“She cried for the girl who had never belonged. A girl who tried so hard, harder than anyone else, and still never had anything to show for it.”
Marissa Meyer is a nice person, right? Where did she get all that spite and ruthlessness in her to write this story I will never know! Because this was brutal!
I wasn't sure how well I would like this novella in audio form, as I had just recovered from Steelheart, and I didn't think that any narrator could come close to making me feel as invested in the story as McLeod Andrews did, BUT Rebecca Soler came pretty close. She's got a perfect speed of reading, a very pleasant and malleable voice, and at the emotional parts, boy was she phenomenal!
Levana is...a piece of work. Molded by her egoistic parents, by her unhinged and outright evil sister, by the trials of a lonely youth and the errors of first love. I did feel for her. In the first part of the book. But by the end of the book only the monster was left.
Fairest actually made me want to re-read The Lunar Chronicles, although I will be honest - reading a story from a villain's point of view is so much more interesting. I only wished for more, but alas this novella is quite short. I wanted more of political intrigue especially, and more of lunar's powers being explored. Because as of right now they seem very silly. Yes, the mind control is handy. But glamour? Only good for making oneself look ridiculously attractive, I guess. surely, there are much better ways to use it!
The first 35% of the book are spent on Levana pining over Sir Everett. Sure, it was detrimental to her progress as a character, but it was the time in which I rolled my eyes the most. And in which Levana was at her stupidest. It did pick up later on and I really enjoyed all of the small glimpses at the other books and plot lines that were explained just a tiny bit more.
I don't understand why it was labeled as Lunar Chronicles 3.5, it should have been 0.5 in my opinion, but oh well. My biggest trifle with this book was the diversity, or the way it's written really. Sure, the Lunar Chronicles includes a wide array of characters with different background, ailments and skin colors. But the problem is that Meyer writes white skinned characters just as she writes olive, black and any other possible skin tone characters. They are literally the same. If it wasn't explicitly told to me in the book that the character isn't white, I wouldn't have known. They sound the same, they act the same. When I read Marissa Meyer I know that it's a white person writing people of color.
Overall this was quite enjoyable, and I'd really recommend the audio book. I do wish that the world was a little bit more explained. Because even after reading all of the series (some short stories included) I still feel like there could have been much more depth to it. Too much time was spent on juvenile and ya thrones, and not enough time world building. But in the world of ya retellings, this is pretty good.
“Levana had not seen the bodies, but she had seen the bedrooms the next morning, and her first thought was that all that blood would make for a very pretty rouge on her lips.”
Read Steelheart they said. It will be fun they said. Sure it was fun. So much fun! But it was also very, very heart wrenching.
This was an absolutely phenomenal novel to audio book. Until the time I was listening to it while driving to pick up some Indian food for dinner and crying uncontrollably because of things that were happening. I must have looked very distressed to passerby's.
“We were like deaf people trying to dance to a beat we couldn't hear, long after the music actually stopped.”
The opening of the book was in the best fashion of Sanderson - straight into the action, straight into the story. And boy, that worked. I was invested from the get go. I was aghast from the get go. I loved it right away. And I am not a person who is very much into super heroes. I'd much rather epic fantasy and magic systems, not super powers. But this resonated.
And the reason for that I think is because our main characters aren't heroes. They don't have any super powers. they are just people. People ridden by doubts and guilt of what they are doing, of how their doings are affecting other people. And I loved that. Many times in stories main characters don't pay any heed to the "little people", aka people who are just background of stories. So it felt nice to see characters wrestle with the "power" they were given to change things.
“It’s good for you to think of this, son. Ponder. Worry. Stay up nights, frightened for the casualties of your ideology. It will do you good to realize the price of fighting.”
Steelheart was promised to be a funny and action packed book. And it was action packed. But funny? It wasn't just funny - it was absolutely hilarious. Yes, there were sad moments, and moments that made my cry. But I don't think I've ever laughed as hard reading a book as I did listening to this one.
“But even a ninety-year-old blind priest would stop and stare at this woman. If he weren’t blind, that is. Dumb metaphor, I thought. I’ll have to work on that one. I have trouble with metaphors.”
David is charming, sure. In a boyish kind of way, with his metaphors that don't work. But Cody? Cody is a hoot. My absolute favorite side character, probably ever. I liked all of the side characters, except really, one. I won't say which one because I don't want to impose bias, and even though there was a good reason for that character's behavior - the hopes of connection were lost to me.
