Tuesday 13 August 2019

Book Review - Winter

Title: Winter
Author: Marissa Meyer
Series: The Lunar Chronicles (Book 4)
Publisher: Puffin; 01 edition
Release Date: 10 Nov. 2015
ISBN-13: 978-0141340241

Princess Winter is admired for her grace, kindness and beauty, despite the scars on her face. She's said to be even more breath-taking than her stepmother, Queen Levana...
When Winter develops feelings for the handsome palace guard, Jacin, she fears the evil Queen will crush their romance before it has a chance to begin.
But there are stirrings against the Queen across the land. Together with the cyborg mechanic, Cinder, and her allies, Winter might even find the power to launch a revolution and win a war that's been raging for far too long.
Can Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, and Winter claim their happily ever afters by defeating Levana once and for all?

My Review
I could not wait to get stuck into this book, After devouring book 3 I had to know how it all came to an end. This book is twice the size of the other books, at a whopping 820 pages it's quite big. I can sometimes be a bit daunted by such big books, but for this one I was pleased to see that it wouldn't just be a rushed ending, and even whilst reading it, the book didn't feel that long. I read it in 3 sittings, I managed to get 200 pages in the first day but then had to put it down to go out. The next day I read 400 pages in one big chunk and couldn't get enough, but again had to put it away, but I was so desperate to get back into it that I picked it up as soon as I could the next day and finished the last couple hundred pages. 
****This may contain spoilers for the previous books in the series ****
Cinder, Thorne, Cress, Scarlet and Wolf are still trying to bring down Queen Levana and stop Emperor Kai from having to marry her. The plots and plans are getting more dangerous, but something has to work. Kai is on the Rampion with the crew after being 'kidnapped' by Cinder. Jacin has betrayed them, but is re-united with his Winter and Scarlet is still being held captive on Lunar, treated like a pet by Winter, locked in a menagerie.

The best thing about these books, is that every time you think you can predict what is going to happen next, Meyer throws a curve ball at you and something else happens, but it's never a disappointment, its always exciting and nail-biting and make you want to read more and more. 
Cinder has really developed as a character and continues to develop further, she is a lot more likeable now and has really grown into her role. Kai is as charming as ever, a character you can't help but like, he always tries to do his best and clearly isn't perfect, and is actually rather insecure, but it just makes you like him all the more. 
there's some crazy stuff happening with Wolf, and you just want to bang Cress and Thorne's heads together and tell them to 'kiss already!!!'  

This book was the perfect conclusion to the series, the characters all have a satisfying ending, with hopes of a future. The book is concluded properly, but I feel like it's been left in a way that more could follow one day. 
I haven't found a series that has gripped me this much in quite a while. When I finished reading this book I actually found myself missing the characters and wishing I could hang out with them that little bit longer. I felt like I was saying goodbye to real friends, and I want to check up on them and see how they are doing. Meyer is clearly an amazing storyteller to be able to create characters that seem so real and relatable.

I can't recommend this series enough, I fell in love with it and know it will be one that I revisit. I've even asked for the short story collection for my birthday - so I can't wait to get that, look out for my review in a couple of weeks.

My Rating

Saturday 3 August 2019

Book Review - Cress

Title: Cress
Author: Marissa Meyer
Series: The Lunar Chronicles (Book 3)
Publisher: Puffin
Release Date: 6 Feb. 2014
ISBN-13: 978-0141340159

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 higher 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.

My Review
So I've been totally absorbed by this series, and I couldn't wait to get into book 3 - in fact I finished book 2, ran upstairs to get this one and then read half of it in one sitting. I've heard rumours that many people think this is the best book in the series, and i would have to say that so far I agree. Cress is obviously supposed to be a Rapunzel figure - locked up in a satellite (not a tower) with long hair and a desperate need to be free. I loved the twist of her captivity and the fact that she actually had a purpose up there, something to focus on, and a desperate will to do the right thing. Her slightly devious nature is very endearing. She comes across as quite young for her age - but she has been locked on her own with no social interaction or chance to develop naturally with only her 'mistress' for guidance who visits every couple of weeks and takes blood samples.
As before, her story ties in with that of Cinder, Scarlet, Thorne and Wolf. Meyer is very good at weaving separate story-line together, they fall into place perfectly, as though they were always supposed to meet. Yet everyone still has their own individual personality, opinion and end goal. They all play their own parts and roles whilst fitting in with the others and I think it is quite masterful. 
Cress is probably my favourite character overall, I really liked her naivety yet strong-willed nature.
Cinder has really developed as a character and is becoming much more complex, she still has a steely determination to solve her own problems, but she's also starting to think about the needs of those around her and begins to work more with her companions and realise that they can help her too.
I absolutely love Iko as a ship, but also as an escort droid. - to be honest, I jsut love her eccentric personality. 
Thorne has really grown on me too, he's still a self-centered egotistical jerk at times, but also starts to reveal a more sensitive caring side.
This book brings together a lot of the storylines that have been stirring over the previous 2 books and it gets very exciting. 
I read this in just 2 sittings overall, and practically clawed my way through in my desperation to finish it and see what comes next. This has made me love the series all the more and I can't wait to see what comes next in the final book.

