{Review/Giveaway} CINDER and SCARLET by Marissa Meyer

Welcome to A Week of Rapunzel in celebration of our favorite long-haired heroine...
not to mention the launch of Marissa Meyer's CRESS!
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Happy Book Birthday to 
CRESS by Marissa Meyer!!!

To celebrate, you could win...

all THREE books in the Lunar Chronicles series out so far (CINDER, SCARLET, CRESS),

a Rampion Poster,


a CRESS Comb!!!

Keep reading to the end  to see more!

I meant to post a review of CRESS today to celebrate its Book Day Launch, but I've been really ill all weekend and just don't have the energy to put it all together. Look for it later in the week!

Instead, I'm re-posting my reviews of CRESS and SCARLET. If you haven't read either book yet, you're really missing out! Here's why...
AND Macmillan and I are giving you a chance to win a complete set and catch up!!!

B O O K   T R A I L E R:

O P E N I N G   H O O K:

THE SCREW THROUGH CINDER'S ANKLE HAD RUSTED, THE engraved cross marks work to a mangled circle. Her knuckles ached from forcing the screwdriver in to the join as she struggled to loosen the screw one gritting twist after another. By the time it was extracted far enough for her to wrench free with her prosthetic steel hand, the hairline threads had been stripped clean.
Tossing the screwdriver onto the table, Cinder gripped her heel and yanked the foot from its socket. A spark singed her fingertips and she jerked away, leaving the foot to dangle from a tangle of red and yellow wires.
She slumped back with a relieved groan. A sense of release hovered at the end of those wires--freedom. Having loathed the too-small foot for four years, she swore to never put the piece of junk back on again. She just hoped Iko would be back soon with its replacement.
(Page 6, US hardcover first edition)
This review was first posted on Jan. 14, 2012 for 
A Week of Cinder(ella).  

I'll admit it now (and you all know it anyway):  I'm biased when it comes to CINDER.  I did, however, try to be as impartial as possible when reading and reviewing the book, so this review is based on the book's merits and not my love-fest revolving around Marissa Meyer. ^.~

Before CINDER, the only brush I had with a futuristic fairy tale was Anna Sheehan's A LONG, LONG SLEEP (reviewed here).  The only truly "sci-fi" (to me, this reads "spacey") books I own are ACROSS THE UNIVERSE by Beth Revis (review here) and various ENDER books by Orson Scott Card.  Science Fiction has never really been my thing when it comes to outer space, though I've always been fascinated by the moon.  But the idea of a space opera quartet revolving around four fairy tales from the fantastically talented Marissa Meyer?  I knew she wouldn't steer me wrong, and I'm happy to say that she didn't!  I'll be honest: Going into CINDER, the only thing I knew about cyborgs was the fact that there was a character in the animated TV series TEEN TITANS named Cyborg.  I had to have one of my co-workers explain the difference between a cyborg and a robot to me.  But even without our discussion, I feel that by the end of CINDER, I still would have understood because Meyer deftly showcases what makes Cinder cyborg and what makes her human (because she IS both.  There's no question about that.  I don't really understand the people who think cyborgs are robots and not humans, but that's another story).

Cinder wasn't always a cyborg.  She was born completely mortal, but an accident when she was young left her with a mechanical arm, foot, and some wicked cool abilities.  Cinder makes being cyborg cool.  She has a mind that works like Google's search engine, bringing up information as needed for Cinder to process.  Her leg also has a cool compartment that lets her tuck her equipment away out of sight.  And these are only two of the things that make being a cyborg so interesting.  Of course, Cinder doesn't think she's interesting.  She'd give anything to be fully human and not a lesser-ranked citizen.  She lives with her stepmother and stepsiblings, who treat her worse than dirt and completely own everything about her.  She can't keep any of the money she makes as a mechanic, and can't even buy replacement parts when needed (her poor leg is four years old and too small).  When tragedy strikes her household, her stepmother sends Cinder off as a research subject to find a cure for the plague that has been ravishing Beijing.  While being tested, Cinder discovers secrets about herself that have been carefully hidden over the years and realizes there's more to her than anyone expects.  This secret is especially dangerous because she's forged a connection with Prince Kai, who oversees the experiments, and will do anything to keep her cyborg parts hidden from him.  Her task grows even harder when the Lunar Queen, Levana, arrives on earth after the king dies.  CINDER gets more complex and in-depth as the story progresses and by the end, I was ready to throw my book against the wall because I have to wait a year to continue this four-book series.