As I listened to the audio book I feel the need to mention McLeod Andrews. He's phenomenal. Genius. Sure, the book was good on its own. Good. But he made it great. All of the accents, the reenactments, the emotions portrayed - each of them spot on and straight to the listeners heart. An amazing experience.
“It was gorgeous and claustrophobic. I loved it and I always wanted to escape.”
I am so happy that I started taking notes while reading books (something I'm experimenting with and really benefitting from) because otherwise I'd have no words left for the review. Because I'm speechless. Because this was amazing.
Station Eleven is unlike anything I've ever read. The premise and the world building isn't new of course, it's dystopian, but with a soul - that's the only way I can think of how to describe it.
The writing is what makes the book. Emily Mandel has a way with words. Words that are atmospheric and transportive and somehow magical in their mundanity.
“She had never entirely let go of the notion that if she reached far enough with her thoughts she might find someone waiting, that if two people were to cast their thoughts outward at the same moment they might somehow meet in the middle.”
I will be honest, the story did feel disjointed for a bit to me - we had views of one person, then the moment we get attached to that person it would switch to the next, and then next one and the next one. But then - it all clicked. Seemingly random people intertwined in the most impossible ways, making me see just how small the world is, and just how deep human connections can really go.
There were moments when things were coming together when I just had to close the book and go "wow. I see now. I see what you did there." The structure of the novel is something that impressed me the most. The smallest of details would show up in the most unexpected of moments to make a very well placed emotional punch. I'd love to take a peak into Emily Mandel's mind, because this - is quite a masterpiece.
Beautifully woven, achingly human and haunting at times with the snippets of plot that just took my breath away - a new favorite and a definite re-read for the future times.
“The beauty of this world where almost everyone was gone. If hell is other people, what is a world with almost no people in it?”
One of the stars from this rating is actually for me. For finishing this sucker.
Also, if the fantasy books that I'm excited to read in 2019 keep disappointing me like this I will run out of books to read pretty quickly.
This book also made me help realize something about myself. Something I've been noticing lately, but couldn't put my finger on it. I don't like adult fantasy books that have a child as a main character. Coming of age if you will. I'm just tired of this way of story telling. I'd rather have an adult cast in an adult fantasy.
If I must know the character's tragic (and it's always so tragic) childhood, tell it to me in flashbacks. Also, the girl on the cover looks like she's in her 20's at least. Nona is 10 in this book! What even.
Speaking of age, Nona is supposed to be 10 in the beginning and 12 by the end the book is over. Why then, she sounds and thinks like a 30 year old all throughout the book?
Yes, she has been through a lot and yes that matured her quickly. Yes, she's smarter and more cunning that most kids her age. No, it still doesn't feel right. When I'm reading Nona I know that I'm actually reading words of a 40 year old man (I'm not actually sure how old the author actually is, sorry).
This fact was probably the biggest contributor to me not having any connection whatsoever to the main character. Zero. Was I supposed to feel bad for her? Sure, I could tell from all the events that were happening to her. But I didn't care about Nona, I didn't care about the plot, I just didn't care. I did like some of the side characters, but they weren't as nearly developed as I would have wanted them to be. Plus they are dead now (not a spoiler, there's tons of side characters and I didn't tell you which ones I liked).
For a book that's over 500 pages long nothing much happens. And when it does it's very repetitive. We have series of ring fights, sparring as part of training, practicing a thing called blade-path (which I still couldn't envision in my mind space even if you pay me money). Add a lot of everyday things like eating and sleeping and getting places - and you will understand why it took me 8 days to read the whole thing.
The overly flowery language did not help either. It wasn't bad, it was quite pretty and luscious, but sometimes it would ramble on so much that I would forget what I was reading about.
There were things that I enjoy, I think. I liked the bond connection ability. I hated the constant need to abuse and beat up the main character and I hated the animal cruelty scene (it's forever burned into my mind eye, so thanks for that (NOT!).
As of right now my desire to read book 2 is about at 4 percent. So not very high, but I still might. Just not soon. I'm just hoping that book 2 would expand more on the politics that were underlaying the story, but didn't get explored or explained nearly enough.
That it would explain ALL of the abilities, because as of right now there are so many and just kept popping up at random. Oh look, I have "claws" now. Oh look I can predict things before they happen, and now I can also barrel through rock with my bare hands. And so on. Things felt disorganized and scattered and not completed.
Thank you for coming to my TED talk, I guess.