Book Review: Fairest

My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Villains have always been my favorite part of books and movies. So whenever there is a story that focuses on a villain, I want to read it. I have really been enjoying The Lunar Chronicles, but was feeling that I didn’t quite know enough about Levana to truly appreciate her role as villain in this series. So when it was time to read this book, I was excited to see exactly what pushed her to be the woman we all know her to be.

This book is quite short and I was able to read it in one sitting. One thing I did find strange was that there were no chapters in this book. Yes, there were breaks put in at different parts, but the lack of actual chapters was weird.

I really enjoyed getting to see Levana as a young child and teenager. It helped to really paint a full picture of what her life was like before the events of the series and gave up a look at what she was like before she became this evil queen we all know and love. What really made this book was the various relationships it’s showed that shaped Levana’s life, from her parents to her sister and the man she loves, they all help in their own ways to push her into becoming the woman we see in The Lunar Chronicles.

One part I really found interesting was that she has something in common with Cinder. I can’t really go into detail about it, but it definitely tied the two women together beyond their shared blood.

Overall, I thought this was a great book. It really adds something to the series as a whole to finally find out what made Levana into the woman we know, why she does what she does and helps to fill in some gaps that otherwise would have been left unanswered. If you haven’t started this series, I would recommend that you do. They are all fantastic book and I cannot wait to finish them.

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Book Review: Cress

My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

For some silly reason, it took me a full month to read this book. Mostly it was because I was busy with other things, you know how life gets in the way of a good book, yeah that’s what happened, and then when I did have time to read I would pick up other books (generally short manga’s that I could read in one quick sitting). I wanted to read this book so badly, but everything seemed against me finishing it. Luckily, I did manage to get it done a whopping thirty days after starting it, and I really enjoyed it.

I’m not going to go into much detail with this, but I will cover some key points. First off, I thought Cress was a great character. She had her quirks, some faults and a definite zest for life. There is a lot of character growth for her over the course of this novel and I think the Cress we will see in the next book will be even better. I still hate Thorne. Not as much as I hated him in Scarlet, but I still really, really don’t like his character. He has redeemed himself some through his actions in this book, but ugh I just can’t stand the man.

Like the previous novels, everything has been coming together smoothly, perhaps not for the characters, but in the sense of all the story lines intermingling and joining into one very strong and appealing plot. It’s this aspect alone that has made me enjoy these books so much. I honestly didn’t think I would like this series at all, and didn’t see how these retellings would work in any way, and yet here I am loving these books and looking forward to reading the next one.

Am I the only one that was disappointed that Cress’ hair got cut so early in this book? I get why it happened, but I was hoping to see more Rapunzel-ish action.

Overall, this was a really good book. I only wish I could have read it in more of a one sitting fashion instead of it taking weeks to complete. Even so, I loved it and am really looking forward to finishing off this series, and yikes the end is so close I almost don’t want it to end. If you haven’t read this series yet, I would recommend checking it out, as it has great characters and a wonderful story line.

Book Review: Moving Target A Princess Leia Adventure

My rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

When I received this book in May, sent to me by my amazing OTSP Secret Sister, I had to read it right away. I love Star Wars, have for many years, and Princess/General Leia is definitely my favorite character, so a book that focuses on her is high on my priority list. Plus I was looking forward to seeing more story added to the new canon, which in my opinion is lacking in overall appeal when compared to the old Expanded Universe. However, I was a bit disappointed when the story focuses on something that happens between Empire Strikes Back and Return of The Jedi. For a book labeled as “Journey To The Force Awakens” I was expecting something to fill in that 30 year gap, not go between two of the original movies. That being said, I still enjoyed this book.

It’s an interesting thing to get essentially a reboot of a series. And that is what is happening with the new canon books. Because of this, we get a whole new look at what happens before, during, between and after the movies. So while I was hoping for something between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens, it was also nice to see focus on Princess Leia and what she had to do to ensure the success of the Rebel’s plans that would come to fruition in Return of The Jedi.

This story shows off Leia ingenuity, bravery and her willingness to put herself into the line of fire for the greater good of the Rebellion. Now obviously we all know Leia isn’t afraid to get her hands dirty, to do what must be done to try to put an end to the Empire, but I feel like this book did a good job of showing just far she was willing to go. Not only that, but it showed how others rally to her in times of need. Of course, not everyone agreed with Leia’s idea initially, but she was able to convince them that not only that it had to be done, but what she was a key component of it all.