My Rating

Book Reviews - ReReads Cinder & Scarlet

Coming towards the end of the school term meant I had a little bit more time to read, I wasn't sure which of my books to pick up next, but one of the students in my form had been reading 'Cinder' by Marissa Meyer and we started talking about it. I read it over 7 years ago, but remembered liking it, however I never read the rest of the series (or so I thought - but more on that later).
Deciding it was about time, I found Cinder on my shelf and started to read.

Title: Cinder
Author: Marissa Meyer
Series: The Lunar Chronicles (Book 1)
Publisher: Puffin
Release Date: 5 Jan 2012 
ISBN-13: 978-0141340135

Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, the 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.

My Review
I remembered quite a lot of the story, which must mean it was good, as I read a lot of books and over 7 years I would have read thousands, so the fact that bits of this had stuck, means it must have resonated with me.
I stated to read and was instantly in Cinders world, I liked her character and personality and felt myself wanting her to succeed. I like Iko's sarcastic, self-absorbed personality and sweet little Peony is lovely, her step-mother is just despicable enough to make you dislike her, but still makes you kind of like her too (only a little bit mind). Meyer has taken the classic Cinderella tale and put a modern twist on it, a twist that will hook you in and make you believe every single bit. 
I think I enjoyed this a lot more this time round and found myself almost racing through, desperate to read the rest of the series, eager to know what would happen next. 
If you love fairy tale books - I would highly recommend that you give this series a go.

My Rating

  Title: Scarlet
Author: Marissa Meyer
Series: The Lunar Chronicles (book 2)
Publisher: Puffin
Release Date: 7 Feb 2013
ISBN-13: 978-0141340234

Cinder, the cyborg mechanic is 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.

My Review
I was just looking through my blog for my Cinder review - and a review for this popped up. I could have sworn to you that I had never read it before, so I was really surprised to see my thoughts on it, written 6 years ago. My review said that I really enjoyed it, so I'm surprised it hadn't stuck with me. But that means I can review it almost as new.

It turns out that the end of school term is busier than expected and i ended up carrying this round in my bag for a good few weeks, digging into odd bits when I could, desperate to know what would happen to Cinder and intrigued by the whole Scarlet story. 
So Scarlet is basically little red riding hood - her grandmother is missing and she meets a man calling himself 'Wolf' who has some animalistic instincts, but seems to be on the good side - for now. 

I really liked Scarlet's fiery temper and her deep belief in fairness and what is right. She is desperate to find her grandmother and can't believe the injustice of her village - no one is willing to help, no one seems to care. Determined not to just sit back and wait, she starts her journey to Paris - the place her grandmother is rumoured to be. With Wolf by her side, she has some hope of finding her and bringing her home - but what would someone want with her grandma?

Cinder is escaping from prison, with another prisoner tagging along - Carswell Thorne has a ship and Cinder will need it to escape. They seem like an odd pair - but it works. Thorne is stuck up and self-important, with a serious case of sarcasm and an ego almost too big to fit in the space ship - but he's one of those characters that you can't help but like.

I couldn't decide about Wolf, I was suspicious of him all the way through but he's also quite endearing. Really keeps you on your toes.

I found the story exciting and fast-paced and I was desperate to know how it would end and how Scarlet and Wolf would meet up with Cinder and Thorne. 
I enjoyed this one better than book 1 and liked the development of the new characters.

