Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Review: Winter

Title: Winter
Author: Marissa Meyer
Series: The Lunar Chronicles #4
Publisher: Feiwel and Friends
Publication Date: November 10, 2015
Source: Purchased

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 was one of those bittersweet books, because a series you loved is coming to close. While this wasn't my favourite book in the series, I still enjoyed it and thought it ended the series well.

My favourite characters (Thorne and Iko) were back in action, although neither of them played as major of roles as some of the others. But they didn't do anything to diminish my love of them, so that's always good.

This book focused on Winter, Levana's stepdaughter and Meyer's version of Snow White. I really enjoyed Winter's character. It was interesting to see a glimpse of her madness and see her struggle to differentiate reality and hallucination. Despite her difficulties, Winter is a kind and likable character. We also got a see a softer side of Jacin in this book and he *almost* became likable at times.

The finale was filled with excitement and was not a disappointment, although I think it was always going to be a happy ending, even when it felt a touch unrealistic. I can't say too much without things getting a little spoiler-y.

Overall, I enjoyed the conclusion to the series and can't wait to read whatever Meyer puts out next!

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Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Review: Just Like Magic

Title: Just Like Magic
Author: Elizabeth Townsend
Publisher: Self-published
Publication Date: October 21, 2012
Source: Amazon Freebie

Miss Ella Merton had her life completely planned out: attend the finest finishing school, be presented at the palace, and marry well - in fact, why not a prince? But now her beloved father has died, her family is bankrupt, and she's being forced to work in the kitchen. Still, she's not willing to give up - if only her two stepsisters weren't so selfish, and that chore boy so familiar, and her godmother so unfashionable - not to mention that ridiculous dog. With no magic wand to wave, can she still make her dreams come true? 

I'm a big fan of fairy-tale retellings, but this one left something to be desired. It ws a pretty straightforward retelling, without much to make it unique. That, and Ella was a very unlikable character for the first half of the book.

As mentioned, this retelling was pretty straightforward, other than the lack of magic. So instead of a fairy godmother, Ella's godmother is a dressmaker, which give a plausible way for the story to move forward without the use of magic wands. However, I wish there had been a bit more added in to the story to give a more unique spin to it.

My major issue with this book was that I hated Ella for most of it. She is snooty and spoiled and proud and lacked backbone. When her stepfamily started treating her poorly she should have pushed back or at least allowed her friends to assist her. But no, she just complained about it and did a poor job and was rude to poor Henry. Eventually she came around, but it was too little too late for me.

The other issues I had with the story are the issues I have with the fairy tale in general. By it's very nature, there was a unhealthy dose of instalove. Because talking to someone for a couple hours in the dark is enough to know they are marriage (and throne) material. Right?!

Also, this book is pretty short, with didn't help my reception of it. Anyway, not a winner for me. But give it a try if you are a big fan of retellings and don't mind unlikable characters.

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