Cress and Fairest – Marissa Meyer Reviews

Hi friends! I’m almost done with the Lunar Chronicles series by Marissa Meyer!

When we talked last, I had paused reading Cress, the third novel in the installment, so I could read the newest Harry Potter book (!!! – I’ve already done my review if you’d like to read it!) Well, once I finished reading that, I picked up where I left off, and boy was it good.

For those who don’t know, the series is a play on different fairy tales, for example, the first book is centered around Cinder – a well known mechanic who is trying to save her sister from the worldwide plague, Letumosis. The story gets crazy from there, but let me just say: this is no fairy tale story. Unless you’re counting the original Grimm’s Fairy Tales, in which case – yeah, that seems about right.

The other books are Scarlet (a play off of Little Red Riding Hood), Cress (Rapunzel), Fairest (a prequel following around the evil Lunar queen, Levana), and lastly Winter (Snow White) which is the last of the series.

So since we last talked, I read both Cress and Fairest and holy shit. Let’s do this one at a time:

Cress:

cress-final-e1378337072559This story follows a girl named Cress. She’s been kept in isolation for her whole life spying on Earth for Queen Levana. She’s awkward, anxious, socially inept, and totally in love with Carswell Thorne – a friend of Cinder’s. I don’t want to give too much away because I really think you should read this series, but she and Carswell have to go on an adventure together, while Cinder is left to deal with a huge amount of problems and worries with the rest of their crew.

This book hit me harder than the two previous novels. As an awkward, anxious and socially inept person myself, I fit in with her. I also have a shit ton of hair, so I feel like she and I have a connection.

This book was written spectacularly, and I thought the story was above most fiction I’ve read recently. The character development was not only great to watch unfold but felt really genuine. I really feel like I’m watching these characters develop before my eyes and love it!!!!!

This book was pretty big, over 400 pages I think. But it went by so quickly. It’s just such a great read!

Fairest:

5119ihf8lulThis book is fucked up. I’m putting that out there now. It’s fucked up, but it’s awesome. This is the fourth book in the series and serves as a prequel to everything we know from the beginning of Cinder on.

It follows Levana back when she was just a princess, and her jerk sister, Channary, was Queen. It follows her path of destruction, her manipulation and basically slavery of the man she “loves”.

My boyfriend can tell you: I said aloud quite a few times while I was reading, “Wow, that’s really fucked up.”

Seriously I don’t want to ruin everything, but one thing that we know from the beginning of the series (it’s not a surprise) is that Levana killed her niece by burning down her nursery because the young Princess Selene was too powerful. She burned down a nursery to kill her niece. Legitimate murder. Straight up, no remorse, killing an innocent child murder. Dat’s fucked up.

This whole book was just one horrible thing after another, but I thought it was incredible. It was a great way to actually get inside the mind of this horrible Queen and what her justifications are for doing such horrendous things.

I’ve mentioned before that I love crime books, serial killer books, and things that really let you get inside a messed up person’s mind. I like to hear their reasoning and try to understand why someone would do something so terrible: this book did not disappoint. I felt like this book was almost as messed up and as amazing as the book I read about Carl Panzram (Panzram: A Journal of Murder Review) which was an incredibly messed up book. I think because it’s fiction it’s not as terrible and disgusting to read, but the way that Meyer writes the story feel so real that I was sitting there like, “someone better kill this bitch. Oh wait, she’s just misunderstood. Nope. Nevermind, BURN HER!”

highly, highly, highly recommend this book series. I’m about 250 pages in the last book, Winter, and it’s sooo good. It’s incredible. And I just can’t praise this series highly enough.

This series appeals to not just the young adult fans, but also the fans of science fiction, of war, of fantasy, of fairy tales, of romance – it has everything. It’s one of the most exciting series’ that I’ve read in a very long time, and I just absolutely love it!

Marissa Meyer, keep up the good work.

10/10 for both books. 8 thumbs up! 12/10 dentists would recommend.

