Book Review: This Shattered World by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner

Jubilee Chase and Flynn Cormac should never have met.

Lee is captain of the forces sent to Avon to crush the terraformed planet’s rebellious colonists, but she has her own reasons for hating the insurgents.

Rebellion is in Flynn’s blood. Terraforming corporations make their fortune by recruiting colonists to make the inhospitable planets livable, with the promise of a better life for their children. But they never fulfilled their promise on Avon, and decades later, Flynn is leading the rebellion.

Desperate for any advantage in a bloody and unrelentingly war, Flynn does the only thing that makes sense when he and Lee cross paths: he returns to base with her as prisoner. But as his fellow rebels prepare to execute this tough-talking girl with nerves of steel, Flynn makes another choice that will change him forever. He and Lee escape the rebel base together, caught between two sides of a senseless war.

*kicks self*

Why yes, I am kicking my own ass for not reading this sooner.  Sure, I chastised myself fairly well in my review of These Broken Stars (which you can check out by clicking on the title), but I just have to keep reminding myself that I made a huge mistake by putting these off (Gob Bluth agrees).

This Shattered World picks up roughly a year after These Broken Stars, to be more accurate I think it is around 8-9 months after based on a comment in the novel, and we are introduced to two new characters immediately.  Now, I knew going into this that Lilac and Tarver were not going to be involved in this narrative, which was a bit disappointing, but it didn’t really deter me much considering I legitimately put down These Broken Stars and immediately walked to my bookshelf to pull This Shattered World.

Spooner and Kaufman waste no time putting the reader into the hostile environment on Avon and both of the narrators are introduced in the first chapter.  I found it to be interesting that the first novel started with the male perspective, Tarver, and this installment started will Jubilee’s point of view.  Jubilee and Flynn share a large amount of the point of view switches, where in the first novel it seemed that Tarver’s narrative voice really dominated the story.  I found that I was really wishing for more from Lilac after finishing This Shattered World, because I realized how strong the female perspective was and how much I wanted from her in retrospect.

Jubilee isn’t necessarily the most likable character at first considering she prides herself on being emotionless, dreamless, and unable to be corrupted by Avon.  However, she is headstrong and determined and is supremely skilled, which makes her respectable before she is likable.  Flynn, on the other hand, was immediately relatable.  I saw Spooner at a book event once and she revealed that she and Kaufman would do the female and male point of views, respectively.  I love how different their narration was but how they came together as characters.

I like that the POV shifts still included the one page inserts from an outside source.  The first novel had interview questions between an unknown and Tarver, and this novel had the details of dreams.  I think that the stories tied together extremely well and I was very glad to see a few familiar faces toward the end of This Shattered World. 

4.5 Bards

four.fivebards

Book Review: Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

Cinder, the cyborg mechanic, returns in the second thrilling installment of the bestselling 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 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 who may have information as to her grandmother’s whereabouts, she is loath 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 the vicious Lunar Queen Levana, who will do anything for the handsome Prince Kai to become her husband, her king, her prisoner.

I was only two chapters into Cinder when I immediately went out and purchased Scarlet and Cress.  I knew I’d really like the rest of the story from that early on, and it is a testiment to how well-written and plotted (that is an unfortunate sounding word) Meyer’s book is.

The synopsis is a bit misleading, as it says that Cinder is back (which she is) but it makes it seem like she will be the main focus of the novel (which she is not).  Again, Meyer does an excellent job of starting Scarlet’s story off very narrow and this is even exemplified by the fact that she lives and works in a very small and rural town in France.  However, Scarlet’s story is peppered with references to Cinder that eventually brings them together. I would be remiss to not include that we do get some of Cinder’s point of view in this story, and we are introduced to another male character named Thorne who is the right mixture of handsome and delightfully daft.  In addition, we glimpse (and when I say glimpse I mean literally just few pages throughout) what is happening in Emperor Kai’s life after Cinder’s prinson escape too.

scarletScarlet has some similarities to Cinder, but while Cinder has some serious self esteem issues stemming from her childhood and growing up as a cyborg “abberation,” Scarlet has a very distinct confidence and determination about her that is refreshing.  Sure, she has her issues from childhood as well, but she was loved and cared for by her Grandmother (who was a kickass pilot during the fourth World War).

Overall the focus of this novel is Scarlet’s journey to discovering who has taken her Grandmother, why, and how her story is part of a much bigger story.  Again, Meyer and her talent for expanding this universe in such a specific and well written way is just delightful.

Queen Levana’s involvement in this novel is much more prevalent, as readers get a much more in depth look at her plans to take over Earth and what kind of atrocities she and others of Luna are capable of.  Wolf, the other male lead character that is introduced in Scarlet, is a very interesting character.  He comes off as rather simple toward the beginning of the novel, when he is fascinated by tomatoes and the scenery of rural France, but his complexity snowballs quickly once it is shown that he has some layers beneath the street fighter exterior.

