Book Review: Cress by Marissa Meyer

Cress (The Lunar Chronicles, #3)

Title: Cress (The Lunar Chronicles #3)
Author: Marissa Meyer
Genre: Science Fiction, Fantasy, Dystopian, Fairy Tale Retelling,
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Publication Date: February 2014
Pages: 550
Rating: 5 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
Rapunzel’s tower is a satellite. She can’t let down her hair—or her guard. 

In this third book in the bestselling Lunar Chronicles series, Cinder and Captain Thorne are fugitives on the run, with Scarlet and Wolf in tow. Together, they’re plotting to overthrow Queen Levana and her army.

Their best hope lies with Cress, who has been trapped on a satellite since childhood with only her netscreens as company. All that screen time has made Cress an excellent hacker—unfortunately, she’s just received orders from Levana to track down Cinder and her handsome accomplice.

When a daring rescue goes awry, the group is separated. Cress finally has her freedom, but it comes at a high price. Meanwhile, Queen Levana will let nothing stop her marriage to Emperor Kai. Cress, Scarlet, and Cinder may not have signed up to save the world, but they may be the only ones who can.

My Review:

In the third instalment of the Lunar Chronicles, Cinder is still on the run. In a stolen ship captained by the handsome yet criminal Caswell Thorne, Cinder and her motley crew (Wolf, Scarlet and the ever effervescent Iko) are trying to stay one step in front of the Lunar Queen. When they get contacted by a girl imprisoned by one of the Queen’s thaumaturges, they change their plans to rescue the technologically skilled, Cress. When things don’t go as smoothly as expected, the group gets separated. All of them have to survive as best they can whilst still trying to come up with a way to thwart the Lunar Queen from enslaving Earth.

Cress has been one of the books I’ve been most anticipating this year. I adore Marissa Meyer’s storytelling and this book did not let me down. Cinder has a lot of pressure on her shoulders. She knows that she is the only chance Prince Kai and Earth have against Queen Levana. She’s brave and intelligent but what I like most about her is that she’s logical. She thinks things though and doesn’t rush in just because. The way she cares about her crew is a plus and I enjoy her differing to others when she needs help.

The other characters all get their chance to shine in this novel too. Scarlet and Wolf are great together but still get their chance to show what they are made of as individuals. Iko is the funniest most loveable artificial intelligence that I have ever encountered. Cress was a pleasant surprise. There’s mystery surrounding her – some of which is revealed in this book – and I love how Meyer wove her Rapunzel likeness into the plot. Finally – there’s my favourite character of this series, Captain Caswell Thorne. He may initially come across as somewhat superficial and vain (and I’m not saying he’s neither of these things) but he really shines in Cress.

There are a lot twists in this novel as well as a lot of action. One of the highlights is how well the ensemble cast work together and apart. This series really is coming together and its one of those stories that I could picture in my mind as a film. There’s a Star Wars-esque vibe as the plot switches between following different characters. I never feel as if I know what is going to happen next but when the action unfolds it feels right for the characters and circumstances.

Cress cements The Lunar Chronicles as one of my favourite series. I thought the relationships were more developed than in the previous books and the plot was a lot more exciting. I cannot wait for the fourth book in the series, Winter, to be released early 2015.

 

 

Purchase the novel from:

Amazon | Booktopia | Book Depository | BookWorld

Book Review: The Elites by Natasha Ngan

The Elites

Title: The Elites
Author: Natasha Ngan
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Adventure, Young Adult
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Publication Date: September 2013
Pages: 368
Rating: 3 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
‘There is a rumour that the Elites don’t bleed.’

Hundreds of years into the future, wars, riots, resource crises and rising sea-levels have destroyed the old civilisations. Only one city has survived: Neo-Babel, a city full of cultures – and racial tension.

Fifteen-year-old Silver is an Elite, a citizen of Neo-Babel chosen to guard the city due to her superior DNA. She’d never dream of leaving – but then she fails to prevent the assassination of Neo Babel’s president, setting off a chain of events more shocking and devastating than she could ever have imagined. Forced to flee the city with her best friend Butterfly (a boy with genetically-enhanced wings), Silver will have to fight to find her family, uncover the truth about Neo-Babel and come to terms with her complicated feelings for Butterfly.

My Review:

In the city of Neo-Babel there are citizens with superior DNA who guard the people. They are called the Elite. Silver has been in training with the Elite for a few years and is dying for a chance to prove herself to others. To those who thought her Red blood is inferior and those – like her student mentor, Ember- who think Silver is incapable of being one of the Elite. On her very first assignment to help protect the president during a rally, Silver is the one whose lack of punctuality among other things get the president assassinated.

Things start getting weirder with people going missing and an uprising on the horizon. Silver, along with her best friend Butterfly, are on a quest to try to save her family and unravel the secrets that the Elite seem to thrive on.

This is a debut novel with a lot going on. There are plots and sub-plots with a lot of different characters and organizations each with their own agendas. I adored the concept of this book. I can’t get enough of kick-arse heroines who have their own vulnerabilities but ultimately see the bigger picture. Silver is one of these. She’s a little naive but trying to be the best warrior she can be. I thought it was interesting how the topic of racism is addressed right throughout the novel. Silver is a Red, a person of Chinese descent, and as such viewed as a lesser person than others even within the Elite structure.