While I was expecting an intergalactic battle over the course of four books, I expected all four to be self-contained fairy tales with proper endings.  I never expected that Cinder's journey would continue and not wrap up cleanly.  (I'm pretty sure I disowned Marissa for about a day after finding out the truth the hard way, but that's another story!)  While CINDER is intriguing from the start, it doesn't get impossible-to-put-down-good until a little ways in, and once the story has you in its grasp, it doesn't let go again.  While some plot points are fairly obvious and easy to figure out, others come out of right-field and smack you over the head when you aren't looking.  This is definitely one of the most unique and creative fairy tale retellings I've ever come across.  My only real complaint about the novel is actually a very small one: Knowing the author's roots, I was saddened by the use of the name Selene, though seeing as Selene is one of the Moon Goddess' names, it also makes sense for anyone reading CINDER with eyes fresher than mine.  I'm eager to see Queen Levana progress over the series and grow as a villain.  I can't wait to see the way four vastly-different fairy tales are brought together, especially since the scope is so large (CINDER is set in Beijing, SCARLET in France, CRESS in the Sahara Desert, and WINTER on the Lunar Moon).  I was enthralled that, like with personal favorites EVER AFTER and ELLA ENCHANTED, Cinder knew Prince Kai before the ball.  There's reason and motivation, and most of all, feeling.  I grew to care a lot for both characters and have become invested in their journey.  I loved that Cinderella wasn't a passive girl with one goal in mind.  She can save the prince, herself, her kingdom.  She's not going to sit back and wait for someone to save her!  I can't wait to meet the rest of the Lunar Chronicles characters I've been hearing about for so long.  I'm looking forward to discovering more surprises from Meyer and discovering new ways to look at beloved fairy tales that I may have never otherwise thought possible.

C O V E R   D E S I G N:

At first, I was iffy about this cover.  In person, I really like it.  There are layers upon layers that you can't see clearly on a computer screen.  The glass slipper is a bright, dangerous shade of red that reminds me of a villain's lips.  You can see through it to Cinder's foot.  And Cinder's foot--and leg--are also transparent, showing the artificial bone lying beneath the surface.  It's mysterious and captivating.  I can't wait to see the treatment for the rest of the series!

I also love the font used for the title treatment (Aeronaut), which Rich Deas discusses in his interview!  It's embossed in a beautiful shade of silver and manages to feel both futuristic and old-fashioned at the same time!  The C also reminds me of a sheet of music, so it has a lyrical feel to it, too.
O F F I C I A L   I N F O:

Title:  CINDER
Author: Marissa Meyer
Release Date: Jan. 3, 2012
Publisher: Macmillan / Feiwel and Friends
Received: For Review
(Re-read my own purchased copy, though!)

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.
B O O K   T R A I L E R:

O P E N I N G   H O O K:

SCARLET WAS DESCENDING TOWARD THE ALLEY BEHIND THE Rieux Tavern when her portscreen chimed from the passenger seat, followed by an automated voice: "Comm received for Mademoiselle Scarlet Benoit from the Toulouse Law Enforcement Department of Missing Persons."
Heart jumping, she swerved just in time to keep the ship's starboard side from skidding against the stone wall, and threw down the brakes before reaching a complete stop.  Scarlet killed the engine, already grabbing for the discarded portscreen.  Its pale blue light glinted off the cockpit's controls.
They'd found something
The Toulouse police must have found something.
"Accept, she yelled, practically choking the port in her fingers.
She expected a vidlink from the detective assigned to her grandmother's case, but all she got was a stream of unembellished text.