While I didn’t love this installment as much as I loved Cinder, it was still really well done and I’m looking forward to Cress!

4 Bards!

fourbards

Book Review: Cinder by Marissa Meyer

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.

I am seriously kicking myself for not having read this series sooner.  Admittedly, I had a friend borrow my first copy of Cinder around the time that it was released, and I never got it back, so it is likely that I forgot about it until I saw all of the commotion and excitement over the release of the prequel, Fairest.  Either way, I bought myself another copy of this book and decided to give it a shot.

First thing that attracted me to Meyer’s novel: the reimagining of the fairy tale.  I’ve always been fascinated with fairy tales and the different interpretations of them.  Ranging from the Disney interpretations, to the Grimm (get it?) originals, to Perrault’s fluffier renditions, it is exceedingly interesting to see how these stories have changed over the years.  However, I was a bit disappointed that the only true similarities between the original Cinderella stories and Cinder were scarce.

While I was sad about that, I have admit that after getting into the story and experiencing how Meyer developed the world of New Beijing, leutmosis, Luna, and the rest, I wasn’t even focused on that anymore.  I really enjoyed how the story starts off the focus really small and surrounding Cinder and her family, but then slowly expands and really continues organically.

I love the use of realistic scientific advances (such as cyborgs, andriods, port screens, etc), but I’m still super interested to know how this World War IV happened within this world/timeline and how the countries and continents were changed into what they are within the story (i.e. the American Republic, the Commonwealth), but I don’t expect too much detail as it would just take away from the rest of the story.  I am just a super curious reader.

Oh, Queen Levana and the Lunars.  Meyer did such a great job of making them terrifyingly powerful and tantilizing. There were a few twists in this novel that I wasn’t expecting, and I really don’t want to include spoilers, regardless of the fact that I’m probably the last person to have read this book.

Cinder was ridiculously well written and enjoyable. Kudos to Meyer for creating my new favorite series.

4.5 Bards

four.fivebards

 

 

 

Book Review: Uninvited by Sophie Jordan

When Davy Hamilton’s tests come back positive for Homicidal Tendency Syndrome (HTS)-aka the kill gene-she loses everything. Her boyfriend ditches her, her parents are scared of her, and she can forget about her bright future at Juilliard. Davy doesn’t feel any different, but genes don’t lie. One day she will kill someone.

Only Sean, a fellow HTS carrier, can relate to her new life. Davy wants to trust him; maybe he’s not as dangerous as he seems. Or maybe Davy is just as deadly.

I’m not going to lie, the main reason I really wanted to read this novel had nothing to do with Jordan’s previous YA trilogy or even my love for crazy awesome photography book covers.  It all had to do with the synopsis.  So good job, Jordan for writing an absolutely enticing synopsis, but you had me at “Homicidal Tendency Syndrome.”

It is extremely easy to believe that something like this would actually happen in the future of our country, especially with the passing of the Patriot Act and the extreme fear that came after the 9/11 attacks.  Imagine that extreme fear and racism that came hand in hand after that and how it would relate to people who were considered as 100% possible serial killers.  I really liked the way that Jordan employed that fear and showed how someone who just has the gene, and it isn’t being expressed, is oppressed and treated in their society.

I like how organic the friendship was that developed between Gil, Davy, and Sean.  The romance wasn’t necessarily something that had to be in there, but it did make the ending a bit more believable.  I know there is going to be a companion novel to this, and I am very interested to read it.  I just think that the story served as an excellent social commentary and that it can even speak to those who do in the womb genetic testing.

4 Bards for Uninvited. I wish there had been more chapters spent inside the camp.

fourbards

 

 

Waiting On Wednesday

Every week Breaking the Spine hosts the bookish meme for book bloggers to share what books they are waiting on to be released!  This week I’m waiting on: 
 
Release Date: February 4, 2014
 

Rapunzel’s tower is a satellite. She can’t let down her hair—or her guard. 

In this third book in the bestselling Lunar Chronicles series, Cinder and Captain Thorne are fugitives on the run, with Scarlet and Wolf in tow. Together, they’re plotting to overthrow Queen Levana and her army. 

Their best hope lies with Cress, who has been trapped on a satellite since childhood with only her netscreens as company. All that screen time has made Cress an excellent hacker—unfortunately, she’s just received orders from Levana to track down Cinder and her handsome accomplice. 

When a daring rescue goes awry, the group is separated. Cress finally has her freedom, but it comes at a high price. Meanwhile, Queen Levana will let nothing stop her marriage to Emperor Kai. Cress, Scarlet, and Cinder may not have signed up to save the world, but they may be the only ones who can.

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