Wednesday, 26 October 2016

The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer ǀ Book Review

For the purposes of this review I am going to be talking about the four main Lunar Chronicles books, not the additional novellas which Marrisa Meyer has written to alongside this series.

This was my first fairytale retelling series and although I wouldn't say that it is the most complex storyline or read, I found it to be incredibly enjoyable nonetheless.  I had seen it all over the book world; booktube, Goodreads, Amazon recommendations...the lot but it was only after I had a couple of people really get on at me to pick them and read them that I ordered the 4 main books.

The first book is Cinder and, as you might be able to guess, this is based around the story of Cinderella.  But with a twist.  We meet Linh Cinder who is working as a mechanic in New Beijing.  However Cinder isn't just an ordinary mechanic; she is also a cyborg (a human with additional metal/computer parts).  We have a lot of the same characters as in the original story; there is the mean stepmother, a cruel stepsister and, of course, the prince but I appreciated the spin that Marissa Meyer had put on the fairytale and the world she has created.  

So Cinder is living in a world which is slightly different from the world as we know it.  There has been a fourth world war and as such, many countries have banded together and the political system is very different and the set-up is very different.  Not only that, but there are a group of people living on the moon known as 'Lunars' who have the ability to manipulate bio-electricity meaning they can apply 'glamours' to themselves affecting what people from Earth (Earthens) see as well as controlling Earthens thoughts, feelings and actions.  As you might imagine, because of this, Earthens don't want anything to do with Lunars and are highly suspicious of them which is not helped at all by Queen Levana, who rules Lunar and is very much a dictator to the Lunar society.

Queen Levana wants to add Earth to her dominion and decides to do this by marrying Prince Kai, Emperor of New Beijing.  To add even more drama to the story, there is also a deadly disease which is making its way across Earth and which each country is desperately trying to find a cure for.  Guess who holds the antidote?  Queen Levana of course! 

I will say that I guessed the big 'twist' in the story pretty much at the beginning but it didn't take away the enjoyment factor for me.  I found Marrisa Meyer's writing style really easy to get on board with and I was soon swept up in the world and the story.  I'm not going to go too deep into what each book is about as I went in pretty blind and think that's it is much more enjoyable reading it that way; we all think we 'know' the fairytales which Meyer has borrowed for these books but it's the surprises she injects along the way which really make the books stand out.

The second book in the series was probably my favourite.  Scarlet is the Red Riding Hood retelling and as I have a real thing about Wolves (yup, I'm firmly Team Jacob) it firmly ticked the box for me and although I have heard people say that Scarlet was probably the least developed of all Meyer's characters I really enjoyed the Scarlet/Wolf story throughout all of the books.  I just used my imagination for the parts which Meyer didn't flesh out!

Cress is the third book and this was probably my least favourite, although Captain Thorne is right up there at the top of all time favourite book characters so that more than makes up for it.  Cress is the Rapunzel retelling and although I think that credit has to be given for the fact that Meyer has her stranded in a satellite for years and years she was pretty irritating. 

However, the thing that I love about books is how different characters really speak to us. I was talking with two of my good book-loving friends about this series and we each had characters that we didn't like at all and characters that we loved...and they were all totally different.  Which I think just goes to show how great it is to have a diverse selection of characters such as the ones Meyer has created; because there's bound to be some which appeal and some which don't.

The final book is an absolute beast in size and this is partly because Meyer had to somehow wrap up all the individual stories which she had created in Cinder, Scarlet and Cress.  This book is named after Princess Winter (aka Snow White) and we have all the other characters from the other three books in here as well.

Although I thought that maybe the stories wrapped up a little too nicely and neatly, I loved that they had a satisfactory ending and that we got to see what happened to each of the characters Meyer had written across all four of the books.

Overall I would say that these books are great YA reads; the stories are enjoyable with a wide range of characters and if you fancy a fairytale retelling with a twist then you will almost definitely find these books to your liking.

You can buy these books from Amazon and the Book Depository.

Currently reading:- The Well of Ascension (Mistborn #2) - Brandon Sanderson

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Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Exploring Brockholes ǀ #WalkWithWynsors

Over the weekend we were invited to Brockholes to join in with an event being hosted by Wynsors World of Shoes.  Brockholes has long been one of our favourite outdoor spaces and we were thrilled to be asked along.  A morning spent outside, letting the kids burn off energy?  We don't need to be asked twice!

Meg and Eli were sent some Bogs wellies for the event and they were both very excited to give them a whirl and test them out, especially in the run up to Autumn and Winter when they will practically live in them.  We love being outdoors as a family which I think any regular reader will know and the more grim the weather, the more the kids seem to enjoy it!  Living somewhere coastal we don't stop visiting the beach or the surrounding woodland just because the sun has vanished so wellies always come in handy.

When we arrived, the sky was grey and the rain was hammering down...but Meg and Eli were bouncing around with excitement and couldn't wait to get going.

First we met up with some other lovely bloggers who were also going to be joining in the event and then we set out, led by Terry, one of the volunteers who works at Brockholes and regularly leads walks around the nature reserve.  The kids were armed with some snack packs which they couldn't wait to tuck into (we barely made it up the first stretch of path!) and then we were off.

For this particular walk we were following the Meadow Trail which was 1 and a half miles long and took us through some fields, past the River Ribble and then back round to the playground and the Visitor Centre.  This was mostly flat, grassy paths which were fine for children and pushchairs although it was a little bumpy at points.

It took us about an hour and half to walk around and I thought it was just about long enough for the legs of the little people we had with us although we've explored a lot of Brockholes during our other visits and there is plenty to see if you can walk for longer.

Even though it remained overcast it was a really enjoyable walk, with plenty of wildlife for the kids to spot from slimy slugs nestling in the grass to a crane swooping over the water.  Eli even made himself a little friend; and he affectionately named it Thomas!

Just as we arrived at the adventure playground the sun decided to make an appearance which was very welcome indeed.  I love the playground area here; there is plenty of space for kids to run around and burn off all that energy, as well as different areas for different abilities.  Meg and Eli certainly had lots of fun racing about.

Then it was back to the Visitor Centre where a lovely lunch had been arranged.  After the brisk outdoor weather it was nice to enjoy some warming food and a good cup of tea whilst the children scoffed down the contents of their lunch boxes before being raring to go again.  Except for Eli...who decided to have a little lie down to let his lunch settle!

Overall we had a really enjoyable morning, exploring a part of Brockholes we've never seen before and even though the weather wasn't perfect, it was still a great opportunity to get outside and explore.

A huge thank you to Wynsors World of Shoes, Lancashire Wildlife Trust, Bogs Wellies and Brockholes Nature Reserve for hosting a lovely day out for us all.

We were provided with Bogs wellies FOC for the purpose of this event.  All thoughts and opinions are our own.