Finished two more books for my project. This took a bit longer because Revolution was HUGE. Cinder is no lightweight either. Also added three more books on hold and read some other related books for fun.
So it’s been a while since I blogged last about this project. I was zipping along, reading quick reads when I suddenly had Revolution in my hands, and everything got bogged down (it’s almost 500 pages). And while I was reading that, Cinder FINALLY came in at the library, which I’ve been looking forward to for awhile. (fyi, there are some spoilers ahead, although I feel they’re not really spoilers, since it’s pretty obvious it’s coming, so you’ve been warned)
Revolution (Jennifer Donnelly): Recommended by Beth. Hmm, I guess I would say, teen fantasy? Sort of? It doesn’t really start off that way though. Andi is an extremely gifted musician in a Brooklyn high school, but her life and family are destroyed when her younger brother is tragically killed. Well, to be honest, her family was already fraying with an absentee father, obsessed with his work. But when her brother died, her already shaky family was completely devastated. With Andi failing school and her mother’s mind broken, Andi’s father finally comes back to see the mess that’s left, hauls Andi off to Paris, and puts his ex-wife in a psychiatric ward, much to Andi’s rage.
Okay, all this stuff, I totally liked. I also liked Andi’s life in Paris as she begins to finally heal. And when Andi finds an ancient journal, left behind by a girl her own age living during the French Revolution, I liked Alex’s story, too. What I didn’t like, was Andi’s totally predictable and unsurprising time trip back to the 18th century after she gets confused in the Catacombs of Paris.
I could feel this coming. I knew it was going to happen. And when it did, I was so utterly disappointed. It kind of ruined what was a really good story, the time travel gimmick. I really really wish Donnelly had just left everything in our time and used Alex’s story to help Andi come to realizations in her own life as a teaching lesson, and left out the whole time travel thing. Up until that point, I was totally digging the story and the writing. The writing is fabulous. Andi was an interesting character, especially her horribly flawed relationship with her father (I really did feel bad for the father, as bad a father as he was). The historical research for Alex’s story was also really good. I loved reading about that, too. But that time travel part… meh.
Cinder (Marissa Meyer): Picked up because I got Scarlet, the sequel, at ALA. Also, Beth said it was good. Blah blah, I love fairy tales, blah. Okay. Cinder is the beginning of a science fiction series, called The Lunar Chronicles. It’s many years in the future. There’ve been four World Wars, and the world is now divided up into large unified chunks. The common enemy is the Moon, where a race of humans have mutated to develop dangerous mind-controlling powers, and are called Lunars. However, not all Lunars like their Queen, and many have defected and hidden themselves on Earth.
Cinder is set in what was China and is a fabulous retelling of Cinderella (obviously). Future books will play on Red Riding Hood (Scarlet), Rapunzel (Cress), and Snow White (Winter). Cinder is an orphaned cyborg, adopted by a man and sent to live with his wife and two daughters, when he suddenly dies, leaving an unwanted girl in a mostly unloving family (the youngest daughter, Peony, while still spoiled by her mother, has a good friendship with her stepsister). Adri treats her ward like a slave, as cyborgs have a social stigma and are treated as non-humans and freaks by many, despite their still human brains. When one of her daughters is suddenly infected by the Plague, which is ravaging the world and as yet is still uncurable, Adri in her grief and rage, turns Cinder over to the royal research labs as a test subject.
I love this world. It’s fascinating. There are hover cars and androids and cyborgs, yet there’s that touch of oldness too from the fairy tale aspect, like princes and royal balls. It is an interesting blend. I’ve also started reading Scarlet, which continues Cinder’s story, along with introducing a new character, Scarlet, and there are now spaceships and super soldiers but again, there’s that oldness, as Scarlet is a French farmgirl who sells her farm’s produce at local restaurants. And of course there’s romance, as these are fairy tales after all, but these fairy tales don’t necessarily have happily ever after endings. Politics, diplomacy, secrets, and “the greater good” rear their ugly heads, making the roads to romance difficult, and possibly impossible.
For fun (i.e., not on the reading list), I’m reading Scarlet, as I mentioned above, and I got the last book in the Dairy Queen trilogy, Front and Center. DJ’s life is all a big mess now as she realizes that to get scholarships, she has to decide on a college in her junior year. She’s being courted by Big 10 schools, but she does not feel she has a Big 10 mentality, and is eyeballing lower division schools, much to her brother Win’s dismay. Plus she’s also being courted by her friend and teammate Beaner, but her heart is still with Brian, despite his treatment of their relationship. I love DJ and her family, and I’m sad to say goodbye to her with this final book. This was everything I’d hoped for as a final installment.
On hold at the library: The Pigman; Will Grayson, Will Grayson; Wintergirls; and Princess Ben. Princess Ben isn’t one of the 235, but it is by Murdock, the author of Dairy Queen, and I want to read more of her stuff.