The Lunar Chronicles | Marissa Meyer

Alternatively titled: Sometimes I play tricks on myself by assigning something and forgetting about it until I have to write it.

The Series

Cinder is a cyborg in New Beijing. Unbeknownst to her she is the long thought dead Lunar Queen. If only her Aunt would let her be. Scarlet just wants to find her grandmother and work on their farm. If only Cinders Aunt would let her. Cress just wants to get off her satellite and be in love with Thorne. If only her queen would let her. And Winter just wants Jacin. If only her step-mother would let her.

The Plot.

– Possesses a solid plot. The story progresses at a good pace and I never found moments where I needed to know what was happening elsewhere when our heroes were split up.

– Although the “bio-electricity” felt a little like Marissa Meyer wanted to have this feature and had to think of a science-y way to do it. That was the weakest part for me.

The Characters.

– I love them.

– I felt that their character arcs were strong and they didn’t progress too quickly or anything.

– Also their relationships to each other is just… amazeballs.

The Conflict. 

– Occurred naturally without excess.

– I feel like the conflict was only necessary because otherwise there would be no resolution, but I don’t think you’d miss too much without it. If that makes sense. The book holds it’s own without it.

I know I’ve done these books separately before, but I wanted to do them as a series because it’s an incredibly well written quadrilogy and I would definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a new YA dystopia.

Get Reading. Get Travelling.

Ash

 

 

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The Long Way to A Small Angry Planet | Becky Chambers

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The Book

The Book follows a small group of totally not firefly wormhole builders who are stuck on a long, long journey together on their way to a controversial site. But this ain’t no star trek. Their ships may be fast, but they’re not lightspeed fast. At least not this one. Featuring: Plant-Based Name protagonist, The Grumpy Man, The Weasley Twins but not, Reptilian wlw, and Home Brand Mal.

The Good Bits

– I love me some character driven stories. The problem being that often the characters aren’t written well enough and the whole thing is just boring. This in not one of those times and the whole thing is brilliant. And I love it.

– While we are introduced to Rosemary first, I do enjoy that there’s no real protagonist. It means that we aren’t rooting for one character over another. And I didn’t realise it until the end. It didn’t feel jumpy or anything. Just perfect.

– Space

– The approach to sex and sexuality and even gender was really interesting. I’ve been arguing for a while about how aliens wouldn’t necessarily have earths ideas about binary genders and sexualities. Logically Aliens could have 40 genders and a whole spectrum in between. And finally I’ve found a book that explores this a bit!

The Not-So-Good Bits

– While it definitely wasn’t boring, I did find the lack of anything to be a bit on the boring side. But hey, I read it in a day, so it wasn’t that bad.

– Maybe it was because I read it too quickly or something, but I found that there were too many Alien species to keep track of. This might change the second time I read it, I’m not sure. But with the descriptions to go with it, I just found it as disorienting as the million extra characters in Pride and Prejudice.

Thoughts From The Back Cover | Other Aliens and Binary

Why do aliens have to have binary gender? Gender is just a social construct.  It serves it’s purpose to have ways of differentiating between different types of people. (Binary… Apparently) The way we have it, in Western Society. We have Male and Female… (wait for it) and the less socially acceptable Gender queer and non-binary. But we don’t have domale and camale (idk I went with the trend) genders, even though if we tried to define them it might actually help people define themselves better.

But why don’t Aliens. They could have a common Trinary system for everything. Black, White, and Beige. Blue, White, and some other colour we can’t see! Male, Female, and Domale. They could have opposites in 3 different categories. We don’t know because we haven’t found any yet.  So we don’t know how they’re going to behave. They could look on our primarily binary system of coding everything and laugh. So what I’m saying is that technically, Kara Zor’el (Supergirl) being Gay is wrong. Kara being straight is wrong. Logically, by nature of her alien-ness she already doesn’t fit into Western Cultures definition of Earth Genders. So She’s Pan. Although it is convenient that she looks exactly like a human female.

Get Reading. Get Travelling.

