Monday, November 26, 2012

Manga Monday: Yumekui Merry

This title is a bit of an odd one, I picked it up before the anime adaption came out, didn't like the first episode of the anime so I didn't follow it, read scanlations, and now it's been licensed by JManga. The only thing is that they licensed it several months ago and there haven't been any releases beyond the first chapter, oops. I've asked on twitter and they swear it's coming, I just hope it's sooner rather than later. Also, I don't know if this is related or not but I haven't seen many scanlations for it lately (could be because of the license, could be that the group prefers to buy volumes as they come out and scanlate those instead of buying the magazine each month) so I'm starting to get a little hazy on some of the details here (also, did not know that another translation of it is Merry Nightmare, JManga is just using the untranslated Japanese title for now).

Yumekui Merry (Dream Eater Merry) by Yoshitaka Ushiki

Yumeji has lived a pretty normal life but he does have one odd talent that his friends love to make him use, he can see the kind of dreams people had the night before. It's not always perfect most of the time but it can always tell him when someone has had nightmares and lately he's had a lot of those himself. It's always the same dream until one day a girl falls out of the real world into his dreams and Yumeji learns about the world of dreams and the dream demons who are coming from there to try and take over his world.

Even though the story is currently 8 volumes long (and it feels like it has several more to go) it still feels rather quickly paced to me and it's always nice to have a story that doesn't linger or draw out it's mysteries too much. In fact, one of the biggest mysteries at that start of the manga was "what exactly is Merry and how did she get here?" which has been partially answered and maybe fully answered, again it's been a little while since I read that particular part of the story (and it feels wrong to re-read scans when I know a legal version is coming). Honestly what I'm most happy about however is how involved Yumeji has become in the story, I've seen a number of stories which involve a normal person becoming mixed up in the affairs of another world and being unable to do much about it. Yumeji, really all of the main cast, has a lot of great moments and none of the main characters feel like they could have been cut without hurting the story (which isn't exactly the case for the side characters, they are side characters after all, however there are few enough of them that I don't feel like the writer is trying to fluff out the story by just introducing new characters). The plot is moving along nicely and has grown over the past few volumes as well so, while it's never super complicated or very difficult to predict, I am more than entertained reading this and plan on buying the volumes as they come out on JManga. 

Friday, November 23, 2012

Book Review: Unleashed

The final book (well, that I got) from the Enchanted Inkpot giveaway, this review is so much later partially because I got the book later (later enough that I had to go back and check since otherwise I had no explanation why I suddenly had a book in my mailbox) and then over this summer I checked out so many books that I didn't have time to read the stuff I already owned and get these other books returned on time. Also, this is a book about werewolves, I have read a number of stories involving werewolves and have concluded that they're not my favorite supernatural creature to base an entire book around. But that's only enough to make me delay reading a book, not reject it entirely, and here I am better late than never!

Unleashed by Nancy Holder & Debbie Viguie

Summary: Katelyn is moving to the charming backwood town of Wolf Spring Arkansas after the death of her mother and finds that while her grandfather isn't so bad the town and the surrounding area are a bit stranger than she expected. Everything seems fine and normal by daylight but at night her grandfather becomes tight lipped and there are dangerous things going on behind the scenes, some that she might get mixed up in if she's not careful. 

The Good: I expected Katelyn to be an annoying lead and for her grandfather to be a stereotype, I was (happily) wrong on both accounts and rather liked the growing relationship between the two of them. I suspect that there is more to her grandfather than this book touched on but even without that he was fleshed out fairly well here. Likewise, I felt like Trick and Cordelia (Katelyn's two closest new friends) also got more fleshed out than I expected, although all of this is balanced out by some rather flat side characters....

