Storm and Silence. Robert Thier.


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Storm and Silence by Robert Thier

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Category: YA Historical Fiction

Thank you to the author for providing a copy in exchange for an honest review.

This was a hit on wattpad, and now, it’s being published as an ebook on the 19th of March!

Quick Review. 4.5 Stars

Gawdbloodyhell, if you love cold but secretly sweet though not bipolar male love interests, pick this up! If you love a female protagonist who’s kickass all the way through even in the toughest of moments (though she acts even when scared) and won’t let a man tell her she can’t do anything. Then pick this up! If you love Historical Romance, a female character who’s a feminist, suffragette (but not extremely hardcore feminist/suffragette, but rather, values the principles of feminism and acts on it), then YES you got it! If you’re a bit of a fan of gender bendering, humorous interactions between female protagonist and love interest, you got it. And most importantly, if you like action, this has plenty of it!

Highlights of the book (quick and briefly)

– Miss Lilly Linton and Mr Ambrose. They kept me up until the early hours of Saturday morning because I just wanted so much more of them!
– Pure/clean romance (but there is kissing! Actually quite a lot of kissing at one questionable moment, but it doesn’t go any further than that.)

If you want to know more, keep reading below (because although my quick review is gushing over it, there were several things that nagged at me. BUT definitely not enough for me to rate this down tooo much.)

 

Initial Thoughts Before Reading

I want to point out that, although I was intrigued by the premise. (Although even the premise is very brief and says little). And that cover! You know, I love a beautiful cover, and this one, is just, well, so very intriguing and simple! Though, it did make me frown. Why? Because the 19th century, in particularly the beginning of, is one of my favourite time periods ever. Storm and Silence is set about 20 years later than the Regency, located in the Victorian Era – another era I do love reading about, because hell yes, Queen! on the throne – and the cover just looks like a guy in a suit. Then again, because you can’t see the back of, and I’m not expert on clothes unless I’m looking at the actual thing, my head debated for a bit, before settling down on, OKAY it still passes as being somewhat accurate! And since my brain clearly agreed on that, we moved onto the next thing. Intrigued by premise and cover, I did in fact check out some of the previous reviews, reviews given by people who loved the book on Wattpad.

-.-

I won’t lie. Those reviews made me so gawdawfully suspicious. Everyone loved it! PRAISES FOR ALL. LOVE. LOVE. LOVE. THREE CHEERS.

Ugh. I hate books that have too many praises, and though I love reading people’s reviews (both positive and negative), sometimes it’s just so hard for me to believe them! (Hence why I go out and read the book for myself. Though usually, the higher the praise a book gets, the longer it takes for me to read it. But sometimes, I might just jump right in.)

And so YES. I started this book with all intentions of hating it. THAT and also, I started it because I’d already finished the book in my bag on my morning trip to uni, and had ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO READ on my way home. And when one has absolutely nothing to read they’ll read anything.

It was really good that my first impression was low. Because if it was high, then I might have found it harder to like.

Or maybe, this book really is just that likeable :P? Because I know, by the end of the book, I was crying for more. Craving, dying, wanting. So glad Thier is an author on Wattpad, and that I have Wattpad, and I can follow and read the sequel!

First Impressions Comparison

– I was reminded of A Spy in the House – the Agency series with the whole mystery angle.
– I was also reminded a little of A School for Unusual Girls, with the whole smart girl thing. Though Lilly is smart in her own little way.
– And Newt’s Emerald, for the gender bending, cross dressing! And also, the mystery aspect again, and the desperate need to recover something.
– Andddd A Matter of Magic, again, for a bit of the crossdressing, but also, the older, more authoritative figure, and the younger, assistant relationship (but mind, the age difference is around 5-ish/6-ish years).
– AND it has all the intense chemistry of any good slow burn romance book.
– OH I had like a Pride & Prejudice feel here, only less classic! Rather simply the values that each character has reminds me of P+P. But other than it’s nothing like the classic!

P L O T

The premise is a bit short in details about the plot. But yes, it does highlight one important aspect of the book. Lilly Linton wants freedom. And in a time when women’s rights are somewhat oppressed, Lilly and her small band of friends take part in small protests for women’s rights. Since this is set in the late 1830s of the Victorian Era, and before any serious suffrage movements take place. At the very beginning of the book, we see Lilly dressed up as a guy heading towards the polling booth. On the way, she helps out a gentleman businessman, who then offers her a job. If it weren’t for her tiny mistake at the polling booths, well, her potential new Employer, according to his card, Mr Ambrose, wouldn’t have found out she was a girl.

Even so, she turns up at his office as he had requested, and even though she’s dressed as a woman, she makes her way to meet him (to the surprise of everyone in the office). Of course, Mr Ambrose, a man of his time, and averse to the idea of a woman working, yet true and honourable to his word as a businessman, he allows Lilly to accept the job, on the condition that she dresses as a man – just like she had been when they first met.

But Mr Ambrose, thinking he knew better, didn’t expect her to return as such, finds himself a crossdressing female as his private secretary.

Throughout the whole book, Lilly fights him constantly about her right to work, and since she does her job impeccably, Mr Ambrose, true to his word as a businessman, cannot make her go. So, in turn, he does everything he can to get rid of her.

In the process, an important file goes missing, and Lilly finds herself unable to keep out of Mr Ambrose’s business, proving herself to be very resourceful and useful in the process, which of course, makes it harder and harder for Mr Ambrose to get rid of her. A lot of this plot focusses on this file and leads to the major cliffhanger at the end.

Action is a significant portion of the novel, and so is the romance between Lilly and Mr Ambrose. Though, mind you, it’s slow burn (my favourite type!) yet with plenty of chemistry and humorous encounters. This book, while categorized as historical romance, does not simply focus on these two people. Lilly does have her own problems, and must deal with it, in a dress, and with a fan, and must also be at work on time.

Some parts of this story lag a bit, specially when Lilly comes across her younger sister and her secret assignation with her lover. These scenes to me, felt a bit like a parody, like a caricature of forbidden loves, but at the same time, no less sweet. Admittedly, I just kept rolling my eyes at their interactions, mostly because the conversations were so silly! Bordering on satirical (which is also something I think this whole book does about that time period, but here’s why I also compare it to Heyer, since she wrote serious but humorous romances so the characters fall in love and yet do it humourously along the way). My favourite parts of this subplot however, was the ball scene towards the end.

