Teaser Tuesday: Cinder by Marissa Meyer

cinder2

Title: Cinder

Author: Marissa Meyer

Published: January 3, 2012

Series: The Lunar Chronicles

Pages: 387

Genres: Fantasy, Young-adult fiction, Novel, Fairy tale, Science Fiction, Dystopia, Romance novel, Utopian and dystopian fiction

Find it on: Amazon, Goodreads

Synopsis

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.

Teaser

Cinder is one of those books that I am constantly told to read while never actually getting around to reading it. It’s been highly recommended to me and I finally got a hold of a copy. I purchased it from my local book store, Wellesley Books, which is just down the street from my university, Wellesley College.

I must admit it has been a slow read so far, and I am still waiting for the story to pick up. Hopefully, it will deliver, as I have high expectations for such a widely-praised book.

The fantasy story follows Cinder, a cyborg, who falls in love with Prince Kai, as far as I can tell right now. What I find compelling about is that it’s supposed to be a sci-fi retelling of the classic fairy tale, Cinderella. I’m a big fan of modern twists to ancient fairy tale stories, such as Once Upon A Time, A Cinderella Story, Beastly, and Snow White & The Huntsman.

Here’s a teaser (page 6):

“She shoved back from the desk, her scowl landing first on a lifeless android that sat squat on her worktable and then on the man behind it. She was met with startled copper brown eyes and black hair that hung past his ears and lips that every girl in the country had admired a thousand times.

Her scowl vanished.”

Want to know what happens next? Well, you’ll simply have to get the book!

Book Review: Paper Towns by John Green

paper towns

Title: Paper Towns

Author: John Green

Published: October 2008

Read: June – July 2015

Where to find it: Amazon Goodreads

Synopsis

Who is the real Margo?

Quentin Jacobsen has spent a lifetime loving the magnificently adventurous Margo Roth Spiegelman from afar. So when she cracks open a window and climbs into his life—dressed like a ninja and summoning him for an ingenious campaign of revenge—he follows. After their all-nighter ends, and a new day breaks, Q arrives at school to discover that Margo, always an enigma, has now become a mystery. But Q soon learns that there are clues—and they’re for him. Urged down a disconnected path, the closer he gets, the less Q sees the girl he thought he knew..

My Thoughts

Oh, the disenchantment of adolescence.

Paper Towns is a quintessential coming-of-age story that deals with romance, identity, and, above all, teenage angst. Our hero, Quentin Jacobs aka Q, is graduating from high school as a straight-laced student who loves routine and doesn’t find monotony boring, only to have the end of his senior year disrupted by his manic pixie dream girl, his next door neighbor Margo Roth Spiegelman, and her elaborate hijinks.

I must confess: I didn’t really think much of Margo. Her character didn’t particularly interest me and I didn’t care for her when I was seeing her through Q’s adoring eyes. Was she worthy of Q’s adulation? Maybe. Did I care for her? No.

I did enjoy the sharp contrast between their characters during the first part of the book, when Margo had her night of vengeance to those who had wronged her. Q’s anxiety, worry, and need to “play by the rules” complemented Margo’s caprice, impetuousness, and desire to “throw caution to the wind”. Their character dynamic explored the nature between the head and the heart.

Something I found really compelling in the book was the difference between loving the idea of someone and actually getting to know said person. It really explored the way we tend to elevate certain people to god-like status and idealize them without really knowing them at all. It’s dangerous to put someone up on a pedestal because they can never actually live up to those expectations. Margo’s friends and classmates imprinted their ideas of the perfect, mysterious, popular girl onto Margo, and she struggled under the weight of that. Q, in particular, fell for the image he had of her as this fearless dream girl. The twist ending humanized her.

Q’s monologue at the end about really seeing a person who was once an idea was so profound to me. We see each other through out cracks in which we let the other person in and show them our vulnerabilities. He’d spent the whole book trying to picture the real Margo, but ultimately failed until he discovered the true reason she ran away. And then. the entire book made sense. She wasn’t just escaping a “paper town”, but she was escaping being a “paper girl”.