Really the only reason why I didn’t give this book a higher rating is because I wanted the story to help fill the huge gap between the original trilogy and The Force Awakens. Sure, this was still a good and very quick read, it just wasn’t what I was expecting. I hope to see more Leia focused stories as the canon books come. For those who enjoy Star Wars, this book is a must read. I’ll be looking to read the rest of the Journey To The Force Awakens books – especially the two that focus on Han and Luke, in the future.

Book Review: Scarlet

My rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

After finishing Cinder, the first book in the Lunar Chronicles series, I wanted to jump into Scarlet. Much like with Cinder, I decided to go blindly into this book. All that I knew was that it was a retelling of Little Red Riding Hood and that somehow it would meld into Cinder’s story.

This book was a bit slow at first. I found myself not entirely pulled into the story, though I felt that it would get better with time, and it did. Needing to introduce a whole new cast of characters and a new setting, of course it would take a few chapters to get things rolling. However, it took a lot longer than I expected for me to really get into the story. In fact, it wasn’t until the last hundred pages that I really got into this book. It was during that last hundred pages that the book truly shined and it made up for all the slowness from before.

One thing I really loved about this book was Scarlet herself. The fact that she was a farmer made me instantly love her character. It is certainly not something you see in YA books and I would honestly love to see more of them in other series. Outside of the farmer aspect, she character did feel a little flat at times, but throughout the story she did get some good charcter devolpment that made her better overall. I liked that we got a more background on Cinder and the connection that some of it had with Scarlet and her Grandmother.

I have to admit though, and I’m probably one of the other people who felt this way, but I really didn’t care for Captain Thorne. I found his character annoying and I just wanted him to stop talking.

Overall, I enjoyed this book. Sure it had it’s slow moments but I feel like the last bit of it completely made up for that. I would definitely recommend this series, at least up til this point, to anyone who hasn’t read it yet. I look forward to continuing the series and seeing who lies ahead for these characters and what the other characters along the way will be like.

Book Review: Dark Disciple

My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

This review contains minor spoilers

When I saw a book that was mostly centered around Asajj Ventress, I was super excited. And yet, I couldn’t help but be a little worried as well, since so far, most of the book int he new canon series have disappointed me. I wanted to read it right away, however, at that time, I hadn’t see all of The Clone Wars series, and since this story arc was intended as part of that series, I knew I had to delay reading this book until I had watched the series. So it wasn’t until the beginning of this year that I finally got around to reading this one.

It took me a chapter or two to get into this book, but after that, I really started to enjoy it. That being said, there were also some issues I found along the way. But let’s talk about the positives first. Asajj was one of my favorite characters in The Clone Wars, and it was so good to get more of her story. I felt like she was left out a bit too much and thus I was always wanting more episodes with her. This book was a great way to put her into the spotlight, giving us more about her past as well as filling in her story after she left Dooku.

The story had good flow to it. Keeping action coming at regular intervals to keep things hopping but not overwhelming the plot.

The romance aspect of this book was interesting, but I feel like it was added in just because it could be. Sure, Vos is a very atypical Jedi and doesn’t always follow the rules, but falling in love with Ventress didn’t feel necessary to me. Despite this, I did enjoy seeing their relationship develop along the way.

Now, let’s talk about what I didn’t like.

First off, Ventress has hair. This may not seem like a big deal to some people, but it was to me. As soon as I read that little bit, I was immediately annoyed. In fact, I put the book down and hurried over to Wookieepedia to look up the Rattataki race. Listed right there on the page, it stated that one of the distinguishing features of this species was a bald head. So how and why does Asajj have hair in this book? My guess is that they were trying to give her a more feminine and softer looking character, but I just couldn’t accept that she had hair.

Secondly, the Jedi council would never put forth the idea to assassinate someone, even Dooku, let alone agree to it. Sure, some Jedi aren’t sticklers for the rules, but no way Yoda would agree to such a thing. I don’t care how desperate they were to end the clone wars, it just wouldn’t fly.