C H A R A C T E R S

Lilly Linton, one of six daughters who are left with their aunt when her parents died. She’s nineteen, and couldn’t care less about balls, dances, and chauvinistic males. She’s more interested in wearing pants, fighting for rights as a woman, and a way out of her Aunt’s good gracious, to lift the burden, but also, so that she doesn’t ever have to marry anyone!What I love about her. She has a really interesting personality. Lots of humorous thoughts in her head, and doesn’t know how to really be a girl either. Even though in the company of men, she’s pretty feminine, except when she’s in full guy mode and allowed to swear up a storm and act like a guy. She’s clever, and resourceful, and refuses to give up her principles. She’s not invincible though. She doesn’t mind pushing her aunt to her limits, but so long as she plays towards her aunt’s desires (for her to go out and throw herself at gentleman to get married to), then she can be as free as a bird (well sort of free). When she’s in a dangerous situation, she gets scared and angry, but knows how to keep her head and follow orders (well not orders that tell her to stay away, but orders during the most intense moments). ON THE DOWNSIDE, Lilly’s stubbornness and inability to stay away from danger, throwing herself into tough situations might be dislikeable to some. However, I liked her enough because her character was justified and when she made a decision she stuck with it and acted as brave as possible, and not at all like a stupid-damsel-in-distress.

Mr Ambrose. His interactions with Lilly are the highlight of this book! I LOVE him. Well, rather, what I love, is how he was created. Indeed, he is somewhat your romantic love interest, the broody kind I mean. BUT BETTER. Broody typical love interests are always like, well, cavemen, broody and somewhat depressing. Mr Ambrose, is a sensible, logical, non-joking male, who knows how to use sarcasm (or rather he tells truths in a sarcastic way), likes to order people around, a miser who loves threatening Lilly by telling her that all the expenses are coming out of her wage, dresses well but plainly, is considered the richest man in all of England, has a somewhat shady background everyone is always speculating on, and though he acts like he only cares about Lilly because he needs a well working secretary, he does actually care about her, even though he never explicitly shows it because he’s always putting work first. You’ll understand what I mean when you read it! And work, as a man in his line of business, gets dangerous. Usually when it gets dangerous, he sends Lilly home, but she always manages to end up right at his side in the midst of danger, simply because she’s not the kind who takes well to be being ordered away simply because ‘she’s a girl’. Mr Ambrose though, usually after trying his best to send her away, allows her to stay. He does, respect her enough to let her stay, simply because he knows she won’t go away anyway.

Supporting characters mention: KARIM. YES. This guy who is Mr Ambrose bodyguard. HE IS AWESOME. Every time he pops up, he’s nearly the comic relief, even when Lilly and Mr Ambrose are at each other’s next in the most humourous way as possible without downgrading the importance of their arguments. I give Karim a special mention, because he plays an important throughout the book as Mr Ambrose’s bodyguard and trusted person. He does, after all, give Lilly the nickname that Mr Ambrose calls her rarely when he’s in a good mood. AND He’s terrified of Lilly simply because she’s a firecracker female!

S E T T I N G

1830s England, about the time when Victoria is crowned Queen, and the industrial revolution is blooming. My knowledge of this era is scattered, though I knew enough to be pleased with the accuracies. (Except I frowned a bit in confusion about the women suffrage movement, but after some research, I realized that the details in the book were still pretty accurate, since the proper movement didn’t begin until around the 1870s for the UK, but before that, there were smaller, little protests from the middle to upper class. And the notes that Thier added helped sort out the confusion in my head.)

W R I T I N G

Witty. It has it’s personal flair – Robert Thier flair. And by god. I can’t believe it. He can actually write from a female perspective EXCELLENTLY. Generally I don’t like genders writing for the opposite gender mainly because the guys come out extra whiny, or not convincingly enough male. And the females become overly obsessed with shoes and dresses and all, mainly over over exaggerated female stereotypes. However, Thier doesn’t do that. He gives Lilly’s principles, values, morals, habits, likes and dislikes, and writes a very convincing female tomboy without sounding like a man writing a female. Loved it. (And while Lilly freaks out over her feelings for Mr Ambrose, she usually has her head on straight and focussed on the task.)

Also, written in first person, and definitely all through the book a very characteristic YA style. More colloquial than historical in terms of language BUT there is enough era sensitive language used for the book to feel like it is set during the time it is supposed to!

He doesn’t waste too much time on description, but thankfully there is enough detail to give a full picture.
But the best part, is that he interweaves plenty of wittiness to love, and I find it absolutely humorous. Although the review copy I received had a few spelling errors and (of which will probably be filtered out before it’s actually published), I found the writing style likeable. There’s a cliffhanger at the end of nearly every chapter (hence why I ended up staying up to the ridiculous hour of 4am simply because I wanted to finish this AND STILL COULDN’T; if I wasn’t so rational, I would have kept going until 9am and forgoed sleep, but unfortunately, my eyes were just inadequately falling asleep on me!)

OH BUT WARNING. As much as I love scenes where the guy shoves a girl up against a wall (whether to intimidate, make a point, or just be a brute – I usually don’t really like the last option), this does happen a little too often in Storm & Silence, and while it’s not annoying (okay maybe a little) since it is a pretty intense scene each time, even though it’s absolutely pure each time! it does become a little bit repetitive. I think I counted 4 scenes? But well, like I said, the scenes are intense, and so much sparkly, steamy, clean & pure chemistry sparking between Lilly and Mr Ambrose, and it’s usually when they’re arguing! (And also another warning, depending on how you like your historicals, this one borders a bit onto the types where there’s more physical touching (for now I can only think of the Her Fair Assassin trilogy by Robin LaFevers and The Luxe series by Anna Godbersen as examples of such and less of the distant intense chemistry of Heyer’s historical romances.)

