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review 2018-07-22 08:03
Hunted by Meagan Spooner audiobook
Hunted - Meagan Spooner

I originally received a copy of this book for review from Edelweiss, but I have listened to the audiobook for the purposes of this review.

 

Marketed as a retelling of Beauty and the Beast, which is only my favourite fairytale, no big deal, starring a girl in a cloak on the cover and with a title like that? I am SO in.

And as fairytale retellings go, it was really decent. We had a really long set up detailing our Beauty’s backstory and she didn’t even meet the Beast til at least 20% through, possibly longer. The third arm of this quasi-love triangle (Yeva is so NOT in love with him) is Solmir, a really nice, rich guy who genuinely wants a wife he can hunt with, and Yeva’s two sisters adore her, even if they are pretty useless at surviving on their own.

 

I felt like the book took a couple of things from the Disney adaptations, like Yeva’s father going crazy (everyone thinks Maurice is crazy in the Disney versions), and the castle being stuck in permanent winter, but it also introduced a couple of twists: Yeva’s goal is to kill the Beast, the Beast doesn’t know he needs to fall in love to break the curse, Yeva’s family lost everything and had to move away from their town (I kinda sorta think this might be part of the original story?) and there were a couple of other Russian-inspired things twisted into this like a story of Ivan and the Wolf (NOT Peter and the Wolf, that’s completely different).

 

I liked this retelling because of its twist on the original tale, and because of the general Slavik inspiration and mish-mash of cultures and traditions that made it something a little bit different to the more European-styled medieval fantasies I’m generally more used to. (similar to Moana, this retelling is not taking just one culture or people as its base, but rather selecting bits and pieces to suit.)

 

I did have some issues with it though, so here we go:

 

Look, I don’t know much about snow. It snows in my city maybe every 10 years or so, and we mostly get it every year on the top of a local mountain you can pretty easily access if you really want to, but I did live in England for 2 years, one of which had 4 months straight of snowfall, so I know it gets bloody cold when it’s snowing, and especially at night time… and yet Yeva camps outside, in nothing but regular wintertime wool and leather Medieval-style peasant-clothes, and is totally fine! I don’t even know if she had a blanket or a tent. I needed a bit more information than telling me in one sentence she made camp then moved on the next day. How did she not get frostbite or freeze to death?

 

It was set in real-world Russia, or at least somewhere Slavik, because some of the characters mention Kiev, the Mongols, and Constantinople. Yet about halfway through this novel Yeva can suddenly see all of these magical things with no real explanation. It’s not explained (I don’t think, I was listening to the audiobook but I did drift a few times) if it’s ONLY the Beast’s forest which is magic, but even if it is, it doesn’t explain all of the other fairy tales that it faintly suggests are based in the real world. Yeva’s village, for example, has no magic in it whatsoever, even when Yeva returns suddenly able to see magic. So I don’t know if it’s meant to be this almost Narnia portal-like fantasy where she steps into a magical world no one else can access, or more Harry Potter like where there is magic everywhere but muggles aren’t magic so they can’t see it (or it’s hidden from them).

 

Yeva is very clearly a special snowflake who is so perfect because she’s so beautiful AND self-sufficient, she hunts food for her sisters who are more traditionally domesticated than her, AND she’s really good at it, AND she doesn’t care about her looks (literally, I don’t think it’s ever mentioned how she feels about being beautiful or nicknamed Beauty), and she refuses a perfectly good marriage proposal from a handsome, kind suitor who will literally let her do anything she wants, for no real good reason except that she wants ‘more’. It’s not even a real sense of entitlement, it’s just a general longing, confirmed at the end of the book when it is revealed she’s just a restless soul. But my point is, her modern-day feminism is kind of thrown in your face. She doesn’t cook very well, but that doesn’t matter because that’s women’s work and she can do the important hunting part while her sisters can’t.

 

Overall it was a decent retelling, with enough original content to make it interesting, and just a couple of things I found a little frustrating.

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review 2018-05-29 17:55
Unearthed
Unearthed - Amie Kaufman,Meagan Spooner

This was such a fun read! I'm not normally a fan of books set in space (aside from Illuminae), but when I discovered that this story was written along the lines of Indiana Jones in space exploring temples, solving puzzles, running from villains, attempting to save the world, I knew I had to give it a try. I'm already a fan of Amie Kaufman and I very much enjoyed Meagan Spooner's Hunted, so I was pretty sure I was going to like this one.

