Book Review – ‘Stars Above’ (#4.5 The Lunar Chronicles) by Marissa Meyer

A great collection to fill in the gaps between the novels in the Lunar Chronicles.

Genre: Y/A, Science Fiction

No. of pages: 400

The Keeper: A prequel to the Lunar Chronicles, showing a young Scarlet and how Princess Selene came into the care of Michelle Benoit.

Glitches: In this prequel to Cinder, we see the results of the plague play out, and the emotional toll it takes on Cinder. Something that may, or may not, be a glitch….

The Queen’s Army: In this prequel to Scarlet, we’re introduced to the army Queen Levana is building, and one soldier in particular who will do anything to keep from becoming the monster they want him to be.

Carswell’s Guide to Being Lucky: Thirteen-year-old Carswell Thorne has big plans involving a Rampion spaceship and a no-return trip out of Los Angeles.

After Sunshine Passes By: In this prequel to Cress, we see how a nine-year-old Cress ended up alone on a satellite, spying on Earth for Luna.

The Princess and the Guard: In this prequel to Winter, we see a young Winter and Jacin playing a game called the Princess and the Guard…

The Little Android: A retelling of Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Little Mermaid,” set in the world of The Lunar Chronicles.

The Mechanic: In this prequel to Cinder, we see Kai and Cinder’s first meeting from Kai’s perspective.

Something Old, Something New: In this epilogue to Winter, friends gather for the wedding of the century…

This was a great collection of short stories to flesh out the Lunar Chronicles. It’s mainly connecting scenes between and after the series with all our favourite characters. Some stories add to the fairy-tale retelling of scenes that were omitted in the novels, and others bridge the gaps in the narrative over the entire storyline continuum.

While I enjoyed each of these stories and appreciated getting background and extra information, each short story was not a fully developed story in its own right. This collection felt more like scenes cut from the novels in the editing process rather than short stories. That whole beginning-middle-end structure of storytelling focusing on a theme or exploring a question didn’t really ring true. I didn’t get a sense of resolution, but rather a part of a larger story. So this collection is more for die-hard fans of the Lunar Chronicles looking to expand on the universe.

We do get a peek into what happens after the conclusion of the series, which was a joy to read.

We get to meet all our favourite characters, and back story on a few others which really added to the Lunar Chronicles universe as a whole.

Stars Above’ is a pretty quick read with nine short stories, so you can jump from story to story, or take a break after each and revisit the collection until completion. Marissa Meyer’s writing style is as effortless as ever and it was easy to slip back into the world of either Earthen locales or the Lunar landscape.

There’s not much else to add without spoiling plot points because the stories are so short. ‘Stars Above’ is a great addition to the Lunar Chronicles and gives a glimpse into the future at the end.

I’d only recommend this for fans of the series, the stories will not make sense if you read them out of context, or haven’t completed the series beforehand (and let’s face it, who would pick this up if they hadn’t read the Lunar Chronicles prior.) We do get new information, but you won’t miss anything major if you don’t read ‘Stars Above.’

Overall feeling: oh, OH!

© Casey Carlisle 2021. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Book Review – ‘Winter’ (#4 The Lunar Chronicles) by Marissa Meyer

All the crew get their time to shine in this big screen styled finale.

Genre: Y/A, Science Fiction
No. of pages: 827

Princess Winter is admired for her grace, kindness and beauty, despite the scars on her face. She’s said to be even more breath-taking than her stepmother, Queen Levana…

When Winter develops feelings for the handsome palace guard, Jacin, she fears the evil Queen will crush their romance before it has a chance to begin.

But there are stirrings against the Queen across the land. Together with the cyborg mechanic, Cinder, and her allies, Winter might even find the power to launch a revolution and win a war that’s been raging for far too long.

Can Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, and Winter claim their happily ever afters by defeating Levana once and for all?


A fitting end to a marvellously entertaining series (even though there is a collection of short stories and graphic novels that take place after ‘Winter.’)


I started reading ‘Winter’ back in 2016 and then abandoned it after 145 pages. Mainly because of the pacing. There was so much detail bogging down the narrative flow – and so many character perspectives setting the scene in multiple locations – that I simply put it down in favour of more engaging reads. But now with my attempts to #BeatTheBacklist – basically my goal to reduce the ridiculous amount of titles on my TBR shelves, and to complete all those series I started to read and abandoned halfway through.