The Bad: Right, this is a story about werewolves, the promotional material mentions it and the title of the book even is a reference to it. I know that in a series you'll pace things a bit more slowly than you would in a stand-alone story but this book simply took too long to get to that part of it. As I've said before, there is a delicate line an author has to walk when they know that their audience will have figured out what is going on but their characters won't have, and thankfully Katelyn does realize that something is off almost as soon as she moves in, but it still takes forever. I also find it hard to believe that all of the wolf-related stuff in the setting is (as of this installment anyway) pure coincidence but that might be touched upon in a later book. Which leads me to my biggest problem here, everything feels too unresolved, even for the first book in what I think is a trilogy. There were things that appeared strange to me as a reader that weren't even touched on in this book and that really frustrated me, again it's about knowing how a reader is going to react to a story and dealing with that in order to keep them engaged.

So, not a bad book but not a series I'll continue reading, probably because it is just werewolves which bores me (my issue with stories with just one kind of supernatural being/power is worthy of a post all of it's own, if anyone wants me to I'll put one up on tumblr and just link it here). I give this book three out of five stars and have donated it to my local library in the hopes that someone else will enjoy it more. So I guess now that I'm done with all the Inky books I can say that Mistwood was by far my favorite story and that the others were alright, although some were a bit too young for my taste and others just weren't in genres that I like. Oh well, at least this was a great excuse to read some new things!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Book Review: Darkfall

The final entry in the Healing Wars series, honestly at the rate I've been reading the books I didn't think I would be able to find a copy of this until next year, and then the first week back at school I saw a copy in the school library and oh-so-causally snatched it up to check out. Not much else I can say to introduce the book so let's see if this series ends well or if it falls and burns.

Darkfall by Janice Hardy

Summary: It's time and past for Nya and her friends to return to Geveg where a rebellion is once again underway and to try to find her sister. Armed with more knowledge of past and too much experience with fighting Nya is willing to help make a final, desperate push against the Duke to help free all three of the kingdoms from his maniacal schemes.

The Good: Well I won't keep people in suspense, yes I think this was a pretty good end to the series. It takes the concept of "healers as fighters/generally dangerous people" a bit farther still and managed to keep a large part of it's cast from the first two books still involved. One thing I did like, and I think it's not too spoilery to mention, is how even by the end Nya is not the overall leader of this growing revolution, recognizes that she wouldn't be a great leader, and doesn't really want to be one either. The epilogue hints that she will become a leader later in life but considering how young she is (no more than 16 by the end of all of this) I'm really glad Hardy chose not to go that route and it felt much more true to Nya's character this way. 

The Bad: The book unsurprisingly is not perfect however; there are some character deaths which felt completely out of left field to me and one character ended up feeling a lot like a expy of River from Firefly by the end*. The epilogue felt a little too neat to me but that's more personal preference than an actual failing of the story (especially since you could cut it out and it wouldn't affect the story at all). Nothing too unexpected happened, aside from all of those deaths everything had been well-foreshadowed I thought although some people might disagree with me about the climax (which kind of involved a deus ex machina but honestly it didn't really feel like one to me, more like the characters just got ridiculously lucky which is a bit different). 

Overall I was quite happy with how this story ended and rather happy with the series as a whole. As a whole I would give the series four out of five stars and plan to buy copies for myself someday. Darkfall came out in 2011 and I'm not certain if it would have made my top books for the year list (simply since I can't remember what else I read that year off the top of my head) but i thin it would have been a strong contender for my favorite five books of the year.

*and after typing that I now wonder if the author is a Joss Whedon fan....

Monday, November 19, 2012

Manga Monday: Meiji Hiiro Kitan

I forgot exactly how I found this one, I've been discovering a lot of new titles on tumblr lately (which I haven't gotten around to reading) so that's probably where but not really important right now. What is important to note is that this title is completely unlicensed in the US and as far as I can tell the translation project is dead after two volumes (the scanlators say that there are four volumes out in Japan, Japanese wiki doesn't have a page for either the series or the author and the page for the magazine it runs in doesn't list the number of volumes either). By now I don't like reviewing things in a situation like that but goddammit, this series is too adorable for me not to spend a few minutes squeeing over it.

