Monday, April 30, 2012

The Epic Reading List Mark Two Updated: Cinder

List Mark Two Updated: 4/30
 
1. Mockingjay -Suzanne Collins

2. First Test -Tamora Pierce
3. Darkness Falls -Cate Tiernan
4. Page -Tamora Pierce

5. Where Things Come Back -John Corey Whaley
6. Squire -Tamora Pierce
7. Beautiful Darkness -Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
8. Lady Knight -Tamora Pierce
9. Cinder -Marissa Meyer
10. Trickster's Choice -Tamora Pierce
11. The Statistical Probability of Love At First Sight - Jennifer E. Smith
12. Trickster's Queen -Tamora Pierce
13. Halfway to the Grave -Jeanine Frost
14. Tortall and Other Lands -Tamora Pierce
15. The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer -Michelle Hodkin

Usual spoiler warnings apply.

This may not make a whole lot of sense. I'm a little conflicted toward the book and the nature of it being a reactionary review is going to show.

It was totally the font that got me on Cinder. I am a sucker for cool font. I'd heard a little about the book via twitter and knew that it was a retelling of Cinderella. I'm always up for fairy-tale retellings and the font of the front is awesome to I ran with it.

I'm not generally the type who reads a book with the hopes of figuring out what it going to happen before it does. I like getting engrossed in books and being surprised. Sometimes I even try to intentionally be obtuse and not think about it. As soon as Princess Selene was mentioned I went: 'Oh! Cinderella meets Anastasia!' I don't know if that was supposed to be a surprise but I wasn't surprised. I'm actually okay with that. There was so much else going on that I couldn't spare the mental power to think about it.

It took me a little while to get into. The idea is awesome but for some reason the world never quite settled in my head. With some books it is so easy to drop right into the world of the book. Sometimes it is because the setting is similar enough with our own and other times it is because it is described so vividly that it's hard not to be enchanted. With Cinder, I never quite settled. I spent the entire book trying to figure out the world.

The setting is a futuristic version of our world but with the addition of the Lunars. It's futuristic China, also cool. I liked that it wasn't Western world based. Somehow, and I'm not entirely sure why as of yet, all together they didn't work for me. I spent more time trying to work things out. I think, perhaps, too much technology was thrown at me without explanations as to why. Usually in my experience when a futuristic novel takes place in ours world reasons are given for the changes. Reasons that sound valid and agreeable or controlling and terrible. I didn't get a sense of that here. It felt more like Meyer thought some of this technology would be cool to include and went with it.

I don't usually start on a down note so let me take things back up.

Cinder was a cool character. The idea of her is absolutely brilliant. I like how much she fights to rise above a station but at the same time, (in the beginning at least) can't bring herself to really hope for the change. It's incredibly realistic. I enjoyed when she was given the chance to banter but it didn't happen often enough. I love that she's a mechanic. It's cool to see a character who is female and strong with machines. Sort of Kaylee Frye.

I'm intrigued by the different path's she could go down with the book's ending. Part of me wants her to be an Arya style assassin and another part of me is too busy running through possibilities to bother being concerned.

Kai is a fairly typical cute guy character. I liked him and the scenes between he and Cinder are some of the best in the whole book because they play off of each other so well. He was a fairly straight forward character. He was believably charming and human (in terms of the concept). That he doesn't accept Cinder right off the bat doesn't bother me because their story is far from over and it would have been a disservice to his character.

Dr. Erland hit me as an exposition dump a little. He threw a lot of information out each time he appeared on page. Sometimes it got exhausting. I did enjoy that he was the absentminded professor with a twist. The build of the Lunar power was a great way to explain it and his manic mood descriptions were fantastic.

Levana is wonderful to hate. I am fairly certain I had a scowl on my face every time I saw her name. She reminds me of Dolores Umbridge in that way. She is the type of character who has everything so plotted out and decided in advance that you can't wait to see her fall. I am waiting for it. I will relish it.


Despite seeing the Romanov style twist coming I wasn't entire sure where the book was headed. I am aware there are more but I wasn't sure how much they tied together. I got the impression from the title of the second Scarlet that they followed different tales. So, while reading I was never entirely sure how much was going to be wrapped up. Would Cinder's story be completed and another character's started? Having finished the book and given no resolution what so ever, I sincerely hope that's not the case. I like Cinder and I like seeing her struggle with what happened to her.

What I think I struggled with so much in terms of the story is that fairy tales are often very heavily concerned with the relationships between people. How they interact and fuel the motivations of one another. Cinder's strength lies in those relationships and how the characters play off of one another. I feel Meyer could have given us a little more of that. I'm hoping we'll see more in future books and she doesn't get too caught up in the descriptions since the location is moving. now that Cinder has set up the world she's given herself the perfect opportunity to run more with the characters.

Cinder has such a delightful premise and while it wasn't my favorite and the setting threw me for a loop somehow I enjoyed it. I'm definitely intrigued enough in the story to keep reading as the others come out. I just hope some of the confusion is settled.

Overall: Sort-of Epic

It is officially Insurgent release day! I will spend all of work gazing longingly out the window at Barnes and Noble until I can get it and get home. So that is next.

Until then, lovelies.

-A.M.Y-A

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