Posts Tagged ‘The Christian Manifesto’

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And so it begins. While I still have a queue of books to get through that are Christian from Marcher Lord Press (The Restorer’s Son, Freeheads, Throne of Bones) after that, I am officially out of a reading pile for The Christian Manifesto. It’s a weird feeling, having nothing to review and at the same time, very liberating too. I talked with my editors, and they’ve decided to give me enough freedom to hang myself. I mean rope to play with. Something.

We  (The Christian Manifesto) want to do more secular market interviews and reviews. Unfortunately, we don’t have contacts for a lot of the secular publishing houses and that just stinks. Mainly because I’m bored and am tired of reading the tripe that is often handed out from the Christian* publishing companies. Now, there are a lot of hard-working people in those companies, but they’re still mass producing fiction tripe. And there’s only so much I can read before I start vomiting up plot points and sweating platitudes.  So it’s time to go to  the secular companies that also produce tripe, but at least a different flavor of it.

If you are a friend of mine on GoodReads, you have helped me pick out these books to try. If you aren’t a friend of mine on GoodReads, why not?! I’m constantly crowd sourcing for my next book to try. Find me and friend me.  You can do that by checking out the new widget over there on the side bar, and this ALSO lets you keep track with that I’m currently reading.

In fact, if you check back after I get ten or so answers from the  question I’m about to pose, you’ll SEE the results over there, in the book that I add to my shelf. Ready for that question? Of course you are!

Of the six books in the picture above (I’ll be nice and type them out too along with a link to their spot on Good Reads) which should I try after I finish my current queue? Or possibly interject into my queue?   Which of these titles peaks your  curiosity?

Tuesdays At the Castle by Jessica Day George
A Tale Dark and Grim by Adam Gidwitz
The Clockwork Three by Matthew J.Kirby
Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta
The Kneebone Boy by Ellen Potter
A Drowned Maiden’s Hair by Laura Amy Schlitz

Let me know what YOU would like me to read from the above list in the comments below. Or, if you have other suggestions for me, I’d love to hear them.

* Marcher Lord Press is  not one of those turning out the tripe. I don’t always like what they produce, but their work is   always solid in its structure, tone, and editing.

Remember when I was talking about interviewing Marissa Meyer? And raving over her book Cinder? No? Well if you missed all of the fantastic adventure I had with both the book and the interview, here’s a chance to catch up! Click the picture above and you’ll be taken to The Christian Manifesto site where the review is posted.  And, if you keep scrolling down below, you’ll find my review of the book.

G.K. Chesterton said this of fairytales: “Fairytales are more than true; not because they tell us that the dragon exists, but that they tell us the dragon can be beaten.”

 

In Cinder the strength of a fairytale undergirds the story that Meyer sets down, but she has made this tale all her own. If you’re looking for a faithful word-for-word retelling of Cinderella in this book, you will be disappointed. However, if you are looking for a tantalizing story complete with cyborgs,  a plague,  not-quite-human residents of the moon, and heroes that come in the most unusual shapes, Cinder should be at the top of your ‘to read’ pile.

 

Meyer’s tale is set in the distant future of Earth, which I really liked as it set it apart from the way fairytales start with ‘once upon a time’.  It’s a future where those that have colonized Earth’s moon are a distinct nation of people called Lunars, and Earth is fragmented into kingdoms rather than countries.  It’s a world where the markets of New Beijing have bakers selling the most delicious confections in booths beside cyborg Mechanics there to repair your androids and comboards.

 

It’s also a hurting world, where a plague disease called Letumosis, is tearing families apart. It strikes with without warning, and no one is immune.  Sixteen year old Cinder, Meyer’s cyborg mechanic main character, knows first-hand what this plague is capable of doing to families. With the death of her adoptive father, she falls from the status of daughter, to possession. Her stepmother, Adri, works her all day long doing odd jobs around the house and sends her to the market to work in a family owned booth.

 

Meyer adroitly weaves echoes of the original Cinderella like this all through the tale, and adds some delightful twists, like making Cinder’s younger stepsister Peony, one of Cinder’s only friends.