Until next time,

Rachel

If you have any opinions on the series, or any questions, or even just want to chat – you can leave a comment down below or you shoot me a message to rachel@booksandcleverness.com

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Scarlet (The Lunar Chronicles) – Marissa Meyer Review

Hi! I finished another book, holy crap! I’m like a five foot speed reading demon over here! I can’t help it, I absolutely LOVE this book series.

I just finished Scarlet which is the second book of five in the Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer. I told you guys about her first book, Cinder which is a futuristic, science fiction version of ye ole tale Cinderella.

The first book is basically about a young cyborg who is one of New Beijing’s most renowned mechanics. She’s so excellent at her job that she finds herself helping out the Prince just days before the royal ball. Unfortunately, The Plague gets in the way before the fairy tale can take on the usual story. The plot unfolds from there into all kinds of twists and turns, a lot of them sinister and creepy.

Well, let me say this: this series, although it’s technically for young adults, is not for kids. I would not recommend a young kid reading these. Throughout the first book and the second book, which I’ll get into in a minute, there are extremely graphic descriptions of situations, of how certain people look, of bloody battles, of death, of people dying of a horrible plague, basically just some kinda gross stuff. So if that’s not your thing, then maybe take that into consideration before reading it.

The second book, Scarlet, follows both Cinder and a French farmer named Scarlet. Cinder is on the run, and Scarlet is searching for her lost grandmother. Her grand-mère has disappeared – something that would never happen for this stubborn farmer. She would never have left her granddaughter, and yet – three weeks after she’s reported missing, no one is understanding just how serious this could be.9780312642969_fc

Michelle Benoit (grandmother) was an eccentric woman. She was different than the rest, and was often thought of as crazy and kooky, but to her granddaughter she was everything. So what does Scarlet do? She goes on a search for her, with the help of a random street fighter she just met named Wolf, who seems to have an idea of where she might be – and who might be keeping her.

Now when I was first reading this book, I was really enjoying it, but kinda thought that it was too much to go from one story following one character to the next book following two characters and two different stories. Granted, they meet up at the end, but when I first started it I didn’t know that.

However, I was so invested that I didn’t even care. This writer, Marissa Meyer, is phenomenal. She seems to write with the greatest of ease. I know from being a writer myself that writing about character’s different personalities is hard enough without making each chapter from a different perspective. That takes a lot of skill and a lot of care. There’s a lot that she could have done that would have made this series total crap just by having so many different stories going on at once, but she does it so seamlessly that I didn’t even mind.

I love the fact that Meyer takes all of these old fairy tales and turns them into something completely different. She takes the old Cinderella and turns it into this extreme fantasy world thats crumbling down, or Little Red Riding Hood and makes it a novel about these grotesquely animalistic humans. It’s just fantastic.

I could say so much more, but I think it’s probably safer of me to just stop there before I start giving away the whole story!

But I would definitely recommend this book. Anyone who has been here for a while knows that I’ve been reading at an extremely slow pace recently, and in 20 days I have finished two books that were either almost or over 400 pages. They’re fantastic books and it feels wonderful to get back into the swing of things.

So if you like fairy tales, you’ll love these books. If you like science fiction, you’ll love these books. If you like fantasy worlds, you’ll love these books. The only way you won’t love these books is if you don’t like stories that tie in dysfunctional relationships. Otherwise, go to your bookstore and buy these freakin’ books!!!!!

If you want to talk to me about any of these books, or if you have any questions or opinions, you can comment below or you can send me an e-mail at rachel@booksandcleverness.com. I’d be MORE than happy to talk to you about it!

Seriously – go get this book.

Until next time,

Rachel

Cinder – Marissa Meyer… Just Read It!

I just finished the BEST book. I’ll preface this by saying that it is a young adult novel, but it really doesn’t read like one.