Meiji Hiiro Kitan (A Scarlet Romance of the Meiji Era) by Rikachi

Young Suzu was sold to the red light district and never expected to leave it when she's unexpectedly, and for no reason given, bought by the heir to a dry goods store, Tsugaru, and now lives with him and helps him with the little mysteries he likes to solve all the while trying to unravel how she ended up in this situation.

Right, so I can say one sentence which alone will get some people to check this out; it reminded me a lot of a flipped Croisee in a Foreign Labyrinth in a very good way. Abiet flipped, here the characters are in Japan with western influences beginning to filter in and it's the older male character who is more innocent and cheerful and the younger female character who is more world-weary (and there is a relationship, which judging from the series title will eventually become a romance, in there which has a similar feel to what I always had in Croisee) and I really don't think either series ripped off of each other. The relationship between Suzu and Tsugaru might rub some people the wrong way (I'll admit that large age gaps make me uncomfortable and that was the case both here and in Croisee) but for the moment the relationship is so innocent that I don't think it'll be a problem. There isn't a real overarching plot so far to speak of, other than Suzu's quest to figure out just what happened to have her life turn out this way, and the beginning is a bit rocky but I would buy this in a heartbeat if it was ever licensed in the US (digitally or in print).

Dammit, now I really need to go buy Croisee, led myself into that one though.....

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Book Review: City of Lost Souls

Funny enough I got both this and Clockwork Prince from my library at almost the same time (which, due to the number of copies available for each/the number of holds for each I didn't expect to happen) and I read this one second because, well, I was looking forward to this one less. TMI is a series where I've slowly out-grown it as I've grown up but I keep coming back since I do like a lot of the side characters and I really hate to leave a series unfinished, especially one where I'm already two-thirds of the way done with it. Silly reasons, especially considering how many other books out there I could be reading but oh well.

The City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare

Summary: At the end of the previous book Jace (and the previously thought dead Sebastian) ha vanished and Clary discovers just to where, apparently a bond has been forged between them and let's Sebastian control Jace and is using him to help him do what their father could not. Clary charges after them while their friends left behind have their own problems to deal with and once again it seems as if the fate of the world lies partially in their hands.

The Good: The parts that revolved around the side characters (Simon, Magus, etc) I found to be a lot more interesting and there was some nice world-building in the story as well. I really do like the world Clare has created and it's surprisingly detailed, I just wish that the story had more of a chance to explore it. The most interesting side detail in there is that I *think* there was actually a cameo from a rather important character from The Infernal Devices in there (not Tessa although she's mentioned in here again, not by name and I don't consider this a spoiler since she did appear, again unnamed, for a scene way back in City of Glass). I'm mentioning this since I'm rather impressed, if I'm right then it was a very subtle and clever cameo (a quick search on tumblr says that the rest of the fandom thinks it was a cameo but is split over who it was) and I really am curious to see what happens in the next book because of those little details and the side characters. 

The Bad: Ehhhhh, as I mentioned earlier, I feel like I've outgrown a these books and a lot of it has to do with the fact that the characters haven't aged much over the years so sure I used to connect to fellow 16 year olds rather easily, these days not so much. I also feel like this book had the opposite problem of Clockwork Prince, while that story didn't have a real climax in it (and I thought needed a bit more tension) this one tried to pull an end-game climax and it was hard to take it seriously since guys, there's one more book, even if the characters succeed with their crazy, evil schemes it's clear they won't completely win. I feel like this one could've used a smaller climax to it (and then sent some of the extra over to CP?)  although this is the awkward problem that most trilogies have so I wasn't really expecting otherwise.

