In September we read Cinder by Marissa Meyer and Sabriel by Garth Nix. Let’s take a look at what our members thought of these picks. We’ll review the Mod pick of Wool by Hugh Howey in next months round up.
Cinder by Marissa Meyer
Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl.
Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.
This book had almost equal measures of dislike, “meh”, and love! Most members were agreed on the fact that it was light, “fluffy YA”, some liked this about it and some didn’t! On the negative side, people felt that the characters were shallow and stereotypical, which in turn made the story somewhat predictable. People who have gone on to read the rest of the series felt that this was the weakest book. On the positive side, people said that it was a fun read, particularly due to the fact it was based on a fairy tale retelling. A few people commented on their appreciation of the way in which the heroine of the story was written, being different to other more traditional YA heroines.
Here’s some thoughts from our member Greg:
★★★☆☆ 3/5 stars
It was an ok book – not great, not terrible – but it definitely had a certain audience in mind. It was only grating with the love/angst/hair falling in his eyes way in a few places; so not bad that way, but the overall focus was clearly on the relationship between Cinder and Kai.
As a group there was a lot of love for the book, with the majority of ratings sitting at 4 stars. Many members felt it was a welcome change to traditional YA. People enjoyed the magic system and applauded Nix writing style. There was also a whole lotta love for Tim Curry’s narration of the series. There weren’t many negatives, though there were some mention of some scenes being a bit rushed, and Touchstone initially being a bit annoying. But all in all, positives!
Here’s member Narilka’s review:
★★★★☆ 4/5 stars
Sabriel by Garth Nix is the first book in The Abhorson trilogy. The story opens fairly ominously with the death of a woman and child. The series of events that unfolds in the prologue grabs the attention and sets the stage nicely. We are introduced to two of the world’s types of magic, given a little foreshadowing for what’s to come and a slightly eerie tone is set. Once the story starts, we’re gradually introduced to the world. Ancelstierre has a feeling of 1940’s England while the Old Kingdom feels distinctly like medieval Europe where Free Magics and creatures that go bump in the night now reign. The two kingdoms are separated by a wall and crossing the border is like taking a portal to another world where even the weather is different. And, quite naturally, that wall is failing.
The characters we get to know are also excellent. Sabriel is a great fantasy heroine. She’s a smart, clear headed, strong and a well balanced character. She looks at problems logically to make informed decisions and isn’t afraid to take action. Touchstone starts off fairly annoying. It’s obvious that he’s more than just a guardsman and his servile attitude at first is grating. I’m glad the character out grows this habit as the story progresses. Nix had a lot of fun with Mogget. Mogget is the perfect magical entity in the form of a feline that both says and does things I can imagine a cat would.
The story is well paced. The action and suspense is superb. The final climax had me sitting on the edge of my seat the entire time. I love the eerie/creepy undertone that is carried throughout the book. It’s exactly what you’d expect when dealing with the dead that don’t want to stay dead. Nix has a refreshing take on necromantic magic that was quite fun to read. There is even an understated romance plot that is quite sweet and not at all like today’s YA stories of instant love.
I listened to the audio book of this narrated by Tim Curry. I think I could listen to Tim Curry read from the dictionary! He is especially fun at narrating villains and magical creatures. That said, his depiction of a young girl’s voice at the beginning of the story is so bad I laughed out loud.
Have you read these books, what did you think? Feel free to get involved in the discussions as they stay open!