Cress by Merissa Meyer a Review

This is my review for the third book in the Lunar Chronicles by Merissa Meyer. This book like the previous ones is a fairytale retelling; this one is loosely based on Rapunzel set in the same dystopian world of the previous two books. 

Cresss by Merissa Meyer Book cover  book3 of the lunar Chronicles

While I have previously read Cress reading it with the aim of reviewing it gave me a greater appreciation of the intricate way that Merissa Meyer has not only linked the  fairy tales together but allowed them to run side by side in a believable way.  

The plot continues from the previous book, allowing a deepening understanding of the problems facing the characters and the world surrounding them. 

This is not the first time that we are introduced to Cress, briefly having seen her in the first book Cinder but we officially find more about her in this book. Cress is a very intelligent individual who is an expert in computers, but she is a little quirky.  Having spent the majority of her life alone, that is not unexpected.  Cress has come up with a number of coping mechanisms to help her keep her sanity some of which may be helpful during this time of social distancing.  

During this book we also gain a better appreciation of  Captain Thorne and his resilience in the face of adversity.  He faces a number of challenges and supports Cress to survive in the dessert, even going without water, and carrying their supplies.  While Thorne is still in love with himself Cress brings out a slightly softer side of his character. Which allows the reader to start to relate to his character.  

This book also allows a deeper look at Dr Erland, who while he has driven some of the main points of the story we did not know a lot about him.  This book explains some of the work that Dr Erland has previously been involved with showing a darker side to the character that previously the reader was unaware of.  It helps to illustrate while we may doing as we are requested or told, we still have to follow our morals and values. 

This installment of the Lunar Chronicles explores good versus evil and the truth that individuals are not inherently good or bad. In fairytales, that these books are based on a character is automatically a good or a bad person.  There are very few fairytale characters who are in the greyscale of good and bad and this book shows that you can be in the middle, such as Captain Thorne.  Cress sees Thorne as a hero, based on some of his history, however Thorne does not see himself thusly and it is a lovely to see this in a fairytale retelling. 

Another theme in Cress is mental strength. Everyone should be aware how important their own mental health is and this book shows that having a mental strength to carry on regardless of the opposition is very important.  As I mentioned above Cress spent a number of years alone and she managed to stay sane with only the three monthly visits from her Mistress.  She also utilises her vivid imagination and daydreams to get through challenges she faces that she is not comfortable with.  Whether she is pretending to  be a soap opera star or  an explorer. Occasionally she cannot keep up the illusions but this ability  can allow you to reframe difficult situations into something that you believe you can face. 

In places Cress was heartbreaking, it drew a few tears to my eyes.  But the ending of the book made me feel like I could take on the world which right now is great. Right now people feel helpless but staying at home is keeping others safe and making you a hero.  

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

I am giving this book a solid 5 Stars.  

If you have read this please let me know what you thought. 

An Open Letter on Shakespeare

On Thursday it was Shakespeare’s Birthday (well his generally recognised one at least) as such I thought in celebration I could write about him in my new Open Letter series.   

Now if you grew up in the schooling system in the UK it is highly likely that you will have studied a Shakespeare play at some point during your schooling. During my year six residential trip I was lucky enough to go to Stratford-upon-Avon (which is beautiful) to visit a few key Shakespeare places, and watch one of his plays at the Stratford Theatre. I was reminded of this a last year ago when I read Bill Bryson’s book on Shakespeare, which discussed a lot about him, some of which I knew some which was a complete surprise. However,  today I want to speak about Shakespare’s impact on storytelling.  

Julius Caesar by William Shakespear book Cover

If you have ever read any of Shakespeare’s longer plays you will have noticed that they have a plethora of battles, sex and comedy, the reason for this also explains why these plays have stood the test of time.  After a battle, sex or comedy Shakespeare would put the next key part of the plot.  Other playwrights of the time were not all as keen on this plan, but it is why Shakespeare was so successful.  Fighting, sex and comedy all get the attention of the audience, especailly the ‘groundlings’ who may have been raucous or bored during the performance this meant that they would still be paying attention when the next key plot point annoucned itself.  It also ensured that those who may have not been able to hear over the groundlings could hear due to the fact that the groundlings would have been pulled into the story once more. 

Now as I am writing this it seems a simple strategy, but It is also genius.  A lot of script writers and authors still follow this formule.  There is always some comedic relief (well in the books that I read) and often when there is a battle key plot points often follow.  I am pleased that a literary great, still have an impact on our story telling today. 