So, I'll be reading the last book whenever it comes out and I'll see the first movie when it comes out next August. The first trailer is out and it looks about how I expected it so so far so good. I'm just hoping that next time I won't end up reading the two books back to back, I just prefer not to read works by the same author/same series back to back and didn't have a choice this time around with all the people who had a hold on the book after me. 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Book Review: Eyes Like Stars

I'd come across this book before (which geeze, if I remember correctly was at a Borders so that must have been years ago) and even read the first few pages but it just didn't grab me. Honestly I don't remember why I did pick it up from the library this summer, especially given how many other books I already had to read but in retrospect it wasn't a bad decision at all.

Eyes Like Stars by Lisa Mantchev

Summary: At the Theatre Illuminate the stage really is the world for all it's players who come from every play imaginable, except for the human Bertie who is neither part of the cast or crew of this theater yet has lived there all her life anyway. She's on the verge of being thrown out while trying to discover her own past but it appears that neither of those things will be easy to do. 

The Good: While it did take a little while to hook me this is an enjoyable group and a nice entry in the growing sub-genre of "stories about characters from other stories, name up for discussion". I think what took me a little while to get into the story was Bertie's personality but either I got used to her or she simply wasn't as grating a little way in and she was certainly clever enough to deal with everything thrown her way and I like a smart main character. This volume also neatly covered what it set out to do, have Bertie choose if she wants to remain at the theater or not and learn some about her past but left plenty of things for the future books and I would like to read them to see where else this story goes.  

The Bad: I had to suspend my disbeilf for the whole idea of a magical book that contains every play in what seems to be otherwise a non-magical world but one thing that continues to bug is well, how the book didn't seem to have every play in the world in there but rather only the ones it's average young adult reader would know. All the book needs is either a few cameos from plays that aren't from a European writer or even a mention that it only has plays that were originally written in English to satisfy me, something I suspect won't come up in the future volumes but still bugs me none the less.

Not a perfect book, it also felt messy in a few places, but a good one overall and I would like to read the other two books, just not any time soon since I already have too many books to read before the end of the year. 

Monday, November 12, 2012

Manga Monday: Drug and Drop

If the name of this series sounds a little familiar it should, it's Clamp's long awaited sequel to Legal Drug (which went on hiatus after three volumes because all of the magazines it was running in kept getting canceled, seriously it went through two or three different magazines) although while it's been running for about a year at this point I don't know if there's been enough material for one full tankubon of this yet (currently it and Gate 7 aren't running in their respective magazines since one of Clamp's members has either an illness or an injury, not surprising considering how much they've been churning out for the last few years). Despite that there has been enough of it for me to get a feel for it and talk about the series, it does seem a little weird that I'm talking about two light BL series in a row though.....

Drug and Drop by Clamp

A year has passed since Kazehaya and Rikuo came to live above and work for the Green Drugstore. They both continue to take odd job, side jobs for it both for the money and hoping that these jobs will help them find the people that they're looking for.

A year has passed in series since the beginning of Legal Drug (and, according to people who have somehow been able to keep track of this, proves that Clamp can't keep track of their own timelines since the series crosses over with xxxHolic Rou when it should've been closer to ten years later from that cast's perspective) and not a lot has changed from the last volume. Same characters, same kinds of stories, same pacing, what is different is that the story has stopped dropping mere hints about Kazehaya and Rikuo's pasts and has started exploring them. Some of Kazehaya's past and why he ran away from home has been explained (his sister is, ahem, unstable it seems) and more details about Rikuo's life are emerging. For a series that barely has enough material for a printed volume and considering how long some Clamp series take to get going that's fantastic! The individual stories have ranged from being "meh" to alright which is what I expected but right now I think this story plays to Clamp's strengths, they can have a lot of mostly unconnected stories to set things up and I think those were the strongest parts of Holic/TRC and a lot of Kobato/Cardcaptor Sakura/Angelic Layer were that way as well. So for now I'm crossing my fingers that it stays strong and that someone in the US license rescues Legal Drug and releases Drug and Drop (IMO Dark Horse is the most likely candidate, considering how many other Clamp works they currently have, and hopefully Clamp's penchant for crossovers won't create confusing legal issues over here).  

