Book Review: Scarlet by A.C. Gaughen

Will Scarlet is good at two things: stealing from the rich and keeping secrets – skills that are in high demand in Robin Hood’s band of thieves, who protect the people of Nottingham from the evil sheriff. Scarlet’s biggest secret of all is one only Robin and his men know…that she is posing as a thief; that the slip of a boy who is fast with sharp knives is really a girl.

The terrible events in her past that led Scarlet to hide her real identity are in danger of being exposed when the thief taker Lord Gisbourne arrives in town to rid Nottingham of the Hood and his men once and for all. As Gisbourne closes in a put innocent lives at risk, Scarlet must decide how much the people of Nottingham mean to her, especially John Little, a flirtatious fellow outlaw, and Robin, whose quick smiles have the rare power to unsettle her. There is real honor among these thieves and so much more – making this a fight worth dying for.

 

The only tale I know of Robin Hood is the Disney movie. (It was never my favorite, I was more of a fan of Ariel.) When I started this book I was not expecting much, but I enjoy a story about a strong female. I was actually expecting to stop reading halfway through. While this is not my favorite book it did keep my interest enough for me to finish. The entire time I wanted to know what was going to happen next.

-Some Spoilers-

The thing I disliked most about Scarlet was the love triangle. As an avid romance novel reader I can get how it can get the story moving and keep the reader guessing.  In this book I didn’t want there to be a love triangle. I wanted to see Scarlet play with knives and be a strong female lead on her own with no help from anyone. Maybe the love triangle has some sort of purpose later in the series. Even though I didn’t like love triangle, I still went with it because I am trash for any type of romance story.

-BIG SPOILER-

I was surprised when I found out Scarlet was actually a noble lady. It all made sense, why she was hiding with this band of thieves, why she was so freaked out when Lord Gisbourne came to Nottingham.  I was especially surprised she is engaged Lord Gisbourne. I guess that makes it a love square? When you find out some of the background as to why she is hiding you understand why she is doing what she is doing.

Overall I enjoyed the book, especially that she was strong and didn’t give up when things got hard and that she kept fighting.  It kept me guessing and interested enough to finish. – Liz
3.5 Bards

Scarlet


Kindle Edition: Check Amazon for Pricing Digital Only

Book Review: Wires and Nerves by Marissa Meyer

In her first graphic novel, #1 New York Times and USA Today bestseller Marissa Meyer follows Iko, the beloved android from the Lunar Chronicles, on a dangerous and romantic new adventure — with a little help from Cinder and the Lunar team.

In her first graphic novel, bestselling author Marissa Meyer extends the world of the Lunar Chronicles with a brand-new, action-packed story about Iko, the android with a heart of (mechanized) gold. When rogue packs of wolf-hybrid soldiers threaten the tenuous peace alliance between Earth and Luna, Iko takes it upon herself to hunt down the soldiers’ leader. She is soon working with a handsome royal guard who forces her to question everything she knows about love, loyalty, and her own humanity. With appearances by Cinder and the rest of the Rampion crew, this is a must-have for fans of the bestselling series.

 

The first thing that needs to be known about Wires and Nerves is, you MUST read the Lunar Chronicles.  You do not have to read Fairest or Stars Above but it does add to the story line. I loved the Lunar Chronicles so when I heard Marissa Meyer was coming out with a graphic novel extending the series I was thrilled.

MINOR SPOILERS AHEAD

Wires & Nerves follows Iko on her journey to hunt down the last of the mutant wolf man creatures.  In this story we get to see the entire gang and figure out why Iko took up this task to help her best friend. Iko also deals with stigma because she is an android.  The general populace does not believe she helped stop the war between Earth and Luna purely because she is an android.  They believe no android could have helped save the world.  It sends out a powerful message about racism and it shows her struggles with it and how she attempts to overcome the stigma against androids.

I loved this graphic novel, I enjoyed seeing things from Iko’s perspective because we did not see her narrative in the Lunar Chronicles. I also enjoyed we got to see more of the Earthen Union. In the Lunar Chronicles we only got to see France and New Beijing. Due to the fact that this is a graphic novel it is extremely easy to read.  This book is full of adventure and Iko being a strong independent woman and a great friend. I will warn you though it does end with a minor cliff hanger but it is not as bad as other books(I’m looking at you Rick Riordan). The ending makes you want eager for more of Iko’s adventure.

4 Bards!!

Wires and Nerve: Volume 1


New From: $8.94 USD In Stock

rykemedows:

Maybe the princess can save herself.
That sounds like a pretty good story too.

http://www.amidsummernightsread.com/2690-2/

Book Review: Winter by Marissa Meyer

Princess Winter is admired by the Lunar people for her grace and kindness, and despite the scars that mar her face, her beauty is said to be even more breathtaking than that of her stepmother, Queen Levana.

Winter despises her stepmother, and knows Levana won’t approve of her feelings for her childhood friend—the handsome palace guard, Jacin. But Winter isn’t as weak as Levana believes her to be and she’s been undermining her stepmother’s wishes for years. Together with the cyborg mechanic, Cinder, and her allies, Winter might even have the power to launch a revolution and win a war that’s been raging for far too long.

Can Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, and Winter defeat Levana and find their happily ever afters?

Be sure to check out my review of Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, and Fairest.

After reading this novel, can I just say that I am super thankful that Bloomsbury announced the collection of Lunar Chronicles short stories?  Especially since one will expand upon the epilogue from Winter.  But, I am getting ahead of myself.  I need to go back to the beginning and review the entire book.

We open Winter not long after Cress finished off, which Scarlet captured and kept as a pet for Princess Winter on Luna, Prince Kai is aboard the Rampion as a “prisoner,” Thorne is still blind, and everyone is trying to scramble to figure out how to move forward.

