Size Doesn’t Matter (23): Mini Reviews from a Lazy Blogger

Size Doesn’t Matter (23): Mini Reviews from a Lazy BloggerThe Reptile Room by Lemony Snicket
Narrator: Tim Curry
Length: 3 hrs, 11 mins
Series: A Series of Unfortunate Events #2
Published by Harper Audio on May 6, 2014
Genres: Fantasy, Mystery, Adventure, Humor
Format: Audiobook
Source: Library
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Violet, Klaus, and Sunny Baudelaire are intelligent children. They are charming, and resourceful, and have pleasant facial features. Unfortunately, they are exceptionally unlucky.

In the first two books alone, the three youngsters encounter a greedy and repulsive villain, itchy clothing, a disastrous fire, a plot to steal their fortune, a lumpy bed, a deadly serpent, a large brass reading lamp, a long knife, and a terrible odour.

In the tradition of great storytellers, from Dickens to Dahl, comes an exquisitely dark comedy that is both literary and irreverent, hilarious and deftly crafted. Never before has a tale of three likeable and unfortunate children been quite so enchanting, or quite so uproariously unhappy.

These are definitely better for me on audio than they were when I tried to get through the print. I mean, Tim Curry definitely doesn’t hurt matters, but they’re also cinematic and I think I may actually be a more visual reader on audiobook for some reason, possibly because my eyes aren’t engaged on the reading process.

I’m curious to see if I’ll get to a point where I love these, where they get past the formula. I certainly didn’t get that far a few years back. I remembered The Reptile Room being more heartbreaking than this, but it’s still nice to have a guardian who isn’t horrible.

I don’t really have much to say since it’s basically book one over again except for Monty.

Size Doesn’t Matter (23): Mini Reviews from a Lazy BloggerCinder by Marissa Meyer
Series: The Lunar Chronicles #1
Published by Feiwel & Friends on January 8, 2013
Genres: Science Fiction, Romance, Fairy Tales, Retelling
Pages: 387
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
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Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl.

Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.

I read Cinder as an egalley before it came out in 2012. I really enjoyed but I didn’t have any sense of how epic it would become or the fact that the series would be a BIG DEAL. I was on the fence about whether I needed to reread and felt like I probably knew enough about Cinder and Scarlet to get by and mostly just needed to reread Cress, but eh why not just go for it, right?

So so glad I decided to start over from the beginning. I loved Cinder so much more the second time around (I mean, I really liked it but I wasn’t wowed at the time). Yes, it’s the least complex of The Lunar Chronicles, but it’s so much more complex than I gave it credit for at the time. She’s layered in hints and future plot lines, which obviously I could not see at the time because they had no meaning for me then. I’d also forgotten how sarcastic and fabulous Cinder was and how adorable Kai is. Poor Kai baby.

Even though I knew most of the plot things still, Cinder was unputdownable on the reread, and I’m just sort of rolling around in how awesome this series is.

Size Doesn’t Matter (23): Mini Reviews from a Lazy BloggerWolf by Wolf by Ryan Graudin
Series: Wolf by Wolf #1
on October 20, 2015
Genres: Alternate History, Adventure
Pages: 400
Format: ARC
Source: BEA
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Code Name Verity meets Inglourious Basterds in this fast-paced novel from the author of The Walled City.

The year is 1956, and the Axis powers of the Third Reich and Imperial Japan rule the world. To commemorate their Great Victory over Britain and Russia, Hitler and Emperor Hirohito host the Axis Tour: an annual motorcycle race across their conjoined continents. The victor is awarded an audience with the highly reclusive Adolf Hitler at the Victor's ball.

Yael, who escaped from a death camp, has one goal: Win the race and kill Hitler. A survivor of painful human experimentation, Yael has the power to skinshift and must complete her mission by impersonating last year's only female victor, Adele Wolfe. This deception becomes more difficult when Felix, Adele twin's brother, and Luka, her former love interest, enter the race and watch Yael's every move. But as Yael begins to get closer to the other competitors, can she bring herself to be as ruthless as she needs to be to avoid discovery and complete her mission?

