Novella Review: Maelyn by Anita Valle

Screen Shot 2015-12-18 at 10.00.58 AMTitle:  Maelyn

Author: Anita Valle

Genre: Fairy-tale

Series?  First book in the Nine Princesses novellas

POV: Third person, past tense, one narrator.

Cliffhanger?  No.  But it does leave a few unanswered questions

My Rating: 4 of 5 stars

Amazon | Barnes & Nobles | Goodreads | Author’s Website
Free on Kindle!

About the Book (from Goodreads)
Months later, the king returned home and presented his astonished queen with not one, but nine baby girls. “One from each kingdom I visited,” said the king. “They are orphans.” The queen wept joyously at the row of cradles, each bearing a sleeping infant. After bestowing a kiss on each child’s forehead she said, “Now they are princesses.”

Book 1: Maelyn was not born a princess. The king found her as a child, the lone survivor of a poor village slaughtered by the Red Fever. Suddenly she became a princess of Runa Realm, the first of nine orphans adopted by the king.

By her eighteenth year, Maelyn rules over Runa and a family of nine sisters. But some call the princesses frauds and imposters, a handful of urchins raised into royalty. Even Uncle Jarrod, the High King of Grunwold, seems determined to prove that Maelyn no longer deserves to be a princess. With a family losing faith in her, and a kingdom growing dangerously hostile, even Maelyn begins to wonder if she is truly a real princess. And if her riches will turn to rags once again….

 

My Thoughts
I was in the mood for a light fun read, and this novella was perfect.  I loved that this novella was about nine sisters.  Far too few books have big families in them!  Although they are not a focus of the story, anyone who has siblings can understand the sister’s interactions with each other.

Maelyn is also an avid reader.  It was fun to see her dismay over a lack of books to read, and her excitement over new books.

The only confusing part of this novella is the character Willow.  In this story, he is a messenger for the princesses.  I’m also reading A Time to Die, which has a character named Willow.  In that story, Willow is  a girl from a village the main character comes across.  Can you see how this was confusing?

Otherwise, this was a fun short read.  I eagerly read it, and will definitely be getting the next novellas!

 

Content: Clean read!

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Book Review: Soundless by Richelle Mead

soundless

Title:  Soundless

Author: Richelle Mead

Genre: Fairy-tale, Folklore

Series?  Stand-alone

POV: First person, present tense, one narrator.

Cliffhanger?  Nope!

My Rating: 5 of 5 stars

 

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads | Author’s Website

About the Book (from Goodreads)
For as long as Fei can remember, there has been no sound in her village, where rocky terrain and frequent avalanches prevent residents from self-sustaining. Fei and her people are at the mercy of a zipline that carries food up the treacherous cliffs from Beiguo, a mysterious faraway kingdom.

When villagers begin to lose their sight, deliveries from the zipline shrink and many go hungry. Fei’s home, the people she loves, and her entire existence is plunged into crisis, under threat of darkness and starvation.

But soon Fei is awoken in the night by a searing noise, and sound becomes her weapon.

Richelle Mead takes readers on a triumphant journey from the peak of Fei’s jagged mountain village to the valley of Beiugo, where a startling truth and an unlikely romance will change her life forever…

My Thoughts
I don’t know how to describe the fabulousness of this book!  I have been trying to write this review all morning, and I’m not sure where to start!

I went into this book both excitedly and nervously.  I have never read anything by this author, and I still have no intention go back and read her other books.  They just don’t sound interesting to me.  The day I picked Soundless up from the library, I had seen several negative reviews for it. This made me hesitant, but really, who can say no to the promise of Chinese folklore and that gorgeous cover?  I’m glad I read it.  It was sooooo worth it!

Don’t go into this book expecting an epic fantasy either.  It is nothing of the sort.  I’d say it has a very fairy-tale feel to it.  It does claim to be based in Chinese folklore after all.  And it is more than just the names that distinguish this book as Chinese.  I may have missed it before I took my Chinese language class, but the whole book had an underlying Chinese feel to it.  It’s not very obvious, but it’s there.  And the food they ate was very Chinese.  Not necessarily what we Americans think when we go to a Chinese restaurant, but Chinese all the same.  I mean, they were picking persimmons off trees!! I wish a persimmon tree would grow where I live!

Soundless is about a village where everyone has lost their hearing.  Fei, our main character, regains her hearing one night.  It scares her, and she does not know how to live with hearing.  I can’t image living without hearing, and Fei is struggling to figure out life with hearing.  It made me stop and think so many times.  As I write this, I can hear my sister downstairs in the kitchen.  I would not be able to know she was in the kitchen or hear her coming upstairs without my hearing!  This book made me rethink an entire sense that I usually take for granted.

