Cinder by Marissa Meyer
Summary: Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl. . . .
Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.
The Good: It's a fairytale retelling, which is awesome. I think it's also one of the first that mixes in dystopia and science fiction. And who would ever think I would like sci-fi? Well, as a general rule, I don't. But with Marissa Meyer's books...it's actually pretty good. Cinder was a strong character. At the risk of spoiling the end, I liked how Marissa gave little hints to Cinder's true identity throughout the book but it wasn't so blatantly obvious and by the last page, we still don't know all of Cinder's history, which leaves mystery and interest.
The Bad: Someone died. And I was all like, "How could you let that person die???" But the death provided motive and something important for the sequel, so I guess it's not really bad. Kai bothered me sometimes, especially because I felt he fell in love/was too flirty with Cinder. I think I also wanted just a teeny bit more back story on their dystopian world. But not all in the first few pages. That would be boring. No, it would need to be interspersed throughout the book.
The Ugly: I think there might have been a couple bad words, but nothing worse than PG-level.
Overall, this is definitely a must-read. The only reason it didn't get an A is because I liked Scarlet, the sequel, better.
Scarlet by Marissa Meyer
Summary: 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.
The Good: It's a sequel. That I like better than the first. And that rarely happens. I think it's because I liked Scarlet herself more than I liked Cinder. She has a unique personality from Cinder, keeping the two main heroines from running together. Scarlet has fire, passion, and spunk. She's a red-head after all. The personality and hair are a package deal, I guess. Also, I enjoyed how we learned more of Cinder's back story, and then Scarlet's own history was thrown in. Wow. Crazy twists and loops. Wolf and Scarlet's dynamics were great, and I loved their last scene in the book.
The Bad: More violence, but it's dystopian, so that should be expected. I think, if The Lunar Chronicles ever become movies, it'll be a lot more violent on the big screen than it is in the book. For me, at least. Hmm...what else. There's another death that provides motive and such, but it's still like, "Why???" I can't say any more about it, because it would spoil a lot. I didn't like how I was constantly guessing Wolf's alliance. I would've liked a little more hinting one way or the other just so it wasn't such a surprise.
The Ugly: Pretty sure all the swearing was still PG-level. The romance in this book is a bit more animalistic so it seems a bit more, I don't know, fiery and passionate to me. A bit more tiptoeing around the PG-13 border. But there's nothing overtly inappropriate.
It's a great read. If you've read Cinder, you need to read Scarlet. But do not read Scarlet first. Nothing will make sense. You will curl up in a ball because you're so lost and confused.
Now I'm off to bake mini cheesecakes for dessert tonight. Don't forget that this is Memorial Day, not National Barbecue Day, so take a moment to remember the men and women who have sacrificed their lives so we can remain free.