Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Review - Fairest

Written By: Marissa Meyer
Published By: Feiwel and Friends (MacMillan)
Release Date: January 27, 2015
Pages: 222 (Not including excerpt of Winter)
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Retelling

Source: Purchased

In this stunning bridge book between Cress and Winter in the bestselling Lunar Chronicles, Queen Levana’s story is finally told.

Mirror, mirror on the wall,
Who is the fairest of them all?

Fans of the Lunar Chronicles know Queen Levana as a ruler who uses her “glamour” to gain power. But long before she crossed paths with Cinder, Scarlet, and Cress, Levana lived a very different story – a story that has never been told . . . until now. 

Marissa Meyer spins yet another unforgettable tale about love and war, deceit and death. This extraordinary book includes full-color art and an excerpt from Winter, the next book in the Lunar Chronicles series.

Honestly I wasn't overly crazy about Fairest.  Sure, it's a Marissa Meyer book and part of the Lunar Chronicles, but I personally am not a huge fan of back stories about villains.  I never have been.  Don't get me wrong, I love a good villain, they're fantastic and a story, especially a sci-fi fantasy story, can't really BE a story without one, but while it is interesting seeing how evil came to be that way I always end up circling back to the same thought; "Cool motive.  Still murder."  This being said I think I enjoyed Fairest a bit more than I thought I would.  There's something about Marissa's writing that makes it hard for me to put her books down, an ease that lulls me into reading page after page after page, somehow oblivious to the time ticking by.  Fairest, like all of her other books, does just that.  And despite being about a character that eventually turns into someone evil and heartless (haha, that's funny cause that's the title of Marissa's next book!) there are pieces of it that were so pretty.  Sure there were parts that weren't, there were even a few parts that irked me, mainly the whole "I am not a child" thing that shows just how much of a child the character actually is, but I understood the need for it.  I also found myself sympathizing with Levana for a period of time.  I think what I loved the most though was, having read all of the previous (other?) books in the series, I made connections between the books and saw all of the little tidbits Marissa had put in.  It's little Easter eggs like the ones in this book that push the story to the next level because it really shows that the author is thinking about every little detail, which just blows my mind.  Overall I'm pretty happy with this book, and although I wish that maybe it had come out after Winter because I NEED THE END OF THE SERIES I respect that Marissa needed to flush out this character, her villain, to help her write the end, and while it was short it was a quick, enjoyable read.  Fans of the Lunar Chronicles will surely enjoy this look into the most feared character in the series, and even though it's not the ending we were hoping to see at this point in the year it is part of the world and enough to, hopefully, hold us over until Winter's release this November.  

4/5 stars

Monday, February 2, 2015

Review - Shutter

Written By: Courtney Alameda
Published By: Feiwel and Friends (MacMillan)
Release Date: February 3, 2015
Pages: 384
Genre: Horror, Paranormal
Source: ARC from my local indie

Horror has a new name: introducing Courtney Alameda.

Micheline Helsing is a tetrachromat—a girl who sees the auras of the undead in a prismatic spectrum. As one of the last descendants of the Van Helsing lineage, she has trained since childhood to destroy monsters both corporeal and spiritual: the corporeal undead go down by the bullet, the spiritual undead by the lens. With an analog SLR camera as her best weapon, Micheline exorcises ghosts by capturing their spiritual energy on film. She's aided by her crew: Oliver, a techno-whiz and the boy who developed her camera's technology; Jude, who can predict death; and Ryder, the boy Micheline has known and loved forever.
When a routine ghost hunt goes awry, Micheline and the boys are infected with a curse known as a soulchain
. As the ghostly chains spread through their bodies, Micheline learns that if she doesn't exorcise her entity in seven days or less, she and her friends will die. Now pursued as a renegade agent by her monster-hunting father, Leonard Helsing, she must track and destroy an entity more powerful than anything she's faced before . . . or die trying.

Lock, stock, and lens, she’s in for one hell of a week.

Shutter was one of those books that I was just crazy excited about getting my hands on.  If for some reason you didn't know I'm a HUGE horror fan so to have a YA book being published that hails the author as the new name of horror is very exciting.  I've learned the hard way that the hype that a publisher places on a book isn't always the way I see it, but thankfully this was not one of those times.  From the very first page of this book the action and horror was ramped up full force, sending little chills down my spine from time to time and keeping me on edge.  The world that Courtney created was fascinating, and the fact that she based it all off of Dracula was even cooler.  It's actually rather impressive how well thought out this book was, especially considering it was a debut, and although there were a few bits here and there that got a little bogged down with the details (the first few chapters had a little bit of an info-dump) overall it kept me interested the entire time and I was compelled to find out what happened.  I think it's hard to write scary because so often in the movies we rely on those moments of tension coupled with suspenseful music that ultimately leads to the reveal of the big bad thing where it jumps out from around the corner and yells "boo!" but in books it's so much harder to do that.  You're not physically showing a person those things and you don't have the background music to help set the tone, you're forced to rely totally on words on a page, and Courtney has managed to do that.  She's managed to do it not just with the typical creepy setting but with her descriptions of everything, morphing the ordinary into the grotesque just by weaving words together and comparing mundane things to horrific ones.  It was fantastic.  A note to the faint of heart, it wasn't just the descriptions of ordinary things, buildings and the like, that were gross, but the ghosts and the creatures and the death, so this book, it's not for the weak willed.  That being said I can say that fans of horror, especially those who are also fans of the YA age group, will find this to be a delightful read.  The action is non-stop and while there's a little bit of romance is isn't overwhelming.  I can honestly say that this won't be a book for everyone , there are going to be people who won't like it, but as a horror novel it stands its own and I really do hope that Courtney is able to continue the story because while most things are wrapped up there's potential for more.  Fingers crossed that will happen (on both Courtney and MacMillan's end)!

On a separate note I can totally see this is a movie too, and if it was done right it would be SO COOL!!!

4.5/5 stars