O V E R A L L

I really enjoyed this. I did. Reading it, I was somewhat reminded of Georgette Heyer’s regencies (yes I know, I say this often, but if you follow my reviews, then y’all know well enough how much I love her books, and how they’re like my ultimate historicals) with outrageous scenarios (well in Heyer’s novels, this doesn’t always happen but still), a headstrong, somewhat feisty female protagonist, and a swoony busy love interest. (Still, Silence and Storm cannot really be compared to Heyer, because Heyer is a gem from another century, and her uniqueness makes her Queen Overlord of Historical Regency Romances. But what Thier has in common is his ability to thread his own flair and style into his story.) Either I was really craving a romance like this at this moment, and this just came by a the right time, or this book really is as good as its ratings, whichever, I think this is a pretty good book and I would definitely suggest it!

You know after finishing the review, I feel like I didn’t put in enough cons….but there were some, it’s just that my enjoyment overrode any negative feelings I might have had about the cons! I suppose if I were to pick some cons, it would be that although Silence and Storm felt like a whole and complete novel, sometimes I felt like it could be revisited and edited a bit more, and yet…while I wouldn’t say it’s perfect, it sure as hell is an interesting story (the highlight, the slowly blooming romance of Lilly and Mr Ambrose).

So if anything above catches your eye, give this book a chance. I can’t guarantee you’ll love it, but I sure as did. So maybe you won’t like, but hopefully you will since I do and don’t know how I read through this YA historical romance all at once and wanted more. Sometimes I think, wow there was a lot of silliness happening but then my brain morphs and justifies the scenes with the seriousness of the situation!

P.s. have I mentioned somewhere, this is one of the first ebooks I don’t have a problem with reading on the kindle phone app? I usually don’t like ebooks because I always feel like I’m reading some kind of draft, but well, this time, it didn’t feel like that at all! (except for the typos of course.)

View all my reviews

The Lunar Chronicles. Marissa Meyer.

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Yes.  Yes I am.  I am suggesting this whole series as is, rather than writing up four separate reviews (I do have four reviews on my GR acct — >  Nina (Words and Water) ) because this WHOLE series has had me up in angst knots for the past couple of weeks.  If I hadn’t been purposefully dragging out each reading session just so that it wouldn’t have ended so soon, I would have gobbled up each book immediately, one per day.

First Off.  This series is amazing.  It fully deserves its 5 Stars.  But my rating will be 4.8 Stars.  

Thank you Sam! for recommending me this series.  Seriously, you hit the nail on the head!  

Check out Sam’s blog, over at A History of Books!

W H A T  I  L O V E D:

What I love about this series is that it’s pretty original!  Granted it was really hard for me to move onto a new series since right before this, I was on a Star Wars high, and I still kind of am! So I ended up drawing a lot of parallels between Star Wars and the Lunar Chronicles, which, is by no means a bad thing.  For while they are similar, they are so very different, and two very different series!  Here’s a quick list of what to love about this series in case it’s too much of a pain to read through his whole page 😛 –

  1. The Action – heck yes, plenty of things happening!
  2. The Romance – there are romances!  And the good thing is, is that it doesn’t take over the plot, nor are the main problems at hand forgotten either.  There’s a good balance of both.  Not instalove.  Plenty of development.  And SURPRISE though we satisfactory endings at each book, it’s not perfect – their relationships spill over and continue to develop in the next installment
  3. Political tension – on a basic but well developed YA level.  So it’s acceptable and I found little fault with it.
  4. Tension in general – because it deals with cyborgs, shells, Lunars, there’s a lot of tension and discrimination going on, so your characters do suffer and be strong!
  5. Diverse characters – in personality, and also character!
  6. If you love Star Wars, and looking for a similar YA story to go with hat craze, then pick this up.  Yes.  Pick it up  now!

T H E  P L O T

The whole series is centred on avoiding an alliance with Queen Levana and Luna.  It involves a lost Princess whom Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, and Winter (the titular characters) all assist at one point or another along with their love interests, into regaining the throne of Luna. There is a servant girl (of sorts), a lost princess, a farm girl, a wolf thing, a hacker rapunzel, a scoundrel (of sorts), a Prince, a guard, crazy doctor, bioelectricity, a horrid Stepmother, a bitchy older stepsister, and a nicer younger stepsister. In addition, Meyer throws us cyborgs, a plague, aliens from the moon (well sort of aliens), an Evil Queen, the most adorable little android that certainly belongs on my list of favourite fictional androids (R2D2 is no. 1 and BB-8 is no.2), and a futuristic world.

Each installment of the series is a re-envisioning of a classic fairytale set in this futuristic world.  As you may have guessed except for winter, these tales are: Cinderella, Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel, and Snow White.  But this retelling is nothing like the original fairy tales.

Each story is carefully interwoven with only elements of the original fairy tales, into the greater plot regarding a princess, a throne, and a conflict between Earth and the Moon.  There is also biowarfare threatening to kill all Earthens, and an Evil Queen who happens to have the antidote in exchange for being an Empress on Earth.

Classic revolutionary story.  Classic villain story.  Classic fantasy story!  And also, probably classic hero story too.

I think that Marissa Meyer is perhaps one of my favourite YA Fantasy (Sci-fi) novelists right now.  Since she did a brilliant job with the Lunar Chronicles, that, right about now, I’m having a hard time finding anything else to match it.  

“Imagine there was a cure, but finding it would cost you everything. It would completely ruin your life. What would you do?”

– Cinder

C H A R A C T E R S

The main protagonist in Cinder is of course, Cinder. Now, I feel like whoever wrote her, gave her the personality of a Cancer. She has the most ridiculous mood swings. One moment she’s upset, the next she’s raging on someone’s arse, the next, she’s all demure and saying no to the Prince. In truth, I wasn’t all too happy or satisfied with Cinder’s personality, and didn’t like her very much to begin with (NOW while reading Scarlet, I seem to really like her personality!) But she did grow on me. And the ending of Cinder cemented her personality in my head a bit more, gave the girl a little bit more ground for her swinging moods. And I guess it was that one epic ‘Noooooo’ scene at the end of Cinder that really swung her back to my list of okay-maybe-I-do-like-this-character list. And no, I’m not going to tell you what ‘Noooooo’ is referring to. Go read it yourself and be wowed by it. Since truly, that scene has made it to my list of Top Favourite Epic Moments in YA Fantasy Fiction. As a Cyborg, with a metal leg and hand, Cinder is a very pitiful character in the story, like I usually think Cinderella is (though Cinderella is usually more cheerful, good and kind about cleaning and working, whereas Cinder is simply humble, but not afraid to rebel against her stepmum), but as things unravel, and she meets Kai, Cinder grows. Now I didn’t really like Cinder much in the first book, but she grew on me for the others, and I liked her a lot more.  There’s a reason why I didn’t like her, but that’s explained in the book, which makes her more relatable in the others!