28 AUG 126 T.E.
RE: CASE ID #AIG00155819, FILED ON 11 AUG 126126 T.E. 

The comm was followed by a video ad from the police, reminding all delivery ship pilots to be safe and wear their harnesses while engines were running.
Scarlet stared at the small screen until the words turned into a screaming blur of white and black and the ground seemed to drop out from beneath the ship.  The plastic panel on the back of the screen crunched in her tightening grip.
"Idiots," she hissed to the empty ship.
The words CASE CLOSED laughed back up at her.
She released a guttural scream and slammed the port down on the ship's control panel, hoping to shatter it into pieces of plastic and metal and wire.  After three solid whaps, the screen only flickered in mild irritation. "You idiots!" She threw the port at the floorboards in front of the passenger seat and slumped back, stringing her curly hair through her fingers.
Her harness cut into her chest, suddenly strangling, and she released the buckle and kicked open her door at the same time, half falling into the alley's shadows.  The grease and whiskey scent from the tavern nearly choked her as she swallowed her breaths, trying to rationalize her way out of the anger.
She would go to the police station.  It was too late to go now--tomorrow then. First thing in the morning. She would be calm and logical and she would explain to them why their assumptions were wrong.  She would make them reopen the case.
Scarlet swiped her wrist over the scanner beside the ship's hatch and yanked it up harder than the hydraulics wanted to let it go. 
She would tell the detective that he had to keep searching.  She would make him listen.  She would make him understand that her grandma hadn't left of her own free will, and that she most certainly had not killed herself.
(Page 1, e-book preview edition)
This review was first posted on Feb. 4, 2013 for 
A Week of Little Red.  


The Lunar Chronicles is no longer just about fairy tales.  It has transcended, become more.  Hands down, this is Marissa Meyer's most complex, riveting book yet--and there are still two to come.  While I enjoyed CINDER a lot last year, I'm head over heels for SCARLET.  From beginning to end, readers are treated to an adrenaline-filled adventure that combines elements of Little Red Riding Hood with something completely new and unique.  Meyer weaves together characters from CINDER seamlessly in a way that works, showcasing the pros of third-person writing in a YA field overrun with first person.

Scarlet Benoit is a fierce, modern take on our favorite Little Red.  Rather than wear a cloak, she wears a natty, beloved red hoodie that was a gift from her grandmother, not caring about its appearance, and only the meaning of it.  In that alone, we can see how much Scarlet adores her grand-mère.  When Grand-mère disappears, Scarlet is convinced that something has happened to her, which is confirmed when her father returns home with whispers of kidnapping and torture.  She works together with a street fighter named Wolf who knows more than he lets on, finding herself drawn to him despite his dangerous demeanor.  Together, they will learn more than they bargained for and experience horrifying truths.

Even better, Cinder has returned!  CINDER left off on such a cliffhanger that fans have been gnawing their teeths awaiting more.  Meyer treats readers to answers in innovative ways while dumping new questions upon them.  She also introduces characters who will play integral roles in future books, which she hinted at in CINDER as well, seamlessly blending elements together.  So much happens in SCARLET and Cinder comes so far, only to make new startling revelations that will have fans salivating for Book 3, CRESS, due out next year.  I was wondering how Cinder would return and become integrated into the series, because authors don't always pull this off well, but Meyer found a way that worked, and worked well.

SCARLET is darker, grittier, rawer, and just altogether more.  There's more hurt, more violence, more desperation for the truth.  There are both answers and questions.  The world-building has evolved even further and become elaborate and gorgeous, a true treat to read.  I was enamored in ways I hadn't been with CINDER, perhaps because Little Red's story is less re-told and more dangerous.  I adore the way Meyer's girls can kick butt all by themselves, and don't need to rely on a guy to save them like fairy tales of the past.  The guys have stories of their own, too, and aren't simply "Prince Charming" with no history between the characters before being instantly blinded by true love.  There's real depth, and it will be so interesting to see how CRESS and WINTER bring this intergalactic series to a close.
C O V E R   D E S I G N:

There's even concept art for before CINDER's final look was conceived!

What a beautiful shade of red on that cloak!  Don't you just love it?  It's incredibly striking, and the fabric billows just right and is made of something fabulously shiny.