Ignoring these issues, I still greatly enjoyed the book. The new canon series has been extremely iffy with me, so it’s nice to find a book in it that I actually liked. I would certainly recommend watching The Clone Wars series before reading this book, but it’s not absolutely necessary.

Book Review: Cinder

My rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

For a few years now, I had been avoiding reading Cinder. It was all over every blog I went to, and it seemed to always get rave reviews, and so I avoided it like the plague. I figured, that from my experience, most YA books that get nothing but great reviews are generally a disappointment when I do read them, so I figured the best thing to do was to just not read this book. Then, one day I spotted this one for five dollars at the bookstore, and decided to get it, figuring that if it was bad, at least it didn’t cost me much to buy it. I would have never guessed in that moment, that I would enjoy this book as much as I did.

I went into this book blind. Only knowing it was a retelling of Cinderella and that the main character was a cyborg. Other than that, I couldn’t have told you anything about the book. I think that not reading the blurb on the back was a good decision.

I have to say, that reading that first page, especially with that whole wrenching the foot off scene, instantly sucked me in. I mean, come on, what a unique and fantastic way to start a story. I felt like only one of two things would happen after that. The story would either continue to hold my attention right to the very end, or it would sudden crash and I would loose interest. I’m happy to report that it kept my attention.

Everything about this novel captivated me. I loved the characters, the world, the sci-fi elements. While it is considered a retelling of Cinderella, I found that that element of the story was very small, which I feel actually made the overall book better. I admit that I was worried the focus would be too centered upon trying to tell the story with a sci-fi flair to it, but that was not the case. The basic elements were there, and yes the story did revolve around them somewhat, but there was so much more to it as well.

I feel like I can’t probably describe everything I loved about this book. It’s a book that is too good for words, I suppose. Really my only regret is that I didn’t read it sooner, so that I could sing it’s praises along with everyone else that read it as soon as it was released. And yet, at the same time, I’m glad that I waited because I do not need to wait a year for the next book to come out, I can immediately start the next book and read the whole series back to back if I so choose.

If you haven’t read this book, I would high recommend doing so. There is something very special to be found within it’s pages and I am looking forward to continuing on with this series and seeing just where the story goes.

Book Review: Star Wars Catalyst

My rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars

I really hate giving any Star Wars book a low rating, but it happens sometimes. Sadly it has happened more often than not when it comes to the new canon series. I always go in hoping that it will be just as good, if not better, than the novels I read in the Expanded Universe (Legends) series, but in the end, I’m usually disappointed.

I’m not going to go into much details, mostly because it would probably end up being a long rant, so I will give a quick review on this.

From my perspective, this novel was essential a 300 page guide on how a Tarkin-like man, is busy manipulating a scientist into doing work for him that the scientist is against but tricking him into doing it for the greater good of the Empire just so that he can prove to the Emperor that he is better than Tarkin. There is a whole lot of time spent concentrating on trying to subtly get the scientist on board, but pointing out that he can’t be pushed into doing the work, instead they need to make him want to do it himself. There’s a lot of random research materials floating around, lots of talk of plans, some very small snippets of construction of the Death Star, and a few instances where characters from the films, including the upcoming Rogue One, make a small appearance.

There were two things that really bothered me. First, the smuggler in this book. I don’t necessary mean his character as a whole, I’m talking about his name. His name was Has. That’s right, Has. One frigging letter away from Han! Why couldn’t the smuggler have a different name? Or is there some unwritten rule in the Star Wars universe where all smuggler must have similar names? Next thing you know will we see smugglers named Hat, or Hab, or Hal. Anything to keep the Ha_ name theme going.

Secondly. In all the talk about different parts of the Death Star, the pages on end about design and whatnot, there is not a single mention of the two meter wide exhaust port that will inevitably by the downfall of the space station. Why is that? Honestly, I kept reading just to see if it would be mentioned, but it wasn’t, and that left me utterly disappointed.

And now, I have fallen into a rant. Best to stop there.

In the end, I wasn’t entirely thrilled with this book. There were a few interesting parts but overall I didn’t enjoy it, which is odd because James Luceno also wrote the novel Tarkin, which I absolutely loved. I guess I will see if this was a necessary read before watching Rogue One or not, but at this moment, I feel like it might not have been important to read first.