“I don’t know. I don’t actually remember anything from before the surgery.”

His eyebrows rose, his blue eyes sucking in all the light of the room. “The cybernetic opetation?”

“No, the sex change.”

The doctor’s smile faltered.

“I’m joking.”

– Cinder

Prince Kaito is the love interest. Setting aside all else, let’s gush over Prince Kai for the moment. As a young prince, he’s the best. I LOVE HIM as a love interest. He’s cute, and he’s nice. He’s the kind of cool guy combination without the asshole part. Or the broody part (he does brood a bit, but he isn’t the typically brooder, since he is a prince and his father is dying). Kai is the nice kind of love interest. He takes an interest in Cinder, and is polite to her. But the thing is, he doesn’t know she’s a cyborg. Kai really develops in Winter, but it was a bit of a struggle to watch him deal with politics during Scarlet and Cress.

“…but I’m trying to be inconspicuous.”
Cinder considered telling him it wasn’t working but thought better of it. The lack of a throng of screaming girls surrounding her booth was probably evidence that it was working better than she suspected. Instead of looking like a royal heartthrob, he just looked crazy.

– Cinder

Scarlet — I actually really liked Scarlet. She’s pretty out there like Cinder, action first then think later, but unlike Cinder who’s more prone to blaming herself, Scarlet is a little firecracker. She’s definitely true to the stereotypical red head, all hot and fiery, and not afraid at all. Yet, she is also very grounded in the fact that there are some events beyond her abilities and she should be scared. And so there are a few screamy moments, but never once, not once does Scarlet really let it get to her. She bites back even when she’s scared, but she never does anything stupid. When she knows she’s helpless against her enemy, she holds back and waits-ish.

“She sighed, annoyed at her restlessness. “So,” she said, disrupting Wolf in another backward glance.
“Who would win in a fight—you or a pack of wolves?”
He frowned at her, all seriousness. “Depends,” he said, slowly, like he was trying to figure out her motive for asking. “How big is the pack?”
“I don’t know, what’s normal? Six?”
“I could win against six,” he said. “Any more than that and it could be a close call.”
Scarlet smirked. “You’re not in danger of low self-esteem, at least.”
“What do you mean?”
“Nothing at all.” She kicked a stone from their path. “How about you and … a lion?”
“A cat? Don’t insult me.”
She laughed, the sound sharp and surprising. “How about a bear?”
“Why, do you see one out there?”
“Not yet, but I want to be prepared in case I have to rescue you.”
The smile she’d been waiting for warmed his face, a glint of white teeth flashing. “I’m not sure. I’ve never had to fight a bear before.”

 – Scarlet

Omg Wolf. You know I knew he was shifty from the start. Isn’t the Wolf always shifty? But man, when the twist came out, it definitely was not what I expected. If I expected one thing about his character, that wasn’t it. And I was shocked! Wolf has replaced Kai on my list of awesome male characters in the Lunar Chronicles. But really, I think after reading Cress, my list is going to change again. I suppose it can’t be helped, not with the way Meyer works her romances, her plot, and her characters! Wolf throughout the remaining books becomes very protective of Scarlet, and just when I thought he would be under the Thaumaturges’ control again, he actually surprised me!

“Don’t come any closer!” Scarlet yelled. The chicken clucked and dawdled away. “I will shoot, you know.”
“I know.” A flicker of kindness passed over him and he pointed at his temple. “You’ll want to aim for the head. That usually makes for a fatal shot. Or, if you’re feeling shaky, the torso. It’s a larger target.”
“Your head looks pretty big from here.”

– Scarlet

Cress is an absolute darling. What I love about her, and all the other character’s in Meyer’s book is that she is both a weak and strong character. She has clearly defined weaknesses and strengths. Just like Cinder. Just like Scarlet. It might seem very narrow, but I think I like this kind of characterisation better than what other books sometimes do–which is create a female protagonist is so mary sue it makes me want to punch them. None of the heroines of the Lunar Chronicles are like that though, and it’s WONDERFUL. Cress is, as I said, an absolute darling. Trapped in a satellite, a pawn of the Queen, via the Thaumaturge Sybil Mira, for seven years, she has been their secret hacker, programmer, eyes in the sky, gifted with knowing everything there is to know about everyone and everything, except being properly Lunar. Since she is, after all, a Shell. Cress is not like Cinder who is determined to do something, and rather spontaneous, or like Scarlet who’s a little firecracker, as hot as her hair, and more than ready to spit in the face of adversity even if it hurts, than to give in if she can help it. Cress is a softy. She’s shy and a scaredy cat. She also, has a wild imagination. It’s this Imagination of hers that gets her through the toughest of moments. And also, makes her mistake some things.

“Captain?”
“Yeah?”
“Do you think it was destiny that brought us together?”
He squinted and, after a thoughtful moment, shook his head. “No. I’m pretty sure it was Cinder.” 

– Cress

Thorne. Oh Thorne. We meet Thorne in Scarlet and he’s isn’t really the world’s most enthusiastic companion when travelling with Cinder, but he’s moderately helpful.  But of course, we don’t see much of him until Cress.  He’s a much more complex character than he seems, and he’s not like the angst or broody kind either, which thankfully is perfect. He’s actually a really good guy. Arrogant, but not bad over all. Charming, hell yes. Sarcastic, absolutely. Loved him. Love him with Cress, even though the end of the book doesn’t really give us a full resolution on Cress and Thorne, but I liked that! Since they just kind of met after all, and it doesn’t matter that they’ve passed through the whole book together, what I loved is that Cress has just the perfect amount of sweetness to balance Thorne’s arrogant, charming, sarcastic ways. It just makes me go awww.