Because the village cannot hear, there is no dialogue in Soundless.  Not to worry though, the villagers communicate through sign language.  How cool is that?!  An entire book where people communicate with sign language!  The writing is beautiful.  It allows you to feel the story.  After the first chapter, I was amazed at how each sentence is packed with emotion.  It’s just beautiful!  And sometimes heartbreaking.

I have seen some reviews complaining about the love interest.  I’ll admit, Fei and Li Wei’s relationship is sweet, but not swoon worthy.  That is because the love they share is not the point of the book.  The relationship that really drives Fei is the one she has with her sister Zhang Jing.  There are not enough young adult books that focus on close sibling relationships.  And I think they are beautiful.

I don’t know what else to say except – GO READ IT!!!

Screen Shot 2015-11-21 at 11.23.44 AM

Content: No language. Some kissing and one shirtless scene (she was going to wash the guy’s shirt and can’t help but notice how hansom he is rolls eyes). Very mild violence – it is there but nothing is really described.

I couldn’t help but see parallels in the story to Christianity.  It was probably not intended, and I can’t say much without giving the story away.  There was this beautiful scene where people cry out, and some people get discouraged because they don’t believe that it will do anything, but something does happen to help the villagers.  Ugh, did I just say too much?  I don’t know, but why are you still here anyway – Go read the book!!

Book Review: Cinder by Marissa Meyer

cinder

Title:  Cinder

Author: Marissa Meyer

Series?  Yes.  Book 1 of 4

Cliffhanger?  Sorta

POV: Third person, past tense, multiple perspectives

Publisher: Square Fish

Author’s Website:
http://www.marissameyer.com/

My Rating: 3 of 5 stars

About the Book (from author’s website)
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.

My Review
I feel the same way about Cinder as I did about Storm Siren.  No, actually I liked Storm Siren better.  A half start better.  :)  Cinder was a great book, but I would have liked it more if I was younger. The writing was great and kept me interested, but it was way too predictable.

Of Robots and Cyborgs
In Cinder, cyborgs are people who need robotic limbs or other robotic parts. They are look upon as outcasts.

There was one problem with this set up, we never knew how much of Cinder was robot and how much was human. I was fine with the limbs and whatnot, but her eyes are robotic, and it appears her brain worked robotically (this is more apparent in the novella Glitches). Yet Cinder was supposed to still be human. This bothered me in the first part of the book, until I read a review that it was never explained. After that I gave up trying to figure Cinder out and just went with it.

Iko was Cinder’s cute sidekick.  Iko is an android with a faulty personality chip that causes it to say things that normally would not be social acceptable.   Again we have the problem of a blurry line between robot and human.  All the other androids in the story were clearly recognizable as robots, but Iko seemed quite human to me.  That aside, he was quite cute, and had the funniest lines.

Cinder
I really liked Cinder as a character. Other than the cyborg part, she was a fleshed out character.  Her motives made sense as she tried to make the best of her situation.  She is a strong, smart protagonist.  I really liked the parts where she was working on something.  It showed that she was gifted with working on the mechanics of the robots in her society.

Plot
The story was really, really predictable. This is one of the main reasons I think I would have liked it better when I was younger.

Cinder has this orange light that flashes in her eye when someone is lying. I kinda felt like I had one too. I knew the moment the author was feeding us misinformation. I also was able to guess lots of things well before they happened.

Despite this, the plot worked.  There were obvious ties to Cinderella, but the story made sense in the futuristic setting.

Peony
Peony is the younger stepsister.  While in the most Cinderella stories we are not suppose to like the stepsisters, here we are suppose to like Peony.  She is more sympathetic to Cinder.  When we are first introduced I thought I might like this twist, but I quickly regarded Peony as only a plot device. Everything that she did or happened to her was solely to advance the plot.  [Spoilers: highlight to view] (Peony got sick so Cinder would be sold off and find out that she was Lunar. Peony entered a new stage of the illness at the most annoying moment, all so Cinder would not find out she was the princess.  She died so Cinder would turn off her comm and not hear from the prince.  And if course, her dress was saved so Cinder would have one without a fairy god-mother.)

What Made the Story Great
Now that I have all that out of the way, I can talk about why I liked this story.  This twist on the classic story was great.  A Cinderella story involving interplanetary relations?  Now that is a great idea!  Seriously, I loved that we heard from Kai, the prince, and learned more about the political situation.  And Kai was just awesome.  He had the pressure of the world (and the moon) on his shoulders.  He wasn’t perfect, but he truly wanted to help his people any way he could.

I also loved how things happened at the ball.  It is just like the original story, where everyone is looking at this strange girl who arrived late, but they are not looking for the reason you think.

In Conclusion
Despite the problems I had with this story, I did enjoy it.  It was a fun, quick read.  I will be reading the next books in the series.