Monday, May 6, 2013

Prodigy | Book Review

Prodigy by Marie Lu

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Color Me: Sequelly Satisfied. I consumed Legend in one breath last year. I loved it (but that was before I got tired of YA dystopias... Ah those were the days...). So I was thrilled to see Prodigy hit the shelves three months ago. And then...I got bored. And then I got excited. And ultimately, I was very pleased with this sequel.

Writing Technique: ★★★ Lu writes like a video game Flash artist (which she is...). Her style is very straight forward, visual, and simple. I like it. It works for this story. I have nothing overly negative or positive to say about it.

Plot/Story Development: ★★★★ I spent the first half of this book bored to tears. It was all like "We're going to do this. Then we're gonna do that." And I was like "Can we please just get to that?!" But somewhere in the middle, things started happening and that was exciting. I like the whole Republic v. The Colonies v. The Patriots v. The People v. whatever storyline. But I'll say that while the story progressed significantly, not a lot happened (if that makes sense). We got from A to B, but there were only a couple stops along the way. That may not be a bad thing. But it made the story seem somewhat simple (despite all the conspiracy stuff going on).

Character Development: ★★★ Day has been a rebel without a cause for most of his life. He's been a one-man army with tunnel vision. This book, he has to learn to play with others. But choosing which others-which cause-is the real struggle. His idealism is challenged and he has to figure out what he wants, what he can do, and what is actually possible for the people. His is a four-star character arc. June's arc is much less tangible. Her almost super-human powers of observation mean she just has to trust her gut and be brave enough to follow through. She gets two generous stars in this department. They balance out to a three.

(Random side note: I don't get why the characters here are so young. June and Day are 15. 15?! I'm trying to suspend my disbelief. But mostly I just have to imagine they're 17 or 18 or 19 or 20... My brother is 16, and I can't imagine him leading a revolution ((as more than just a mascot)), taking a powerful position in government, be in True Love, or pretty much any of the things these kids are supposed to do...)

Message/Theme: ★★★★1/2 loyalty, betrayal, rebellion, enemies, allies, friendship, love, and the many faces of oppression...

Rating: PG/PG-13 for violence and mild language

Overall: ★★★★ A good solid sequel. I'm curious about where we'll go in the third and final--seriously why is everything a trilogy nowadays?! There are other numbers out there besides 3. There's 4 and 5 and 7 and a bunch of others...--book.

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Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Scarlet | Book Review

Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In a nutshell: No sophomore slum for NaNoWriMo champion-turned published best-seller Marissa Meyer. This book might even be better than the first!

So it's been a long time since September when I read (and loved) Cinder. Enough time for me to remember - "yeah, I read that and I think it was pretty good." So when Scarlet came out, I was like - "cool. I'll get around to that one day." And when it was ready for me to pick up from the library, I was like - "cool. I've got three weeks. I'll read it after I read all this other crap." And then after I read all this other crap, I was like - "cool. I guess I can read Scarlet now." And when I started Scarlet, I was like - WHY DID I NOT START READING THIS SOONER?!

Color me: Warm and fuzzy. This scifi/fantasy futuristic dystopian fairytale-retelling really hit the spot perfectly after reading two terrible light books and three great but heavy ones. This was the ideal blend of action, adventure, humor, drama, friendship, and romance for my sad cold little heart.

Writing Technique: ★★★★ I think Meyer stepped up her game a little bit this time around. What I really admired here was the pacing. Cinder was not nearly so action-based (as far as I remember), so I really wasn't expecting it. But as this series' story evolves (and more fairytale characters are added!), there's a lot of danger, intrigue, and crazy-crazy! And Meyer nails the fight scenes by crafting well-paced sentences. She nails the entire story by pacing out well-crafted scenes and chapters. Honestly, I feel kind of proud.

Also - dialogue. Thorne is my absolute favorite character. He's freaking hilarious. And I can't figure out which fairytale character he's supposed to be. (Best bet: he's Rapunzel's guy... {and with a little Wikipedia research, I'm 98% sure I'm right. The clue is in the Rampion!!!}) The dialogue between Thorne and Cinder is electric, jumps off the page. Way to go, Meyer!

Plot/Story Development: ★★★1/2 So these books are great as part of a series. But on their own, I feel like I've only read part of a book. One-fourth, to be exact. The plot here picks up where we left off with Cinder (yay!) as well as introduces new a plot involving new characters Scarlet (Little Red Riding Hood) and Wolf (...the wolf...). This episode functions to bring those two storylines together, get Scarlet on board with the World-Saving Mission and get Cinder amped up to embrace her role as Earth's Last Remaining Hope.

Character Development: ★★★★ Cinder is gradually figuring out her next move as the missing Lunar princess. Scarlet's whole life is about rescuing her grandmother. Both of them have a lot to learn about themselves in the process and hard decisions to make along the way. And I think they learn a lot. Wolf also has some..."personal issues" to deal with too. Kai's story continues, but he's not developing all that quickly. He needs to get in the know on a lot stuff real soon here. Thorne mostly just has to sit there and be hilarious. I don't think he'll learn much of anything until he meets Cress in the next book (side note: can't wait for that!!)

Message/Theme: ★★★1/2 Good v. Evil, family, friendship, love, destiny, true heroism (What is worth dying for? What is worth letting others/loved ones die for? What is worth killing for?), sacrifice, war, and probably other stuff. This isn't a book to read for message though. This is a book to read for real entertaining fun.

Rating: PG-13 for violence and gore

Overall: ★★★★ I loved this book. It sucked me in and spit me out wishing for more. Everybody should read this series because it's just dang good fun. And who doesn't love deciphering retellings, figuring out who's who from the fairytales they learned as a kid...?

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