I enjoyed the other students at the Elite academy – in particular, Butterfly. His name may be pretty and delicate but he’s strong in his own right and a force to be reckoned with. His relationship with Silver is one of strong friendship with their romance being more subtle and whilst enjoyable, it lacked the sparks and pizzazz that I like between fictional characters. Ember, Cobe, Allum and Taiyo are great supporting character who all add something a little different to the story. I thought the names were especially clever. People like Butterfly and the organization, the Pigeons, are so seemingly weak and childish and yet they hold a lot of power within them.

Brilliant world building and some great characters, The Elite is an interesting urban fantasy novel. The plot is a little slow to warm up but once things get going there’s a lot of surprises and action going on. I was surprised to see that it’s a standalone because there’s so much more about this universe which this book exists to be explored.

 

Thanks to Hot Key Books for the review copy.

Purchase the novel from:

Amazon | Booktopia | Book Depository | BookWorld

Book Review: Poison Princess by Kresley Cole

With the world coming to an end tomorrow (or so TV is trying to tell me), I decided it would be appropriate to review an apocalyptic novel – and I’ve chosen Poison Princess written by one of my favourite paranormal authors, Kresley Cole. I love her Immortals After Dark series and have been wanting to read this book for a very long time. I was delighted to see how Ms. Cole tackled a book in the Young Adult genre.

You know how some people have a list of things they adore and love to read about? This ticked just about every one on my list: motorcycles, gorgeous Cajun bad boys, kick-arse heroines and story that kept me hooked well after I finished the last page.

Title: Poison Princess (The Arcadia Chronicles #1)
Author: Kresley Cole
Genre: post-apocalyptic, dystopian, magic, paranormal, romance
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Publication Date: October 2012
Pages: 384 pages
Rating: 5 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
She could save the world—or destroy it.

Sixteen year old Evangeline “Evie” Greene leads a charmed life, until she begins experiencing horrifying hallucinations. When an apocalyptic event decimates her Louisiana hometown, Evie realizes her hallucinations were actually visions of the future—and they’re still happening. Fighting for her life and desperate for answers, she must turn to her wrong-side-of-the-bayou classmate: Jack Deveaux.

But she can’t do either alone.

With his mile-long rap sheet, wicked grin, and bad attitude, Jack is like no boy Evie has ever known. Even though he once scorned her and everything she represented, he agrees to protect Evie on her quest. She knows she can’t totally depend on Jack. If he ever cast that wicked grin her way, could she possibly resist him?

Who can Evie trust?

As Jack and Evie race to find the source of her visions, they meet others who have gotten the same call. An ancient prophesy is being played out, and Evie is not the only one with special powers. A group of twenty-two teens has been chosen to reenact the ultimate battle between good and evil. But it’s not always clear who is on which side….

My Review:

Evie is the golden girl – she’s dating the school’s handsome quarterback and together with her three best friends, she’s one-quarter of the most popular clique in school. But when Evie starts having gruesome visions, her mother ships her off for the summer to a house for disturbed teenagers.

With the start of a new school year Evie tries to ignore the oddities around her and concentrate on her friends, her boyfriend, and the fact there’s only two more years till graduation and then college. Just two more years.

That is until the gorgeous bad boy, Jackson Deveraux, comes to town. Complete with his best friends from the Bayou – Lionel, Clotile and Gaston (Okay… not that Gaston) – they’re there to shake things up. Instantly there’s tension between Jack and Evie. He sees her as the pretty little rich girl who never has to work for anything in her life and Evie sees Jack as a perverted thief from the wrong side of the tracks. But personalities aside – there’s plenty of attraction at first sight from both sides.

Evie’s visions and hallucinations keep getting more bizarre, scary and frequent. When Evie figures out that her nightmares are actually warnings and premonitions of the future- it’s too late. The Flash has devastated the world.

With the only like she has ever known is falling apart all around her Evie doesn’t have much option but to trust one of the only allies she has left – Jack. Together the Cajun and the Princess have to try to work together to survive and figure out what Evie’s powers mean.

I couldn’t put this book down. From the start to the final page there was always something happening that intrigued me into wanting to know exactly what was going to happen next.

The highlight was the banter between Evie and Jack. They would constantly bait each other and the resulting conversations were always amusing. I loved the innuendos and playful taunts but also found their more serious interactions just as scintillating. I thought the way Cole wrote Jack’s dialogue was perfect – it was easy to read and get into the vibe of the Cajun lingo. What I liked most about these two is how their relationship developed. It’s not love at first sight – but there is a great deal of lust from their first encounter. And they aren’t perfect – either of them. But they do grow as people and with regards to their relationship with each other. There are misunderstandings and lack of communication skills and whatnot. I loved that things aren’t easy for Evie and Jack.

Evie’s powers fascinated me – I have to admit that I can’t wait to see where she goes in the future. And the journey that she’s on to defeat the Evil players in the game. She may have started the book as a victim but by the end she was a force to be reckoned with! I have no doubt that Evie will be on the winning side of this dangerous battle but I just don’t know if it will be good or evil who will prevail victorious.

The Tarot element in the plot is interesting and unique. I don’t know much about the Major Arcadia (I had to have a bit of a google search to have a look at the cards we’ve met so far) and thought Selena, Finn and Matthew were such contrasting characters with powers that are so different and yet still have a lot of power. With there being so many “cards” not yet introduced – there’s a lot of room for incredible new characters to make appearances later in the series.

Drama, romance, action and magic – this book really does have it all. Without a doubt I can put this down as one of my favourite books of 2012. I can’t wait to read the next book in the series.

Purchase the novel from:

Amazon / Book Depository