Review: Scarlet by Marissa Meyer


Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

The second book in the Lunar Chronicles continues the story of Cinder, who is now imprisoned waiting to be taken to Luna.  It is also the story of Scarlet, a newly introduced character, whose grandmother is missing.  Scarlet refuses to give up on her grandmother, though no one is willing to help her.  Eventually, she meets Wolf, a street fighter, who is willing to take her to where her grandmother is being held.  Along the way, the stories of the two girls draw closer and closer together as the ties between them are clarified.  The book rings with action and adventure, the echo of spaceships, and the wonder of mental Lunar abilities.  Identities are revealed, friendships are forged, and one is left breathlessly waiting for book three.

Meyer writes an amazing tale.  Her pacing is just right, lingering at moments that readers want to never end and rushing headlong into the action.  The result is a riveting read, where the author has also created a world that is believable and intriguing.  Her characterization is also strong, with now two incredible female protagonists.  Perhaps best of all is that you can rely on Meyer to not have men rescue her heroines, in fact they are much more likely to be the ones rescuing the men. 

So many series succumb to the sophomore slump, but this book is just as wild, riveting and immensely readable as the first.  Appropriate for ages 15-18.

Reviewed from copy received from Feiwel and Friends.

Review: The Museum by Susan Verde


The Museum by Susan Verde, illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds

Verde captures the energizing nature of a visit to an art museum.  Told in first-person verse, the young female protagonist dances and spins through the gallery, drawing inspiration and emotion from the art around her.  As she moves to a new piece of art, it evokes a new reaction that is entirely in keeping with the art in front of her.  Finally, faced with a blank white canvas, she discovers that her own mind starts to fill in the art on its own.  As she leaves the museum at the end of the day, her world is transformed by the art she has seen that she now carries along with her.  This is an engaging story of a museum visit that is sure to inspire young readers to want to try it for themselves.

Verde’s verse is filled with motion and zing.  While some may see visiting a museum as a more sedentary and intellectual activity, Verde fills it with motion and emotion alike.  She conveys through the young girl’s physical reaction what is happening to her mentally.  It is a very successful take on the transformational quality of art and how it can speak on many levels to viewers.

Reynolds’ art adds to the feel of motion and engagement in the book.  His young figure is constantly in motion, even when she takes a short break, she is inspired by art.  Reynolds’ illustrations are done in his signature fluid style, yet he is able to capture different art periods very effectively.

Ideal to use with a class before a museum exhibit or with children before a family visit to a museum, this is also a book that will inspire reflection about art during a regular day.  Appropriate for ages 4-6.

Reviewed from copy received from Abrams.