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Book Review: Clockwork Prince

I think by now I am enjoying  the ID series more than TMI (even though I never quite like either as much as I want to, they're just missing some spark to draw me in completely and feel a bit flat without it) although judging how long the hold list was for both of them at my local library I think it's the opposite way around for most people. Regardless, I got a hold of both this summer (I was really doubting at one point that City of Lost Souls would come in before I went back to school) and I'll be talking about CoLS next week which is interesting since I think that had the first deliberate cross-over between the two series (aside from Magnus anyway), but more on that next week and that's only a theory of mine anyway.

Clockwork Princes by Cassandra Clare

Summary: After the fight with the Magister in the previous book Tessa feels closer to her new Shadowhunter friends but her position of safety is threatened since if they don't catch him soon all of them will be out of a place to live and more vulnerable than ever. Tessa, Will, and Jem all pitch in to help find out more about the Magister's past (and Tessa's on the side since they seem to be connected) but the more they find out the less makes sense.

The Good: The whole novel ends up being build-up and it's not as terrible as that sounds. Yes it's true that Will got the most character development out of everyone but many of the side characters got some development, if anything Tessa got the least probably so whatever is going on with her will be revealed during the climax in Clockwork Princess. I do remember complaining in Clockwork Angel that Magnus had a lot less page time than I expected and that was rectified here. He was one of the more prominent side characters and it was interesting to compare how much he's changed in the roughly hundred years between series and I do hope that he has a large role in the final book as well.

The Bad: As I mentioned in the intro, despite really trying to like these books they all still lack some "spark" that I need to get really invested in them. This series has everything that should interest me, slightly older characters than TMI, a setting which (while not new) isn't as cliched as expected, the fantasy/magic part of the setting is well thought out and has a lot of ideas in there and Clare makes good use of them (a pet peeve of mine is when there is a really interesting background detail and then the author doesn't utilize it at all, not a problem here). And despite all of that, I'm still not hooked on the series, it's just one where I'm more than content to put my name on the list at the library and read something else instead of agonizing over the wait. Another weird thing which I also can't pin down why I don't like it is how the romantic triangle is going. Tessa has ended up with the guy I wanted her to but there are hints that she doesn't like it/that it will end badly/it will just be complicated for the sake of plot* which is practically the epitome of why I don't like love triangles.

I do plan on reading Clockwork Princess next year but I'm not holding my breath for it. Well, and considering how long the line will probably be for it at whatever library I get it from that's probably a smart idea. And I am also curious how the movie for City of Bones will turn out and, barring reviews that say it's absolutely terrible, I'll try to catch that as well (although that's not until next August so that's even farther in the future).  

*normally this is the part where I make a snarky comment about how everything could be solved with an OT3 but there is an actual reason why that wouldn't work here, well, two considering that I don't expect Jem to live through the last book at this rate.  

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Book Review: Ballad

So last summer I got a copy of Lament (which I had read three years earlier) and didn't read it until January. So in hindsight it's not that surprising that it took me another four or five months to read Ballad even though I really liked Lament, clearly that's just how things go for me with this series. And apologies is this review is slightly more incoherent than usual it's for the usual reasons (school, stress, more school)

Ballad by Maggie Stiefvater

Summary: Following the crazy events of the previous summer, James and Dee are now both enrolled in a school for exceptionally talented young musicians, the kind who are most likely to be stolen away by the fey and exactly the reason school was founded. But James feels a little out of place since there's not much more he can learn with his bagpipes and Dee seems distant. But James has problems of his own now, a strange fairy named Nuula has taken an interest in him and wants his soul in exchange for power, something that James isn't really interested in. But as time goes by he and Nuula start to become close to each other and it becomes obvious that there are some major events happening in the background that threaten to engulf them whether they want to be involved or not. 

