We discovered that we all felt like we had missed out on some of the key YA reads of the last few years, and decided to recitfy that! For the last two weeks we’ve all been catching up on the excellent Lunar Chronicles series by Marissa Meyer, choosing to read either Cinder or Scarlet.
The winner of the giveaway was Natalie at Books, Etc. Go check her out!
So What Did People Think?
Since I was the Book Pusher for this one, I was really excited to see if my fellow book club members would enjoy this one. And overall, it looks like they really did! Most people seem to have decided to read Cinder and it was a ton of fun following the #CatchUpClub hashtag throughout the two weeks to see what people thought of the books. As I said in my Book Pusher Post, one thing I love about this novel is the relationship that develops between Kai and Cinder. I just thought it was very sweet, and the obstacles to their relationship made a lot of sense. Nothing magically came together for them — there is no fairy godmother to be seen.
One of my favorite points from Dianne’s review (go read it HERE) was that Cinder was a great heroine BECAUSE she had to be her own hero. She was put in a set of really untenable circumstances, and while she certainly had allies, she had to be her own protagonist. There was no magic fix, no bibbity bobbity boo. There’s something really great about a strong female heroine who doesn’t wait for the prince in shining armor to come save her and sweep her off her feet. This counts double for this kind of heroine in a fairy tale retelling!
I also completely agree with Yasmine (read her review HERE) that the worldbuilding in this series is amazing. It’s an Asian/Western cross, which feels familiar and yet totally out there. I thought placing the familiar story in this crazy world absolutely worked, and helped the underlying story we’ve all heard a thousand times feel fresh.
Jessica also loved the worldbuilding (read her review HERE), but both she and Yasmine totally disagree with me on the Kai/Cinder relationship, feeling like its development is not at all believable, for various reasons. I really enjoyed reading this part of their reviews because our reading experiences were so different. Yasmine felt that Kai didn’t seem totally into it when we read from his point of view and you know, now that she points that out I can totally see it. Kai’s POVs were more about worldbuilding and conflict – he is the Prince after all – whereas Cinder spent more time worried about the him. I hadn’t seen it that way before and thought that was a really interesting point. Jessica also felt like there wasn’t enough THERE to convince her of their romance.
Lisa from Lisa Likes Books also joined us in reading Cinder and reviewing it on her blog (read her review HERE). She points out just how invested we really got into these characters and YES! Although I agree with Yasmine’s point in her review that sometimes things got a bit obvious (was anyone really shocked by the twist??), I also agree with Lisa that this book just left me on the edge of my seat! I really wanted everything to work out! The novel did break my usual cardinal rule of not ending things on a cliffhanger, though. I realized there were about 20 pages left and no way it was all going to wrap up and I just wanted to scream! Luckily, Scarlet was already out and I was able to move on to that one!
Katie used the Catch Up Club as an excuse to also finally pick up Scarlet (read her review HERE). She points out that the great world-building continues and extends in Scarlet, which I totally agreed with. Just like the first novel in this series, the action in Scarlet starts early and doesn’t let up until the last page. Katie and I also agree that the Scarlet chapters seemed more gripping. Don’t get me wrong, I love Cinder’s character, but by the time she showed up in the novel I was so invested in the Scarlet half that it was sometimes jarring to jump back and forth. I’m actually really wondering how Meyer is going to pull it off in the next two books in the series wherein she intends to introduce even MORE fairy-tale inspired characters I’m sure I’ll fall in love with. I’ve seen some great early comments come out on the next book, Cress, so I’m sure she can pull it off, but I’m definitely curious!
I hope you all enjoyed reading along and participating in this little online book club. We were really excited to see some of you join us! Come on back in a week or so, we’re all going to start reading The Grisha series by Leah Bardugo! I just got Siege and Storm from the library and cannot WAIT!