I have to admit that when I first saw advertisements for Cinder, it didn’t inspire me to add it to my ‘To Read’ list. In fact, it wasn’t until the release day that I even looked at it on Goodreads. When I read the description, I still wasn’t sold, a cyborg Cinderella story set in Beijing sounded strange to me. That and I’m not really into Cinderella retellings. However, as I browsed reviews I started to change to my mind. People were raving about it and then I suddenly started to think, “Hmm, a cyborg Cinderella story set in Beijing could actually be interesting and out of the box. Why am I being so narrow minded?”
Then I saw that it was available on audiobook and my finger started moving closer to the Purchase button. Ever since I’ve signed up for the YA Audiobook Challenge, I’ve been eager to start marking off books. That settled it. Cinder went from no where near my To Read listen to my Currently Reading list in 2.5 seconds. And let me tell you, I was pleasantly surprised and so happy that I pushed aside my hesitation to read/listen to a cyborg Cinderella story.
Set in a dystopian future in what is now called New Beijing, Cinder stars a teenage cyborg girl who has it very much like Cinderella. Cinder lives with her stepmother and step sisters who pretty much loathe her and blame her for everything, with the exception of her stepsister and friend Peony. She is a skilled mechanic and her talents are put to use by running an electronics repair shop and fixing whatever her stepmother wants fixed. The stepmother and stepsisters only focus is preparing themselves for the ball held by the handsome young Prince Kai of New Beijing.
There are occasional direct Cinderella references such as an old car that resembles a pumpkin, a cyborg foot that takes the place of a glass slipper, and a cute android that replaces friendly rodents that sing and dance and help Cinderella get ready for the ball. But the originality of these references is sweet and they bring a smile to your lips when you come across them. However, if you are hoping for a fairy godmother, you won’t find one in this version. And things don’t end fairytale perfect like they do for Cinderella.
The story line probably sounds pretty familiar to you and much of the plot keeps to the original story. Despite the similarities, there are many things that set this book apart from the original. The cyborg aspect, for one, adds a whole new dimension to Cinder’s character. At a young age, she was in a horrible accident leaving a majority of her body in disrepair. To keep her alive, Cinder was turned in a Cyborg. Although cyberization saved her live, she has new problems to face. Cyborgs are considered less than human and are often shunned by others. To maintain her body she must buy expensive parts, which upsets her stepmother.
In spite of being a cyborg, Cinder is a relatable heroine. She is kind, smart, unselfish, brave, yet makes typical teenage mistakes that only further diminish her not so wonderful life situation. You will find yourself rooting for her from beginning to end.
There is a cute semi-romantic relationship between Cinder and Prince Kai and one of the things I appreciated about their relationship is that it has time to develop. Kai’s character is very likeable. He is a noble Prince who has been forced to grow up fast but he takes his role in stride and is dedicated to helping his people. He has the weight of the world on his shoulders as he searches for the cure to a world wide plague, tries to alleviate tension between Earth and the Lunar.
I am eagerly awaiting the next book in the series. When this book was over, I literally cried out in frustration. I was not ready for it to be over and I wanted it to keep going. That’s a sign of a good book. Meyer sets up the end nicely for the next book and I can’t wait to find out with Cinder will do. I highly recommend this book to people of all ages. It’s a great read/listen.
I debated for a long time about whether or not to read the book or listen to the audiobook. There are some books that are better read than listened to and some that are better listened to than read. Well, after listening to an audiobook sample of The Scorpio Races, I immediately put it on my ‘to listen’ list. I think the performances in the audiobook are worth listening to and really make the book come to life.
The Scorpio Races is set in Thisby, a fictional island of the coast of Britain. This island is no ordinary island. Every November water horses, also known as Capaill Uisge, come on shore. These horses are more monsters than actual horses. They are violent horse like creatures that love the sea and blood. Every November Thisby hosts the Scorpio Races, where riders race Capaill Uisge. The story is alternates perspectives between two characters, Puck and Sean.