My Rating

Book Reviews - Desolation & American Monsters

I haven't done this before, but I'm going to review 2 books in the same post. I actually read them a couple of months ago but didn't get round to writing the reviews. They are part of the same series so I thought I would do them together. So here are my reviews for Demon Road Books 2 & 3  by Derek Landy

Title: Desolation
Author: Derek Landy
Series: Demon Road (Book 2)
Publisher: HarperCollinsChildren'sBooks
Release Date: 28 July 2016
ISBN-13: 978-0008156992

Book two in the mind-blowing new supernatural thriller from bestselling author DEREK LANDY, creator of international sensation Skulduggery Pleasant.
Reeling from their bloody encounter in New York City at the end of Demon Road, Amber and Milo flee north. On their trail are the Hounds of Hell – five demonic bikers who will stop at nothing to drag their quarries back to their unholy master.
Amber and Milo’s only hope lies within Desolation Hill – a small town with a big secret; a town with a darkness to it, where evil seeps through the very floorboards. Until, on one night every year, it spills over onto the streets and all hell breaks loose.
And that night is coming…

My Review
So after being quite disappointed with book 1 I wasn't expecting much from this one, but I was just curious enough to give it a try, and I love Derek Landy, so felt like I owed him the chance.
Amber, Milo and Glen are still on the run, but they have a location where they think they will be safe for a while - Desolation Hill. A small town with some secrets of its own. When they arrive, they aren't exactly welcomed, but manage to get a room and a few of the locals to make awkward conversation. 
The Hounds of Hell are kept out of the city by a sort of forcefield, so Amber and Milo have a bit of time to catch their breaths - until the town starts to unravel its secrets around them and the group find a whole new threat, this time from within.
Not expecting much after all, i kind of started to skim read this one, but did find myself getting more involved with it. I liked Desolation Hill and thought it was a great setting, I liked the new characters and the strange dynamics of the town. I actually found myself enjoying the book, I wanted to know what would happen and how they would get round the numerous problems that were bound to occur.  I found myself really starting to like Amber, she developed a lot as a character and I started to almost understand her more. Milo is by far my favourite character, and he maintained his charm and slightly sarcastic air. Glen continued to annoy me, but not as much.
The people of the town intrigued me and I enjoyed the side story lines. In fact, if the series could have continued with them, I think I would have rated the series higher overall. 
For me the book was still a bit slow but I didn't find it as annoying, I enjoyed learning about the town and its people, but then towards the end, Amber's parents returned, as did the Hounds and the whole chase me, escape, run, chase, escape run and repeat thing started again, and I immediately found myself losing interest. I clearly don't like her parents as characters - they are supposed to be dislikable but evil and cunning, but I just find them super irritating.
Overall, I enjoyed this book much more than the first, but wished they could have stayed in the town. I don't hold out much hope for Book 3, but I've come this far...

My Rating
But bordering towards

Title: American Monsters
Author: Derek Landy
Series: Demon Road (Book 3)
Publisher: HarperCollinsChildren'sBooks 
Release Date: 9 Mar. 2017
ISBN-13: 978-0008157111 

The epic conclusion in the mind-blowing supernatural thriller from bestselling author DEREK LANDY, creator of international sensation Skulduggery Pleasant.
Bigger, meaner, stronger, Amber closes in on her murderous parents as they make one last desperate play for power. Her own last hopes of salvation, however, rest beyond vengeance, beyond the abominable killers – living and dead – that she and Milo will have to face.
For Amber’s future lies in her family’s past, in the brother and sister she never knew, and the horrors beyond imagining that befell them.
My Review
Having enjoyed book 2, I was a little more hopeful for book 3, however I could see it falling back into the pattern of the first book, so it was with some trepidation that I started. Amber now has power - a lot more power than she had as 'just a demon' but now she's taken on a new role and the power is intense. 
The book starts off quite gory again, with some very vivid description of fingers being brutally broken and smashed, I almost stopped reading right then, but I was just curious enough to want to know how it all ended - plus I was at a theme park with my husband and had to wait for him to come off a rollercoaster and had nothing better to do whilst waiting for him - so I kept reading.
I liked that some of the characters from the previous book made another appearance, but Amber seemed to jump from one thing to another with no real in depth explanation, and the amount of characters that die was quite over-whelming, almost like loose ends just being tied up. But Amber is still trying to break the shining demon contract and yes - she is still trying to get back at her parents, or rather get rid of them.
There was a lot of action and gore, but nothing that really made me want to read more, I pretty much skimmed through the entire book, just wanting to know how it all finished, and I would have to say that overall, I was disappointed with the series.
I absolutely love Skulduggery Pleasant and continue to follow the series (I have the new one and am still hooked by it), but this series just left me feeling flat. I wouldn't ever re-read it. 

My Rating   
with hints of