Review: Fairest by Marissa Meyer

Review: Fairest by Marissa MeyerFairest by Marissa Meyer
Series: The Lunar Chronicles #3.5
Published by Feiwel & Friends on January 27, 2015
Pages: 222
Format: Hardcover
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In this stunning bridge book between Cress and Winter in the bestselling Lunar Chronicles, Queen Levana’s story is finally told.

Mirror, mirror on the wall,
Who is the fairest of them all?

Fans of the Lunar Chronicles know Queen Levana as a ruler who uses her “glamour” to gain power. But long before she crossed paths with Cinder, Scarlet, and Cress, Levana lived a very different story – a story that has never been told . . . until now.

Marissa Meyer spins yet another unforgettable tale about love and war, deceit and death. This extraordinary book includes full-color art and an excerpt from Winter, the next book in the Lunar Chronicles series.

Fairest was an intriguing read. I didn’t really know what to expect from it when I started reading, though I hoped for Levana’s backstory and answers to some burning questions – and that’s exactly what I got. Fairest didn’t make me like Levana any more or less than I already did; however, it definitely made me feel bad for her after learning all that she went through.

Young Levana was hard to grasp. She was still evil, but she had these odd moments of kindness mixed in with the evilness of the present-day Levana that we all love to hate (and hate to love). It was easy to see why she was so cruel – cruelty is all she ever knew. Channary was cruel and her parents didn’t love her, Channary or each other. So how could she be expected to express love and kindness when she never experienced it? Aside from loving Hayle, that is. And even that was more of an obsession than love.

Speaking of Channary.. Wow, considering how wonderful, kind and brave Cinder is, Channary was just cruel beyond words! I never expected Cinder’s mother to be so heartless. I can’t remember if this was hinted at in any of the books previously (though I’m fairly certain it was), but it still really threw me off my guard. It was so bad, Channary actually made Levana look like the nice sister! You know it’s bad when Levana is the sane, kind one…

I mentioned this in my Winter review, but it’s worth repeating: The scary thing about Levana is, she actually thinks her actions are justified. Her mind is so twisted, her sense of right and wrong so warped, she doesn’t even realize she’s doing bad things. And that makes her even more insane and dangerous. It also makes her an epic villain. While Channary was cruel just because she could be, Levana was cruel without even realizing she was being cruel. She completely convinced herself that her actions would lead to the betterment of Luna.

A lot of things made more sense after reading Fairest. Pieces of the puzzle slowly fell into place and I found myself saying, “Ah, so that’s how that happened!” a lot. Things that were mentioned in Cinder, Scarlet, Cress and Winter – whether they were hinted at or fully discussed – were finally put into context. That was probably my favorite part of this book – as was seeing Cinder as a young Princess Selene, playing with little Princess Winter. Those things made Fairest a worth-while read!

Overall, if you’re a Lunar Chronicles fan, this is definitely a must-read. You might not end up liking Levana any more or less than you did by the end of Winter, but you’ll understand her and her actions more. Fairest really fills in the blanks. And again, seeing young Princess Selene, young Princess Winter and young Jacin (!!!) is really fun!


Review: Winter by Marissa Meyer

Review: Winter by Marissa MeyerWinter by Marissa Meyer
Series: The Lunar Chronicles #4
Published by Feiwel & Friends on November 10, 2015
Pages: 827
Format: Hardcover
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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?

This book, you guys… I don’t even know where to begin! There were parts that were beyond epic and there were parts that were meh. It pains me to say that, but sadly, it’s true. The characters were mostly their usual epic selves and Marissa Meyer is forever the most beautiful story-teller I have ever encountered. She pulls you into the story to such a degree, you almost forget you’re reading a fictional book. However, on the flip side, the pacing was off in a major way and it severely impacted my feels.

I still love Cinder. She’s still my favorite of the four heroines. She’s come such a long way since Cinder. She’s grown, matured and embraced her destiny – which she did in Cress, but really did in Winter. She’s fierce, brave, loyal and overall awesome. Sadly, though, my Cinder/Kai Ship crashed and sank. Hard. No, this isn’t a spoiler because I’m not telling you whether or not they ended up together. This is my personal opinion on their relationship. After everything that went down between them, and though I still like Kai as a character, I just don’t ship them anymore.

