Cinder by Marrissa Meyer (book review)

Remember all the hype Cinder had when it first out? It was the book that book bloggers and bookworms on twitter gushed about (the ones I follow at least). I remember thinking, It’s probably not that good!

I was wrong.

With awesome characterizations, a gripping plot, and an authentic story world, Cinder always kept me up passed my bedtime.

Quick synopsis

Cyborg and mechanic Linh Cinder was just trying to survive her miserable life with her step mother when Prince Kai appeared at her shop with a malfunctioning android. Little does she know that the secrets locked within the android’s mainframe, her favorite sister’s sudden illness, and her developing affection for Kai will propel her into the center of an intergalactic conflict.

What I Loved

The amazing characters

There’s something to love about all the characters in Cinder, but there’s only a handful that made an impression on me.

Cinder was my favorite. Whether it meant bashing in android heads or sassing bad guys, she never played the victim. She wasn’t passive and actively tried to solve her problems. And…well, she’s a cyborg!

Prince Kai wasn’t just the snarky, yet charming, love interest whose sole purpose was to sweep Cinder (and, let’s be honest, the reader) off her feet. He had his own story and faced his own conflicts.

Then there was Queen Levana. She’s a sadistic control freak that’ll make anyone do anything with just a thought (or she murdered them). Surely, a villain I loved to hate!

The beautiful world building

Marissa Meyer did an awesome job with the setting. The way she fused traditional China with sci-fi elements gave the story an authentic feel.

Some scholars believe that the earliest Cinderella tale came from 9th-century China. Additionally, some believe that the iconic glass slipper (which was gold in the Grimm version) came to us from China’s tradition of foot-binding and a culture in which women were praised for tiny feet. So having Cinder set in China was my way of paying homage to the story’s roots.

It also seemed more interesting than setting another book in America!

Marissa Meyer

There was also a ton of nifty gadgets and androids! Cinder had an augment that could tell her when people were lying. Plus, she could download information to her brain from the Internet! Cool, right?

…Or would that be painful?

The light romance

I like to think of myself as an open minded reader, but the one thing I just CANNOT tolerate in books is a love-struck protagonist who never stops  gushing about the object of their affection. I’ve had to put down a couple of books because of this.

Romantic moments between Cinder and Prince Kai were gingerly sprinkled throughout the prose, making them more memorable.

Oh no, a cliffhanger!

I wouldn’t have finished Cinder if I thought it was horrible, but I have one problem with it: the ending.

(Spoiler Warning: There’s spoilers galore from here to the end of this post. Continue at your own risk.)

After getting thrown in jail, Dr. Erland convinces Cinder to escape and gives her the tools to do so. She commits to the idea and mentally accepts her new life as a fugitive, but that’s it! The story ends. I wanted to see her sneak out of prison Mission: Impossible style (or fight more androids!) at least.

I mean why? Why a cliffhanger?!

Cinder’s life lessons

Stories can teach us things. They can give us a new perception of the world around us or even teach us something about ourselves. With that said, here’s two things Cinder taught me.

Don’t loose yourself

Prince Kai’s carefree life ends the moment his father dies. A ton of responsibilities are tossed on his shoulder before he has time to grieve: prepare for his coronation, conduct official meetings with Earth’s leaders, negotiate with an evil moon witch (and possibly marry her)–Kai had it rough!

He had to change the way he behaved just to fit the mold of Emperor. Sure, he fought to hold onto who he was, but he slowly gave into what other’s wanted him to be.

He chaffed under social pressure, but we don’t have to. Everyone will always have expectations for us or try to force us into cookie cutter molds, but we’re the ones who have to live with ourselves. It’s our lives and our decisions and we should stay true to who we are.

Don’t like your situation? Do something about it.

Whether it was Cinder’s decision to leave her verbally abusive family or Kai’s mission to find the heir, both characters sought solutions to their problems.

No matter how bad a situation is, there’s always a way to make things better if we’re willing to look.

 

Overall, I enjoyed this book and if it sounds like something you might like, consider following the links below to learn more about it.

Goodreads Page

Marissa Meyer’s author website

Did you read Cinder, but have a different experience than me? Did Cinder teach you anything? Is there something you’d like to add?  Tell me about it in the comments section below.

Bookshelf Tag!

S.E. Stone from Paper, Pen, and No Plan “bookshelf tagged” me earlier this week. I thought it would be fun to do (not to mention that I am way behind with my posts) so here’s the rules:

“Answer the following questions about books on your bookshelf and then tag five other bloggers. You can answer the questions any way you want, whether it’s on your blog, in a video, or a combination of the two. Then remember to let whoever tagged you know when your post is up so they can read it.”

– S.E. Stone

1. Is there a book that you really want to read but haven’t because you know that it’ll make you cry?

I haven’t came across such a book yet. So no 😦

2. Pick one book that helped introduce you to a new genre?

If it wasn’t for The Strange Case of Finely Jane by Kady Cross, I wouldn’t have discovered the mechanical world of steampunk.