“Cress?”
“It’s beautiful out there.”
A hesitation, before, “Could you be more specific?”
“The sky is gorgeous, intense blue color.” She pressed her fingers to the glass and traced the wavy hills on the horizon.
“Oh, good. You’ve really narrowed it down for me.”
“I’m sorry, it’s just…” She tried to stamp down the rush of emotion. “I think we’re in a desert.”
“Cactuses and tumbleweeds?”
“No just a lot of sand. It’s kind of orangish-gold, with hints of pink, and I can see tiny clouds of it floating above the ground, like…like smoke.”
“Piles up in lots of hills?”
“Yes, exactly! And it’s beautiful.”
Thorne snorted. “If this is how you feel about a desert, I can’t wait until you see your first real tree. Your mind will explode.”

– Cress

Winter.  Oh my, Winter.  First, I loveeee that she has dark skin and beautiful.  I love that she’s a little nuts from Lunar sickness.  She is, in her own somewhat twisted way, adorable.  Her sickness from the lack of bioelectric manipulation, is the kind that gives her hallucinations and sends her mind faraway.  She mutters a lot and says a lot of random things that of course make her look crazy.  But at the centre of her heart, Winter is a sweet girl who is also quite intelligent and more than happy to help her long lost cousin and others.

“They are going to laugh at you and mock you and then they are going to—”
“Eat me.Yes. I understand.”
“You don’t seem to be grasping the meaning behind the words. This isn’t a metaphor. I’m talking about huge teeth and digestive systems.”
“Fat and bones and marrow and meat,” Winter sang. “We only wanted a snack to eat.”
Scarlet grunted. “You can be so disturbing.”

– Winter

Jacin is a bit of jerk in Cress but he grew on me in Winter.  Seeing him interact with Winter, it was really endearing.  He really cares about her, and would do anything to protect her, and also, members of his family.  He is the huntsman by the way, that you often see in the Snow White story, and Levana is her stepmother. But he doesn’t really top my list, and I wish I got more of an insight into his character.  Between the action and the romance and the revolution, there wasn’t much time for developing Jacin.

Jacin said nothing else. Neither did she. After the first ring was completed, she leaned her head against his thigh, making herself more comfortable as she picked out a sunburst orange. Overhead, Jacin sighed, and she felt the faintest brush of fingertips against her hair. A hint, a suggestion of togetherness, before he became a statue once more.

– Winter

And I must give an honourable mention to Iko! Who is part of the main cast, and is an android! My favourite supporting character is Iko! An android with some faulty personality. If R2D2 could talk, I bet he’d be like that haha. But again, they’re incomparable, and I did love Iko so much. She’s sarcastic and very human for an android, which makes her such a wonderful addition to the cast.

“My point is that I am going to figure this out, like I always do. First, we’re going to find a way to get into Artemisia. We’re going to find Cress and rescue Cinder and Wolf. We’re going to overthrow Levana, and by the stars above, we are going to make Cinder a queen so she can pay us a lot of money from her royal coffers and we can all retire very rich and very alive, got it?”

Winter started to clap. “Brilliant speech. Such gumption and bravado.”

“And yet strangely lacking in any sort of actual strategy,” said Scarlet.

“Oh, good, I’m glad you noticed that too,” said Iko. “I was worried my processor might be glitching.”

And Lastly, Queen Levana of Luna is the Antagonist of the whole series, and she is quite cruel!!  However, in the main series, I feel like she was very 2D, and could have done with a bit more developing. BUT!! I haven’t read the novellas, or the short story–in particular Fairest yet, so I can’t comment!!

Other supporting characters:  Torin is a great advisor to Kai, Dr Erland was a bit nutty but good and true in the end, Thaumaturge Sybil so glad she got what she deserved, and there are so many other great and wonderful side characters!  I can’t list them all, but read this series and you’ll surely agree!

S E T T I N G

Set in New Beijing, a futuristic city that’s the centre of the Eastern Commonwealth, developed after World War 4 (or something like that). You get the point. It’s a sci-fi futuristic story. There are cyborgs people living on the Moon which is referred to as Luna, and the inhabitants, Lunars who possessed bio-electric manipulation abilities.

Some things that bug me about the setting, is a) the lack of description on what the characters look like and also the development of human evolution. Four world wars, how many years have really passed before the fourth war (I know there has been 126 years after the fourth war or so), and what do the Earthens look like? Blended races? See for me, Kai had a distinct Asian look (hooray Asians!) but Cinder was more blurred (I would love it more if she was Asian-looking) since her ancestry is not as clear cut either. That’s the first thing. B) I am a linguist, someone who studies language, and I hate it so, so, so, so, so, so, so, much that the language aspect has been glossed over!!! Why? Tell me why? YES Meyer includes the kinship terms that are common and necessary in Chinese when referring to one another, but that’s it. It’s very simple. TOO SIMPLE. And I want to rage about it! But I won’t. Because after all, I’ve only ever found ONE futuristic/post-apocalyptic/sci-fi series that really develops the linguistic side of things in a believable way.

I do feel that the labelling of the political divisions bugs me a lot. I still can’t get the term ‘Eastern Commonwealth’ through my head. I mean logically it’s correct, but it just doesn’t sound right. I mean, really, Commonwealth is obviously commonly associated with the British Empire. And Britain and things like China/other Asian countries don’t really mesh well in my head. Then again, has Meyer mentioned who is part of the Eastern Commonwealth? I’d love to know.

Anyway, enough of me picking at the world a bit more—I’m sorry, I can’t help it, it reminds me so much of the world of the Selection which I didn’t really like at all, and at least the world of the Lunar Chronicles is a little bit better.  Other than those three points, I do find that I like the set up of the series a lot. There’s something very unique about it. And Meyer did a good job developing it. Sticking us in a world where cyborgs are considered worse than the worst human criminals, and everyone is terrified of Lunars, and there’s a plague killing everyone too.

W R I T I N G

Good. I like her writing. It doesn’t overly delve into emotion, but there is enough to make you feel for each character. She has written in 3rd person, and the story alternates among a number of perspectives. I like her style, simply because she makes the whole story very exciting!  But I think her dialogues should be praised. I love reading those!  So sarcastic and witty.  And really highlight the various personalities of the characters.

