Prodigy

Second book in the Legend trilogy, Prodigy, was something I knew I would be reading without really knowing what to expect. When I read Legend I was disappointed, I had expected something more or something different and I didn’t really feel the book lived up to all the good things I’d heard about it. But I choose to read Prodigy anyway, something that I’m glad I did.

In Legend, June meets Day, her brother’s murderer, a sixteen year old boy she falls in love with. After uncovering the truth, that Day didn’t kill her brother but was framed for the murder, she helps him escape his death sentence and they travel together to Vegas, where Prodigy starts off. They are searching for the Patriots to help them start a revolution which will hopefully end the Republic and either join them with the Colonies and turn them back into the United States or just become a part of the Colonies all together. For June and Day, both choices sounds good. But after the Elector dies and his son takes his place, June and Day meet up with the Patriots and get’s the assignment that will allow them to become Patriots. To be a part of the revolution movement, June and Day needs to help assassin the new Elector, but are they ready to kill someone to get what they want? And do they really know everything or are the Patriots hiding something from them?

Like I said, I was sure I was going to read Prodigy, but my expectations were way smaller now then when I read Legend. It didn’t take long though, before I realized that this book was better and in every aspect. I’m not really sure why, there wasn’t anything wrong with the first book, I just liked the second more. I think it probably had something to do with me have such high expectations and now having practically none. But it was good; it never felt dull or boring. On the contrary. Every page brought something new, something that either got me to understand a character or her motives more or some kind of action. There was a lot of action, but not too much. And there was sweet, still moments too, but not too much. I would say that Prodigy was perfectly balanced.

Marie Lu is a great writer and I do believe that some of my expectations that I had for Legend was filled in Prodigy. In the very last pages a huge revelation was revealed and Lu ended the book with a really good cliffhanger. I’d already decided to read the third and last book in the trilogy before I finished Prodigy but now there’s just no way that I can’t read it to find out the rest. And that’s the best grade you can get from me.

The One

So came the day when I finally sat down to read the last book in The Selection trilogy. This is a story that isn’t what I usually read but something that I did find entertaining when I read the first two books. I did look forward to reading the last, The One, and see how it all ends. But I have to admit, I was disappointed.

America Singer has lasted to the top four in the Selection, the competition of the prince’s heart and a place on Illéa’s throne. Though she has never seen herself as either a princess or a future queen, America does have feelings for the prince and even though she might not want the crown, she definitely wants prince Maxon. But as the competition grows even harder and tougher, so does the rebels attacks. They’re more vicious and but America and Maxon fears that one day something truly, truly horrible will happen in their country and to their people. Fighting from the inside, as neatly as they can, both work as best as they can to do anything to help. At the same time, the competition goes on and the mean king seems to dislike America a bit more for every day that goes by. And, of course, Aspen, America’s love for two years previous to the Selection, still wanders the halls of the palace as a guard, confusing her more and more.

I knew exactly what I wanted out of this book and where I wanted the story to go. How I wanted it to end. Kiera Cass took me on a wobbly journey though and a day after I finished reading I still haven’t really digested everything. Without saying too much and spoiling something, for me, the end wasn’t good. It did go where I wanted, but the way to get there was wrong for me. It was too much too fast and… just too much. I see why Cass did what she did, but I neither like nor accept an end like that. In my opinion, this was somehow a cheating way to get out of the lingering problems that lined the story. But like I said, I see why Cass did what she did and I’m sure some people liked the quite action packed ending.

Another thing that I stopped and thought about again and again, something I believe I said after The Selection and The Elite, was the way the story was written. I thought about it then, but it’s been almost six months since I read them and thinking about the two previous books now only makes me think about the story itself, not the writing, but it was very clear now. Maybe the two first books were better or, maybe, I’ve just forgotten it. But the writing wasn’t very good. I wanted more and not a longer book, but more. More details and more meat in the story. It was quite plain, almost empty. Conversations usually felt cut short and more than once did I get the feeling that something happened but it was merely just a bump on the road than something worth stopping to ponder over. One big thing happened in The Elite and that upset America greatly. But another, even bigger, thing happened in The One and it felt like she got upset for a day and then put it behind her. Something that I’m sure would upset a real person a bit more then it upset America. I do get that people react differently in tough situations, but I can’t really see anyone shrugging off what America when through after just a few days. I understand that the story revolve around the competition and thus America and Maxon, but putting something this huge in the story and then not follow through all the way didn’t feel right at all for me.

