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A Review of Cress (The Lunar Chronicles #3), by Marissa Meyer

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In this third book in the Lunar Chronicles, Cinder and Captain Thorne are fugitives on the run, now with Scarlet and Wolf in tow. Together, they’re plotting to overthrow Queen Levana and her army.

Their best hope lies with Cress, a girl imprisoned on a satellite since childhood who’s only ever had her netscreens as company. All that screen time has made Cress an excellent hacker. Unfortunately, she’s just received orders from Levana to track down Cinder and her handsome accomplice.

When a daring rescue of Cress goes awry, the group is separated. Cress finally has her freedom, but it comes at a high price. Meanwhile, Queen Levana will let nothing prevent her marriage to Emperor Kai. Cress, Scarlet, and Cinder may not have signed up to save the world, but they may be the only hope the world has.

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Rating: 5/5 Stars
Quick Reasons: drama, action, romance, suspense! this book has a little bit of everything; kickass characters; spectacular character growths; intriguing introduction of new plot points/plague elements to further the sub story; emotionally charged, heart-wrenching scenes

Being the third book in a series, there’s not a LOT I can say about this book without breaching the “spoilers” line and betraying any readers who haven’t gotten the chance to pick this series/this book up yet. I promise I’ll do my best to keep this utterly spoiler free; if I fail, you have permission to douse me with glue, cover me with silver glitter, and call me Edward Cullen. (Wait… that’s a totally different book! Oh well, too late now to take it back.)

A laugh came from the cockpit and Thorne appeared in the doorway, strapping a gun holster around his waist. “You’re asking the cyborg fugitive and the wild animal to be the welcoming committee? That’s adorable.”

Now, I listened to this via audiobook. I decided not long ago that I wanted to at least TRY audiobooks sometimes, when I wasn’t in the mood to actually read but still wanted to “read.” I started this one sort of spur of the moment…and absolutely fell in love! The narrator, Rebecca Soler (who I guess also did the rest of the Lunar Chronicles series) went to a lot of trouble to make each character unique, easy to tell apart, and personable. She put a lot of extra depth to them just with her voice, which really helped to bring this story to life for me. So if you’re considering audiobooks and this read is on your list, you should definitely give it a shot—I was thoroughly entertained!

That being said, let’s move on to the actual review, yes?

But you’re a prisoner,” said Thorne.

“I prefer damsel in distress,” she murmured.

One side of Thorne’s mouth quirked up, into that perfect half smile he’d had in his graduation photo. A look that was a little bit devious, and all sorts of charming.

Cress’s heart stopped, but if they noticed her melting into her chair, they didn’t say anything.

The characters REALLY leapt to life for me in this book. Where I was a bit disappointed overall in the characters/their motivations/their interactions in Scarlet, this addition more than made up for it. Marissa Meyer is QUEEN at writing snarky dialogue and emotionally charged scenes, and I was kept on my toes the entire read—anticipating, hoping, squealing, or flushing from exasperation. Each character brought his or her own flair to this story, spinning and weaving it into a masterful journey of suspense, action, humor and (at times) romantic intrigue.

The prose is well-done, the dialogue is entirely realistic and ALWAYS entertaining. I giggled aloud more than several times, especially during scenes involving Cress (my favorite, I think, of them all) and Thorne (these two just… gah, the feels. All the feels, all the time). They’re just so freaking snarky and innocent and… I had secondhand embarrasment more than once. We also get a hint of mystery in our newest character addition—I have to admit, I can’t wait to see what book four brings! The plot is action-packed, the pace hardly ever slows down; it’s a gut-churning adventure, with more than a few surprising twists to keep readers on the edges of their seats!

Her satellite made one full orbit around Planet Earth every sixteen hours. It was a prison that came with an endlessly breathtaking view— vast blue oceans and swirling clouds and sunrises that set half the world on fire.

I really, really enjoyed this read, and would definitely recommend the series to lovers of fairy tale retellings, space and cyborgs, and uniquely crafted worlds! I can’t wait to see what book four brings to the table!

