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

Ransom by David Malouf

This short novel tells the story of Achilles and Priam, zooming in on their evening together with short descriptions of the events leading up to their truce (Hector’s death) and following (Achilles’s and Priam’s deaths).  It’s a beautiful story that captures the uniqueness of the moment:  a king walks into danger to beg from his son’s murderer.  A hero weeps and embraces the enemy king.  I loved these characters before, and I love them even more after reading Ransom.   Continue reading

What Are You Reading Wednesday #WAYRW (3)

whatareyoureadingwed

What Are You Reading Wednesdays #WAYRW is a weekly feature started on It’s A Reading Thing. Everyone is welcome to participate. You can answer the questions in the comments section of the weekly #WAYRW post or link back to your #WAYRW post on your blog via the link up. You can grab the image above or create your own, just please make sure you link back to IART as the host for this meme.

How to participate:
Grab the book you are currently reading and answer three questions:
1. What’s the name of your current read?
2. Go to page 34 in your book or 34% in your eBook and share a couple of sentences.
3. Would you like to live in the world that exists within your book? Why or why not?

penelopiad_cover

1. What’s the name of your current read?

The Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood

2. Go to page 34 in your book or 34% in your eBook and share a couple of sentences.

The maids sniggered.  I was crushed.  I had not thought my legs were quite that short, and I certainly hadn’t thought Helen would notice them.  But not much escaped her when it came to assessing the physical graces and defects of others.  That was what got her into trouble with Paris, later – he was so much better looking than Menelaus, who was lumpish and red-haired.  The best that was claimed of Menelaus, once they started putting him into the poems, was that he had a very loud voice.

3. Would you like to live in the world that exists within your book? Why or why not?

Not even the tiniest bit.  The whole point of the book is to point out all the ways women got screwed in ancient Greece.  But I DO want to live in a world where I have Margaret Atwood’s talent.  She’s an amazing writer.

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

OH NOOOO I’m losing it!  This book made me feel EVERYTHING, and there’s no way this review will be anything coherent.  I guess I know why The Iliad continues to be read millenia after it was created–no one can create a drama like the Greeks!  The tragedy here is SO STRONG, with characters acting so stupidly human that you want to shake them, but you totally see their point, and then everything falls apart because there are no real “good” guys and “bad” guys, but dumb humans seeking glory, and AHHHH!

Okay, I’ll try again.  Reading The Song of Achilles is like watching Titanic.  I knew what was going to happen, but I couldn’t help but desperately hope things would turn out differently.  Every bit of foreshadowing heightened the horrified anticipation so that when the climax came I was just helplessly awash in emotion.  I mean, I actually thought I was holding it together pretty well, until I read the very last paragraph and surprised myself by bursting into tears.   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