This time around, I did feel that sluggish start, but it wasn’t too far past that 145 page mark where the pace picked up and kept on a solid beat right up until the end. (With exception of the last few chapters which I thought could have been better as an afterward – as it was tying up minor story threads after the main plot line concluded.) Every character got their time to shine, face obstacles, got thwarted, and battle to victory… not without a cost. Marissa Meyer’s ability to track so many story arcs, have them all weave into each other AND mirror elements of the original fairytales she has based her characters on is simply masterful and a joy to read. With a glut of fairytale re-tellings on the market, this collection is one of the better in the YA genre. Plus this girl loves her science fiction. ‘Winter’ managed to feel original and have all the Disney trappings I have known from childhood.


There is an awful lot that goes down in this novel – and for its 800 plus pages you’d expect so. I kept getting a sore wrist trying to hold my hardcover copy.


Marissa Meyer’s writing style is an easy read and builds the world of the Lunar Chronicles effortlessly. Iko’s bubbly effervescence is always a welcome break to the narrative. I’m looking forward to graphic novels ‘Wires and Nerve’ following her story after ‘Winter.’ I won’t get into details of the plot and character development for this concluding instalment because I don’t want to spoil it for anyone who has not read ‘Winter.’ But it does justice to the themes and character arcs.


I would have liked the ‘voice’ of our main heroines to feel a little more distinct. If you removed their names from the narrative I would have had difficulty discerning who was taking the point of view. As much as I enjoyed ‘Winter,’ and loved the complexity of the plot, I feel it lost a little of its magic because of the pacing. Though it engaged me enough as a reader, parts are slow, and this is one huge book to get through. Especially for YA. But having said that, many who get this far along in the series will be fans, and such small criticisms like this will not deter them. So if you love the concept of a fairytale retelling with a sci-fi twist, this is a beauty!


While this is the last novel in the collection, there is a following collection of short stories ‘Stars Above’ that I will follow this with. And as mentioned, the graphic novels following Iko’s story.


Overall feeling: End to the epic



© Casey Carlisle 2020. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Book Review – ‘Geekerella’ by Ashley Poston

A modern day, nerd-encrusted Cinderella re-telling that oozes cuteness.

Geekerella Book Review Pic 01 by Casey Carlisle.jpgGenre: Y/A, Contemporary, Romance

No. of pages: 320

From Goodreads:

Geek girl Elle Wittimer lives and breathes Starfield, the classic science-fiction series she grew up watching with her late father. So when she sees a cosplay contest for a new Starfield movie, she has to enter. The prize? An invitation to the ExcelsiCon Cosplay Ball and a meet-and-greet with the actor slated to play Federation Prince Carmindor in the reboot. With savings from her gig at the Magic Pumpkin food truck and her dad’s old costume, Elle’s determined to win – unless her stepsisters get there first.

Teen actor Darien Freeman used to live for cons – before he was famous. Now they’re nothing but autographs and awkward meet-and-greets. Playing Carmindor is all he has ever wanted, but Starfield fandom has written him off as just another dumb heartthrob. As ExcelsiCon draws near, Darien feels more and more like a fake – until he meets a girl who shows him otherwise. But when she disappears at midnight, will he ever be able to find her again?

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Cheesy. Cute. Compelling. Contrite.

I love the geek-culture-Convention twist for this Cinderella retelling. I wasn’t expecting to enjoy it as much as I did, because rehashing of this tale has been flogged like the proverbial dead horse. I had my moments of near eye-rolling because of the predictability and tropes associated with YA and fairy tales; but managed to get sucked in. I related to, and cared for our two main characters. Elle and Darian. Told in dual perspectives, alternating each chapter, something I usually detest, because it can repeat the same information, and let’s authors get lazy in plotting out a story. But the points of view are so different from each other, and for the most part in different locations, with separate motivations, I didn’t once find this format of a narrative a drawback.

My heart went out to Elle. I had a moment when, like in ‘Pretty Woman’ Julia Roberts’ character discovers turned up noses and sales staff refusing to let her shop. The feels when Elle has her hopes and dreams literally torn apart in front of her. Well done to Polston for capturing the feels and shaking them out of me. I swear I wanted to get physically violent with the antagonists several moments in this book.