When I first heard the story was about man-eating horses I didn’t quite no what to think. I love Maggie Stiefvater but do I really love her that much. Well, I’m so glad I took a chance on this book because it was beautifully written. It has to Maggie’s best work so far. If you read, or listen, to epilogue you will learn that the Capaill Uisge are actually based off of an ancient myth about water horses. I don’t know about you but this is the first time I’ve every hear of this myth. There are several versions of the myth and Maggie took the bloodthirsty water horse one. I commend Maggie for her bravery in writing this book as it’s probably a difficult pitch to make. I’m grateful the publishers took a chance on this one because it’s so good.
What made this book so good was the originality, the characters, the narration, the writing, the setting, and right down to the frightening horses. I loved it all. Puck and Sean have unique plights and you feel for both of them equally. Puck is trying to save her family’s home and to do so she’s running in the Scorpio Races to win the big money prize. Sean is the horse trainer for the richest man on the island. Among one of those horses is the Capaill Uisge, Corr, a horse he’s known since childhood and shares a strong bond with. Only the horse doesn’t belong to him it belongs someone else. Sean rides in the races every year with Corr and has won them 4 years in row.
There is a slight romance in the book but The Scorpio Races is not solely about a love story. I don’t mind that the romance plays such a small role because the book doesn’t need it. When it finally happens it’s more sweet that angsty and that is such a relief from the norm.
The narrators were phenomenal and their British accents made you feel like you were in Thisby with the characters. Sean’s character did sound a lot like Clive Owen, which was cool but sometimes it made me picture him as Sean. I got passed it though and I didn’t for a second regret listening to the book instead of reading it.
Clearly, I recommend this book since I loved it so much. If you are in the mood for something completely different, The Scorpio Races is the book for you. I think older teenagers and adults would love this book. It’s a beautiful book, so don’t hesitate to read it.
I had my doubts about whether or not I would like this book, but shortly into it I was hooked. It was so good I found myself wondering, how has this book not received more attention?! Why didn’t I read this book sooner? With awe inspiring dragons, formidable characters, a vivid setting, and a skillfully crafted story, this epic first book in a duology is now one my favorite books of all time. Alison Goodman made me a fan for life.
Strongly influenced by ancient Asian cultures, Eon is set in a detail rich world ruled by an imperial family but balanced by the powerful Dragoneyes. Through a bargain with the twelve energy dragons, the Dragoneyes connect with their spirit dragon to wield power, control the elements, and much more.
In training to become an apprentice to the Rat Dragon, Eon has the odds stacked against him. His broken hip makes him walk with a limp making it difficult for him to walk let alone practice the dragon art of fighting. To top it off, Eon is really Eona, a girl and therefore forbidden to practice the dragon art. An act punishable by death. The one thing working in her favor is her dragon sight, the rare ability to see all the energy dragons. She can only hope that the Rat Dragon chooses her as his apprentice.
Eon/a is a complex heroine. She is strong and intelligent yet flawed by her inclination to be dishonest and her lack of trust in others. She weaves a dangerous web of lies in her fight for survival and, at times, this is very frustrating. There are many moments where I wanted to yell at her to snap her out of it. While at the same time, you understand her situation and her reasoning. That being said, in the end, Eona became one my favorite heroines.
Eon is technically considered a young adult book but, to me, the story reaches beyond young adults to older audiences as well. Goodman’s world is exceptional and you will find yourself captivated by the rich culture and unique mythology. I enjoyed this book so much that once finished it, I immediately (the same day) bought the next book, Eona: The Last Dragoneye.
Gen-Xer, software engineer, and lifelong avid reader. Soft spots for sci-fi, fantasy, and history, but I'll read anything good.
Though a young adult novel, Leviathan is one of the most fun books I've read in a while. Its alternate universe version of Europe on the eve of World War One imagines the major powers equipped with cool steampunk technology. The British and their allies have fantastical genetically-engineered creatures, such as living airships, on their side, while the pickelhaube-clad Germans clank about (naturally) in giant, armored walkers. Such concepts have been done in fiction before, but Westerfeld creates a thoroughly enjoyable world, filled with likable characters, drama, wit, sci-fi speculation, and some real history. It's written on a level accessible (and appropriate) to middle school-aged kids, but I think many adults will like it just as much. Can't wait for the sequel! PS. If you get the audio version, be sure to check out the grotesquely cool map of Europe on Westerfeld's web site.