I like how John Green embeds literature into his books, like Imperial Affliction in TFIOS and now Leaves of Grass in Paper Towns. I find it interesting how the literature makes the reader connect more with the characters, like it’s a window into their souls or something.

Anyway, Paper Towns was great at the beginning, dragged on a bit in the middle, and had an excellent ending. I enjoyed having the mystery finally solved in a way that I least expected it. If you’re looking for a fun summer read that isn’t riddled with cliches, look no further than Paper Towns.

Favorite Quotes

“Margo always loved mysteries. And in everything that came afterward, I could never stop thinking that she loved mysteries so much that she became one.”

“What a treacherous thing it is to believe that a person is more than a person.”

“”Margo was not a miracle. She was not an adventure. She was not a fine and precious thing. She was a girl.”

“All that wild charisma and wanderlust.” (on Margo Roth Spiegelman)

“All those paper people living in their paper houses, burning the future to stay warm.”

“When did we see each other face-to-face? Not until you saw into my cracks and I saw into yours. Before that, we were just looking at ideas of each other, like looking at your window shade but never seeing inside. But once the vessel cracks, the light can get in. The light can get out.”

paper towns1 paper towns2 paper towns3 paper towns4 paper towns5 paper towns6

Rating: 4/5

Book Review: City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare

coHF

City of Heavenly Fire

Cassandra Clare

725 Pages

Published May 27th, 2014 by Simon and Schuster

Read June – July 2014

Goodreads

Barnes and Noble

Amazon

WARNING: This review is not a spoiler-free zone.

Synopsis

In this dazzling and long-awaited conclusion to the acclaimed Mortal Instruments series, Clary and her friends fight the greatest evil they have ever faced: Clary’s own brother.

Sebastian Morgenstern is on the move, systematically turning Shadowhunter against Shadowhunter. Bearing the Infernal Cup, he transforms Shadowhunters into creatures out of nightmare, tearing apart families and lovers as the ranks of his Endarkened army swell.

The embattled Shadowhunters withdraw to Idris – but not even the famed demon towers of Alicante can keep Sebastian at bay. And with the Nephilim trapped in Idris, who will guard the world against demons?

When one of the greatest betrayals the Nephilim have ever known is revealed, Clary, Jace, Isabelle, Simon, and Alec must flee – even if their journey takes them deep into the demon realms, where no Shadowhunter has set foot before, and from which no human being has ever returned…

Love will be sacrificed and lives lost in the terrible battle for the fate of the word in the thrilling final installment of the classic urban fantasy series The Mortal Instruments!

My Thoughts

Wow. I can’t believe I’ve finished the entire Mortal Instruments series. I had a every emotional ride with all the characters, and this book is the best conclusion to a series I have ever read. It was a befitting finale of an epic story.

First of all, I loved reading about how Emma Carstair’s story began. Her character warmed my heart from the very beginning, and I can’t wait to see how her own story unfurls. Meeting her and the Blackthorn kids was very interesting was interesting in that they are so different from anything we’ve seen from Cassandra Clare before. Their story line was very refreshing and like a breath of fresh air. Emma’s relationship with Julian Blackthorn took center stage in her story, and their closeness was a joy to read.

Ms. Clare took her sweet time getting to the actual war part of the story, but the set-up was exquisite. The journey to the Dark War was thoroughly well-written, through various points of views, so that I could see different characters roles in the upcoming war, making the story very well-rounded.

The romances were delicious. We finally get to see how everyone stands, from Clary and Jace, to Magnus and Alec, to Simon and Izzy, to Maia and Jordan (and then Bat). It took the whole entire book to finally get to see what becomes of Magnus and Alec, but it’s well worth it. Clary and Jace finally got very intimate, in what was a very beautifully-written scene that makes me swoon just thinking about it. Simon and Izzy actually become a couple at long last. Maia’s romance is met with tragedy, but she unveils a budding new one after.

I really liked the new characters introduced, as well as old characters becoming more in-depth in the story. I thought Lily was really cool, and I enjoyed getting to know more about Raphael.

Sebastian Morgenstern is hands down the best villain ever written to me. He was downright terrifying. There was no doubt that he was a completely evil being, and he was pretty easy to hate and despise.  He was also extremely clever and actually really brilliant, so that he was a formidable foe that wouldn’t be easy at all to defeat.