Scarlet was still my least favorite character, though she definitely grew on me. She played a bigger role in Winter and I liked seeing her separate from Wolf a little bit. I’m still also not completely a Wolf fan, either.

Cress and Thorne were, by far, my favorite couple in this book and this series. I’d even go as far as to say they’re my Lunar Chronicles OTP. Cress was my second favorite of the four heroines and Thorne was my favorite of the guys, way above and beyond the others. I loved their stories, the progression of their relationship and their chemistry. Cress might not be able to hold her own in a fight the way the others can (though she certainly got better with this in Winter), but she’s able to contribute in so many other ways. And I love the way Thorne is her complete opposite. They just work so well together! I’d LOVE a spin-off with Thorne and Cress aboard the Rampion, with all their adventures and traveling.

I was really looking forward to meeting Princess Winter. Though I loved many things about her, I think my expectations were a bit high, so I was a little let down once we met her. But I still completely adored her and she’s my third favorite of the four heroines. Her mind is so warped and she views things so differently. Everyone tries to write her off for being “crazy,” but I think she thinks more clearly than any of the others at times. Aside from Cinder, Winter had the most to lose if they didn’t defeat Levana. Winter was brave and fierce in her ability to stand up to Levana, despite knowing what was at stake should they fail. I also loved Jacin. I had a lot of trouble trusting him, trying to determine who’s side he was actually on (especially after this one thing he did that made me rage… a lot…). But I never doubted his feelings for and loyalty towards Winter. I also loved the weird, crazy friendship that developed between Scarlet and Winter (probably the only times I actually liked Scarlet, period).

I completely and 100% ship Iko and Kinney. That is all. No, but really.. We saw a lot more of Iko in this book than we have in previous books and I just completely adore her. She’s an epic character and I’d so petition for a spin-off with her and Kinney. Or just her in general. I’m not picky!

The scary thing with Levana is, she actually thinks she’s being a kind, fair ruler, loved by her people. Her mind is so twisted, her sense of right and wrong so warped, she doesn’t even realize she’s doing bad things. And that makes her even more insane and dangerous. It also makes her an epic villain – my favorite kind of villain, honestly. I still wanted to smack her a LOT for how evil and twisted she was. But I also kind of felt bad for her. It was a REALLY strange juxtaposition of feelings.

My biggest issue with this book was how long it was. And I’m probably in the minority with this opinion. But.. Man, this book did NOT need to be 800+ pages. So many scenes were unnecessary. So many scenes were dragged out beyond necessity. So many scenes became repetitive. I just ended up getting really bored. I think, if Meyer REALLY felt she needed 827 pages to finish the story, then it should have been divided into two books. That, or they should have found a way to shave at least 300 pages off. Because they could have and the book would have been even better! Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind long books – when it’s needed. But with Winter, I just don’t think it was needed. But again, most people LOVED the length and don’t agree with my above opinion, which is okay! I totally understand and respect that. But for me.. It just didn’t work.

I will say, though, the last 200-ish pages REALLY picked up! And once things picked up, they never slowed down! Well.. Not until the last chapter or so. Because at that point, the ending (like, the VERY ending) felt a bit anticlimactic and sort of.. Unfulfilling. Which, guys.. It hurts my heart to say this! I’ve LOVED this series. But… Sigh.

Overall – length, pacing and anti-climatic ending aside – this was still an epic read. I still love these characters. Worry and fear for them kept me on the edge of my seat. Meyer is still a gorgeous story-teller, as well. I was so pulled into this world, sometimes it felt weird when I put the book down and had to adjust back to “real life.” I wish it had been a bit shorter and more streamlined. And I wish the ending had felt more fulfilling. But I’m happy to have gone on this journey with these characters. I’m mostly satisfied with how their stories ended, though I’m eager for Stars Above and hoping it gives us a little bit more closure.