Wolf by Wolf is my first experience with Ryan Graudin. I really was excited for The Walled City, but reports by trusted readers made me think it probably wouldn’t work for me. Wolf by Wolf sounded really intriguing, and this time I determined to follow through. It seems like Graudin’s really hit her stride with this one, from all the reports I’ve seen.

The writing isn’t a style that would typically work for me, given that there are a whole lot of sentence fragments. However, it totally works with the pacing of the story and the whole mood. It fits. The one thing I couldn’t handle were the interspersed thoughts Yael would have like this one: “—WALK STRAIGHT HEAD HIGH WORDS STRONG—.” Like, I honestly do not get why that was happening or why they were so fractured like she had some sort of monster as her conscience. It’s not even bad advice most of the time but why is it like that?!? That always threw off my momentum a bit, but thankfully they didn’t happen all that often.

Wolf by Wolf is a real pageturner. I went in not expecting to love it and found myself reading the whole thing in two evenings straight through. I wasn’t necessarily invested in the characters emotionally, but I had a desperate need to find out what was going to happen. The pace is fast and I had absolutely zero clue what the outcome would be, which is fairly rare.

I can’t speak to the representation, though I’ll be curious to hear reports from those more knowledgeable. There were some things I liked about it. Yael gets this skinshifting ability from horrible testing done on her by a Nazi scientist in a concentration camp. I think it’s crucial that she doesn’t like the ability, though she uses it. I mean, her last moment with her mom, her mother doesn’t even know who she is anymore because of it. That’s horrible. By the time of the race, Yael’s not even sure what she actually looks like anymore at all. She feels out of place everywhere and doesn’t know who she really is anymore; her only goal is toppling Hitler for her loved ones who all died because of the horrible regime they’re living in.

Because of all of that, Yael’s a bit distant. She’s not had much of a life aside from training since she was 8. She’s interesting but she keeps herself closed off. Actually, everyone in the book pretty much is either in the resistance or on a deadly race, so everyone’s pretty closed off, which is I think why I didn’t connect too much on an emotional level.

The ending threw me for a bit of a loop. It was really cool, but also that’s it? And then, oh hey, turns out this is a series, which was info I somehow missed. Definitely reading that because I MUST KNOW.

Wolf by Wolf reads like The Great Race (awesome movie with Tony Curties and Natalie Wood) meets The Hunger Games meets WWII. It was totally unputdownable, and I had a great time reading it. There are some things I’m not totally sure how I feel about, but there’s no doubt I’m glad I read this one. I just wish I had some other people to talk it over with right at this moment.

3 responses to “Size Doesn’t Matter (23): Mini Reviews from a Lazy Blogger”

  1. Angie says:

    I really enjoyed Wolf by Wolf. I litearlly couldn’t put it down. I don’t think I’d like any of Graudin’s other stuff, based on things I’ve heard, but I’ll probably try The Walled City just because. I liked Yael a lot and thought her characterization was pretty well done. I’m really interested to see how she’s going to pull a sequel off though. I’d been hoping this would be a standalone.

    I really need to see if my library has the Snicket audiobooks. I’ve been wanting to reread for like two years and Tim Curry narration = me completely sold.

    Someday I will read The Lunar Chronicles. Probably.
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    • Christina Franke says:

      Saaaaame. I expected to read a bit of Wolf by Wolf and then devour Scarlet, but that was just not possible at all.

      The Walled City sounds like such a me book but the reports are so unencouraging. If you try it and like it, def let me know!

      This could have been a standalone for sure, so I’m hoping that the sequel feels worth it.

      Three of the Snicket books have narration by Snicket which isn’t as good, but I didn’t think it was terrible either. Prep yourself for the loss of Curry briefly.


  2. Shae says:

    Um, I am horrible and am just now catching up on posts, so you’ve likely already worked through this urge, but you can ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS come talk Wolf By Wolf with me. 😀

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