I also like the way we can see Scarlet's hair, but only a sliver of her torso, leaving her appearance up to the reader's imagination.  It doesn't feel cut off like some covers do, but tantalizing.

I'm also a fan of the way all of the typeset is the same for both SCARLET and CINDER because the Aeronaut font is well-suited for this series, both scripty like a fairy tale, and bold like something futuristic.
O F F I C I A L   I N F O:

Author: Marissa Meyer
Release Date: Feb. 5, 2013
Publisher: Macmillan / Feiwel and Friends
Received: For Review
(Re-read my own purchased copy, though!)

Cinder returns in the second thrilling installment of the New York Times-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 and 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 has no choice but to trust him, though he clearly has a few dark secrets of his own. 

As Scarlet and Wolf work to unravel one mystery, they find another when they cross paths with Cinder. Together, they must stay one step ahead of the vicious Lunar Queen who will do anything to make Prince Kai her husband, her king, her prisoner.

Enter to win
one of TWO complete sets
of all three Lunar Chronicles books
currently out...
as well as an awesome CRESS comb
and a Rampion poster!

Don't you want a stylish CRESS comb and Rampion poster!?
  Two lucky winners in the US/CA will win!

You can enter once per day if you tweet on Twitter or if you comment on a new Week of Rapunzel post daily!

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  1. Thanks for hosting this event, Bonnie! Hope you feel better soon

  2. I am so excited to dive into Cress and continue this series. I love the characters and the story line.

  3. I have read the books already, but I wanted to read Cinder originally because it came highly recommended from several friends and I love re-tellings. Now, I want to read them because I know Meyer is a fantastic writer deftly weaving futuristic sci-fi with her fairy tales. These are really fantastic books.

    1. I know, right? They're so original and different! Marissa really stumbled on something special, and she's a great writer! <3

  4. Same here, I hadn't read much sci-fi and kind of had no idea what a cyborg was, but wanted to read Cinder because of the fairy tale retelling (LOVE THEM) and then I was just blown away! I loved how this Cinderella wasn't passive either. Then, when I picked up Scarlet, I was worried it wouldn't have much of Cinder in it, so I was super excited when I started reading and discovered that Cinder was in a lot of chapters! :)
    Great reviews!

    Alice @ Alice in Readerland

    1. I'm not a sci-fi fan, either, but Marissa makes me want to love sci-fi. And nowhere is too far for fairy tales!

      Haha, I didn't know too much about cyborgs...I was asking a friend about them. I really only knew Cyborg from the Teen Titans series.

  5. Looking forward to CRESS when it arrives and when I can read your review!

  6. I've just recently got into sci-fi and it's now one of my favorite genres and I've always been a huge fan of fairy tales and fairy tale retellings. I love that this series is a mix of both! I can't wait to start this series after I'm done with the book I'm reading now. Thank you for the review!

  7. I have already read these two books and highly recommend them to others! I'm so pleased that Cress just came out for I shall dive right into it. So excited!

  8. I loved both Cinder and Scarlet so much. I thought they were truly amazing books. I'm hoping to read Cress soon.

  9. "While some plot points are fairly obvious and easy to figure out, others come out of right-field and smack you over the head when you aren't looking. " I totally agree with you! I loved those two reads! The world is just so unique it sucks you in!

  10. I loved reading about Marissa's research techniques! The map of the Sahara was so cool. Glad she still uses hard copy tools instead of Google Maps!

  11. I completely agree with you about how some plot points are fairly obvious. For example, when it was mentioned that Princess Selene was alive, I immediately thought Cinder would be the missing princess. But I also agree that some of the plot twists just came out of nowhere! It made the books so interesting and I love them so much!! I can't wait for Winter to come out, but i'll be really sad too since it's the last book of the series :( . Anyways, I really enjoyed reading your reviews!

  12. I need to read these because I initially saw them advertised in a magazine. I thought that Cinder looked fantastic, so I looked for it in the bookstore. Ever since then, I've been wanting to read the entire series, and I've been waiting for a chance to get them!

  13. Great reviews! These were definitely on point. Anyone who hasn't read these books could easily read your reviews and be convinced to go buy them. :)


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