If you loved the first three books in the series, you’re almost guaranteed to love Winter. If you haven’t read Cinder, Scarlet or Cress yet, I highly suggest you do! (Also, WTH are you doing reading this spoilery-ish review?!?!?!)!!! And if you’re a fan of fairy tale retellings, then I, again, definitely recommend this series and this book!


Review: Cress by Marissa Meyer

Review: Cress by Marissa MeyerCress by Marissa Meyer
Series: The Lunar Chronicles #3
Published by Feiwel & Friends on February 4, 2014
Pages: 550
Format: Hardcover
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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.

Cress was an incredible, action-packed read that had my heart pounding with anxiety every step of the way. Marissa Meyer is the most beautiful story-teller I have ever encountered. Having seen her in person at a Fierce Reads event and having heard her speak at length during a live-streamed launch for Cress, Meyer has become one of my favorite authors and I look forward to seeing more from her in the future!

Cress was an interesting character and the story was a fascinating take on the Rapunzel fairy tale. We actually met Cress early on in the series, back in Cinder. From things I had heard, I knew who she was and I was immediately intrigued and wanted to know more about her. While Cinder is, thus far, my favorite of the heroines, Cress comes in at a close second. I love that she’s a hacker and I love the way she daydreams and pretends everything is a great drama in order to keep herself occupied. She isn’t the strongest or the fighter of the group, but she definitely doesn’t go down without a fight. She pushes on and holds her own.

As always, the moments with Cinder were my favorite. Since we’ve known her the longest, I’ve seen the greatest story ARC with her and I feel like she’s grown and changed and matured in so many ways. She’s finally embracing what the future has in store for her and it shows a level of maturity that I don’t think she had in the beginning of Cinder (the book). Scarlet didn’t really stand out for me this time around. She’s never been my favorite and she didn’t really have a large part in Cress. Most of the time, unfortunately, I didn’t even think about her. We got to see more of Iko, though, and I can see why everyone loves her!

Thorne is my absolute favorite of the guys we are introduced to throughout this series. We first met him in Scarlet and he was front and center in Cress. From watching the live-stream of the Cress Release Launch, I had a feeling that a certain thing was going to happen to him. So, while it was still incredibly sad and upsetting, it was also expected and it added a certain depth to the story. Cress and Thorne are, by far, my favorite coupling of the series. I had so many feels! I just can’t even begin to describe all the feels. I’ll end up rambling on and on if I even try!

I’m really, really torn where Kai is concerned. He really annoyed me at the end of Cinder, but he sort of redeemed himself in Cress. He’s on the road to earning back my trust, but he has a long way to go. Although, one of my favorite scenes involved him, so… Yeah, I won’t spoil it!

There were some really shocking revelations in Cress. Though one was more obvious than the rest, it was still a shock to have it confirmed. Dr. Erland had some interesting revelations and some shocking moments and his fate.. Well, it was fitting, but still pretty upsetting. I feel like there was some… unfinished business with him. I don’t know now if we’ll ever see any resolution there.

Jacin… Wow, I loved Jacin. Supposedly, he was introduced in Cinder. But I don’t really remember that. All I know is I completely adored him and I’m hoping a few things happen with him in the next and final book, Winter (Out in 2015). But with how things ended for him in Cress…… We’ll see.

Some of my most anticipated moments happened near the end of Cress. Things I’ve been waiting for, things I’ve wanted to happen – most of it happened in Cress and it was awesome! Certain characters got what was coming to them, which is always awesome.

Overall, Cress was spectacular – if my gushing review wasn’t enough to convince you. I seriously CANNOT wait for Winter. First of all, I have a feeling the cover for Winter is going to be gorgeous. Second of all, for reasons, I have a feeling I’m going to love Winter (the character) – maybe even more than Cinder (the character). We’ve had some.. sneak-peaks.. that have me eager to learn more about her and have me wanting to get inside her head. Though Snow White has always been one of my least favorite fairy tales, I have a feeling Marissa Meyer will spin it in such a beautiful, lyrical way that I’ll be hooked!