Geekerella Book Review Pic 02 by Casey Carlisle.jpgDarian was a bit of a wimp, but an adorable one. I loved how he is the character that is body shamed and concerned about his diet, instead of a female lead. It really brings to the forefront the pressures of modern day media and the internet has on instant fame and scrutiny.

We also had a bit of a two-dimensional feeling to the secondary characters, yes they had a moment where we get a glimpse of complexity, but these characters are usually there to drive the plot forward and time is not waited on their backstory to keep the plot moving forward.

I managed to devour this book in a day, one single sitting. Polston’s writing style is fairly breezy, but scatters in some nerdy SAT words, just to confirm the genre and market that embodies the soul behind the story. It was the perfect piece of escapism, littered with enough from the original tale of Cinderella to be relevant, but oozing with diverse characters and nerd pop culture.

There were a few plot points I would have liked to see resolved better.

There is a tone of overcoming loss that is heavy in ‘Geekerella.’ That one person doesn’t swoop in to save you from it all and make it go away. You save yourself and find someone who helps you see a brighter future to share…

Overall feeling: a delightful surprise to read

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© Casey Carlisle 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Book Review – Glitches by Marissa Meyer

Glitches Book Review Pic 01 by Casey CarlisleGenre: Y/A, Science Fiction, Adventure

No. of pages: 32

From Goodreads:

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. In Glitches, a short prequel story to Cinder, we see the results of that illness play out, and the emotional toll that takes on Cinder. Something that may, or may not, be a glitch…

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In the lead up to reading ‘Winter’ I wanted to read all of the novellas in the Lunar Universe – ‘Glitches’ is the first of three that have currently been released.

This story provides a look into Cinders childhood, with her step father Garan bringing her home for the first time. It was great to get a glimpse into the family before real hardship was dealt.

Cinder was really a blank slate, Peoney (younger stepsister) was a beautiful accepting and playful child, and Adri (adoptive mother) although held some distaste for Cinder, she had yet to start abusing her. Although not altogether a pretty picture, it was a realistic setting from which to start the downfall leading to the beginning of ‘Cinder.’

This story was also about the birth of Iko (Cinder’s android best friend)… my favourite character in the Lunar Chronicles

It ended on a broken beautiful note and well worth the read – and it’s only 32 pages, so it won’t consume a lot of your time.

A great addition to the Cinder franchise.

Overall feeling: Cool!

Glitches Book Review Pic 02 by Casey Carlisle

Glitches Book Review Pic 03 by Casey Carlisle

Critique Casey by Casey Carlisle

 © Casey Carlisle 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Book Review – Cress by Marissa Meyer

Once upon a time… in space…

Cress Book Review Pic 01 by Casey CarlisleGenre: Y/A, Science Fiction, Adventure

No. of pages: 550

From Goodreads:

In this third book in the Lunar Chronicles, Cinder and Captain Thorne are fugitives on the run, now with Scarlet and Wolf in tow. Together, they’re plotting to overthrow Queen Levana and her army.

Their best hope lies with Cress, a girl imprisoned on a satellite since childhood who’s only ever had her netscreens as company. All that screen time has made Cress an excellent hacker. Unfortunately, she’s just received orders from Levana to track down Cinder and her handsome accomplice.

When a daring rescue of Cress goes awry, the group is separated. Cress finally has her freedom, but it comes at a high price. Meanwhile, Queen Levana will let nothing prevent her marriage to Emperor Kai. Cress, Scarlet, and Cinder may not have signed up to save the world, but they may be the only hope the world has.

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Cress’ the next instalment in the Lunar Chronicles adds yet even more interesting characters in the mish-mash of fairy tale re-tellings.

There was more involvement in Cress’ storyline with that of the other characters, which we did not get as much in ‘Scarlet,’ and for that I am greatful. Even though Cress gets her own backstory, it was woven into that of the rest of the main cast of the Lunar Universe from the get-go.

Cress Book Review Pic 03 by Casey CarlisleCress is a different type of heroine – where Cinder and Scarlet are physical and strong willed, Cress is intelligent, idealistic, but fragile. She plays to her strengths, yet the motivation of all three protagonists remains the same: freedom.

We see all of the assumptions Cress has made of the world outside her single room satellite challenged – there is only so much information you can glean from on-screen dramas. And in fact she chooses to play pretend to deal with the real-world shock of it all, continually repeating to herself she is an actress when plunged into the unfamiliar.

