Review: The Lunar Chronicles #3.5, Fairest by Marissa Meyer

22489107Blurb from Goodreads

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.

Marissa Meyer spins yet another unforgettable tale about love and war, deceit and death. This extraordinary book includes full-color art and an excerpt from Winter, the next book in the Lunar Chronicles series.

Hardcover, 222 pages
Published January 27th 2015 by Feiwel & Friends
edition language: English
series: The Lunar Chronicles
genre: Dystopia, Retelling, Romance, Young Adult
My Thoughts
“Have you ever been in love? Horrible isn’t it? It makes you so vulnerable. It opens your chest and it opens up your heart and it means that someone can get inside you and mess you up. You build up all these defenses, you build up a whole suit of armor, so that nothing can hurt you, then one stupid person, no different from any other stupid person, wanders into your stupid life…You give them a piece of you. They didn’t ask for it. They did something dumb one day, like kiss you or smile at you, and then your life isn’t your own anymore. Love takes hostages. It gets inside you. It eats you out and leaves you crying in the darkness, so simple a phrase like ‘maybe we should be just friends’ turns into a glass splinter working its way into your heart. It hurts. Not just in the imagination. Not just in the mind. It’s a soul-hurt, a real gets-inside-you-and-rips-you-apart pain. I hate love.”

― Neil Gaiman, The Sandman, Vol. 9: The Kindly Ones

This is a story about love, a love that causes jealousy, hurt and madness. Levana craves love; from her parents who never able to show it to her, from her older sister who is cunning even in earlier age and most importantly from a man that attracts her from the first time she met him. She has love she’s willing to share yet she doesn’t have anyone to share with.

Levana as all we know is an evil antagonist in The Lunar Chronicles. So evil I want her to meet her end in a very hurtful way. But somehow, I can guess that there is a story, her reason, why she acted the way she did. I’m glad she has her own story, as I know her more well now. I think it’s a sad story, as sad as Disney’s live-action Maleficent. I feel sorry for her, but it doesn’t mean that I forgive her for all of her cruelty. What she did is beyond reason and unforgivable. But that’s the best thing about this book. It can make me sorry for her as much as hate her at the same time.

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As a bridge between book 3 and 4 (or is it a prequel of book 1?) I already knew most of the things in the story. Reading it is like putting the puzzle of who is who and what they will become in next books, one by one. I think it’s good because it means that it intertwines with a whole Lunar Chronicles books. But in a way it’s also kinda boring. There is a time when I wish I get surprise from the story, just so I feel like I get something else something different in the story. So it is good Levana is a strong character. She can make me bear a bit of boredom and turn it into engaging story.

Although there isn’t much happens here, at least not much if I compare with other characters in Lunar Chronicles’ story, I think Levana’s story is stronger than Cress’ and probably more complex than Cinder and Scarlet’s story. Now I can’t wait to read the final one, Winter.

Result: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Reading Challenge:
– GoodReads: Book #17
– YA Buddy Readers’ Corner ♥: Finish at least 5 series I’ve started.
– Popsugar: A book based entirely on its cover
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Review: The Lunar Chronicles #3, Cress by Marissa Meyer

13206828Blurb from Goodreads:

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.

Kindle Edition, 551 pages
Published February 4th 2014 by Feiwel & Friends
edition language: English
series: The Lunar Chronicles
genre: Sci-fi, Romance, Young Adult

My Thoughts

After the awesome Scarlet, I have a very high hope to this book. I thought it’ll be as awesome as Scarlet, well…don’t get me wrong it is indeed a very good retelling. It just doesn’t live my expectation, not that much.

First thing that I notice and made this book is quite different than the first two book is it is much more detail than both Cinder and Scarlet. It’s a good thing actually, as I think I need more detail and explanation in Cinder’s setting and worldbuilding. Unlike New Beijing, I can picture the Sahara desert and a couple places in Africa easily. The satellite and Rampion aren’t hard to imagine either. Unfortunately it also makes the unnecessary things much more detail. There are a lot of things that I’m not sure I need to know that detail. Thus, it makes the book much longer than I think it needed. It feels dragged out in second and third part of the book.

As the main character, Cress is quite different from Cinder and Scarlet. She’s so naive, though it’s understandable since she spends most her life alone, trapped in a satellite. On the other hand, her naivete is sometimes annoyed me. It’s like it’s so hard for her to understand that real life on earth isn’t as easy as she imagine. She keeps picturing herself becomes someone else in somewhere else. In a way, it’s kinda cute but I’m also a bit bored when she does it so many times. Yet, at the end of the last page, I think I liked her as a character. She’s an awesome hacker and her role is as important as Cinder and Scarlet. And I still love other characters, though Throne is more serious and reserve (I missed his personality in Scarlet) and Wolf’s more emo here.

I really loved the way Marissa Meyer builds the story. The pace is perfect. Some chapters can make my heart beats fast while other chapters are quite calm and give me times to understand more about Lunar and their power. Although there are three different stories here, all of them have enough time to tell their story. I don’t feel like one story overlap or overshadow others. It fits well. But I also have to say that I don’t quite like things that seem too coincidence happen to the characters. It feels like they always end up at the right and/or wrong time in right and/or wrong places and just feels too easy for them.