O V E R A L L

I picked up Scarlet straight after Cinder. I think if you’re the kind of reader who likes action, fantasy, bit of romance, and enough plot twists to keep you going, pick this up. Like now. If you like characters with really intense emotions and determination, then pick this up. Immediately! If you like worlds of not too complicated sci-fi. You got it. You know the drill. Pick this up. I picked this up because it was recommended. While I didn’t love some things, there was enough of this book, enough justification in the ending to make me want to pick up the next.

Scarlet ended up with such a big bang, even bigger than the first book, and I was blown away. So blown away I didn’t hesitate to pick up Cress, which when I was reading it, I wondered if the sun in Aus was causing me to melt, or if it was the book lol.

By the way, if you didn’t really like Throne of Glass as a High Fantasy YA series, then don’t give up yet! Try the Lunar Chronicles. This, actually, might be one of a few which I would actually recommend and suggest as a science fiction, high fantasy YA read. It just has all the elements(only at a YA level) of an adult equivalent. Action, a bit of romance, intense epic plot about an evil queen and the girl who will defeat her.

M Y  R E V I E W S  O N  G O O D R E A D S

Cinder

Scarlet

Cress

Winter

 

 

 

Imaginings of a Wild Heart.

The girl looked up at the sky, and said, “Did you know, I can read the stars?” She was trying to be cool and cute.  But she was slightly flustered, and she was shy.  Looking up at the guy standing next to her—rather she peeked up at him, and ‘peeked’ would have described it better if she actually had bangs or a hat for her peek from under, which she did not—she saw him look down at her, and she smiled.  Sort of.  It was a small smile, because she didn’t know if she should really play it cool and look really knowledgeable, or if she should play it cute, and smile brightly.  But she was wary of everything about herself.  She wanted to adjust her scarf, to brush her hair back, to lick her lips which were getting chapped.  But she didn’t want to seem overly conscious, so she just stuck with licking her lips, even though she could feel something in need of readjusting—her scarf, her shirt, or her bra, she didn’t know, but she hoped it wasn’t embarrassing.

“Oh?” He said.  He had his hands tucked in his pockets, and though they were standing close, she was standing a little away from him too.  She had asked him out, well asked if he would like to go and star gaze with her at the university.  He was busy, but it seemed she had caught him on a free night.  Or rather, he also had something to do here, and so it was all kind of convenient, nothing special really.

“Oh yes!  I can!”  She said, encouraged by his reply, which seemed like he was curious.  Or maybe he just didn’t believe her.  She didn’t believe her either, and this was either going to come across as corny, or maybe it would give her the answer she wanted to hear.  Or maybe, she was just going to embarrass herself.  She was hoping for the middle answer.

“Alright, go, tell me something.”

Crap.  How was she going to start this?  “Well…the stars tell me you’re a Taurus,” she began lamely.

He laughed, and she wanted punch him in the arm.  “You know when my birthday is!” He said laughing, and shifting away when she really did reach out to punch for his arm.  Her fist glanced off the hard, yet soft, fleshiness under that cotton sleeve of the hoodie he was wearing.

“Just listen!”  She said, flushing red, a mixture of embarrassment and annoyance, yet her mouth was parted in a smile.

“Okay, okay,” he said holding up his hand as she went in for another punch.  “Stop punching me and I will.”

He was such a liar.  Yet he was still here, looking overly amused.  Pouting lightly, and looking up at the sparsely cloud covered sky, she squinted.  All around them there were other stargazers wrapped in thick coats, puffy jackets, and some, even in blankets.   Most of them had telescopes, borrowed or purchased, set up in front of their chairs—a variety of camp chairs, stools, cushions on wood and even one office chair.  Even though the event was for a few hours only, people had gathered early, collected telescopes and settled in as if for the night.  She had been a little too late to get a telescope, but at least she had dad’s small one in her pocket.  Coming here had been on whim.  She had actually been late in hearing about the stargazing event, and had almost chickened out if he hadn’t asked what she was doing tonight in their regularly sporadic texting conversation.  An unexpected question and she had said the first thing that had popped into her head.  And he had asked if she was going to go, to which she had answered, quite thoughtlessly, “I want to go, but I don’t know…”  Being a girl, she couldn’t go alone, regardless of her age.  She didn’t have a car, and most of her friends lived on the other side of the city.  If she wanted to go out, fine.  But she usually had to be back before dark—lest she bring down the rain of worried parental censure and a storm of scolding for rebellious young girls.  And then he had surprised her, asking her if she wanted to go.  It wasn’t like he knew about her family and all their weird cultural—maybe it wasn’t cultural, maybe it was just parents being parents even though she wasn’t exactly sixteen anymore—it wasn’t like she wanted to share.  The last time she shared with a guy, it became the sky climbing wall between them.  What had possessed her to ask him?  In many ways, it had been perfect timing, and when she’d asked if he would go with her, and felt the extreme elation that came with knowing she had somewhat succeeded.

For as long as she could walk and talk and brush her hair, pull it back and make it look pretty, she had been unable to flirt.  In actuality, it wasn’t that she didn’t know how to flirt, it was just that with guys, she had a difficult time reacting.  It was always too embarrassing for her.   So she kept her mouth shut if there was a guy around, and even more so if that guy was good looking, tall and somewhat possessed an aura that she, with her daydream tendencies, could only daydream of having.   And if any of those guys talked to her, despite the fact that she had gotten better at talking to such guys over the years, she could rarely do little more than smile and answer the question.  Other than that, she was just shyly standing off to the side, awkward.

But with this guy, it had been kind of sudden, and it had been kind of vague between them—a grey cloud separating black to white.  He was everything she liked, dreamed of, and had hoped.  It seemed beyond real for her to be trading words with this guy, and yet it was so very normal.  For once, she had her head screwed on tightly, though, not so much when she was returning texts.  With those, she hardly knew what she was saying.  So maybe her head wasn’t tied on that tightly, but she wasn’t a teenager and she could handle this like a woman.