Again, I loved the inclusion of Iko and her comedic timing, and we see elements of this type innocent blundering in Cress, which I feel helped round out this series and inject some much needed light-hearted banter to break up the action and espionage. After all, the world our three protagonists face is bleak; and you need a sense of humour to stop going insane.

With Cress being so young and isolated, the narrative is much more ‘girly’ than we got in the previous editions, and I must say, an enjoyable change. Because of this, and so many elements/story arcs happening the pacing is engaging – and for such a lump of a book (552 pages) – a great feat.

Some of my friends felt ‘Scarlet’ was a little clunky and slow, and ‘Cress’ definitely lives up the standards set in ‘Cinder.’ The main plot points are predictable – I mean we all know how the fairy tale goes. But besides that, much of this book is setting up events for the three characters to deal with an almighty war with Queen Levana in ‘Winter’ due out next month (November).

I have to commend this series for its sheer imagination and the ability to breathe new life into old characters and to then weave so many different fables into one massive overarching plot… I take my hat off to you Marissa Meyer, it is a truly outstanding achievement.

Definitely glad I caught up with this series before ‘Winter’s’ release and can’t wait to indulge over the Christmas break!

Overall feeling: You go girl!

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Cress Book Review Pic 04 by Casey Carlisle

Critique Casey by Casey Carlisle

© Casey Carlisle 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Book Review – Finding Cinderella by Colleen Hoover

You can find love in the strangest of places… no matter who you are.

Finding Cinderella Book Review Pic 01 by Casey CarlisleGenre: Y/A, Contemporary, Romance

No. of pages: 90

From Goodreads:

A chance encounter in the dark leads eighteen-year-old Daniel and the girl who stumbles across him to profess their love for each other. But this love comes with conditions: they agree it will only last one hour and it will only be make-believe.

When their hour is up and the girl rushes off like Cinderella, Daniel tries to convince himself that what happened between them only seemed perfect because they were pretending it was perfect. Moments like that with girls like her don’t happen outside of fairytales.

One year and one bad relationship later, his disbelief in insta-love is stripped away the day he meets Six: a girl with a strange name and an even stranger personality. Daniel soon realizes the way he pretended to feel about Cinderella and the way he really feels about Six may not be so different after all. Especially when the two loves of his life end up being one in the same.

Unfortunately for Daniel, finding Cinderella doesn’t guarantee their happily ever after…it only further threatens it.  

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A great little companion novella to the Hopeless duology, this time dealing with Six and Daniel’s perspective – I found their story refreshing. There is no re-hash of Sky (Hope) or Holder’s story, but briefly kisses their journey as Six deals with a quandary all of her own.

With all the angst from the series but vastly different protagonists, ‘Finding Cinderella’ is much more gritty and real. The distinct voices of both Six and Daniel really serve to enhance this short story and help to colour the Hopeless Universe.

It can stand on its own, without having read other novels in the franchise, but in addition to the duology, this really shines with attitude.

I loved getting a peek inside Sky’s head, how she handles slut-shaming and the way both our protagonists grow from pivotal moments.

With only 90 pages in length it is a satisfying afternoon read – not as heavy as its predecessors, but full of the feels.

Other titles in the Hopeless Series:

Finding Cinderella Book Review Pic 04 by Casey CarlisleOverall feeling: Rock on!
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Finding Cinderella Book Review Pic 02 by Casey Carlisle

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© Casey Carlisle 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Book Review – Fairest by Marissa Meyer

The B!tch is Back!

fairest 01Genre: Y/A, Science Fiction, Adventure

No. of pages: 220

From Goodreads:

Mirror, mirror on the wall,
Who is the fairest of them all?

Fans of the Lunar Chronicles know Queen Levana as a ruler who uses her “glamour” to gain power. But long before she crossed paths with Cinder, Scarlet, and Cress, Levana lived a very different story – a story that has never been told . . . until now. 

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The origin story of Queen Levana – you may end up feeling a little compassionate for her… but not for long

I’m not bad, I’m just drawn that way” a quote from Who Framed Roger Rabbit springs to mind when I think of Queen Levana, knowing that nobody starts out bad, they usually are shaped through events. In other cases, some are born with a little evil and embrace the darkness within until consumes them. You’ll have to make up your own mind which category Levana falls into.