 

Two teens find a way onto the planet Gaia where an extinct alien race called the Undying left behind secrets and tech in their vast temples surrounded by puzzles and traps. Jules is a scholar and wants only to learn more about the Undying, uncover their secrets and discover exactly what was left behind. Mia is intent on scavenging whatever tech the Undying left behind to sell in hopes of raising enough money to buy her sister's freedom.

 

The unlikely pair agrees to a tentative partnership when they realize they need each other to find their way through the temple traps. The story alternates POVs so we always know what each character's intentions are and their reasons for being distrustful of each other. The characters were great. Jules is lovable and brainy while Mia is street smart and resourceful. They each have very different goals, but have to find a way to work together to reach them. Even the villains were interesting characters.

 

This unfortunately is a duology.  I say "unfortunately" because I was not expecting that ending. Such a cliffhanger! Thanks a lot ladies. You knew exactly what torture you would be putting us through. A quote from the acknowledgements reads, "Sorry about that. (Well, not really. We're pretty unapologetic.)" You are both evil geniuses and I hope you're pleased with yourselves. January 2019 is far too long of a wait for book 2!

 

 

-Shey

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review 2018-01-23 16:12
Sofia und Gideon
These Broken Stars. Sofia und Gideon - Stefanie Frida Lemke,Amie Kaufman,Meagan Spooner

Lilac und Tarver haben als Einzige den Absturz der Icarus überlebt. Jubilee und Flynn haben die Machenschaften von LaRoux Industries aufgedeckt. Nun treffen sie auf Sofia und Gideon, um den Konzern LaRoux Industries in die Schranken zu weisen.

Sofia und Gideon sind ein einfallsreiches Gespann, das sich auf dem Planeten Corinth zum ersten Mal gegenübersteht. Gideon ist ein berühmt-berüchtigter Hacker und schon mehrere Jahre lang LaRoux Industries auf der Spur. Sofia ist es gewohnt als charmante Hochstaplerin an ihr Ziel zu kommen, wofür sie Gideon gut gebrauchen kann.

„These Broken Stars. Sofia und Gideon“ ist der Abschlussband der These-Broken-Stars-Trilogie. Bereits durch die Titel weiß man, dass in den einzelnen Bänden bestimmte Charaktere im Vordergrund sind. Hinter den Paaren versteckt sich eine Galaxie voll faszinierender Ereignisse, die mit Macht, Korrumpierung und dem sternenumspannenden Konzern LaRoux Industries zu kämpfen hat.

Diese Trilogie ist eindeutig unter Science-Fiction einzuordnen, wobei auch die emotionale Ebene und amouröse Begegnungen nach vorne drängen.

Wie auch bei den vorherigen Bänden ist man als Leser von Anfang an dabei. Man wird sofort in die Handlung auf Corinth gezogen und hat kaum Zeit, sich ein Bild von dem urbanen Planeten zu machen. Sofia und Gideon treffen aufeinander und müssen im gleichen Moment einer brenzligen Situation entgehen.

Sofia ist eine Hochstaplerin, eine Täuscherin und sogar in der Disziplin der Selbsttäuschung äußerst begabt. Sie denkt, dass sie keinem anderen Menschen vertrauen kann, baut Lügengerüste um sich herum auf und lässt niemanden, absolut niemanden, an sich heran.

Gideon lebt als zurückgezogener Nerd, der nicht besonders viel Wert auf reale Gesellschaft legt. Zwar ist er gerne mit seinen Freunden über diverse Foren und Chats verbunden, doch im echten Leben bleibt er lieber für sich allein, weil er sich nur so sicher fühlen kann.

Die Handlung wird zuerst aus den Perspektiven von Sofia und Gideon erzählt. Besonders die erste Hälfte des Buches widmet sich diesem Gauner-Gespann. Als Leser nimmt man abwechselnd ihre Perspektiven ein und begreift, warum sie von der restlichen Welt so abgekapselt sind.

Dazwischen werden Erinnerungen eingestreut, die aus einer ganz anderen Ecke des Universums stammen. Dadurch begreift man Zusammenhänge aus den ersten beiden Bänden, die sich bis zum Ende zu einem Gesamtbild fügen.