The book is called Cinder by Marissa Meyer. It’s a spin on, obviously, Cinderella. But unlike the fairy tale, this book does not have a happy ending.cinder_book_cover

Okay okay, I won’t spoil anything. But here’s some info:

So this book takes place in the future, after World War IV, in New Beijing. Cinder, a cyborg mechanic, lives in a world filled with plague brought on by the race of “Lunar” people on the moon. Much like when Europeans explored the new world and brought Smallpox, the Lunar people would escape the moon because of their tyrannical ruler Levana, and come to Earth, bringing new diseases that Earthen people were not used to – the plague is called Letumosis.

The whole of New Beijing is excited for the ball that Prince Kai is the special guest for – they’re even suspecting that he’ll find a new bride there! Cinder’s stepsister loves Kai. Poeny is one of Cinders best friends, and would do anything for her, despite the fact that her cruel mother and other stepsister don’t care anything about Cinder and even blame her for the death of Garan, the father of the girls and husband of Adri.

As a very well known and renowned mechanic, even though she is only 16, she gets the attention of Prince Kai, who needs one his androids fixed. But the prince doesn’t know she’s a cyborg and the story progresses from there and takes some insanely crazy turns.

It’s been a little while since I’d read a young adult novel, and I was not disappointed at all. I’ve mentioned quite a few times that I’ve been reading quite slowly recently, but I read through this novel in 7 days, despite the fact that it’s over 400 pages.

This book is the first in a series of five books, and I’m so excited to read more. The day before I finished the book I bought the next in the series, called Scarlet which incorporates a Red Riding Hood theme.cover-set-2-1024x253

So far, I can not rave highly enough of this book. Anyone who has been reading my posts for any amount of time knows how much I love fairy tales, how much I love young adult novels and how much I love science fiction. This book is all three, and is basically my perfect novel.

If you like any one of those three things, you will undoubtedly like this book. It’s fantastic.

Go read it!

If you have read it and want to talk about it as much as I want to talk about it, leave a comment or send me an e-mail at rachel@booksandcleverness.com

Until next time!

Rachel

Book vs Movie: The DaVinci Code // Review

Whaddup peeps? As of exactly seven days ago, I finished the second book in the Robert Langdon series by Dan Brown, The DaVinci Code.

First things first: I would like to preface this by saying that this book was amazing. But I would also like to say that the movie, while similar, was not as good as the book.

I think I told you guys a while ago that I had re-watched the movie The DaVinci Code for the first time in like 10 years. I really, really enjoyed the movie and was so excited about it that I went to straight to the bookstore to pick up the first two books in the series, Angels & Demons and The DaVinci Code. The first book, A&D, was spectacular. I was so enthralled in this book from beginning to end, it was just really fun and interesting and I loved it.

I felt the same way about The DaVinci Code – it was extremely well written, well researched, and put together. It had everything and more that I could want from a murder mystery book, and it really made me think back on history and Bible versus and things that I never could have put together to make an interesting chain of historical evidence (whether it’s fiction or not, it’s very intriguing.)

That being said, by reading this book I was actually a little more disappointed in the movie version. First of all, I don’t think they should have released the movie counterpart BEFORE A&D. Since it technically comes first in the series I think it would have made more sense to continue with releasing the movies in chronological order simply because of the character development that happens in Angels & Demons.

Here’s where I want to clarify something: I was super excited when I realized that the first movie was actually the second book. I thought it was really cool that they could switch up stories like that and still make everything in the plot make sense.

What I didn’t like was the fact that Robert Langdon, the main character and symbologist, was used in the movie to promote the fact that Sophie was related to Jesus and therefore had healing powers. In the first book, Angels & Demons, Langdon goes through a lot of difficult situations involving tight quarters and closed off spaces. Langdon, you may have guessed, is claustrophobic. He doesn’t like elevators, he doesn’t like planes, he doesn’t like anything small and enclosed.

Well, in the first book that’s never resolved; that’s just his character flaw. Good ol’ Langdon, always finding himself in tiny closed off places! That scamp! In the second book, this flaw is still not resolved. But in the first movie The DaVinci Code it is! In the movie Sophie has this weird healing power that allows her to touch people’s foreheads and cure them. So what does Sophie do? She puts her hand on Robert Langdons head and he all of a sudden can be stuck in tight corners. WHAT?!

