Fairytale Retelling, romance, science fiction, young adult

Book Review: Winter by Marissa Meyer


Title: Winter (The Lunar Chronicles Book 4)
Author: Marissa Meyer
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Length: 832 Pages, Hardback
Genre: Science Fiction, Romance, Young Adult, Fairytale Retelling
Rating: 4 Folded Pages

See my review for the first 3 books in The Lunar Chronicles here.
Warning: This may contain spoilers for the first 3 books.

Princess Winter is admired by the Lunar people for her grace and kindness, and despite the scars that mar her face, her beauty is said to be even more breathtaking than that of her stepmother, Queen Levana.

Winter despises her stepmother, and knows Levana won’t approve of her feelings for her childhood friend–the handsome palace guard, Jacin. But Winter isn’t as weak as Levana believes her to be and she’s been undermining her stepmother’s wishes for years. Together with the cyborg mechanic, Cinder, and her allies, Winter might even have the power to launch a revolution and win a war that’s been raging for far too long.

Can Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, and Winter defeat Levana and find their happily ever afters? Fans will not want to miss this thrilling conclusion to Marissa Meyer’s national bestselling Lunar Chronicles series.

This was probably my most anticipated book of 2015. Unfortunately it came out during my great November/December reading slump so I didn’t get to it until this month. Mostly because the book was on hold for forever at my library.

This book is massive. The paper is just slightly thicker than bible paper and I think how big it is lends itself to why I found the book very stop and go with action. I found some parts weren’t actiony enough and other parts were almost too actiony.

The book is still a super satisfying ending to an amazing series but I almost wish it was split into two books and the action bits more detailed to help offset some of the slowness.

I both liked and disliked Winter. Some parts with her were very annoying but in others she was endearing. I don’t think she stands up well to the other characters in the series though. She falls kind of flat compared to Cress, Cinder, and Scarlet. Jason also seems very two dimensional.

I don’t want to give much away so that’s all I’ll say on the matter. I think Cinder is still my favorite book in the series and while this ending is satisfying I feel like it was missing something in the writing and I wish it would have had steadier pacing.

Fairytale Retelling, Fantasy, romance, young adult

Book Review: Beauty by Robin McKinley


Title: Beastly
Author: Alex Flinn
Publisher: HarperTeen
Length: 336 pages, Paperback
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Fantasy, Fairytale retelling
Rating: 4 Folded Pages

I am a beast. A beast! Not quite wolf or bear, gorilla or dog but a horrible new creature who walks upright. I am a monster.
You think I’m talking fairy tales? No way. The place is New York City. The time is now. It’s no deformity, no disease. And I’ll,stay this way forever—ruined—unless I can break the spell.
Yes, the spell, the one the witch in my English class cast on me. Why did she turn me into a beast who hides by day and prowls by night? I’ll tell you. I’ll tell you how I used to be Kyle Kingsbury, the guy you wished you were, with money, perfect looks, and the perfect life. And then, I’ll tell you how I became perfectly . . . beastly.

This is another reread for me. As I’ve said many times on this blog, 2015 has been all about rereading. I definitely enjoyed this reread almost as much as reading it the first time around. Almost. I think I’m starting to get too old for YA because I find the characters more annoying than I used to.

Anyway, Kyle was very annoying at the beginning of the book and his annoyingness went up and down as the book continued. I suppose part of that is the point but I still felt like he didn’t change much. He was still very selfish even if he learned how to be kind of not selfish.

I also found aspects of this story entirely too creepy. I understand that Flinn had to find a way for Lindy to stay with him but the watching thing was super weird. Maybe it was just me but it wigged me out a bit.

As always, Flinn’s writing is great. It has great flow and enough challenge to keep me interested without getting boring. I like the way she words her sentences.

