Friday, April 26, 2013

I promised you sequels: Cinder and Scarlet

What on earth happened to April? Yikes! Almost an entire month ago I said I'd get to the sequels I read over Spring Break soon. I guess three weeks counts as soon in Dead Houseplant Land. I'd better quickly get caught up!

I didn't read everything I said I was going to, and I read some things I wasn't planning to, but I did re-read Cinder and then read Scarlet, by Marissa Meyer.

Here's my Goodread's review of Cinder, just to bring you up to speed if you haven't read it yet:

A steampunk Cinderella? With a believably-realized world of human cyborgs and plagues and moon people? Too fun! I was willing to buy the book for the joke of Cinderella losing her foot rather than her shoe, but I was completely won over by the characters, the romance, the suspense, the fascinating world. Eagerly awaiting the second book.

I enjoyed Cinder just as much on rereading. It's not one of the books I'll go back to again and again, but it's certainly entertaining. And I found Scarlet a very satisfying second book. We still get to see quite a bit of Cinder (not too much of Prince Kai, unfortunately), and I loved the new characters: feisty Scarlet, mysterious Wolf, and disreputable Thorne. There's plenty of action, and we learn a bit more about those strange Lunar people and their scary queen. Apparently the next book will have Rapunzel in it. Light, fun, intriguing--and with awesome covers: I'll probably buy Cress in hardcover too.

Milk chocolate-covered nuts, or pretzels, or little fruit nuggets, whatever you like covered in chocolate: tasty and a little bit addictive.

Keeping it short: I'll save my Canadian sequel for the next post (which won't take me another month, I promise!)

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Beholder's Eye, by Julie Czerneda

I didn't get all the vacation reading done that I said I would. I did get to a few of those sequels, and I'll do a post about them shortly. I also discovered a couple of new authors I want to read more of. Since one of them is Canadian, and I'm sorely behind on my Canadian Book Challenge (I need 12 by July and I've got 7 so far), today's post is about sci fi writer Julie Czerneda.

I bought Beholder's Eye right before I left, because it was a paperback, my friend said it was good, and Czerneda is Canadian. (Always like to support fellow countrymen.) It turned out to be a perfect beach read: fun, interesting with cool ideas but not mind-bendingly challenging, fair bit of action but not too intense.

Beholder's Eye felt more fantasy-like to me than science fiction. (Just to be clear, this isn't a bad thing in my view.) Yes, there are space ships and space ports, but the story didn't depend on technology in any way. Esen-Alit-Quar is a being who can shift shapes into any species she has "acquired." Faced with a threat to her own existence and to all the life she has encountered, Esen has to decide whether to keep the rules about not exposing her identity, or to risk her own species in helping the others. It's really a coming-of-age story set in a number of fun alien worlds, and a story of friendship and loyalty, using two species as metaphors for the things that keep us from trusting one another. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it to YA readers, and to fantasy readers who want to try out science fiction.

This book is a stand-alone, but there are two more books about Esen-Alit-Quar. I'm curious to see how her relationship with the human Ragem develops in the next two books. But my library has the three books in her Stratification cycle, which looks promising, and her latest, which is fantasy and also looks very good (there are giant toads: I think it's a must-read!). So I'm not sure which one I'll try next.

Beholder's Eye is like the tostadas we had in Mexico: lots of different flavours layered on top of crunchy goodness.

For more Canadian books to try, in all genres, check out John Mutford's blog, The Book Mine Set.