Obviously, I highly recommend this book – This whole series, honestly! If you haven’t read it, I urge you to head to the book store RIGHT NOW to get it!


Review: Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

Review: Scarlet by Marissa MeyerScarlet by Marissa Meyer
Series: The Lunar Chronicles #2
Published by Feiwel & Friends on February 5, 2013
Pages: 454
Format: Hardcover
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The fates of Cinder and Scarlet collide as a Lunar threat spreads across the Earth...

Cinder, the cyborg mechanic, returns in the second thrilling installment of the bestselling Lunar Chronicles. She's trying to break out of prison—even though if she succeeds, she'll be the Commonwealth's most wanted fugitive.

Halfway around the world, Scarlet Benoit's grandmother is missing. It turns out there are many things Scarlet doesn't know about her grandmother or the grave danger she has lived in her whole life. When Scarlet encounters Wolf, a street fighter who may have information as to her grandmother's whereabouts, she is loath to trust this stranger, but is inexplicably drawn to him, and he to her. As Scarlet and Wolf unravel one mystery, they encounter another when they meet Cinder. Now, all of them must stay one step ahead of the vicious Lunar Queen Levana, who will do anything for the handsome Prince Kai to become her husband, her king, her prisoner.

While Scarlet was not as good as Cinder, I still enjoyed it. Marissa Meyer is a fabulous storyteller and she kept me engaged throughout the entire book.

I liked Scarlet right away. She was (for the most part) fair and logical and knew how to handle a gun. At the same time, she was a bit oblivious and so determined to find her grandmother, she sometimes let logic fall to the way-side. She never took the time to think through her actions, to think about what others were saying – Basically, she had a one-track mind and it often got her in trouble. Unfortunately, I loved Cinder so much that she overshadowed Scarlet a little bit.

Wolf was an intriguing character. I liked him right from the start but I never fully trusted him. There was always something off about him. I think I focused so much on the original fairy tale and the whole “the wolf is the bad guy” that it may have clouded my judgement where Wolf was concerned. It was obvious he cared about Scarlet but it was also obvious that he was hiding something. Although, the thing he was hiding? Whoa! I seriously did NOT expect it to be what it was!

I LOVED the sections with Cinder and Thorne. First of all, Cinder is my favorite so far. I haven’t read Cress yet so that could change, but I loved Cinder way more than Scarlet. And then there was Thorne.. *Swoons* I was only about 3 pages into meeting Thorne and I fell hard for him. He’s swoony and hysterical and amazing and I CANNOT wait to get to Cress so I can learn more about him! I can’t deny that Wolf and Scarlet were perfect together, though. They might not have been as interesting as Cinder, Kai and Thorne, but they were still perfect together.

I found some of the Scarlet and Wolf scenes kind of… slow and boring, honestly – in comparison to the Cinder and Thorne scenes, at least. And the parts with Kai weren’t much better. Don’t get me wrong, I liked Kai a lot in Cinder – until the end. Now, in my eyes, he needs to redeem himself. And so far, he’s not doing a very good job. He’s also such an idiot sometimes and he’s so susceptible to what others tell him. It’s like he can’t think for himself, can’t come to his own conclusions. For the most part, he acted like a scared little kid, not a grown man or a leader. And Queen Levana.. I pretty much wanted to knock some sense into Kai the whole time and I wanted to bitch slap Queen Levana the whole time. Also, Adri. I had some sympathy for her in Cinder, but NONE in Scarlet. Like with Queen Levana, I just wanted to bitch slap her the whole time.

The last 60 pages or so really picked up. There were a lot of revelations that I didn’t expect at all. There were some moments near the end where, if I were Cinder, I just would have bitch slapped Scarlet – just saying! (Yeah.. I guess there were a lot of characters I wanted to bitch slap in this book.. Whoops..)

Overall, though Cinder was way better and I love the CHARACTER of Cinder more, Scarlet was still a great book and a great character. The end leaves it open for a smooth transition into Cress and, since I’ve heard FANTASTIC things about Cress, I can’t wait to read it!