I can’t help but compare it to the movie. I watched it a while ago on Netflix and I cringe at how much they changed. Like the Beast wasn’t actually a Beast but just deformed. They definitely took a liberty there. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a different version aside from the movie cover book so that’s what I’m stuck with for the time being.
Either way, as far as retellings go this is a solid, modern version that I really enjoyed. Nothing will stand up to Beauty by Robin McKinley for me but this is still pretty high on the list of Beauty and the Beast retellings I’ve read.

Fairytale Retelling, Fantasy, young adult

Book Review: East by Edith Pattou

East by Edith Pattou

Title: East
Author: Edith Pattou
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Length: 528, Paperback
Genre: Fantasy, Fairytale Retelling, Young Adult
Rating: 4.5 Folded Pages

Rose has always felt out of place in her family. So when an enormous white bear mysteriously shows up and asks her to come away with him, she readily agrees. The bear takes Rose to a distant castle, where each night she is confronted with a mystery. In solving that mystery, she finds love, discovers her purpose, and realizes her travels have only just begun.

As fresh and original as only the best fantasy can be, East is a novel retelling of the classic tale “East of the Sun and West of the Moon,” told in the tradition of Robin McKinley and Gail Carson Levine.

Since starting this blog, I have done many rereads (and plan to do many more). I forget so much of what happens in books I read in middle school or high school and it’s been a good experience mostly. East by Edith Pattou has been one of my favorite rereads thus far. Then again all I could remember was the vague notion of ice, a polar bear, and the fact that I really liked it.

East is a retelling of “East of the Sun, West of the Moon” just like Ice (click to read that review) that I read a few weeks ago. And although I enjoyed Ice, it definitely didn’t capture me the way East has.

Rose is such a dynamic, flawed character that she’s hard not to love. She knows who she is and she doesn’t try to change when others are so eager for her to be someone besides herself. She’s very headstrong and very likeable. Unlike Cassie, who was headstrong but about the wrong things, and generally unlikeable for me.

East is told from several different views, either Rose or people around Rose. Although I normally don’t enjoy books with jumping perspectives Pattou has done an excellent job of not making the narrative feel choppy.

I do have to say that while I thoroughly loved this book and found it hard to put down, it did have some slow points that could be a little hard to push through. Which is the only reason this book gets 4.5 folded pages and not 5.

Fairytale Retelling, Fantasy, young adult

Book Review: Ice by Sarah Beth Durst

Ice by Sarah Beth Durst

Title: Ice
Author: Sarah Beth Durst
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Length: 308, Hardback
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Fairytale retelling
Rating: 3 Folded Pages

When Cassie was little she thought her mother had been taken prisoner by trolls because of a deal she’d made with the Polar Bear King. Just a fairy tale to soothe a child whose mother had died. But on her eighteenth birthday, the “fairy tale” comes true when the Polar Bear King comes to take Cassie for his bride. Realizing she has the power to save her mother, Cassie makes her own deal with the bear and finds herself on a journey against time, traveling across the brutal Arctic to the land east of the sun and west of the moon. It is a journey that will teach Cassie the true meaning of love and family—and what it means to become an adult.

Ice is a retelling of the Norwegian fairytale “East of the Sun West of the Moon.” It is a similar story to Beauty and the Beast and I do love a good fairytale retelling. This book just felt “eh” overall. I didn’t hate it but I didn’t love it either.

Cassie is a headstrong girl who doesn’t give up but also doesn’t feel real. I’m not quite sure she has a personality other than an immature 18 year old (who definitely reads like she is 12) who has a lot of perseverance. Cassie is also the only character I really had a chance to get to know. I felt like Bear and her family were just after thoughts.

That being said, the last 50 or so pages flew by and I really enjoyed that. The world building in the novel is pretty great. I was never left with questions about how the world within the novel worked. I definitely enjoyed that aspect.

I can also appreciate that this book is relatively short. Most fairytale retellings can end up being monstrous because the author tries to incorporate too many details from the original. Durst gives us just enough to remember the old while still giving us something fresh.

In the end, I give this 3 folded pages. I liked some aspects of it but it could have definitely been better in my opinion. I think Durst may have focused a little too much on the plot and not enough on the characters.