Amelia Recommends: The Lunar Chronicles

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Read if you like: Grimm’s fairy tales, cyberpunk, The Hunger Games

Marissa Meyer’s The Lunar Chronicles is a YA series that takes traditional fairy tales and turns them into grim cyberpunk. Our Cinderella (Cinder) is a cyborg, our Little Red Riding Hood (Scarlet) a badass spaceship pilot, Rapunzel (Cress) a genius computer hacker, and Snow White (Winter) a psychic, slowly driven insane as she tries not to use her powers. Of course, every fairy tale needs an evil queen, and Queen Levana is as scary as she is sadistic–capable of making anyone fall helplessly in love with her using her psychic powers, ruling her kingdom on the moon, but always looking with jealousy towards Earth …

The Lunar Chronicles is an incredible combination of whimsy and action. You’ll chuckle when you recognise the fairy tale references, and cringe when you read Levana’s callous acts of cruelty. Also necessary to any good fairy tale is a touch of romance, and these books have it in abundance. What starts as a poor cyborg girl trying to escape her cruel family quickly escalates into a full-blown Hunger Games-style revolution as our heroes fight to overthrow Queen Levana.

Red Flags:
(This book may not be for you if you avoid the following)

  • Predictability: the plot twists can be quite easy to guess, although this doesn’t necessarily ruin the fast pace of the plot.
  • POV Switching: the first book, Cinder, focuses on just Cinder and Prince Kai, but the sequel, Scarlet, switches to a new protagonist for most of the book. After Scarlet, more characters are introduced, but the point-of-view swaps are more steady, with the characters taking just a few chapters each at time.
  • Long Saga: although not as long as other fantasy series, The Lunar Chronicles takes up four books (with some short stories as well), and the books get thicker as they continue.

Recommends, Not Reviews

I’ve been rethinking the way I write this blog.  Especially since, right now, the way I write this blog is mostly Not At All.

The reviews I write on here are pretty long, which means they take a long time to write (funnily enough!), and when I’m trying to focus on finishing my first novel, I rarely have the time to sit down and type out a thoughtful, interesting review.

That aside, I’m starting to find that reviews are … kind of unhelpful?  After all, I can only discuss my own opinions, and what use is that?  There are plenty of books I hate that other people love, and vice versa!

So, instead, I’m going to have a go at writing ‘recommends’, rather than reviews.  For each book I read, I’ll write a much shorter review, explaining who might like to read it, and who might prefer to avoid it.  This also means I get to be more upbeat and positive on my blog — not ripping books to shreds (even if I feel they deserve it, hehe), but rather pointing them towards an audience that would actually enjoy them.

I’m hoping to get the first recommend out soon, starting with some of the books I’ve already reviewed (yes, even the ones I loathed)!  I hope you like it.

Winchester Writer’s Festival 2016: Scholarship!

I’m going to Winchester Writer’s Festival!  Yippee!
Every year, authors, agents, publishers and all sorts of other writerly people gather in one of my favourite places in the UK — beautiful Winchester.  Over 17th-19th June, the University of Winchester hosts a variety of talks, lectures, master classes and one-to-one advice sessions all about books, writing, and publishing.
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Last year, I was lucky enough to attend as a bookseller with P&G Wells Bookshop, and I had a brilliant time meeting people like Ali Sparkes, Jasper Fforde.
This year, I decided to apply for the WWF scholarship, which lets young writers attend the festival for free, since going to all three days can be a bit pricey (although much of the Friday stuff is free, so I recommend checking that out!).  Plus, it’s worth going just for that beautiful Winchester campus.
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(I miss you, Winchester!)
A few weeks of nail-biting later, I’ve been accepted!  Cue fanfare, confetti, and exploding bottles of champagne, etc.  I can’t wait to see Winchester again, and to talk writing with professionals in the field.  Better get on with editing that manuscript of mine … eep!