Fairest 02Marissa managed to write a great story with the same magical tone of Cinder. New surprises are uncovered, the world/moon is explored a little more, everything moving to enrich the Lunar Chronicles Universe. Ultimately building an antagonist more terrifying than any Disney baddie.

The prose is easy to read and fierce on pace, it’s definitely a book you can blaze through in one sitting. It doesn’t double dip either. I could see how some topics could have been a big trap, like the virus, or the genetic hybrids – but seeing how they were major plot points in other novels, they were merely mentioned in passing… which is fantastic because my interest would had wavered if suffering repeat information.

There is not much else to say – it was a fun read, and definitely fuelled my intense dislike for the Lunar Queen – in a good way. So I highly recommend you add this title to your collection if you are a Cinder fan!

Overall feeling: I wanna punch that witch in the face – so strong feels!

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Critique Casey by Casey Carlisle

© Casey Carlisle 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Book Review – Scarlet

Scarlet Book Review by Casey CarlisleFrom Goodreads:

Cinder, the cyborg mechanic, returns in the second thrilling instalment of the bestselling Lunar Chronicles. She’s trying to break out of prison–even though if she succeeds, she’ll be the Commonwealth’s most wanted fugitive. 


Halfway around the world, Scarlet Benoit’s grandmother is missing. It turns out there are many things Scarlet doesn’t know about her grandmother or the grave danger she has lived in her whole life. When Scarlet encounters Wolf, a street fighter who may have information as to her grandmother’s whereabouts, she is loath to trust this stranger, but is inexplicably drawn to him, and he to her. As Scarlet and Wolf unravel one mystery, they encounter another when they meet Cinder. Now, all of them must stay one step ahead of the vicious Lunar Queen Levana, who will do anything for the handsome Prince Kai to become her husband, her king, her prisoner.

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 Scarlet was highly anticipated and had some big britches to fill after the amount of enjoyment I got out of reading Cinder – and it did not disappoint.

Even though we are introduced to new characters, primarily Scarlet, the storyline also picked up Cinder’s story and wove the two of them together expertly.

Again, as it is based on a fairytale, (Red Riding Hood) there is an amount of predictability to the plot; but yet I was still surprised and delighted at this adaptation and what eventuated in the pages of Marissa Meyer’s second instalment of the Luna Chronicles.

Scarlet Book Review pic 01 by Casey CarlisleScarlet is a great main character, a strong female who can hold her own. She differs from Cinder where she is a little more naive and relies on the help and guidance of her new companion, Wolf. The way aspects of the original fable are brought to life in this science fiction epic are masterful. Scarlet is a girl made through hard yakka and poverty. Intelligent enough to run her own business, but still sheltered: yes her character mirrors Cinder a little, but they shine as distinct separate women. Plus it was great to see the characters from the first and second books interact with Scarlet. The only negative I can mention about this novel, is that I felt that we didn’t get to know Scarlet as well as we did Cinder in the first book – much of this instalment dealt with events around Scarlet, rather than getting to know her as a character. But still very entertaining and totally had me fangirling!

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Marissa’s writing style is effortless, and at times satirical, to ensure Scarlet is a quick and eloquent read. I did miss the comic relief that was present in Cinder, in the form of Iko… but our little robot friend jumped back into the story later in the novel. But as my favourite character, I would have loved to read more of Iko’s jarring and funny dialogue.

This has been one of my most enjoyed reads (and series) in the past year, so it will remain in my top ten recommendations. Will be jumping into the next in the series, Cress, in the month to come…

Scarlet Book Review pic 02 by Casey Carlisle

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© Casey Carlisle 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Book Review – The Selection

The Selection Book Review by Casey CarlisleFrom Goodreads:

For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in a palace and compete for the heart of gorgeous Prince Maxon.

But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her. Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn’t want. Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks.

Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she’s made for herself–and realizes that the life she’s always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined.

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I’d passed over this title many times because of the premise – a raffle for a Prince to choose his bride – sounds a little overdone and pretentious. Many have said it was The Bachelor meets The Apprentice (I didn’t get a feel for the Apprentice part until the end of the second instalment though). I must say I was pleasantly entertained by The Selection. Even though it rubs the wrong way against my ideals, and I felt there were some major plot holes in the world building, I was able to submerge myself in the narrative, and admit that Keira Cass has created a piece which has become a guilty pleasure to read.