Hamleby Shakespeare Book cover

In addition to the above the vast majority of people know that Shakespeare had a massive impact on the English Language.  There is also the belief that there were additional works that he wrote on top of his 52 plays and 154 sonnets.  Bill Bryson’s Shakespeare also shared that we don’t actually know how Shakespeare wrote his name, and there are only 6 of his surviving signatures. 

If you are interested in Shakespeare’s life and death the Bill Bryson book I have shared up above is really interesting read (even for those who do not read a lot of non-fiction). If you do read it or know some interesting facts about Shakespeare please let me know.

For my next post normal service will be resumed of talking about and reading young adult books – I am aiming to publish a review of Cress book 3 of the Lunar Chronicles.

See you next time! 

An Open Letter for Earth Day 2020

This is a little out of my usual writings but it is an important topic which I am passionate about and today is a good day to do so.

Global Warming is a hot topic on Earth Day as it highlights the impact that humans are having on the environment and the challenges that we face to prevent the catastrophic impact that we are having on the planet we call home. 

The evidence for global warming is almost irrefutable and even if you are a skeptic then you will not lose much if you reduce, reuse and recycle, but you may lose an entire planet and your home if you do not.  

The impact that we have been having is so much clearer now as we can compare the statistics of air pollution and CO2 released before and during the Coronavirus lockdown.  These invisible gasses not only affect the climate but can impact on your health which everyone should take into account. 

There are a large number of books which can explain what is happening and suggest some actions that you can take and I have listed a few of them below.  I have also included a few books from the zero waste movement as waste reduction is a key component of supporting a greener planet. 

Drawdown The most Comprehensive plan ever proposed to roll back global warming, edited by Paul Hawken Book cover
  1. Drawdown: the Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming – Edited by Paul Hawken

This book does what it says on the tin,  it explains what we can do within broad categories such as Energy or Food. It gives solutions for each of the areas and highlights how much carbon would be saved for each solution. 

No One is Too Small to Make a Difference  by Greta Thunberg book cover
  1. No One is too Small to Make a Difference – Greta Thornberg

Greta Thornberg is a well known climate activist who has inspired a huge number of people and children to take action on climate change I hope that she will be able to persuade you to take action if you are not already doing so

There is no Planet B: a Handbook for the make or break years by Mark Berners-Less book cover
  1. There is No Planet B:  a Handbook for the Make or Break Years by Mark Berners-Lee

This book highlights some of the actions that individuals can take and this books contains graphs which is good for those who are more visual learners. 

An Inconvenient Truth: The Planetary Emergency of Global Warming and What we can do about it by Al Gore book cover
  1. An Inconvenient Truth: The Planetary Emergency of Global Warming and What we can do about it  by Al Gore 

This book contains solid research data and graphs regarding the situation that Earth is in and the challenges facing us and proposes thinge that we can do about it.

How to give up plastice:  A Gudie to saving the world one plastic bottle at a time by Will McCallum book cover
  1. How to Give up Plastic; A guide to saving the world one plastic bottle at a time by Will McCallum 

Plastic is something that you don’t really notice how much of it is in your house until it is pointed out to you and from that point onwards all you can do it notice it.  This book is written by an activist who lives a Zero Waste life and is helping others to do the same

A Life less Throwaway  The lost Art of Buying for Life  by Tara Button book cover
  1. A life less Throwaway:  the lost art of buying for life

While I am yet to read this book just the title makes me feel uplifted. My partner grew up in a house where nothing was thrown away, if it could be fixed or reused it was.  In some cases even the waste was used. But on the whole families are happy to get something new rather than repairing.  

There are many more books out there on climate change but if we do not do something soon there will be nothing that we can do to prevent the earth becoming an unpleasant and uninhabitable place and most likely cause mass extinction.  There is no planet B for humans to move to and we should do everything we can to live greener lives.

If you have read any good books on Climate change that you would recommend please let me know after all knowledge is power and if you do not know about everything you could do you won’t do everything possible to save our home.  Changing how we live is key to the survival of not only the planet, and the other species but ourselves.  

Choose your next book from your TBR list

A couple of weeks ago I shared my love hate relationship with my seemingly ever growing TBR list, and it is not getting any easier to choose the next book from it. 

First on first off

If you use a notebook or bullet journal to track your TBR list this is probably one of the best ways to work your way through it.  Starting at the top of the list and working your way down. There are a few challenges with this, if a new book in a series you love comes out then you have to wait until you get to the bottom of the list.  On the plus side this option means that you do not have any books on your list that are been there for years and years. You can also do the opposite last in first off, but this could get a little difficult to ever get through to the top.  

