Sunday, August 12, 2012

Review #7: CINDER by Marissa Meyer

You can also find this review on Goodreads!

Author: Marissa Meyer
Publication Date: January 3rd, 2012
My Rating 4/5 Stars

Ugh I'm sorry guys, I'm like 8 books behind on reviews. Not that there's much of a point in apologizing, I guess ... I just like to imagine that there are thousands of people just sitting there, drooling, waiting on the edges of their seats for my next review! And uh, that's the only thing that motivates me to keep writing reviews. So don't crush my hopes and dreams, please.

Anyway, since I'm so behind on reviews, I'm going to try and put this as concisely as possible.

I liked this book a lot. It was surprisingly good. I remember seeing advertisements for it on Goodreads a long time ago all the time. And I'd be like, "Umm what? What on earth is that? Cyborg Cinderella? WTF." And I didn't think I'd actually read it. But then, I started hearing positive things about it. So, I decided to give it a try. And, well, I liked it.

When it comes down to it, Cinder is just a very entertaining book. It's not the greatest or most genius thing ever written, but I found it thoroughly enjoyable.

I adore fairy tale retellings––especially ones that make me see the fairy tale in a totally different way. I had never read a retelling of Cinderella in which Cinderella was a cyborg. And although the premise sounds ridiculous, I thought Marissa Meyer pulled it off well.

First of all, Cinder was a likable character. She was a tough, strong, smart female lead. Unlike the Cinderella in the original fairy tale, she wasn't sitting around whining and waiting for Prince Charming or a fairy godmother to pop out of nowhere. She got things done for herself, by herself.

Secondly, the world-building was really cool. It was interesting to see the story reset in a future Beijing, which was a refreshing and unique aspect of the story. I liked all the new technology, the politics, etc. It seemed to be thought out pretty well. It was sometimes a little confusing, and could have used some more development here and there, but for the most part I found it original and intriguing.

Thirdly, there were a lot of interesting takes on the secondary characters. In this version, only the stepmother and one of the stepsisters were bitches! And the other stepsister was actually Cinder's friend. So, I thought that was cool. I also adored Iko, Cinder's robot-friend ... who I guess was the fairy godmother replacement? Errrm I don't know. But she was super adorable and awesome. And Prince Kai! AAHHHH! He was just so sweet and sexy, and over all a super awesome love interest. He wasn't creeperish or stalkerish or controlling, or any of those other terrible personality traits that a lot of YA male love interests have. HOORAY!

I don't have too much to complain about. Like I said, there were parts/aspects of the story that I found a little bit confusing. And there were also parts that felt a little ... silly? I don't know. It's hard to explain what I mean, I guess. Anyway ... also, I didn't really like the ending. It was that type of ending where I got to the last page and I was like, "Wait, that's it? Am I missing pages?" I'm not a big fan of cliffhangers, and in this case it just left the story feeling incomplete. I know it's a series, but I still would have liked a bit more closure of some sort.

Anyway, this was a fun read and something I highly recommend. I'm excited for the sequels, and to see what Meyer does with other fairy tales! :)

Next Review: THE IMMORTAL RULES by Julie Kagawa ... coming soon.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Review #6: ÆRENDEN: THE CHILD RETURNS by Kristen Taber

You can also find this review on Goodreads!

Author: Kristen Taber
Publication Date: May 21st, 2012
My Rating: 5/5 Stars

Hey guys! I am friends with the lovely Kristen Taber, who wrote this book. Today is her birthday, so I'm promoting her awesome work! You should all check it out, and spread the word. (The Kindle edition is free on Amazon today!)

17-year-old Meaghan witnesses her parents' death at the hands of evil creatures called Mardróch. Luckily, Meaghan is able to escape from the creatures with her best friend Nick––who tells her that the Mardróch came from another world. And if that's not crazy enough, he and she are from that same world as well. Soon they are off to this world, a land called Ærenden where they begin a dangerous journey to Nick's home. And in the meantime, Meaghan is slowly learning the truth about who she is and where she comes from.

I tend to stay away from epic fantasy type things, since it's not really my favorite genre. However, I found The Child Returns quite enjoyable.

First of all, Kristen is a great writer. I think a lot of fantasy books tend to go overly-flowery in the prose, but Kristen is very to-the-point, while she also is able to capture vivid images and emotions. Her world-building is fantastic and creative––including vines that can strangle people and monkeys that can freeze you with their eyes. Also, Nick and Meaghan are both likable characters. The relationship between them is cute, and I'm curious to see how it develops in the sequels.

Over all, I found Kristen's debut novel to be very exciting and fast-paced, and it left me hungry for more. Can't wait for the sequel! This is an indie book that is definitely worth checking out. Enjoy! :)

(Side note: Oh yeah, I said I'd review CINDER next but I haven't gotten around to it yet. Don't worry, that review is coming soon!)

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Review #5: THE ADORATION OF JENNA FOX by Mary E. Pearson

You can also find this review on Goodreads!

Author: Mary E. Pearson
Publication Date: April 29th, 2008
My Rating: 3/5 Stars

I need to stop reading so many books so that I don't fall so behind on reviews. (Haha, who am I kidding ...)

Anyway, I'll keep this one fairly short and to-the-point, because I have a lot of reviews to do. Plus, I don't think I have a whole lot to say.

I loved the premise of this book. It's kind of hard to talk about without spoiling the "big twist." But, let's just say it brings up a lot of intriguing questions about identity––what makes you who you are, and what makes you human? If you lose all your memories, are you still the same person, or are you brand new? That kind of thing. I think that was the strongest part of the book. The themes are definitely interesting and thought-provoking.

But, over all, I felt like the execution fell a bit short. In my opinion, it could have been a lot more innovative and powerful.

My biggest problem was with the main character, Jenna. I just found her to be rather bland. I understood that her situation was difficult and she had a right to be angry with what had happened to her ... but still, she came off as bratty and annoying a lot of the time. I got a bit sick of her angst-ing and blaming everyone else for her problems. I suppose she had a right to feel that way––but it still made her hard to sympathize with, when it felt like everything was about her and no one else.

My second-greatest issue was the lack of world-building. The concept of the future world felt half-baked and not fully realized. It had that type of "near future" feel where everything wasn't drastically different, but there were enough changes that it was obviously a future time period. I don't really have an issue with that idea, but in general I felt disconnected from the world in which the characters were situated. I wish there had a bit more description of what everything looked like and how it all worked, because I had trouble imagining it.

Thirdly, there was the epilogue. I found it disappointing. I won't spoil anything, but ... I'll just say, when the last chapter ended I thought it was a solid, powerful ending. I enjoy endings that are open-ended––endings that don't resolve everything and leave things to the imagination. Then I turned the page and ... the epilogue happened. It was one of those epilogues that skips ahead in time and just tries to tie everything up a bit too tightly. In my opinion, I thought it took a lot away from the impact of the book.

In conclusion, this book was okay for me but I wasn't a huge fan. The idea was great, the writing was pretty good, but I thought it could have been stronger in characterization and world-building.

Next Review: CINDER by Marissa Meyer ... coming soon.