I liked how Clary got to really tap into her shadowhunterness, at long last, equipping herself and taking up her family sword. She became stronger, not only in fighting, but also in her special power: rune-making. It was impressive to read how she saved herself and her friends by simply producing runes out of thin air.

The twist that led to the final defeat of Sebastian was amazing. Jace’s heavenly fire took center stage, and Clary figured out how to use her gift for runes to trick Sebastian and save the day. It was all really clever of Ms. Clare.

One thing that was really tragic, however, was how Clary lost the brother she never got to have. We only got a glimpse of what Jonathan would have been like without the demon blood, and it was heartbreaking to lose him immediately after.

The ending was loaded. There was a shocking twist, that a solution was eventually found for, which would completely change everything, but not in totally a bad way. The premise for the next series (The Dark Artifices) was set up, which I really cannot wait for. What would become of Mark Blackthorn? How would the Fey retaliate against the injustice against them by the Clave? What will Emma find out about her parents’ demise? How will Emma and Julian’s lives be like in the Los Angeles institute (as Parabatai)? How will Helen Blackthorn and Aline Penhallow fare?

My favorite part of this book is how the past, present, and future collided. We got to see Jem again!!!! He and Tessa reunite!!!! Emma meets Clary, and they develop a mutual like  and admiration for eachother!!!! Emma gets to meet her ancestor Jem!!!! Clary gets to meet Tessa and have an actual conversation with her (which included their shared experience with Herondale boys)!!!!

It was basically the perfect ending.

An easy 5 stars for me.

5/5

End Note: It’s funny how Cassandra Clare kept on stressing how lives will be lost and keeping us all tense, when the deaths weren’t even as heavy as she was hinting at. She said six people we know by name would die, instantly driving all her readers crazy with trepidation, yet those six people were as follows: someone who’s near sole purpose was to be the love interest of someone who actually didn’t really love him and got a new love interest, a psychotic villain, another clear villain, someone who’s death was a tragedy to make his character more interesting/likeable, the actual bad guy who needed to be defeated, and someone who I can’t even remember.

Book Review: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

fangirl

Title: Fangirl

Author: Rainbow Rowell

Published: September 10th, 2013

Goodreads

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Synopsis

From the author of the New York Times bestseller Eleanor & Park.

A coming-of-age tale of fan fiction, family and first love.

Cath is a Simon Snow fan.

Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan…

But for Cath, being a fan is her life—and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving.

Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.

Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.

Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words… And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.

For Cath, the question is: Can she do this?

Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories?

And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?

My Thoughts

Fangirl has been all the rage for the past year now, so I read it to see what all the fuss was about.

What I found really appealing about it was that the protagonist was very relatable to myself, because she, like me, is a fangirl.

Cath is off to college as a new freshman, and she likes to hole up in her dorm room and write fanfiction. The crazy thing about reading this story is that I felt like I was reading about myself in the future, fast forward a year and a half. I felt myself nodding along with her antisocial personality. Cath was actually living my dream: taking a creative writing class and being favored by the professor as being possibly the best writer there. She was also a serious inspiration for me to take up writing fanfiction again. This book just reminded me of the wonder of producing an entirely new storyline out of characters you love and have already enjoyed reading about.

Now, on to Levi, Cath’s love interest. I think that Levi has actually beat out Augustus Waters for me in being my favorite boy ever in a YA novel. He is everything I enjoy being around: outgoing, nice to everyone, charming, charismatic, and, to top it all off, a smiler. I was totally disagreeing with Cath when she was faulting him for being so nice at first. I loved it!

I feel like Cath and Levi’s relationship was the most real relationship I have actually read in a YA novel. It happened slowly, and not right off the bat. Levi just kind of grew on Cath, and their first kiss was literally the cutest thing I have ever read. I squealed out loud multiple times during the buildup to the kiss. The way Cath got to explore being in love with such a wonderful guy as Levi was heartwarming, and they had their very realistic ups and downs before they even got together.

If you’re looking for a relatable YA book with a very realistic romance, look no further: grab a copy of Fangirl right away!

5-stars

Kele
Kele