It isn’t the best of the series so far but I still love the Lunar Chronicles and can’t wait for the next installment, Winter.

Result: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Review: The Lunar Chronicles #2, Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

13206760Blurd from Goodreads

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.

Kindle Edition, 464 pages
Published February 5th 2013 by Feiwel & Friends
edition language: English
series: The Lunar Chronicles
genre: Sci-fi, Romance, Young Adult

My Thoughts

I’m so join the hype now! Although I enjoyed Cinder, there were things that I didn’t quite like and it was kind of predictable for me. Yes it was a Cinderella retelling so I felt familiar with it, but it was the Sailor Moon references that I think made it predictable as it was one of my favorite comics when I was a teenager.

In this Little Red Riding Hood retelling, I felt like reading a new story. Again, yes I still felt a familiar feeling throughout the story, who doesn’t, anyway? As it’s one of the most popular fairy tales, but at the same time, I also felt it has its own story, makes it a new refreshing retelling. It even still has twists for me. And the fact that it combines with Cinderella retelling nicely, made me can’t help not to fall in love with the story.

First of all, I loved that the main characters of this Lunar Chronicles, Cinder and Kai, are growing so much from Cinder. Cinder isn’t naive anymore, though she still a bit confused with her true role. I can accept that, though. She just learnt her true identity and at the same time has to face the consequences of it. Kai, though also still confused of what he has to do and is overwhelm by his role, slowly realize his responsibility and willing to sacrifice himself for greater things. There are uncertainty and confused role on both of them, but I think it make them good characters as they are growing much in me and feel real. It also shows that they can be great leaders for their people.

As for new characters, they are all interesting and awesome characters. I loved how strong Scarlet can be. She doesn’t have power but her strong-will made her a badass heroine to me. And Wolf, is quite a mystery throughout the story, though it’s kind of obvious of what his role is since I already know Little Red Riding Hood story. But still, he can show me surprises.

And I won’t forget about Cadet-who-called-himself-Captain Throne. He’s so funny and his sarcastic jokes never failed to make me laugh. Now I’m really curious to see his relationship with Cress.

I have to admit that at first I was kind of doubt Cinder story will let aside so that Scarlet can have bigger story here. Scarlet is still the main character here, but Marissa Meyer didn’t let Cinder in the shadow. She has the same important role as Scarlet. I think it makes me love it. Meyer can balance both of the stories and intertwine it well.

Now I have high expectation for Cress, can’t wait to read it. Well…am going to read it soon, shoot…am heading to the book now!

Result: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Review: The Lunar Chronicles #1, Cinder by Marissa Meyer

12973964Blurb from Goodreads

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.

Kindle Edition, 390 pages
Published January 3rd 2012 by Feiwel & Friends
edition language: English
series: The Lunar Chronicles
genre: Sci-fi, Romance, Retelling, Young Adult
My Thoughts
When I read Cinder’s blurb it sounds so scifi it picked my interest instantly. I thought it would be an unpredictable story as I don’t think I ever read this kind of book. But the first few chapters I can already guess most of the important things in the story. And with all of those computer stuff I’m not familiar with, it was quite confusing for me to understand the whole cyborg, human, and android thingy in this book. But surprisingly despite the predictable plot and the story that reminds me a lot of a manga (Japanese comic) I read 19 years ago, Sailor Moon, I enjoyed reading this book.
Although at first I was kinda hesitate to continue reading because of the resamble of Sailor Moon, I can’t help not to curious of the story. I mostly curious of what Prince Kaito will do regarding Queen Levana. And there are characters I really want to know which side they are. They aren’t main characters, but they picked my interest as I already guessed mostly what will happen with the main characters.

As one of main characters, Cinder is a lovable character. I think she’s brave, strong, and definitely smart, though in some way she’s naive and quite annoying. There were time that were quite annoying and frustrating when she doesn’t see things clearly while it’s so obvious for me. Maybe it’s because she’s still 16 years old, or maybe it’s because she always thinks herself unworthy, but as a cyborg, I think she can see and do more than most human can do.

However, I wasn’t sure with Kaito at the beginning. He doesn’t act like a future emperor mostly, though at the same time I know it indeed makes him ‘approvable’ and makes his relationship with Cinder make sense. I just didn’t quite like how easy he believes and lets other characters tell him what to do. But I love his relationship with Cinder, it feels so natural since they don’t instantly talking about love and all.

There also things that are quite unclear for me in this whole New Beijing and Luna Realm setting. I didn’t find more ‘Beijing’ except for one Chinese character name, if I wasn’t wrong and a formal calling addressed to Cinder when Kai feels like he wants to call her in formality. The Luna Realm, as much as it’s interesting to read, doesn’t explain much either. The same case happens with Cinder’s cyborg thing. It’s the first and one thing that confused me, to be honest. Questions of whether she’s capable to have feelings and all when in a way she has to be rebooted are in my head while I read it.

All in all, I think Cinder is a good Cinderella retelling. In some way it felt like it has its own originality. And it really has sci-fi feeling, unlike most YA sci-fi books I read nowadays. I just hope the unclear setting will describe more in the sequels. So yes…it means I’ll read the sequels for sure.

Result: 3.5 out of 5 stars