Book Covers 

Now I am aware that you should never judge a book by its cover, but sometimes, just occasionally it is nice to  use this option if you are really stuck, some book covers draw the eye and all you want to do is read the book because of this.  In my opinion if the book is already on your TBR list you are planning on reading it at some point if you want to choose your next read based on the cover why shouldn’t you? 

Next In the Series 

I am the worst at this, if you are in the middle of the series you are enjoying you can just pick up the next in the series. I currently have 2 series that I have two books left from completing. I was enjoying the series but I needed to change fictional worlds for a short time.  I will go back to these series soon, but for now I am enjoying the break I took.

New Releases by your Favourite Author

Sometimes just as you finish a book your favourite author releases a new book.  I try and avoid looking for new releases, my to be read list would get far too long if I did.  But if you follow your favourite author on Twitter or Goodreads you will know when a new release is due. Opening that brand new book is a feeling that every bookworm has had at some point and there is nothing quite like it. 

Random

This is certainly my favourite way of choosing my next book,  if I have completed the series or need to read a different world then I use this method. I will close my eyes and flick through my list randomly stopping on one, or ask a friend or partner to choose the next book. 

Which of these methods are you going to use to choose your next book?   What other ways do you use to choose your next read from your TBR list?

SCARLET BY MERISSA MEYER

This is the sequel to Cinder, and the second book in the Lunar Chronicles by Merissa Meyer.  Scarlett is loosely based on Red Riding Hood, while set in the dystopian world which was introduced to us in Cinder.  

book cover of Scarlet by Merissa Meyer, book two of the Lunar Chronicles
Scarlett by Merissa Meyer

The plot of this book is much stronger than the previous one, there are more mysteries to solve, more action to narrate and the characters that we are introduced to are added to the already established cast. 

Scarlet comes across as a short tempered person who is determined to complete the task she has set for herself. She comes across as the kind of person who doesn’t let anything stand in her way.  Scarlet is a very moral driven character and doest care if she is looked upon as strange or unusual by others. Scarlet’s outlook on not judging people until you understand their circumstances is something everyone can attempt to do, though it can be difficult.    

Wolf is a mystery for much of the book, everytime something is revealed about him it leads to more questions, until the reveal at the end.  His boundless energy supports the constantly moving plot, and it is almost contagious making the reader want to keep moving. He much like Scarlet knows his own mind, but while he may not agree with Scarlet’s choices he does what he can to support her.  

While not the main leads in this book we also see Emperor Kai and Cinder, each of them doing their best to make the most of a dangerous situation. Kai is upset that Cinder appears to have lied to him though he still hopes that she somehow stays safe.  Cinder is slowly coming to understand about her life while trying to come up with a plan to dethrone the tyrannical Queen of Luna. 

This book allows you to explore more of the world that Merissa Meyer established in the first installment. After the first book being centred in the eastern commonwealth we get to see a little of the European Federation, and some of France.  I think that this allows the reader a greater understanding of the world and the people within it. We get to see some of the destruction which occured to France during world world four and it helps the readers to understand why the decisions were taken to create the ‘countries’ and the alliance.  

This book continues the theme of discrimination, and shows that this challenge is not just centred in the Eastern Comonwealth but is also an issue in the European Federation. Scarlett shows that just becasue discrimination exists not everyone has the same outlook and that fighting for changes to dicrimination, while you may be in the minoriity, is worthwhile.  

Another theme which is picked up in this book is betrayal and loyalty. Emperor Kai is willing to do anything to keep his people safe, even if that means looking like he is betraying them all so he can save lives with the antidote for the plague that has been killing thousands of people across the world.  Scarlet feels that her grandmother has betrayed her by keeping something a secret from her, but her grandmother would say that she was being loyal to someone else. This book shows that just because it appears as though someone is betraying you, this does not mean that they are not loyal to you or others. 

Something that is explored in this book is freedom.  We see that Cinder has finally escaped her guardian, and is able to do as she wishes. But she cannot help but think how limited her current freedom is, and the price it has cost. It explores how freedom can be both overhyped and undervalued depending on your experiences of life so far. 

The final theme I am going to mention is trust and safety.  This links with betrayal and loyalty, but just because you are loyal to someone does not mean that you trust them.  Scarlet trusts Wolf to protect her regardless of the challenges that he faces. The book shows that while difficult decisions can break your trust, there are times when you just have to blindly trust that you were right and hope that you are proved right. 

This book made me feel that even when you think you are powerless there is something that you can do to help or support someone else.  That could be speaking your mind to help prevent discrimination or right now it is staying at home to keep othersand yourself safe. 

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

I am going to give this book 5 Stars.  I am glad I am rereading the series and I am thoroughly enjoying it so far.