Ash

Scarlet | Marissa Meyer

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Curtesy of Icebooks.com

The Book

Scarlett is the second book in The Lunar Chronicles series. It follows Scarlett as she searches for her grandmother and is pulled into a far bigger story. This would be the over all story started in Cinder. Scarlett meets Wolf who she enrols to assist her but ultimately it all turns into a crazy mess and nothing turns out how they want it.

The Good Bits

– Scarlett (the Person)

I probably go on about this way too often, but Scarlett is a wonderfully strong female character. She’s emotionally and physically strong while being motivated by something as sincere as her grandmother. She never gives up, despite what other recommend and she allows herself emotions which, let’s be honest, can sometimes be forgotten in the quest for “strong female Characters”.

– Thorne

Just hilarious

– Iko

I might be just naming characters here, but the idea of Iko being a consciousness I suppose and not being tied to a single body is interesting. And it looks a little into anthropomorphic characters. They don’t have arms, they have handles or this or that. And it’s okay that they don’t have arms. So Iko doesn’t have arms in this new body. She doesn’t need arms. Her stabiliser fins or whatever aren’t her arms. They’re her stabiliser fins.

– Location

I love the idea of seeing all these people come together not just from one place, but from around the world. Cinder in China, and now Scarlett in France. Maybe we can have someone from Australia. (wishful thinking I know)

The Not-So-Good Bits

– World building

With stories set in the not-now it’s important to world build to show the readers the world that the characters interact with. It’s particularly important when you show two different locations that we know to be different now. I understand that in a dystopian future things might get a little muddled, but muddled enough that France and China are that similar?

Thoughts from the Back Cover | Should Kai marry Levana?

Because it’s not just about him. Sure he knows that the moment he says I do she’s going to kill him. but all he is doing is putting off the inevitable. Levana wants to rule humanity, she’s not going to stop because she get’s hitched.

So say he doesn’t marry her. The LSOPs keep attacking until what? they kill everyone on Earth? Congratulations Levana, you don’t have anyone else to rule. And if they stop and enslave everyone the only difference is that Kai is not dead and is there to maybe protect the people a little, before defeating her in a glorious battle where her subjects become disillusioned with her and everyone overthrows her.

If he does marry her then he is killed and Levana is allowed to roam around unchecked until in many years the people are able to rise up and defeat her. Maybe. If they’re lucky.

There are of course many courses of action, none of them result in 0 deaths. none of them are perfect. But in war there is no perfect.

(also disclaimer, I haven’t yet read the succeeding books, so this is all conjecture)

There are no winners in war.

Get Reading. Get Travelling.

Ash

Jurassic Park | Michael Crichton

“Life, uh, finds a way”

This quote has permeated through layers of science fiction and obscure dinosaur names to sit at the forefront of the Jurassic Park franchise. But why do we like this quote so much? is it Jeff Goldblum’s iconic “uh” phrasing? or is the the words themselves? Well, that’s what I’m here to discuss.

We humans like stories in which after everything, their favourite humans end up continuing on to the next one. We like it when somehow they continue: Humanum Victorem. It gives us hope that when we come up to our own conflict that we will rise from the ashes like the proverbial phoenix. That when we come up against bills or death or loves lost we can “uh” continue.

And I think it gives us hope that even after we’re gone, life, and particularly human life can, and will “uh” continue. As my fave Jemma Simmons as said:

I like to think of the first law of thermodynamics, that no energy in the universe is created and… none is destroyed…That means that every bit of energy inside us, every particle will go on to be a part of something else. Maybe live as a dragonfish, a microbe, maybe burn in a supernova ten billion years from now. And every part of us now was once a part of some other thing – a moon, a storm cloud, a mammoth, a monkey. Thousands and thousands of other beautiful things that were just as terrified to die as we are. We gave them new life. Good one, I hope.

What this means is that life will “uh” find a way. It may find new ways, and we may not always like how it manifests. But it has found its way to you, and soon enough it will find its way to something just as beautiful.

Get Reading. Get Travelling.

Ash