bedroom and swallows his mom, a hero is what Kyle must become. Kyle sets out on the journey of a lifetime, and discovers along the way that Battle Droids are scarier than Search Droids, Kranken are more terrifying than either of these, and you should never stand still near a Burgly Bug. But more important than any of this, Kyle learns that sometimes a cat is not just a cat. Kyle Evans and The Key to The Universe is the first book in an exciting adventure trilogy that takes a boy, his cat and his friend Sofia across the universe, gradually revealing their amazing destiny

My First Thoughts:

I’m always looking for a good science fiction book, especially one that is geared toward children, so I was rather excited to read and review another children’s book.

Overall Thoughts/Opinion:

I have a lot of mixed feelings about this book. The story held promise, and I really did want to see how everything panned out. However, it took me more time than I want to admit to finish this book. After almost every chapter I put the book down to briefly do something else, and the chapters weren’t very long. The writing couldn’t hold my interest long, I wanted to read more of the story, but I felt like the writing was constantly pulling me out.

The dialogue was stiff. I felt no chemistry between the characters, and even less so when they were speaking to each other. None of the conversations flowed naturally and it was a bit painful to read sometimes. Now, I understand that most children in upper elementary school or lower middle school won’t care about the dialogue, but that shouldn’t stop an author from writing good, or even decent, conversations between characters.

I found the main character Kyle to be rather annoying by the end of the story. At first he was interesting because he was a young kid how didn’t like adventures, like a less proper and very young Bilbo Baggins. However, you don’t really see a clear transition out of that phase for his character. Instead, he is constantly being thrown into these actin roles with very little thought except for helping his cat. Cool, that’s great. I love cats and characters who protect their cats are awesome in my book, but the author missed some great opportunities for good character development for Kyle. Again, how many kids are looking very closely at character development? Not very many, but kids do pick up on the subtle messages in what they hear and read, so things like good character development that makes sense is always needed, no matter what the age group is. He annoyed me because no matter how many times he encountered something strange or out-of-this-world he always had a major freak out about it or had a hard time grasping the issue at hand.

Sophia was a little better. She is his supposed best friend that shows up early in the book but doesn’t actually have a real role until about three quarter of the way through. But she’s on the cover, right? Yes, she’s the girl on the cover but most of the story is over with by the time she’s really apart of the action. She  handled the weirdness a lot better than Kyle, unfortunately, she handled it a little too well for a 10 year old. My one big complaint was that you don’t find out a lot about Sophia, you just pick up that she speaks Spanish and are told that she’s Kyle’s best friend, but I don’t really see it.

The one character that I enjoyed the most was Bootles. To me, he read like the cat version of David Tennant’s Doctor Who. He was highly intelligent, spoke a lot and went of on odd tangents that somehow made it back to the main idea. However, he still bothered me because he spoke of things that no average 10 year old would have a real concept of and constantly confused Kyle, which got real old real fast. One example is that he spoke of endothermic and exothermic reactions and how metals react to acetic acid. Not very many children would know about acetic acid, let alone it’s reactions to metal. He is an interesting character, but I feel like this isn’t the book for this character. In fact, I believe that Bootles would be better suited for a Young Adult novel instead of a Middle Reader.

My main problems were the about the dialogue and the chemistry between the characters. I enjoyed the concept of the story and the action was entertaining and flowed rather smoothly for the most part.  Honestly, I believe that this story is fine for young readers but it isn’t the best. The greatest kids books are able to capture and hold the attention of adults, and this book had a hard time holding my attention.

Ratings:

2/5

Overall I believe that this book would be an interesting read for young readers. There’s a lot of action and fun illustrations to go along with the story that would entertain them for a while. This may prove to be a good gift to any child, though probably those ten or younger. It would be especially good for any young reader that may be interested in Sci-fi literature, because I believe that it serves as a great gateway book to other science fiction novels. There’s no overall message with this story, not even a minor lesson. This is just basically a way to keep kids quiet for a few hours or more.