Fine. I get that you’re trying to make a point to really prove that she has these mystical ties to Jesus and that Mary Magdalene and Jesus are her ancestors. But are you really going to sit there and tell me that she can frickin’ heal people by touching their heads but then never mention that AT ALL in the book? Like where do you even come up with that part of the plot? It’s never alluded to in the novel, it’s never mentioned that some ancestors had magical healing powers – there’s nothing even remotely close to that to give anyone that idea, and yet in the movie here she is just healing people whenever she wants.

I don’t know, I know this is a small flaw to find but it actually really irks me. I feel like if you’re going to make this HUGE point of proving that this woman is related to Jesus then you should back it up. In the book it would have been pretty easy to squeeze that little piece in because it is, after all, the second book in the series. There’s already been one book where we learn of his claustrophobia, so why not get rid of it in the second book? But they didn’t do that.

Instead, they let him stay claustrophobic and continue on to find the murderer. But in the movie they make it a big spectacle that she can heal him because that’s what her mother used to do to her and oh by the way did I mention she’s related to Jesus?

It all just seems too convenient. I was perfectly fine with having The DaVinci Code come out in film version first, I figure that each book is different enough that they can get away with it. But I just can’t condone putting magic healing powers in a movie that barely goes into his extreme fears simply to prove a point.

I can’t speak for everyone but I’m pretty sure that if we’re reading The DaVinci Code we’re not really going to second guess magical powers in the middle of the novel. It’s just not going to happen. Everyone is too involved in the book to care. I mean you could throw in a gorilla riding a unicorn with Gollum on his back yelling “I’M THE REAL JESUS” and I don’t think anyone would question it.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that I would be fine with this whole healing power thing in the movie if it was alluded to in the book. But there was nothing that I read that would support that theory. And I’ve seen a lot of movies where they take away plot to fit it into the movie, I can’t remember a movie that added extra plot to it. I feel like they could have gone without it, or at least explained it a little bit in the book.

All that said, though, I thought this book was really great. If you’re someone who enjoys history, who likes reading about secret societies or if you just really like mystery novels this book is for you. It has everything in it: action, adventure, murder, love, car chases. Everything.

Dan Brown does an amazing job of really getting his readers to accept the theories he’s putting out there because without them none of the book would make sense. You can tell that he really did a lot of research and knows what he’s talking about when it comes to secret societies and rituals. He also consistently blows my mind with all of his symbolism work. I know that the main character is a symbologist, but it has to take a lot of time and effort to truly understand the meanings behind so many of the pictures, architecture and random trinkets discussed in the books.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone at all who loves mysteries. The book is about 600 pages but it goes by so fast with all of the craziness going on! I guarantee you’ll love this book. I do recommend that you read the book first in this case just because the book does a much better job at explaining all of the complicated rituals and beliefs than the movie does. The movie gives you more of a bare minimum or an overview instead of a solid explanation.

I’m going to start the next book in the series The Lost Symbol – this one is about Freemasons!! I’m very excited to read it and I’ll be sure to keep you posted on how it’s going! My only complaint so far is that they are working on the third movie which will be Inferno, but the order goes Angels & Demons, The DaVinci Code, The Lost Symbol, Inferno. I don’t know what it is about the movies, but they just want everything to be all outta whack.

If you’ve read any of the Robert Langdon series comment down below and let me know what you thought so we can talk about it and I won’t feel like a crazy person just sitting here obsessing over these books!

Until next time, friends!

Rachel

e-mail: rachel@booksandcleverness.com

A Very Long Review of The Martian by Andy Weir

I’d like to tell you a little story about how I never listen to my dad. First, let me start by saying that when I was a kid my dad would always joke, “don’t trust your father.” Obviously he was kidding, but I did end up taking that lesson with me in two aspects: books and movies.

