Sunday, June 23, 2013

Review: Dear Mr. Darcy

Book Review: Dear Mr. Darcy by Amanda Grange

Things to know up front...

Recommended to: Pride & Prejudice fans

Rating: 7.5/10

Setting: England (I'm too lazy right now to be more specific)

  • Three extremely explicit sex scenes, one of which contains BDSM elements
  • Intense language--approximately one f-bomb every three sentences
  • Several knife fights and one major character death
  • Two examples of character drug abuse
  • ha
  • ha
  • ha
  • ha
  • Jaykay. I thought you could all use some excitement in your lives; there's actually nothing inappropriate at all. 
Description (not mine): In this imaginative retelling of Pride and Prejudice, Amanda Grange now tells the classic story through the eyes of its compelling romantic hero, Fitzwilliam Darcy—in a series of revealing letters that casts a sparkling new reflection on the manners and morals of the landed gentry in 19th-century England…

Here, for the first time, are the letters written by the exceedingly proud and stubborn Mr. Darcy, covering the life-changing events that defined him—from the death of his father, to his control of his Derbyshire estate of Pemberley to his conflicted courtship with the lively, intelligent, and delightfully willful Elizabeth Bennet. Try as he may, he cannot deny his attraction to this woman with fine eyes, a playful spirit, a mind of her own… and an embarrassing family that is frankly, and utterly, beneath him. But it is Elizabeth who controls both their destinies, and whose surprises will change Darcy’s life yet again.

This book came to me as a gift that I put off for approximately two months before reading because, although I love me some P&P, it's really hard for me to accept when people adapt classics because they're classics for the love of God. Yet I'm actually really happy to say that this book turned out to be a very pleasant surprise. 

Not only does Dear Mr. Darcy offer up more insight to the motivations behind the character actions in the original story, but each character representation stays true to Austen's initial representation, and every letter "written" gives off a feeling of authenticity. The author did an especially nice job of this with Darcy, particularly since it would be so easy to try to take away all of that incriminating pride he starts out with in an attempt to make him more sympathetic. 

I also really liked that the book was written in epistolary form, especially since it has been suggested that perhaps this was the way that Jane Austen originally intended for the novel to be written in the first place. There were so many things about the original story that Grange got to explore by using this format, such as minor and/or unmentioned characters such as Bingley's parents or the other Bennet sisters. 

As for the negatives, I'm not sure that there is any one thing I can say truly bothered me about this book, but I only gave it a 7.5 because it was merely a pleasure read, not something that really has much of an impact. 

Overall, I would definitely recommend this book for Austen fans, but just make sure you go into it with an open mind!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Review: Scarlet

Book Review: Scarlet (Lunar Chronicles #2) by Marissa Meyer

Things to know up front...

Recommended to: YA fans, Cinder fans, dystopian fans, fairy tale fans

Rating: 8/10

Setting: France and Commonwealth (China) in the future

  • No sexual content.
  • No drug use.
  • Little to no swearing.
  • A decent amount of violence for a YA book: physical confrontations, gun violence, violent animal-like behavior.
  • Overall, appropriate for just about anyone that wants to read it.
Description: This sequel to Cinder starts up right where the first book left off: Cinder's escape from prison. In the midst of breaking out, she makes a blunder that forces her to tote around another prisoner, Captain Thorne, who luckily turns out to be quite a valuable asset. Together they set out to locate Michelle Benoit, the woman that was thought to have housed Cinder after her escape from Luna. Meanwhile in France, Michelle Benoit's granddaughter, Scarlet, is frantically trying to discover the whereabouts of her grandmother. She teams up with a mysterious young man named Wolf, whom she knows she cannot completely trust, but can't afford to let out of her sight. What ensues is a compilation of the efforts of both parties to find Michelle Benoit and more importantly to discover the dangerous secrets she has been keeping.

Although not quite as good as Cinder, the author kept up much of the good work in this sequel, the bulk of which is seen in her twist on "Little Red Riding Hood." It's basically a guarantee that any time that an author does this I will like it, but Marissa Meyer just does it so well. It would probably be very easy to slip into the confines the particular fairy tale story, I imagine, but Meyer does a wonderful job keeping all of the important elements while still maintaining a completely unique plot arc. I could just pat her on her little head for it. 

Additionally, I quite enjoyed the suspense in this book that its predecessor kind of lacked, especially in terms of the character Wolf. I won't say anymore because I would hate to spoil anything.

Finally, the chemistry between all of the characters is absolutely fantastic. I could read about Cinder and Thorne all day long because their friendship is such a well-executed combination of squabbles, teamwork, and humor. The romantic chemistry between Scarlet and Wolf is also notable, but I can't say that I "felt it" quite as much as I did in the previous book with Cinder and Kai, but that may just be because I support the latter ship much more fervently oops my tumblr is showing.

The only real complaint I have about Scarlet is that I felt that near the end there was an undeniable break of character just so the plot could move along to the next book. I was actually fairly upset about it, as you can probably tell by the entire two point dock it caused. Don't ever do this, authors. Just don't.

Overall, this is yet another great YA experience given by Marissa Meyer, and I definitely recommend it!

P.S. Sorry this was such a lame review. I finished this book awhile ago, so I have lost a bit of my reviewing mojo for this particular book. I'll try to be better about this for the next book!