 

Prince Kai, in disguise, brings his android to Cinder at the market place because of her reputation for being able to fix impossibly broken things. Cinder’s cybernetics punch through the Prince’s disguise, but he can’t tell that she is a cyborg.  Cinder doesn’t want him to know she is less-than-human.  After all, what is the harm in keeping one secret from a Prince she is not going to see again?  All through the scene their banter is bright and Cinder’s compassion shines, as she learns that  Prince Kai’s mother and father have both be struck with the plague.

 

Several chapters later, Prince Kai becomes Emperor Kai, his father succumbing to the dreaded plague. Then, Peony catches the disease and is whisked away, making Cinder’s life unbearable. Her stepmother, full of grief and anger, “volunteers” Cinder for plague cure testing as she is “only a cyborg” and not a real person.

 

 

This wonderful warp between bright fairytale and the darker Grimm style tale makes Cinder such a rich read.  Meyer has a fantastic cast of characters in her story, too. These are not typical fairytale players.

 

The Lunar Queen,  Levana, is a superb dragon of a villain.  She is beautiful, clever, ruthless, and holds immense power to sway people to her point of view.  Emperor Kai and New Beijing are in her crosshairs as her next conquest.  And she holds a terrible weapon to batter at his resolve; Queen Levana has a cure for Letumosis.

 

Cinder, having been found to possess an immunity to plague, works  with the enigmatic Dr. Erland to find a cure. She endures all the needles and the testing, desperate to save Peony.

 

While  talking with Erland,  Cinder begins to discover that she is not who she thought she was. Emperor Kai, notified of her immunity, and still wanting his android to be repaired, continues to pop up in Cinder’s life.  He is unaware of what she really is, and Cinder, is unable to reveal her mechanical nature to her second friend.

 

As time begins running out for her sister, Cinder  is pulled and pushed between a young Emperor who values her friendship,  a world that has no great love for “her kind”, and a Lunar Queen understands how terrible a threat Cinder could be to her plans.

 

The only part of Cinder that was a disappointment was the ending.

 

While the book is set up as the first in a series, the ballroom sequence, the reveals, and the end of Cinder  are rushed. Everything spills and tumbles over itself for the last seven chapters of the book.

 

However, I am now part of the happy throng of readers, waiting for Scarlet which releases in 2013.

So there you are! Definitely not a book to be missed, and one I hope you’ll put near the top of your own reading piles.

I’m always on the look out for a good read, and if I like it enough, I will review it for The Christian Manifesto. Let me know Scribes, some of your favorite treasure you’ve found in the comments below!

 

This week, Cinder  by Marissa Meyer is on my slate  for review at the christian manifesto, and my first review ever, should be published tomorrow at the site! I’m really excited, both about Cinder, and about my review being published. It’s a busy week for me this week, hardly any time for writing and I’ve got a fantastic opportunity to help my Mom who is speaking at a  church conference this Saturday. I just barely squeaked into the League to get assignments there posted (I have to take a moment to say that 1.) I so MISS my Scribes! I haven’t been as active as I usually am and I miss everyone and 2.) I am giddy with delight over the fact that while I’m not there as much, it is THRIVING. This has been my goal and secret hope forever, that if I had to step away from it, it would continue to be fantastic. AND IT IS) and now am off to the job that pays my bills.
Prayers are greatly appreciated, I am so harried this week to use  Rudyard Kipling’s words  I don’t know if  I’m “On my head, or on my painted tail”

Coriam Deo, Scribes!

P.S.

Why is it that secular fiction is so much smoother to read than “Christian” fiction? Why? WHY? Tell me in the comments, I beg of you.

This morning I’ve started on my new adventure, reviewing books for the christian manifesto. First one up?  A Star Curiously Singing by Kerry Nietz.  Remember back when I was talking about risk v. reward? Well this was the risk, and for me, it turned into a great blessing. I’m beyond delighted to be a contributor there, they’ve got a really well rounded bunch of readers and reviewers. Not only do they (or should I be saying, “we”?) tackle books, but also music and movies. If you want reviews that are professional and non-compensated, definitely check the site out. I’ll be posting my thoughts on what I read there so there’s no conflict of interest here.  I’m still trying to decide if I’m going to link to them permanently, I don’t think that  would be an issue. I’ll find out at work today, and if I do link, I’ll bang pots and pans together so you’ll be able to click-and-find my bio over there.  For today, I’ll link you in the name up top and you can poke about and see if there’s anything there you like.

What do I think about the book? Well, you’ll have to wait for the review.