Die Handlung lässt nicht zu wünschen übrig. Allerdings wären mir mit Sofia und Gideon allein schnell langweilig geworden. Doch genau im richtigen Moment werden alte Bekannte auf Corinth eingefügt, wodurch die Geschichte eine ganz neue Dynamik erhält.

Schon allein das Setting von Corinth unterscheidet sich stark von den ersten beiden Bänden. Denn Corinth ist eine blühende Stadt, in der das Leben auf verschiedensten Ebenen wuselt. Verschiedenste Etagen werden von unterschiedlichen Bevölkerungsgruppen belebt und ich habe dem Treiben ganz neugierig zugesehen.

Insgesamt habe ich mich gut unterhalten gefühlt. Ich mag den Handlungsrahmen, die verschiedenen Charaktere und dieses Weltraumleben, das die Autorinnen entworfen haben. 

Ich war beim Absturz der Icarus live dabei, habe auf Avon einen Krieg mitangesehen und nun  auf Corinth grauenvolle Machenschaften aufgedeckt. Für mich war „These Broken Stars. Sofia und Gideon“ ein gelungener Abschlussband, der vielleicht nicht mehr ganz so fesselnd wie die ersten beiden Bände war, dafür aber noch einmal einen interessanten Blick auf die Welt von LaRoux Industries erhaschen lässt. 



Die Reihe:
1) These Broken Stars. Lilac und Tarver
2) These Broken Stars. Jubilee und Flynn
3) These Broken Stars. Sofia und Gideon
Source: zeit-fuer-neue-genres.blogspot.co.at
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review 2018-01-19 00:00
Unearthed
Unearthed - Amie Kaufman,Meagan Spooner 3.0 stars...

I was so looking forward to this book because I can't pass up an archaeological treasure hunt in space and I'm a huge fan of the Illuminae series with both Kaufmann and Kristoff but I have to say I was very disappointed with the repetitiveness in the writing! Omg the same things were repeated over and over and over again. If I had a dollar for every time the author repeated the Undying's message or explained what happened to the Explorer IV or repeated Elliott Addison's story, I'd be rich. That's just naming a few. And when I say repeat, I mean the author repeated it word for word. It was beyond irritating. I felt like I was a 5 years old. I deducted a whole star for the repetition.
If you can get past that, the story itself was fun- considering...
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review 2017-07-21 19:04
Hunted
Hunted - Meagan Spooner

I enjoyed this retelling so much, and the book cover is stunning! Not the temporary cover pictured in this post, but the actual finished cover. Yeva comes from a wealthy family. She lives with her widowed father and two sisters. Her relationship with her family is beautiful. They care very much for each other, and put the happiness of others before their own.

 

When Yeva's father makes a terrible mistake and loses their entire fortune, the family is forced to sell their belongings and move back to their small cabin in the woods. Her father goes out hunting to provide food for the family, but despite Yeva's protests, he does not allow her to join him even though she is an accomplished hunter.

 

Yeva's father begins to show signs that he may be going mad, obsessing over a creature he is hunting. When he goes missing, Yeva is determined to track him down and save him, leaving her sisters in the care of her fiancee. Solmir is such a good man. He's in love with Yeva, willing to marry her despite her loss of status and the family's circumstances, and more than happy to provide them with a better life. That little twist in this, tale as old as time, was a refreshing change.

 

When Yeva meets Beast, she is captured and imprisoned in his old ruined castle. At first she doesn't realize that the one helping her is Beast. She believes the man who hides in the dark and brings her food is her ally not her captor. In this version, Beauty believes Beast murdered her father and she is out for blood! This Beauty is angry, calculating, and determined to kill the beast.

 

The romance takes it's time and when Beauty finally leaves Beast she never promises to return. I began to wonder if she ever would return to him. This is the first Beauty and the Beast retelling, I personally have read, where the author addresses Stockholm Syndrome. A friend of Beauty confronts her and discusses the fact that maybe what Beauty feels towards Beast is a psychological effect of the abuse and imprisonment using an example of a man who beat his wife, but the wife continued returning to him. I was impressed with the author for including this scene.

 

Beauty and the Beast has always been one of my favorite stories, and this was an enjoyable retelling with interesting, and at times, shocking twists. The ending had a lovely moral, which I will let you discover for yourself if you decide to read it. I look forward to reading more of Spooner's work.

 

-SW

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