3. Find a book that you want to reread.

The Crown Tower by Michael J Sullivan! This book was an enjoyable read and I would recommend it to anyone who likes high fantasy stories.

4. Is there a book series you read but wish that you hadn’t?

There isn’t a single book that I’ve read that I didn’t like. However, I do wish that I would have finished Emily Rodda’s Deltora Quest series before watching the anime.

5. If your house was burning down and all of your family and pets were safe, which book would you go back inside to save?

Omigosh a fire!!! I would grab my laptop—hands down. It has everything on it…including my digital library. 🙂

6. Is there one book on your bookshelf that brings back fond memories?

The City of Towers by Keith Baker. My parents gave this book to me on my 13th birthday. It was a book of “firsts”: 1st book I ever owned, 1st fantasy book I ever enjoyed, and the 1st longest book I ever read.

7. Find a book that has inspired you the most.

Do the Work by Steven Pressfield. This is a book I would recommend to anyone trying to start any sort of creative project. Pressfield taught me to ignore resistance and just get things done.

8. Do you have any autographed books?

No…I don’t 😦

I’ll have to make a point to get one just for the heck of it!

9. Find the book that you have owned the longest. 

Bram Stokers Dracula and a Webster Thesaurus that my dad gave me.

I know—that’s two books!

Thing is, I’ve had them both for such a long time that I can’t remember which came first.

10. Is there a book by an author that you never imagined you would read or enjoy?

Captain Underpants by Dave Pilkey. This series was the rave during gradeschool! However, I couldn’t see what all the fuss was about until I read one myself.

Here are my five tags:

  1. Lizzy Baldwin from My Little Book Blog
  2. Nirvana from Nirvana’s Pocket Full
  3. Sabrina Wolfheart from Books and Bark
  4. Taylor Grace
  5. Vik Tory Arch

I suggest that you—

*points at you*

YOU should check out those five awesome bloggers.

Book Review: Legend by Marie Lu

“An alarm goes off as I burst through the stairwell door. There’s a chorus of clicks as all the doors in the stairwell lock from the inside. I’m trapped. The soldiers can still come through any door, but I won’t be able to get out. Shouts and footsteps echo from inside the laboratory. A voice yells out, ‘He’s hit!’

My eyes jump to the tiny windows in the stairwell’s plaster walls. They’re too far awayLegend_Marie_Lu_Book_cover for me to reach from the stairs themselves. I grit my teeth an pull out my second knife so that I now have one in each hand. I pray the plaster is soft enough, then leap off the stairs and throw myself towards the wall.”

June is a prodigy (meaning a high-ranking student) from a rich military family within the Republic. She’s the best of her class and she knows it! Her ego often gets her into trouble with her superiors or it may even elicit a lecture from Matias, her brother as well as her only family. However, once Matias is killed, June is pulled out of school and given the mission to find her brother’s killer. Her suspect? The Republic’s notorious fifteen year old criminal Day.

Legend‘s rich world building and backstory really adds to the dystopian feel of the novel. The setting is the United States which has been drastically changed by war, a flood, and a devastating plague. Ruled by the Elector Primo and his military, there is a broad line between the rich and the poor.

The pacing was nonstop and often had me staying up late at night trying to figure out whatimages (2) would happen to June and Day. Before I knew it…I turned the last page.

Are you someone who enjoys a good dystopian? Are you into military scifi with just a hint of romance? Yes?! This book is for you! 😀

 

Have you read Legend? What was your impression of it?

What’s Your Opinion: Is YA Fiction Becoming Repetitive?

Is young adult fiction becoming repetitive and unoriginal?

I stumbled onto an interesting debate about a week ago that deals with the above question. Initially I wasn’t sure if I was suppose to beimages appalled or intrigued. Then, after fifteen minutes of reading the debate and scratching my head, I eventually said, “Y’know, Desiree, this would make for a great discussion.”

The debate starts like this…

The first debater (the one who believes YA is repetitive) said:

“I love to read YA books, and young adult books such as the Hunger Games and the Fault in Our Stars aren’t just for young adults anymore. Everybody is experiencing the thrills and emotions of young adult fiction. However, it is hard to find good young adult books anymore. Why? Because every author has decided that writing a young adult book exactly like The Hunger Games and The Fault in Our Stars is the best way to attract readers and make money (and if you’re lucky, get it made into a movie).”

Then a second debater challenges the first by stating:

“The authors of books such as Hunger Games, Divergent and Fault in our stars are writers of young adult books. Authors are writing the books with the same concepts, because young adults like these books. They are very popular and yes, high on demand. Young adults love to read these books because, what would happen if you always write about the perfect life? What is there to relate to? Even just simply reading these books, your mind enters a completely different world, of creativity.”

If you could participate in this debate, what would your opinion be?

*Click here to see how the debate turned out

Love at First Sentences

Books. How do I love thee?

Enough to go on a book buying frenzy!

So after abusing the “BUY” button on Amazon’s website, I began to wonder what possessed me to buy a virtual truck load of books? What about them drew my attention?

The first few sentences.