For anyone older than ten, this may prove to be a difficult read. The dialogue is unnatural and the characters don’t really fit together as well as they should. There are other story elements that are a bit subpar that older readers would pick up on rather quickly. For people with experience with page layout and design, don’t pick this book up because it will drive you insane just looking at it.

Book Review: Rarity of the Hollow

Notice: I was given a free copy of this book by the author in exchange for an honest, which reads as follows:

rarity of the hollowDetails:

Title: Rarity from the Hollow

Author: Robert Eggleton

Publisher: Dog Horn Publishing at Smashwords

Date Released: March 16, 2012

Genre: Adult, Science-Fiction

Pages: 290 (eBook)

Synopsis:

Lacy Dawn’s father relieves the Gulf War, her mother’s teeth are rotting out, and her best friend is murdered by the meanest daddy on Earth. Life in The Hollow isn’t great. But Lacy has one advantage – she’s been befriended by a semi-organic, semi-robot who works with her to cure her parents. He wants something in exchange, though, it’s up to her to save the Universe.

Will Lacy Dawn’s predisposition, education, and magic be enough for her to save the Universe, Earth, and, most importantly, protect her family?

Rarity from the Hollow is adult literary science fiction filled with tragedy, comedy, and satire. It is a children’s story for adults, not for the prudish, faint of hear, or easily offended.

What I first Thought:

After reading the description of the book, I didn’t know what to expect from this story. It sounded like it would be an interesting experience, one that will definitely be a first. I had never heard of an adult book being marketed as a children’s story for adults, so I was curious as to how this book would read!

Overall Thoughts/Opinions:

This story has no doubt been an interesting ride! I first started reading this story back in the spring, towards the end of my spring semester at college. At the time, it was difficult for me to read this story (I had been reading it on my laptop) and school had become more demanding than I expected, so I opted to read other books. When I got to a better place, I decided to give this book another read (especially after I started using a tablet) and I’m glad that I did!

As before, the beginning was a bit rough to get through. There was a lot going on and at times some events seemed rather disconnected from the rest of the story. The author’s writing style was also a bit tough to get used to as well. The story was written in third person and mostly followed the main character, Lacy Dawn, and occasionally the story would follow some of the other characters when they were away from our heroine. I’ve read stories written like this before, and that didn’t bother me, what did was that the author showed readers the thoughts of almost every character, even when the story followed Lacy Dawn. In the beginning, it was hard to tell which thought belonged to who, but after a while it became easier to discern as you got to know the characters and how they acted. At times it was very insightful to read the thoughts of the other main characters, however, there were instances when the thoughts seemed unnecessary, and overall distracting to the situation.

As far as characters go, Eggleton’s characters were the most unique individuals I have ever come across. For someone who has read a lot of books, that’s impressive! It was interesting to read how they interacted with each other and how those interactions changed as the characters grew. Each of the characters seemed to have their own journey as the story focused on Lacy Dawn and her coming of age. Dwayne became a better husband and father. Jenny was able to repair her self-esteem and become the person she used to be. Dotcom had the most interesting journey as he learned what it meant to be human. I loved reading how his interactions with the other characters changed, becoming more human-like, and even noticing how his speech and terminology morphed with him. And of course, it was refreshing to read of Lacy Dawn’s evolution as she went through early childhood and how she matured.

