I was searching and searching to find a good fantasy book, along the lines of Cinder by Marissa Meyer, or Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare. I was lured into this purchase upon seeing the 4 star rating and numerous rave reviews. Disappointment would be an understatement. Nowadays it seems that "young adult fiction" is just another phrase for a big helping of literary crap. It seems like finding a decent fantasy book is as difficult as winning the lottery.
I really like books about supernatural creatures, but sometimes they tend to get a bit hokey and stale. I was very pleasantly surprised with this book!. The vampires are actually scary (not just sexy immortals that prefer the nightlife). The Greyfriar is a great hero that started out mythical, as the story progresses, we get to know a complex character that is almost childlike, rather than just a dashing swordsman. Princess Adele isn't the usual damsel in distress. She can kick some vampire butt, but also manages to remain feminine and regal. I like seeing strong female characters, but all too often, a "strong woman" is given male qualities, which defeats the purpose of proving that women can hold their own in a male dominated society. She is 19 and very mature for her age. At first I thought she was too mature, but I suppose her royal upbringing took away her childhood at an earlier age. This is a great book! So glad I stumbled across it.
In book 1 Marissa Meyer took one of our beloved fairy tales and turned it into an intriguing sci-fi set into a future with cyborgs and Lunar inhabitants. The story was fast paced and kept the reader wanting more. That said, I was anticipating book 2 with eagerness to find out what happens to our heroine. What I got was an okay story, when even less okay characters.
Meyer introduces a new character, Scarlet. Much of the book focuses on Scarlet's missing grandmother and her quest to find out the mystery behind her disappearance. Every time the book cut away from a scene with Cinder to a scene with Scarlet, I found my finger itching to fast forward and my annoyance on the rise. As the story progresses, Scarlet becomes nearly unbearable. She is stupid. I am referring to both the character in general and also her intellectual level. And she is constantly saying the same things over and over. "I've got to find my grandmother!" and repeat. This girl has no common sense and she comes off extremely whiny. She has zero forethought and her supposed "bravery" comes off as idiotic and rash. The narrator attempts to give her a french accent, which is at times thick and at other times almost non-existent. Add that to the already annoying character and its easy to see how this thrilling series took a nose dive.
The original character Cinder makes appearances and manages to keep the book from sinking into a black abyss. The mystery surrounding her is intriguing, as well as her new emerging abilities. Her new-found companion is arrogant and fancies himself a ladies man. He lightens the mood of the book and is a welcome addition. Cinder's funny android friend finds her way back into the story as the AI for their space ship. Her transition from an android into a gigantic space ship is funny and added to the enjoyment of Cinder's story.
The overall plot of book 2 didn't do a whole lot to further the story line of the series. Not much happens, and the main characters remain separate in their own stories until the very end of the book. As I read, I kept wondering why I should care about Scarlet at all. Unfortunately, this question was never answered. We do get to find out more about Cinder's past, and more about the Lunar queen's evil plot (that pretty much sums it up). Despite my disappointment with this book, I still want to find out what Cinder will do next and how she will fight against the odds. If you were a big fan of book 1 (like me) then I recommend suffering through Scarlet and cross your fingers that book 3 will put Scarlet into the back seat.
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