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A Review of Freak of Nature (IFICS #1), by Julia Crane

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Donate Body to Science. Check.
When seventeen-year-old Kaitlyn checked the box, she never suspected she’d have her life–and her body–stolen from her. She awakens one day in a secret laboratory to discover that her body is now half-robot and is forced to hide her own secret: that she still has human emotions and a human mind. If the scientists who made her find out, they’ll erase what remains of who she was.

Kaitlyn finds an unlikely ally in Lucas, a handsome, brilliant scientist who can’t get over the guilt he feels knowing she was once a vibrant, beautiful young woman. He never expected a science project to affect him the way she does. As he tries to help her rediscover her past, he finds himself falling for the brave girl struggling to find her place and acceptance between the human and computer worlds.

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Rating: 2/5 Stars (let’s say 2.5 though)
Quick Reasons: flat, boring plot for first 1/3rd of book; quick, blink-and-you-miss-it action in the last portion; world-building falls flat and is rather confusing at times; scientific details left out or unexplained; no sense of connection to characters or story

“You make my body feel like it’s revving up when I am standing still.”

There are a lot of things I don’t like about this book. They outweigh the few things I DID like, so I guess I’ll start with those, yes?

The cover for this book (and this series, to be honest) is absolutely gorgeous. When I first started looking into this book, I fell immediately in love with the cover—I mean really, it’s just so unique and pretty. The colors are engaging and eye-catching, the pose isn’t one I’ve seen on covers much, and the entire tone is just… Sci Fi. Mystery. I NEEDED to read it, even before I read the blurb. The blurb only helped to further my desire to pick this up. So when Amazon had it on “free” pricing, I snatched it real quick. I wasn’t about to let the chance pass me by.

The prose is decently done: it reads quickly, and is easy to follow. Kaitlyn, in her cyborg obliviousness, had some pretty awesome and entertaining one-liners; the snark in those moments made me WISH she was like that all the time and on purpose, instead of just when she was confused. I was intrigued by the story: there were some elements I’d never seen done before, and I was desperate to know what happened next, but… That’s about where the “like” stopped for me. Because the first third of this book? Boring. Absolutely nothing of interest happens, except we learn: 1. She’s part robot after some sort of tragic accident that almost killed her; 2. She still feels things though she’s been upgraded and programmed not to; 3. She’s attracted to Lucas, boy computer genius and programmer extraordinaire. No, really. That’s what we learn. Or, at least, those are seemingly the most important things we learn. It’s hard to tell, really, because the author doesn’t put emphasis on anything—everything we learn is the same flat, monotone, robotic NESS.

“You shouldn’t let a train track decide if you are good or bad.”

And even when the action begins, when things start unravelling… It all falls very, very flat. There are few descriptors, the prose isn’t beautiful but more “simplistic,” there is nothing to connect readers to the character, the world, or the story at all. Even the few “plot twists” are not twists but just more dredge piled atop an already crumbling, muddy mountain.

The worst is the world building, and the science. I’ve always HATED when people are like, “the science in this book stinks!” or “the science here doesn’t make any sense!” I always felt that those people were reading TOO MUCH into the book, looking for ways to connect the science they know and love with a made-up, fantastical world’s rules… But this book. THIS BOOK. This book made me understand a little of what they’re going through. I mean… The one thing that really got me, was the “downloaded memories.” She’s part robot? With a computer chip instead of a brain, apparently? HOW THE HELL can you download the memories of her previous life, like they’re so much computer data?!?! There are other examples, but that one. That one left me reeling. Because it’s true: It makes absolutely no sense.

I think I would have LOVED this read… if things had been written better. Instead, this mostly focuses on Kaitlyn’s “obsession” with boy genius Lucas, their “fall” into romance, and the different ways she’s so unique she can bypass even the strongest emotional overrides. None of this, of course, is explained in an adequate and logical way. Because she’s special. Because that’s just the way it is. Because Julia Crane couldn’t come up with any better way to do this aside from just throwing story telling out the window and doing whatever the hell she wanted to. (Okay, that’s a bit harsh, but…. Ick)

It was amazing that such beauty existed, and yet there was such ugliness in the world.

Overall, I just really didn’t like this book. Of course, that doesn’t mean you won’t! If you’re into sci fi, robots/cyborgs, forbidden love, and science that doesn’t have to make sense, maybe give this one a shot! I don’t recommend it, though—it just wasn’t the read for me.