Review: Tin Star

Tin Star by Cecil Castellucci
Release Date ~ February 25, 2014
Roaring Brook Press ~ Macmillan
ISBN13: 9781596439146
ARC received from Macmillan Kids for review

Goodreads Synopsis:
On their way to start a new life, Tula and her family travel on the Prairie Rose, a colony ship headed to a planet in the outer reaches of the galaxy. All is going well until the ship makes a stop at a remote space station, the Yertina Feray, and the colonist's leader, Brother Blue, beats Tula within an inch of her life. An alien, Heckleck, saves her and teaches her the ways of life on the space station.

When three humans crash land onto the station, Tula's desire for escape becomes irresistible, and her desire for companionship becomes unavoidable. But just as Tula begins to concoct a plan to get off the space station and kill Brother Blue, everything goes awry, and suddenly romance is the farthest thing from her mind.

Cecil Castellucci has this remarkable talent for storytelling - her stories are thought-provoking and raw. I was swept away by the story told in the first book I read by her, First Day on Earth. Tin Star delivered, although it left less of an impression on me than I had hoped.

  1. Breathtaking storytelling:

    Cecil's writing is stunning, it's the kind that stops a reader in their tracks. It is filled with atmosphere and every word is brought to life! And the story is so carefully woven, it's like this intricate web being spun. This book is relatively short compared to other recent YA releases, but it's packed with more story than most.
  2. A story about passion:

    The kind of passion that spurs people into action. Tula is motivated by an immense betrayal which happens to her in the very first chapter. She meets others who are motivated by love - the familial kind and the romantic kind. In a dreary world, it seems to be passion that keeps the characters going through awful circumstances. 
This futuristic world filled with aliens is truly unique, as well. And I wish that I could have spent more time immersing myself in all of the fine details but the book is simply too short for that. 

And as moving as the relationships were, in one sense I felt like they were forced upon me as a reader - there wasn't quite enough development for them to feel very real to me. They were beautiful and touching, yes. But in a world that comes across as cold and sterile, it felt a bit out of place to have so much longing and deep connections by the very end. 

Mostly, it didn't feel finished to me at the end. I'm not sure what I expected, but I still feel a sense of longing for something more from this book. It ended, and there aren't really any loose ends left... but it still felt unfinished somehow? 

Overall, this is an imaginative story unlike any other stories out there. Perfect for readers who want a taste of something different or who are looking for a story that will leave an impression on them.


Recap: Marissa Meyer's Cress Signing

Last night, I had the exciting opportunity to attend Marissa Meyer's book signing in Toronto to celebrate the release of Cress! :)

I was especially excited because I missed her signing last year after Scarlet came out, so I was thrilled to finally get to meet her and have a signed copy of Scarlet and Cress.

Marissa was absolutely enchanting! This was easily one of my favourite book signing events. She was lovely in person, and so incredibly friendly.

Marissa shared her road to publishing and a little bit of her background (her love of Sailor Moon, how she wrote 150,000 words during NaNoWriMo!) It was inspiring to hear how much work Marissa put into Cinder before it was published and how much the first draft changed from the final product...

I also loved hearing about how she has always loved fairy tales - and not just the Disney versions! A few of you may know that I chose my blog name (and design) for its fairy tale theme :) Growing up, I loved fairy tales as well (thanks, Disney!) but I also started reading some of the older versions before they were Disney-fied when I was younger, too. Marissa even told us the (gorier) version of Rapunzel (and summarized a few others)...

And she took a few questions from the audience for a Q&A session. The crowd was HUGE and the majority of attendees were standing during the event. We pretty much took over the whole teen section/Starbucks area of Indigo!

A little tidbit from the Q&A session as tweeted by Michele from Just a Lil' Lost... ;)

 It was a fantastic event overall! It was great to see so many readers and fans come out to support Marissa and have the chance to meet her. Indigo did a great job organizing the signing line as we were all given a number on a post-it note once we arrived so we didn't have to stand in line the whole time - they'd just call out our number and we knew it was our turn! And to give you an idea, I was #79 and I arrived an hour before the event started!

And you can check out my FIVE STAR review of Marissa's latest book in The Lunar Chronicles series, Cress, here!


Review: Cress

Cress (The Lunar Chronicles #3) by Marissa Meyer
Release Date ~ February 4, 2014
Feiwel & Friends ~ Macmillan
ISBN13: 9780312642976
ARC received from Macmillan Kids for review

Goodreads Synopsis:
Rapunzel’s tower is a satellite. She can’t let down her hair—or her guard. 

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

Their best hope lies with Cress, who has been trapped on a satellite since childhood with only 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 goes awry, the group is separated. Cress finally has her freedom, but it comes at a high price. Meanwhile, Queen Levana will let nothing stop her marriage to Emperor Kai. Cress, Scarlet, and Cinder may not have signed up to save the world, but they may be the only ones who can.

There aren't very many YA book series I recommend to everyone - but The Lunar Chronicles is one of them, and Cress convinced me of that!

Cress is a great addition to Marissa Meyer's series, and fits in nicely with the first two books. On top of that, Cress stands out as its own book with its own story and characters - with this third book, you can readily see how different the characters are and how each book has a different "feel" to it!

  1. Complex, detailed plot development:

    You see hints of this in Cinder and Scarlet, but by the time we get to Cress it's becoming clearer how much detail and thought Marissa has put in to this story. There are all sorts of secrets and twists that begin to make a lot of sense!
  2. Cress' character stands out on her own:

    One of my favourite things about The Lunar Chronicles is how each female protagonist (Cinder, Scarlet, Cress so far) is so unique from the others. And Cress is so naive and anxious, yet such a dreamer! I kept telling my younger sister that she HAS to read this book because Cress reminds me so much of her - and I think Cress is going to resonate with many readers (particularly some younger ones is my guess) or for all of us with our awkward moments.
  3. Fantastic balancing of a large cast of characters:

    At this point, there are a lot of characters bouncing around in Cress and it would be very easy for them to become muddled and confused but amazingly, they aren't. The story is set up with each character in a very specific position with their own unique purpose. To me, this is the best way to appreciate so many different characters at once. 
Of course, the downside of having so many characters is that even with 500+ pages, some characters just won't get the attention I'd like them to have (Scarlet, for example). I think Marissa does a remarkable job of keeping this from happening too much. 

Overall, I think Cress is the perfect addition to The Lunar Chronicles and an incredible third book! There's plenty of action, intrigue, and romance to easily hold the reader's attention and I easily and quickly read through its many pages.

You can also stop by Marissa Meyer's website for a chapter teaser here!

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