I believe the story in itself has a lot of potential, but I think it would have been a whole lot better if it just had been worked through a bit more. Something meatier, more details to make it feel like it was real. In some books I read, I know exactly what the characters are dressed in and I like that because then I can picture them more clearly. Sometimes the writer mentions a smell or the warmth of the sun or the feel of something against the character. But the whole Selection stories missed that. It was just the story, what that character said and then the answer and that’s that. Nothing more and I wanted that. Right now it merely felt like I was reading a summary or something of the like, not a real story. More flow in the text and more insights to the character’s thoughts. Something to make it feel more real.

All in all, I’m not satisfied with the last piece of the story but I am glad I read it either way. Now I’ve gotten a final end to the whole thing and that felt good. Before I sat down to read The One I thought that I could reread the entire trilogy during the summer, if the last book was good. And now I can say that that won’t happen. Maybe I will reread the story one day, but it won’t be for quite some time.

Cress

In one way, there’s nothing better than holding a book you’ve longed to read for a while, knowing that you have everything in front of you. You’re holding it all in your hands; the characters, the chapters, the story itself. Pages of pages of something you’ve looked forward to for so long. And in another way, there’s nothing worse than finishing said book and having to lean back and wait for the sequel. More waiting. But you do it, because you know that in the end, when you have the next piece of the story, it’ll all be worth it. And Cress was certainly worth the wait.

Cress is a Lunar shell incarcerated in a satellite orbiting around Earth, a satellite she’s been living in for the past seven years. She is, in ever aspect, a damsel in distress. But not an ordinary one, she is an exceptional hacker and the Lunar Queen's spy from above. Cress sees everything, hears everything and knows everything. At least everything that happens in and around Earths leaders, especially emperor Kaito. But Cress has never been on Earth. She doesn’t have a single memory from a Lunar city. And she has spent the mere part of those seven years alone in her satellite. Which has given her more than enough time to daydream.

During the previous two books in the Lunar chronicles we’ve met Cinder, the fugitive cyborg and Scarlet, the most ordinary of girls from the smallest of towns in France who just happened to end up in the middle of everything when her grandmother decided to help save the lost Lunar princess Selene. Now another girl appears, trying to help Cinder and young emperor Kaito but getting a bit more than she bargained for.

I’ve said it before but I absolutely love this story and the way Marissa Meyer writes it. I’ve mentioned in previous reviews of Cinder and Scarlet that I felt horrible for once saying that I wasn’t sure that I would give Cinder a chance since the story was about a cyborg. It was never the cyborg part in itself, it was the fact that I thought I knew myself so well that I could say that no, a book about a cyborg was nothing I fancied. I was so wrong and it feels good to admit that and even better, actually, to have read Cinder, proven myself wrong and coming out on the other side having found a story I love so much. Cinder, and thus the rest of the Lunar chronicles (well, the three books I’ve read anyway) are some of the best books I’ve ever read. It’s a story, almost like a fairytale, set in the future with people living on the moon, cyborgs and androids in every other corner, that still feels so very believable. And I love those stories. Where you can escape everyday life diving right into this unbelievable story that still feels so true. There is no New Beijing and there are no androids and no Lunars, but it feels like it.

Yes, the Lunar chronicles are something extraordinary. They are fun and sweet, cheeky, witty, colorful and exceptionally interesting. But they are also serious and in some aspects even horrible. The way Lunars can use people like ragdolls, turning them into puppets, forcing them to do whatever said Lunar wants them to do. There are a lot of sacrifices, a lot of hard decisions to make and a lot of death. Though the books are based on fairytales (Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood and Rapunzel in that order) they are not for children. These are strong books about strong women, strong men, strong androids, strong characters. You can still find traces of the original fairytales, but spun in a new, exciting way. There is never a boring moment in either book and definitely not in Cress. I, for one, are already longing until I hold the next book in my hands.