Winter by Marissa Meyer

Winter-finalOkay, this might be awful, but I wasn’t blown away by Winter, the last installment in The Lunar Chronicles.  I think maybe it was too long?  All the action takes place on Luna, but there’s just so much back and forth and splitting up and reuniting, and…I don’t know!  I liked it, but I wasn’t desperate to read it the way I expected.

The characters remain amazing.  Meyer has found a way to make her heroines and heroes both strong and vulnerable.  The women are especially powerful – the final confrontation between Cinder and Levana was an epic standoff…between two women!  That doesn’t happen nearly enough.  I also really liked Winter, and how her mental breakdowns were viewed as weakness by ignorant bad guys, but as strength by those who know her.  And Thorne remains the dashing snarky hero of my heart.   Continue reading

Crimson Bound by Rosamund Hodge

It’s such a relief when the second book of an author you love turns out to be excellent.  Cruel Beauty immediately became one of my favorite books, and now that I’ve read Crimson Bound, I can trust that Rosamund Hodge is going to be an author I can trust to create beautifully haunting worlds of remade fairy tales.

I love Hodge’s darker spins on classic stories and the incredible amount of creativity she infuses into her story.  Although undeniably Little Red Riding Hood, the necessary elements of seductive danger and innocence stolen are laid on top of a rich fantasy world of sometime-France and faeries.  It is so good.

One of my favorite things about Hodge’s romances is that she refuses to play into “happily ever after” tropes where good wins and bad loses.  Although there is definitely pathos to the end of her stories, Hodge insists that there is good and bad in all of us.  It is when her characters accept their badness and cling to their goodness that the plot starts moving.  People fall in love with each other’s whole self–there is no fairy tale princess here, just broken people needing and loving each other.  This is exactly the kind of romance I like to read.

I cannot wait for her next book, and I encourage everyone to read both this and her first book, Cruel Beauty, as quickly as possible.  Continue reading

Fairest by Marissa Meyer

I LOVE getting backstory for a villain.  So while I desperately wanted Meyer to release the fourth and final volume of her quadrilogy, The Lunar Chronicles, Winter can wait.  It’s Levana’s story first!  Serving as a prequel of sorts, this mini-book (is 220 pages mini? I don’t know) was a fantastic look at the moon’s culture, an incredible insight into Levana’s motivations, and a tantalizing hint of main characters we’ve grown to love from the main series.  That sentence looks like I got lost in an overly expressive thesaurus, and I apologize.  I just forgot how much I love Meyer’s fantasy world!

Levana’s story is excellently handled.  Although we get to empathize with her (sadistic older sister, horribly disfigured) she is still consistently creepy enough that our allegiances never fully shift.  Her “love story” with Evret is terrifying, and a really compelling look into the nuances of the mind of a rapist.  Levana is such a great villain because she doesn’t realize that’s what she is.  She always thinks she is doing the best thing possible–for her country, for those she “loves,” and of course, for herself.  The fact that this leads her to murder on multiple occasions is why she’s the bad guy.

Although Fairest is a self-contained story that ends far before Cinder begins, it totally rejuvenated my love for Meyer’s series, and I cannot wait until Winter comes out in the fall!  Continue reading