Woman.  If only she could be as smart and sophisticated as a woman should be—she was anything but which made her mind a whole lot more receptive to the torrent of daydreams that were coming to her on a daily basis.    Such wonderful daydreams.  So awfully farfetched.  But she enjoyed them nonetheless, doing no more, and no less than necessary when it came to him.  She liked the grey. She liked and disliked knowing and not knowing where they stood.   So why had she opened her mouth and asked him out.  Well rather, she had typed it into her phone, pressed send and had heart palpitations all evening until he replied back with ‘okay’.  Okay.  Such a simple word.   While in flowery terms, it sent her heart smashing out of her chest, soaring far and wide, in much simpler, plain and realistic terms, her hands had gone clammy and she fretted, thinking of cancelling five seconds after asking.

“So, what are the stars telling you?” He prompted her, jerking her out of her thoughts.

She was already here now, the sun was just about setting, meeting the horizon at the set time, just after six in the evening.  They were still standing, but that was okay.  There were others standing too.

She smiled, “you see up there?”  She pointed at a random constellation.  It was a surprise to see even that constellation up in the sky.  But then again, other than a few wisps of cloud, it was an unusually clear night.  But thankfully, and luckily too.

He looked at her first, then looked up too.

“I didn’t think it would be up there tonight, so this is purely coincidental, but it looks good,” she said wistfully.  She was making this up as she was going along.  It was not coming out like she had daydreamt in her head.  In her head, her speech had been smoother, and she had acted more sophisticated and cool.  An enviable persona.  But well, regardless of the fact that she was failing this miserably now, she was going to push ahead and try.

“Oh?”

She could hear that smile in his voice again, but she ignored it, swallowing hard, and ploughing on.  “Legend says if you see that constellation in the sky, it means your love life is going to improve.”  Corny.  Corny.  It had come out corny.  Why had she said it?

She couldn’t look at him now.

“And-it’ll-get-better-if-you-ask-the-one-you’re-interested-in-out-on-a-date,” she said, letting the words spill out in a single chunk.  She really couldn’t look at him now, and yet she dared to peek up at him, expecting a heavily dealt blow of rejection.  But if she was to think that she didn’t have a chance here, that if she had misread all the signs, then she really wouldn’t have a chance at all.  At the same time though, she didn’t want to build up expectations, she didn’t want to find herself in a position where she was worried constantly, fretting idiotically about whether a guy was interested in her or not.  She just wanted….what did she want?  Why had she asked if he wanted to come today?  What was she thinking in letting those words spill out?  Why couldn’t she just say ‘do you like me’?

He blinked, evidently something was going on in his mind that she couldn’t even conceive, and right now didn’t want to.  She was so tempted to close her eyes, squint and go back in time to when this never happened, but then he opened his mouth.

What happens next, I truly don’t know.  I thought about writing the ending, but honestly, I just thought this story up one random afternoon.  I was kind of daydreaming while scanning through facebook, and seeing that my university was holding a ‘break the star gazing record’ event, which, had I known earlier, I would have totally gone!   I wrote this immediately after I daydreamed it, but I never got to the ending, in my daydream or when I wrote it, and when I read it over, I realise, I don’t know how I would end it.   Maybe if I set it aside, thought about it, and edit it, I might know, but for now, I don’t know!

I would loovvveeee to know how you, my dear readers, fellow bloggers, and all friends, if you happened to have read the above all the way through, would end this short story!

Split Second (Pivot Point #2). Kasie West.


15792316Split Second
by Kasie West

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Loved it. Omg just loved it. Staying up to read it…god I want to read Laila’s side again. Review In Full when my brain isn’t tired or spinning with how much I’m fangirling right now, and I seriously do not fangirl that much on the whole.

2 points: 1) the twist was different to PP and while predictable it was still surprising and 2) the romances were both to die for this time. Oh and 3) Duke is such an effing jerk!

**Updated Review**
I don’t want to tell you that this is something that you as a reader of YA should read, because really, that’s just not cool. You can read what you like when you like. But yet, in me is a fan of a good story and a good non-eye rolling romance and this little fan of mine is telling me to tell you, a reader of YA fiction, that you need to read this series. Oh yes. This is a must read. because in my opinion, it’s very rare for me to find a book that actually reaches the expectations placed on top of it. This series was recommended to me by a friend and so it came with a lot of anticipation and expectation even though I told myself to begin with, don’t get overly excited, or you will disappoint myself. But really, who has ever managed to not get overly excited after being told that something was really awesome and then when you go to try it out for yourself, you get…disappointed? That is so me. And it happens a lot because I love getting excited, and I love having expectations met. But most of the time, they don’t. With Pivot Point and Split Second though, I was literally blown out of my seat. Though how can I have literally been blown out of my seat? I should have been more specific. It was my mind that had been blown out of its seat. Seriously, I haven’t read a story as entertaining intense as Pivot Point and Split Second for a long while. Both books, I must say felt perfect.

The plots, though you think they’re predictable and probably are, were just as astonishing upon the reveal anyway. This is one thing I absolutely could not make up my mind about since I really thought I had guessed it, and then things cooled down, and then bam, I was totally hit with my previous guess, a guess I had dismissed when I was so sure the story was about to finished. SO yeah, I’m a bit stunned over that little bit in Split Second. I guess, I give West credit points for that. Split Second though takes a slightly different approach in relation to plot. Rather than two parallel stories that eventually meet at a point of no return, SS’s plot is told from two perspectives, Addie/Addison and Laila, and they are both unravelling the same thing. So truthfully, it was not as exciting as Pivot Point’s plotline, but it was still exciting nonetheless. What I liked came in later on. I liked the unravelling of the backstory between Laila’s love interest and Laila’s brother and a number of other characters. I thought that was really awesome, and I loved the bit of world building there. It does kind of suck a little that this kind of world only gets two books. But hey, I actually love it when an author does not continuously write stories in the same world, adding more and more. Not that Im complaining because there are some worlds that are just so …. unbelievably built, they need all those extra trilogies and sequels. And I feel that the world in Pivot Point and Split Second could definitely be built into something bigger and greater and developed even more than what we have already seen. But well, West only intends to write two books, sad, but that brings me to the next point:

THE ROMANCE dun dun dunnnn!