The Good: There are many words to describe The Most Important Person in a Novel; protagonist, lead, main character, hero/anti-hero, narrator, etc. All of these words have slightly diffrent meanings however and this is the first time in a long time, if ever, I've read a book where the lead character is not the Main Character or The Protagonist. To make sure I'm clear, a MC or Protag is important because they are the ones who make things happen and that's clearly what Dee is doing in the background, a lead character is simply someone is there and important, like Jamie (and to a slightly lesser extent Nuula) is. We can only see what is going on with Dee through short text messages and honestly I have been waiting for a story like this forever, a story that features a side character as the lead just because I always wondered how well it would work. And it worked great here, Jamie is more balanced and interesting than Dee, Nuula was a great character as well (and she was a bit of an interesting take on a fairy, I haven't seen one quite like her in my years of reading too many fantasy books) and I wouldn't have liked this book if Dee had been the narrator I think. 

The Bad: I really do wish we had gotten more information about what Dee was doing since it was apparently rather important and, while the climax didn't feel like it came out of nowhere, without that information it did mess up the flow towards the end a bit. Also, these are two books in a series, not companion novels, and I'm trying to figure out what the overall theme/larger plot of the series is. I've got a few guesses but for a trilogy (which, IIRC, was what this was originally planned to be, although at this point I'm not sure the last book will ever be written since it's been quite a while. Really that's my biggest problem with the book, I'm just worried that such a great book won't get the follow-up it deserves.

I think I liked this even better than Lament actually and will have to make sure to pick up a copy for myself sometime. Overall I give the book four out of five stars for doing something different with it's structure, a few different thing with the mythology it used, and for just being a fun book to read. 

Monday, November 5, 2012

Manga Monday: 07 Ghost

Whelp, might as well get the most embarrassing one out of the way first. Normally when people talk about guilty pleasures I say that I don't have many, I already don't have enough time to watch or read all the great things out there I want do so why should I read something that I know is bad? This is as close as I come to a guilty pleasure since, while I do feel a bit guilty reading this series (it took me a few weeks back in high school to work up to buying the first manga volume because of the cover, which is probably tame to some but considering that the manga didn't have anything quite like that in there and I just really didn't want to have to try and explain it to the cashier) I don't think it's bad. I might feel too guilty to say it's good but it's at least solid. It's published in Monthly Comic Zero Sum which is either a shojo or josei magazine (I've seen people say both?) which is quite aware of what it's readers like to see, pretty men. I'm familiar with some of the other stories that run in the magazine and they aren't exactly BL buuuut yeah, see above cover. 

07-Ghost by Yuki Amemiya and Yukino Ichihara

(Yes the art is from the anime but it's surprisingly hard to find a good group shot of the characters from the manga so just deal with it)

So, the plot has gotten a bit confusing as of late (pretty much right after the anime ended actually) so in a nutshell, Teito was a slave of the military, trained and raised as a solider During his final exam things don't go as planned and Teito is forced to flee or risk being killed and ends up taking shelter in a nearby church (which has enough power to oppose the military). He, or rather the people around him in the church, make a startling discovery that explains why the military is so desperate to get him back. He unknowingly possesses one of the two greatest weapons in the world, the Eye of Raphel, which belonged to the Kingdom of Raggs that was destroyed ten years earlier yet almost as far back as he can remember Teito has been owned by someone who belonged to the Barsburg military, the opposing side. But the military isn't the only one hiding secrets, the Church has plenty to spare and Teito ends up in the thick of those as well involving malevolent spirits and death gods. But the more is revealed the more it's made clear that all these current events are connected to the events ten years prior and Teito plays a bigger role in them than anyone (except a genre-savvy reader) could've guessed.