Cinder and Kai shippers will be very happy with the opening chapters as they are filled with lighthearted flirting and a fair amount of kissing before they are separated in order to try and defeat Queen Levana and take Luna for the true heir.  There will be some heartrending places in the novel for these two, but don’t worry, true love does prevail regardless of the outcome.

Cress remains hopelessly in love with Thorne, who is still his generally douchey self.  I really wish she would have the guts to tell him how she feels without it taking away from the climactic takeover scene in the novel, because it really just bogged down the narrative at that point.

Overall, I will say that this novel felt like it had a lot more exposition than should have been needed for a final installment.  However, I can kind of understand why when the readers are finally getting Princess Winter’s point of view and with that, an inside view of the Lunar kingdom.  This is especially important for readers who haven’t read Fairest, which serves as the prequel to the Lunar Chronicles.

There are a few twists and turns along the way, and while the length could have been shortened, I think that Winter was an extremely solid conclusion to the Lunar Chronicles and could have done without the additional short coming in February 2016.  Selfishly, of course, I just want to live in that world a bit longer (and see where our favorite heroes and heroines end up).

I’m giving Winter 4 Bards, and for die hard fans this is the ending we’ve all been waiting for.  Be sure to pick up a copy.

fourbards

Winter


New From: $10.76 USD In Stock

Book Review: Fairest by Marissa Meyer


Mirror, mirror on the wall,
Who is the fairest of them all?

Fans of the Lunar Chronicles know Queen Levana as a ruler who uses her “glamour” to gain power. But long before she crossed paths with Cinder, Scarlet, and Cress, Levana lived a very different story – a story that has never been told . . . until now.
I’m trying so hard to not fangirl a ridiculous amount in this review, but I have a feeling that a few fangirl flails will make it into this, so I apologize now!

It is impossible to say that I haven’t been fascinated by Luna and Queen Levana since the beginning of the Lunar Chronicles.  She is definitely the biggest enigma of the series, and readers have only really heard accounts of her actions through the point of view of other characters.  So when I found out Meyer wrote a novella tracing Queen Levana’s life and ascent to the throne.

First thought upon closing the book: WOW. It is no wonder she is as calculating and cold as a queen.  So basically readers learn that Levana was basically neglected by her parents as a small child, and tortured by her older sister.  Fire is a very consistent theme in Levana’s narrative, as it is obviously the way that Princess Selene was “killed,” and it was apparently the cause of Levana’s own low self esteem and supposed constant use of glamour/veils.

We learn that Levana was a girl searching and desperate for love, which almost makes me sympathize with her as a character, but I think Meyer did such an excellent job of showcasing how a Lunar’s abilities to glamour and control the mind and emotions can really do more harm than good.  Not only do we get to see how painful and frustrating for people on the receiving end of this manipulation, but how it can lead to delusion and hurt on behalf off the impressionable person utilizing these powers.

Something else I really liked was that, no matter that this narrative was definitely focused on Levana, readers were given an adorable look into the childhood friendships between Selene, Winter, and Jacin.

If anything else, I can’t believe how long we are going to have to wait for the conlusion to this brilliant series, but I am so excited to see where Meyer is going to take the story.  I do hate Queen Levana but I love her story.

4.5 Bards

four.fivebards

 

Book Review: Cress by Marissa Meyer

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

Their best hope lies with Cress, a girl imprisoned on a satellite since childhood who’s only ever had 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 of Cress goes awry, the group is separated. Cress finally has her freedom, but it comes at a high price. Meanwhile, Queen Levana will let nothing prevent her marriage to Emperor Kai. Cress, Scarlet, and Cinder may not have signed up to save the world, but they may be the only hope the world has.

I am having a serious love affair with Meyer’s Lunar Chronicles, and I think that this gif speaks for itself:

Anyway, my whirlwind experience with this series is one that on one hand, I really wish I had discovered these books sooner, but on the other hand, I am super grateful that I didn’t start reading these novels until after three of the books were released so I could have the pleasure of binge reading them.  Plus, Fairest now comes out tomorrow so I have Levana’s story to hold me over until Winter comes out in November (so far away!).

Back to the actual review:
I will say that at first I wasn’t sure I was going to like Cress a whole lot as a character and narrator.  Why? Well, her voice was not nearly as strong as Cinder’s or Scarlet’s, but as I continued through the first few chapters, I began to realize that this was purposefully done by Meyer in a way to illustrate just how, no matter the age of a person, being kept in almost complete isolation can really change your perspective on the outside world and your ability to socialize, etc.  Although Cress adapts extremely well to her circumstances, and the friendship that blossoms between a thinker like Cress and a vain do-er like Thorne was a lot of fun to read. cressgif

As for the rest of the Lunar Chronicles crew: there is some heartbreaking scenes that involve Wolf and Cinder that really just felt like a big punch in the gut.  It is so wonderful that Meyer continues to follow her own mythology of the half lunar/half wolf hybrid, especially the human and animal aspects of mating/love.  This novel definitely follows more of the “journey” trope than the other two novels, where two characters literally trudge across a desert, and cross the area of space between Luna and Earth a few times.  Either way, Cress really blew the entire Lunar Chronicles world wide open.

I cannot praise Meyer’s storybuilding enough.  When I start reading her novels it really is like I’m there completely and I, too, am in the Rampion, in the Sahara, or New Bejiing Palace.  It takes a lot to really draw me in like that, especially with fantasy, but I really think that she is at the top of her game, and my heart is absolutely broken by the fact that this series is almost over.

Who all was excited by the ending?  I WAS. So ready for Winter!

5 Bards.

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

 

 

 

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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