I make a big deal out of this, because from the get go, the romance was a big part of the series. In Pivot Point Addie had chose between living as a Para and living as a Norm, and ultimately, she was choosing which relationship to get into, the one with Para Duke or the one with Norm Trevor. Now if you’ve read my review/suggestive read of Pivot Point you would have noticed me gushing a little about Trevor. His introduction to Addie was just to die for. The description, however normal it seemed, seemed to actually make Trevor seem so much hotter, and trust me, I don’t usually take lightly to cowboys since well, where I live, cowboys are rare and imagery of them is generally twisted, and well, they can be smexy but sometimes they can be just…*facepalm*. But with Trevor, Kasie West made him look so attractive from his first meeting with Addie, and well, I was totally rooting for them, and not just them, I was rooting for Trevor in general. So it sucked a little that I didn’t get to have a little reminder description of Trevor in Split Second. Still, Trevor was awesome as usual in Split Second. But he wasn’t who I ended up focussing on in Split Second, oh no, it was the other one, it was Laila’s story and Laila’s love interest that I was totally focussing on. We all knew (no lie or spoiler about it) that Trevor and Addie were eventually going to get together, and that through the course of the novel, Addie would eventually remember him and in some way she would convince him to accept her Para-ness. So yeah, I was definitely more drawn to Laila’s story.

And yep, remember the thing about cowboys?

Well, Laila’s love interest, Connor (I know, it feels like a spoiler right? But really…it isn’t, you can tell right from the start that it’ll happen. So it’s how it happens that had me going) is actually more the type of guy I would be drooling over in a book. He’s definitely my kind of book crush, just like Trevor is definitely Addie’s type of guy. And I absolutely loved him with Laila. He comes across as totally badass to begin with, but as the story goes on and things develop, you come to realise all those times he had been badass with all his badassery, he had either taken a guess or had kinda misread the situation or was totally leading Laila on. Laila, the kind of girl who loves no man choosing to hold power over them anyway she can. And of course (just a little clichéd, but without it, you wouldn’t have this awesome romance) Connor is the one guy who doesn’t make sense and doesn’t immediately fall for her charms. There are so many scenes right now I could just replay and die over, because they just ramp up the chemistry between both Laila and Connor so badly…….oh damn….now I’m drooling.

My point is, a good romance is always welcome. Heh and lately the bar of my expectations has been Ruby and Liam from The Darkest Minds and Sydney and Adrian from Bloodlines. There are a few other favourites, but those two are standing out for me, and well…now both the relationships in Pivot Point and Split Second are joining the list. Because really, sometimes I find it very hard to not roll my eyes over the cheesiness of romances in YA. And sometimes it’s hard not to get bored about how simple some of the relationships are. But Both Addie’s and Laila’s relationships are straightforward (without a doubt and no real triangle, since really…Duke never had a chance to begin with) so I don’t have to roll my eyes over stupidity and actually believe in the romances, and also, these romances in PP and SS don’t overshadow character personalities or other major plot lines. Which is perfect.

Yep definitely perfect.

So if you want a good fast read with a good romance and plot too, then you should definitely give this two-book series a try. Definitely.

View all my reviews

Of Love and Hate.

We are enthralled by the eyes,

Of a man who loves us entirely.

We are enthralled by the sweet words,

Of a man who catches our eyes.

We are enthralled by the heat,

The explosion of energy that sparks between us.

We are just a woman,

And a man,

We are just a girl,

And a boy,

We are just two people,

Falling in love,

At a flash of a moment,

Unable to conquer,

This endless desire.

It draws from us our silliness,

We trip, we fall, we say something stupid,

We get embarrassed, we turn around, we walk away,

We so badly want to touch her,

To touch him,

We know we can’t.

Because there’s this line between us,

So fine, it separates the difference,

Between love and hate.

We are unique beings,

With our own desires and wants,

We are separate individuals,

Moving at our own pace,

We are two people in love,

Looking for a way to exist side by side,

In an endless romance,

That is untouched by that fine line,

Of love and hate.

In love is like loving,

Loving where the heart is open,

Open to that other person,

Accepting, and believing,

Believing, that it is possible,

To love more than hate

The flaws that create

That fine line

Of love and hate.

 

Through the Summer Rain, I Finally See You.

 

I feel the summer rain, cascading all around me.  The steam rises from the concrete, sizzling, dehydrating, rehydrating, existing as a wall between you and I.  I see you for the first time.  You are standing, watching, waiting for me, hand forward longingly.  We are worlds apart, separated, until I too leave the rain behind.

 

Boys Are Stupid, Girls Are Stupid.

Boys are stupid,

If they think we can read their minds.

Boys are stupid,

Who need everything spelt out,

In a sentence that’s more than one word.

Boys are stupid,

Because their brains are on fire,

With thoughts and feelings,

They can’t express,

Except in the most vulgar way.

I am a woman,

You are a man,

Our minds are the same,

Yet different from the same.

I think like a woman,

Cry like a woman,

Get hurt like a woman,

Feel shame like a woman.

I act like a man

Sometimes,

I act like I don’t care,

Sometimes,

I act like it doesn’t hurt.

But I feel the same pain,

As you do.

I feel the same shame

As you do.

I feel the same hot fire

As you do.

So why do I judge?

And call you stupid?

You infuriate me

Cheat on me

Love me

Hate me

Can’t make up your mind about me.

Who am I to you?

I am a woman,

You are a man.

I’ve cheated on you,

Because you ignored me.

I’ve hurt you so you can feel

The shame that should be felt.

I lied to you

Because you did nothing.

I am a horrible person.

But aren’t you the same?

Do you love me?

Hate me?

Ashamed of my rash actions?

Because I’m starting hate you,

Not because you didn’t love me,

Not because you started to hate me,

Not because our feelings weren’t there.

It’s because we are the same,

Doing the same things,

Acting the same way,

Unable to connect,

When it’s time to connect.

I am a woman,

You are a man,

We are ashamed of each other,

Hurting each other,

Unsure of each other.

Girls are stupid, you see,

We forget to care,

Even though we care so much.

Girls are stupid, you see,

Because we think of romance,

So much, sometimes

We forget about the present.

Girls are stupid, you see,

Because our brains are on fire,

With thoughts and feelings,

We can’t express,

Except in the most stupidest ways.