It's a weird series, it's fantasy but not in a really low or high fantasy setting, it has a lot of European influences in it (it's yet another series that has decided to base it's church on the Roman Catholic one, at least unlike some it doesn't pretend to be very close to the real one) yet some of the things like the Ghosts are obviously based on Japanese stories. It's gotten complicated (I really avoided as many spoilers as I could in that summary) and partially probably because the scans I was reading for a while were out of order, missing pages, and missing a few chapters (which is why I dropped it and didn't pick it up again until last winter) I do have to think some to figure out where the latest reveal fits into the overall scheme but things are making sense and the story is moving quite determinedly towards it's goal. Of course, I've read Clamp's Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicles and xxxHolic, I now have a very high tolerance for crazy, don't explain the plot until later on, storytelling, probably higher than most (and certainly higher than it should be) so I can follow what's going on if I spend a little bit of time making sure I have all the characters, their relationships, and the time right. And I don't mind the implied BL either, if you're someone who doesn't like BL, or who finds themselves whining when all these crazy fangirls watch your show and ship the characters, distracting everyone from what the show is really about, or someone who innocently(?) asks why a show had to have these kinds of relationships, just don't try this one out. Hell, avoid all of Zero Sum, that's my advice. If you are at least okay with (under?)tones of BL in a series and like fantasy, check this out. There was an anime adaptation a few years ago by Studio Deen which covered fairly faithfully the first two arcs of the story, if you've seen it recently enough you could probably dive straight into the manga (around volume 5 according to wikipedia) but since Viz has recently relicensed the manga and the first volume is due out in a week or two you might as well wait and start from the beginning. 

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Book Review: Cinder

I heard about this book around the beginning of the year when Tor published a short story that worked as a prologue to the story and I was hooked. It was a subtle retelling of Cinderella and the setting was neat too. I entered more giveaways than I can remember trying to get an ARC of the book but sadly didn't win any of them and had to wait until the summer when I could snag it at my local library. So how did the actual book hold up to my (by that point) very high expectations?

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Summary: Cinder is a cyborg which makes her a second class citizen in New Beijing and she's already detested by her step-mother and one step-sister, even though since she's a gifted mechanic she's the only one who can earn money for the family. But her life becomes more confusing when she's drafted as a test subject to find a cure that's sweeping the world, has to avoid the mysterious, visiting dignitaries from the moon, and may have caught the prince's eye as well.

The Good: The setting is interesting and I really hope that the moon colony is explored more in the future books (even though I do read a good bit of sci-fi I don't find many YA books that feature colonies on other planets so at the moment it's still rather novel to me). The technology was often quite cool as well, everything managed to feel realistic enough (and, considering it turns out that there is outright magic, that's really impressive) which makes me a little sad that Cinder won't be the protagonist of the next book, having her be a mechanic was the perfect way to explain and flesh out that part of the setting and I can only hope the next book manages to do the same in an equally natural fashion.

The Bad: I don't know exactly why but I felt a little underwhelmed by the end of the book. I think part of it was that the story ended up following the Cinderella formula more strictly than I thought it would and another part was because there was a large plot twist revealed in the last few pages, a twist that I figured out by the halfway point of the book if not a third of the way in. A good twist will have enough foreshadowing in there that the reader can figure it out or at least go "ah yeah, that makes sense" which the book did in a way ("hmm, the book mentioned this thing and since everything mentioned must be related to the plot then this character must actually be this character"). However, I believe that you also need to reveal the twist quickly as well, not leave it dangling or else the readers will get bored. Finally, this is a bit of an odd one, but I'm really glad that I read that prequel before I read the book since it provided some nice background. I'm sure there were plenty of people out there who didn't read it at all and understood everything just fine but I'd still recommend people read it first (link in the top, plus it introduces you to the story so you can at least see if you want to read the rest). 

So in the end, meh. I do plan on reading the next books in the series, and I'll probably enter a ton of contests for an ARC again (wait, I do that for nearly every book I can) but I won't be as excited. In the end I give this book 3.5 stars out of 5.