The ick factor with this book came from the pomposity of the world – it did not feel believable for me. But if you can indulge the fantasy, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the development of some of the characters. Plus there are some real mean girls in here that took me back to my high school experience; how I wish I could have dumped a bucket of fish guts over their heads!

The Selection Book Review Pic 03 by Casey CarlisleKiera Cass does a great job in using the narrators voice, in this case America Singer, as a tool for her storyline reveals. We discover the facts as she does. A real case of show, don’t tell. It ticked a big box for me. But the most annoying thing about this novel (and which continues throughout the series) is America’s indecisiveness. For such a strong willed character she flip-flops all over the place. At times I just about left dent marks in my e-reader from gripping onto the case in frustration.

It was refreshing to meet a character who started to enjoy the trappings of class. America begins to get more and more daring, putting on more make-up, choosing flashier clothes, getting comfortable with her maids, and made no apology for her excitement. Every girl likes to play dress up and feel pretty. We can’t be self-sacrificing martyrs all the time.

Other issues I had in the storytelling had to do with America not exploring her situation enough. Questioning why things were the way they were… but having said that, if Keira Cass had explored that train of thought The Selection series would have a much different, darker tone, and ultimately less enjoyable. So I’m chalking it up to America’s naivety to the world around her…

The Selection Book Review pic 04 by Casey CarlisleKeira’s writing style is like a warm breeze tickling your skin and waving through your hair: it’s effortless and unseen. I whipped through this book so quickly. Which attributes to the pacing as well, I did not feel the need to put the book down. I have to say, The Selection was a light romantic read very close to a Cinderella story.

If you are on the fence with this series by the end of The Selection, I will say – it gets better. There were a few unexpected twists that brutally surprised me throughout the subsequent editions that I feel totally redeem the collection. So, yes I picked up the next book in the series, The Elite to read straight away…


The Selection Book Review pic 05 by Casey Carlisle

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 © Casey Carlisle 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Book Review – Cinder

Cinder Book Cover for Book Review by Casey CarlisleFrom Goodreads:

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 centre of an intergalactic struggle, and 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 was a big surprise for me. Fairytale re-tellings are not my cup of tea. Too many times they feel lack-luster and over-done. Occasionally, they blow your expectations out of the water: and ‘Cinder’ definitely did that for me. Throw in a science fiction element and you have my attention. Marissa Meyer writes in a beautiful yet succinct style, leaving your imagination to paint the picture of Cinder’s world. Many authors tackling a fairytale adaptation tend to be flamboyant, or over-descriptive, dragging you attention away from the story – or start to bore you. But this read was perfect.

Was the plot predictable?  Well, duh! We all know the story of Cinderella, yet given this, Marissa weaves a uniquely captivating story; and I only put the book down reluctantly for trivial things like food and sleep.

The biggest issue I had with the novel, and it’s miniscule given how much I enjoyed reading it, was a tendency to a little bit of information dumping (which in common in sci-fi), and I felt it would have leant great credence to the story having Cinder discover some of it on her own. She was such a strong independent character, her uncovering certain facts would have enhanced the story and her role in it. Besides that tiny point, I love, love, loved this book.

Cinder Book Review pic 2 by Casey CarlisleYou can expect a certain amount of spooniness with this story – Cinderella loses a shoe, so Cinder, in turn loses her cyborg foot… but it was handled beautifully. You could really feel Cinder’s struggle and oppression – several times I had to bite my tongue from vocalising my distaste at how she was being treated.

Every character had their own motivation, their own personality and I have to praise the author at the intricate web she wove across with futuristic landscape. The added touch of aliens (Lunar people) to the mix of class structure, cyborgs, virus plague, robots, and a hint of paranormal powers; it ticks all the boxes to keep my up at night to ‘just finish this chapter… and the next one… and maybe one more.’

There are certainly some fantastic plot twists to Marissa Meyers first instalment to this series; and the story does not really conclude, as it is continued in ‘Scarlet’ (a Red Riding Hood adaptation) which I am poised to read with much excitement. Yes, the Cinderella story is concluded, but the Cinder storyline is only just beginning…

Cinder Book Review by Casey Carlisle

    Critique Casey by Casey Carlisle

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