It’s said that these sentences are the most important part of the book and I agree. It’s usually what readers use to determine if they want to buy your work or not. For me, the first sentences simply have to grab my attention and make me wonder what’s going to happen next.

Open Minds (Book One of the Mindjack Trilogy) by Susan Kaye QuinnimagesFZTDAOJE

“A zero like me shouldn’t take public transportation.

The hunched driver wrinkled a frown before I even got on the bus. Her attempt to read my mind would get her nothing but the quiet of the street corner where I stood.

Defiance Rising (Book 1 of the Rising Trilogy) by Amy Miles

“I’ve been told that this world used to be a beautiful place, filled withuntitled twinkling electric lights and tables overflowing with food. A place where children played in parks and couples took leisurely strolls on Sunday. A time when humans weren’t slaves to aliens or nature. Staring out over the concrete graveyard before me, I find that hard to imagine.”

Artificial Evil (Book 1 of The Techxorcist) by Collin F. Barnesuntitled (2)

“In 2153 the lottery didn’t just change lives, it ended them. And Gerry Cardle’s numbers were up.”

 

What steps do you take before buying a book?

 

The Call of the Herald by Brian Rathbone

“The majestic grove that had drawn them was no more. Not even one of the greatoaks remained standing. They were strewn about the plateau as if felled by a mighty hand. Some were almost whole but has been torn from the soil and apparently flung about. Others had been twisted then sheared off, leaving fingers of wood sticking out from stumps like splinters of bone protruding from grisly wounds.”

Admittedly, I first snagged this book because it was free (and still is) for the kindle. And I don’t regret doing it! In fact, I also have the second book (also free) waiting for me to dig into. But enough of that…lets get to the review.

Catrin has no idea about the ancient powers that she controls. In fact, once she accidentally uses them on a schoolmate it frightens her 6513600and the people of her town (who ridicule her). While Catrin is dealing with that headache there’s battleships sailing from the mainland with the intent of capturing her. I wont spoil anything for you, but the rest of the book involves Catrin hiding in the forest and eventually using her powers to protect her friends.

I found this story to be an entertaining read! It was interesting to see Catrin turn from a vulnerable young woman to…well the Herald. Once she finally realized that there was no going back to her old life she immediately got with the program.

Also there’s an intricate backstory for Godsland. In fact, Catrin’s teacher spent pages explaining the history of Godsland to his class. I’m not a fan of excessive info dumping (which happens a lot in the story) but I was able to forgive it since it allowed me to further understand the story.

If you’re someone who enjoys soft fantasy stories, then you’ll definitely like this book.

 

What type of books do you like to read?

5 Books That Have Influenced Me

Before National Reading Month officially closes next week, I wanted to talk about five influential books.

You grumble.

Hey, hey, hey…these five books got me further invested into writing (other than this incident). You may even find them interesting. Show a little bit of enthusiasm! Sheesh…

1. The City of Towers By Keith Baker

In elementary, I never liked fantasy because I thought it was…unrealistic. That all changed on my fourteenth birthday where I received this book as a gift. Suddenly, I became obsessed with the idea of magic, elves, dragons or whatever else fantasy writers and authors could think up. Baker opened up my mind to other genres and writing styles.

2. Across the Nightingale Floor by Lian Hearn

I remember the day I found this book. I was browsing the shelves in my middle school library looking for something to sink my teeth into. My fingertips brushing across the spines of assorted books until finally stopping at Nightingale. I flipped open to the first page and was transported into imaginary world. Its theme: feudral japan. I actually attempted to write this story out word for word and claim it as my own…then someone explained to me what plagiarism is. After that big let-down I decided to get serious about writing and made it a goal to pen my own manuscript(s).

3. Demon in My View by Amelia Atwater Rhodes

By high school, the only vampire book that I read was Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Demon in My View was my first paranormal romance book that I ever read. I enjoyed every word of it though it was the author that fascinated me. Why? Well Rhodes published her first book when she was 13! To me, that’s awesome.

4. The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton

So, we all know how it feels to be assigned a book to read. You start skipping to the last page, letting your mind wander while you’re reading, and so forth. That wasn’t the case for me with The Outsiders. Something about Darry, Sodapop, and Ponyboy really drew me in. Maybe it was the silly names, the friendships and convincing sibling rivalry? I think it was more the author that captured my attention. In the back flap I remember it saying that Hinton needed encouragement to write this book. The fact that she did write and publish it, was also an encouragement to me too.

5. Cry the Beloved Country by Alan Paton

This was the second assigned book that struck a chord with me. I actually read a couple of days ahead of schedule because I was so enthralled with the conflict. I wanted to know what happened to the preacher’s son in the end and if anything could be done to keep him (the preacher’s son) from facing the death penalty. I hadn’t read a book that had so much emotional value before. I interpreted Paton’s novel as a lesson of endurance in the face of strife (for example, in writing terms, rejection slips or writer’s block).

There you have it. Five books that have influenced and encouraged me to write over the years.

If you could choose five books that have had an influence on you, what would they be?