review

Review: Cinder by Marissa Meyer

11235712Humans 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

 

Goodreads/Amazon

A few years ago, when Cinder was first released, I couldn’t go to any book blogger’s site without seeing it’s cover. I was constantly reminded that it was a must-read, but for whatever reason, I just never got around to it. Maybe it’s because I’m not much of a science fiction fanatic or maybe it’s the bookworm curse of having a stockpile of TBRs that take forever to get around to.. I dunno. But I finally read it and…

I loved it.

It’s a retelling of Cinderella that I never would have imagined. It’s not elegant and full of glass slippers and pristine ballgowns. No, no, no. It has grease stains, wrinkled dresses, and robotic body parts. It’s awesome.

Cinder is amazing. She’s a world-class ass-kicker with a streak of stubborn, but the teenage girl in her still peeks through now and then. I love her snark and how, despite the way she’s treated by her stepmother, she puts others before herself.

All the characters are pretty well fleshed-out and three-dimensional. You see them, hear them, know them, and the relationships between them are genuine. Kai and Cinder have an instant attraction, but it wasn’t forced (AKA it wasn’t ooey gooey love from the moment their eyes met). Their connection is a growing and evolving tangible thing, ebbing and flowing as all relationships do.

Everything about this book feels real, from the characters to the world that Meyers has created. From the trash-littered streets to the glowing palace, it’s got layers of grungy beauty and a deep, troubled past that it’s inhabitants fight to overcome.

Overall, this book is stellar. It’s on my favorites list and is one of those books that will stick with me.

Rating: 5/5 Stars

Cheers!!

Review: The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black

20958632Children can have a cruel, absolute sense of justice. Children can kill a monster and feel quite proud of themselves. A girl can look at her brother and believe they’re destined to be a knight and a bard who battle evil. She can believe she’s found the thing she’s been made for.

Hazel lives with her brother, Ben, in the strange town of Fairfold where humans and fae exist side by side. The faeries’ seemingly harmless magic attracts tourists, but Hazel knows how dangerous
they can be, and she knows how to stop them. Or she did, once.

At the center of it all, there is a glass coffin in the woods. It rests right on the ground and in it sleeps a boy with horns on his head and ears as pointed as knives. Hazel and Ben were both in love with him as children. The boy has slept there for generations, never waking.

Until one day, he does…

As the world turns upside down, Hazel tries to remember her years pretending to be a knight. But swept up in new love, shifting loyalties, and the fresh sting of betrayal, will it be enough?

Goodreads/Amazon

Rating: 2/5 Stars

The synopsis of The Darkest Part of the Forest is epic. It hints at a creepy and magical world and effects a level of excitement that makes you clear your entire day for reading, feeding your family be damned. But as I began turning the pages, fully expecting to be sucked in, I  felt my attention swaying as the story fell short over and over again.

I really dislike giving low ratings, but I can’t go any higher than two stars for TDPotF and here’s why:

  1. The world building was mediocre. I couldn’t envision the town or even the fairy forest, and the tension we were supposed to feel between the two worlds fell flat. Even the legend of the prince and the shock of his waking – which I guess was supposed to be a major part of the story? – didn’t feel like a big deal.
  2. The characters were underdeveloped and inconsistent. I couldn’t connect with any of them, and I’m kinda depressed about it because there was so much potential for them to be so much more than they were. {ahem, Jack! I mean… the guy could have his own novel.} What little personality they had didn’t quite fit with their actions, making the believability nil. There was no development in the relationships, and insta-love without any real foundation is always boring.
  3. The weird kissing thing. We were given a half-assed reason as to why Hazel felt the need to kiss every boy she saw, but I’m still not convinced that it was good enough. It was just kinda weird and never came in to play. She was supposed to be liked and admired by all, but I didn’t see what was so awe-inspiring about her. She was a cookie-cutter character with none of the flare we were told she was supposed to have.
  4. The plot was rushed. All the action and twists felt crammed in to too few pages, and the direness of the situation didn’t feel real. I guess without that essential connection to the characters, I couldn’t really care about what happened to them.

 

However, the writing style kept me intrigued and turning the pages, allowing me to see why Holly Black is a bestselling author. Maybe this particular novel was just rushed through to meet a deadline. Maybe she was in a slump. I don’t know what happened, but it needed a few more runs through the editing process or maybe a hundred more pages. There was such potential here, and it saddens me to say that it didn’t live up to the hype.

Great idea; poor execution.

This is the first book of Black’s I’ve read, so I won’t give up yet. I’ve heard great things about her books and will definitely be giving them another shot.

Cheers!

Review: Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon

For nearly twenty y5364ears Claire Randall has kept her secrets. But now she is returning with her grown daughter to Scotland’s majestic mist-shrouded hills. Here Claire plans to reveal a truth as stunning as the events that gave it birth: about the mystery of an ancient circle of standing stones… about a love that transcends the boundaries of time… and about Jamie Fraser, a Scottish warrior whose gallantry once drew a young Claire from the security of her century to the dangers of his.

Now a legacy of blood and desire will test her beautiful copper-haired daughter, Brianna, as Claire’s spellbinding journey of self-discovery continues in the intrigue-ridden Paris court of Charles Stuart… in a race to thwart a doomed Highlands uprising… and in a desperate fight to save both the child and the man she loves.

 Goodreads / Amazon

Rating: 5/5

“For I have lied, and killed, and stolen; betrayed and broken trust. But there is the one thing that shall lie in the balance. When I shall stand before God, I shall have one thing to say, to weigh against the rest.”

His voice dropped, nearly to a whisper, and his arms tightened around me.

Lord, ye gave me a rare woman, and God! I loved her well.”

 

Jesus H. Roosevelt Christ. 

I’m still reeling and could in all honesty leave those four words as the sum of my review, but I just can’t let that suffice.

Jamie & Claire have a love story of epic proportions. It always has this cloud of doom hanging over it, tragedy lurking around every seemingly happy corner, pulling at your heartstrings and tear ducts over and over again. What I love about them is that they could have had a happy, quiet life but choose the hard road. To them, it’s the only choice; they’re hell-bent on changing the fate of Scotland and the grim future of those they love.

I don’t know how Diana Gabaldon keeps it all straight. She’s a master story-teller, weaving every little detail together into a twisty, curvy story that has constant surprises or revelations.

The characters she creates (even those with a minor role) come alive, leaping from the pages, attaching themselves to the reader in a way that keeps them with you long after you finish. I’m just thankful I was able to jump immediately to book three so I wouldn’t have to let them go for any period of time. I’ve found myself mourning, hoping, and smiling with them throughout the day, whether I’m reading or not.

Like I said, it’s just one of those stories that stay with you.Not only that, but every scene is intricately detailed, bringing history alive even if it has a touch of fiction to it.

This series has quickly become one of my favorite of all time, and I’m only on book three. I don’t know what I did before it came into my life, and I have no idea what I’ll do when I’m done. Probably just start all over again.

Cheers!