This was no normal coming of age story involving a little girl, or any child for that matter. Most of the coming of age stories that I have read about younger kids are rather innocent. Sure, they deal with tough issues such as divorced parents, going into middle school, or starting puberty while trying to save the world. And Lacy Dawn deals with similar issues, except her reactions and different and appear to me to fit more with our current culture. For instance, at some point, one way Lacy Dawn decides to deal with the stress of saving the universe is to try to masturbate. Seems a bit scandalous to some of you, right? The author did warn that this story was not for the prude or faint of heart! At first, I was taken by surprise by her reaction to stress, but the more I thought about it, the more it made sense. At the age she was at that part of the story, most kids are starting to conduct sexual experimentations. It’s something natural that we as a culture try to cover up, making it taboo even in some areas. It was refreshing to read this about a child character, especially since children in stories are almost always portrayed as innocent, not necessarily sweet, but definitely not showing any interest or knowledge of anything sexual. Lacy Dawn was a surprising character that grew on me quickly. She was a colorful and never ceased to surprise me, showing how quickly children can mature due to difficult situations and how those situations affect them for the rest of their lives. I loved how the author portrayed her as she started puberty, showing how her actions and thoughts change due to all the hormonal changes going on in her body. There has never been a character similar in children’s books, and I doubt there will be for a very long time to come.

As a side note, Dotcom’s character development was also very interesting. Due to spoilers, I can’t really go into detail about his change as the story progresses. In many ways it’s similar to Lacy Dawn’s but a bit more unique, adorable, and equally awkward. In short, you won’t be seeing a character development like his in a children’s book either, coming of age or otherwise…

The story as a whole was quite a ride. For the first few chapters I wasn’t quite sure where the author would take his story. It was a rather rough and awkward start in my opinion, which may or may not have been intentional. It may have mostly been on my end, taking more time than usual to get accustomed to the author’s voice and humor. After the story picked up though, the story became really fun to read. There were many times in which I wanted to put aside my homework to see what happened next! As a satire, the material wasn’t as heavy as others that I’ve read, but there were some clear jabs at certain things in common culture and way of thinking.  But the author never beat the horse to death, it was more like side comments and random situations that were brief but concise.

There were some things in the story I didn’t really sit with me well. I’ve mentioned the character’s thoughts being a bit jarring or distracting at times. There were also a few instances where the author would make an effort to giver odd details that stuck out, or create situations that appeared to be quite random. In most of those cases, the details or randomness had nothing to do with the overall story, at least from what I could tell, and the author never mentioned them again. So the flow of the story wasn’t as smooth as I would’ve liked it to be, but overall not bad.

Personally, I wish that the author used more of Lacy Dawn’s magic, or at least explained it a little more. I don’t know why exactly she needed to have magic, it seemed like a random character trait that ended up having no real impact on the story. She didn’t really use it during the final conflict. It just made her appear to be even more unique than your average little girl. It’s possible that the author may have more uses of her magical abilities later, if he decides to write more of her adventures, but for this story it just seemed a bit odd when looking back.

Final Thoughts:

As the author said, and as I feel I must stress, this story is not for the prude, faint of heart, or easily offended. There are topics within this story that may make some readers uncomfortable, possibly in some cases angry. When reading, you must remember that this is also a satirical story. Satire isn’t for everyone, so if you aren’t a fan of it, then stay away.

This story mentions sex, drugs, puberty, and other related topics. While there is mentions of sex, there are never any sex scenes. If you can get past these themes or aren’t bothered by such topics this story may be quite an enjoyable read for you. The science fiction isn’t very heavy, and is very easy to understand. If you can’t get past such themes listed above, then don’t even try.

Rating:

3/5

Overall this story is pretty decent. However, I believe it will be one that readers to find absolutely fantastic or confusing as hell! My suggestion: read carefully and pay attention. There were times in which I had to reread certain sections because I completely missed a subtle detail that ended up being very important.

Rarity from the Hollow was a fun, interesting story to read. The beginning was kind rough, I had to reread it twice before I ended up continuing. There were points and details mentioned over and over in the story, but ended up having no actual effect or role in the climax. I’m hoping that there may be another adventure with Lacy Dawn that may explore those details that felt oddly left or uncompleted. By the end of the story I absolutely loved this oddball cast of characters and wouldn’t mind reading more about them, especially after Bucky’s transformation! So yes, overall this is a pretty decent story that was fun to read, full of laughs, and interesting character development!

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