Movies are the easiest for me to explain. For a long time we would watch movies together that he wanted me to see and know of. I would always play it cool and say that they weren’t that great of movies (even though they were pretty fricken awesome). So whenever he recommended a movie to me he’d say, “don’t you trust me?” and I’d always say “No.” Of course this has changed, and if my dad recommends a movie now it goes immediately onto my watch-list…

…Except for Chappie, which he pitched to me as “it was so bad. You really shouldn’t watch it…. Actually, watch it and see how bad it is. It’s so bad.”

But books are different. My dad is an avid reader, albeit an incredibly slow reader, but he loves books. He got me addicted to fantasy and science fiction, and I’m forever grateful for that. However, as I’m sure you’ve figured out, I take books very seriously. I love when people give me recommendations so I can add them to my to-read list, but I don’t like being pushed into reading a book. I’m stubborn like my mom and the more you push me to read a book, the less likely I am to read that book out of sheer principle.

My dad is the King of Pushers. He will recommend a book, and I’ll usually find that book’s concept pretty interesting, but I’ll add it to my list and keep going through the books I already have lined up. This does not satisfy my dad. He will continually say, “You HAVE to read this book. When you’re done with your book, you NEED to read this one.” and when I finish my book, and start reading a different book, he’ll say the same things. Over and over again, until he gives up and reads a new book that I HAVE to read.

But something strange happened. I learned about the upcoming movie, The Martian, starring Matt Damon (and if you read my To See or Not To See post back in February you’ll know that I love Matt Damon. I really do. He’s wonderful. Also, my sister would hate me for saying this but Ben Affleck is not as attractive as everyone thinks. Matt Damon totally wins that contest, hands down), and realized it was a book. The second I found that out, I was hooked. I had to add it to my list.

But then my boyfriend and I went over to my parents house for dinner. I told my mom about this really cool new movie that’s coming out that has Matt Damon in it, about this guy that’s stuck on Mars and has to plant crops on Mars and survive, and it’s even a book! And to my surprise she said, “That sounds like the book that Dad’s reading.”

What?! My dad is reading a book I want to read before I even hear of it?? What alternate universe is this??

It turned out, he was reading The Martian. He recommended it instantly and said, “oh my God, Rae, you HAVE to read this. The writer reminds me so much of your writing style. It’s funny, written well, and you just have to read it.” But this time, I trusted him. (Note: Sorry, Dad, I’m learning how to trust you again. I know this dampens your street cred.)

What happened when I started reading The Martian, written by Andy Weirwas magical. The first page made me laugh, and I entered a world that was completely foreign to me, but I felt completely at ease.

The story is about a man who is believed to be dead on Mars, but he’s not. He needs to figure out a way to survive on Mars indefinitely, using only a small amount of resources. It’s so good.

Andy Weir’s writing style is so sarcastic, but so detailed and rich that it’s not like reading a book where the author just tries to be snarky, instead it’s actually like reading this man’s life, and reading what he’s going through – being Mark Watney’s friend. Weir is an incredible writer, with a ridiculous amount of knowledge when it comes to science and math (something that just went straight over my head), but always finds a way to make the characters relatable even with them being super science and math driven.

If I could give this book 500 stars out of 10, plus 15 high fives, and four thumbs-ups, I would. 18 Quatloo’s for you, sir!

Everyone needs to read this book before the movie comes out. I know I’ve mentioned a hundred times that I don’t necessarily think that seeing the movie first is a bad idea, but in this case: read the book first. The movie comes out October 2015, so you have a few more months to read it, even if you’re as slow of a reader as my dear old dad. Go get it!

All that said, I’d like to give a shoutout to my dad (as if there haven’t been enough in this post) for finally getting me to read one of the books he’s recommended. Good job, Pops. This is a big day for you.

If you’ve read this book, please comment below so we can discuss it because oh. my. god. All I want to do is talk about it right now. If there could be a The Martian chat room, I’d join it right now.

Until next time, blog family!

Rachel

email: rachel@booksandcleverness.com