Tag Archives: The Lunar Chronicles

Wires and Nerve Review

Just when you thought you were done with The Lunar Chronicles, you were wrong. Granted I don’t think anyone thought things were done with The Lunar Chronicles, but things seemed to be fairly wrapped up. With the announcement of the graphic novel Wires and Nerve surrounding the character Iko I was under the impression it was a retelling through Iko’s perspective, I was slightly wrong.

Minor spoilers from this point onward.

Wires and Nerve functions as a continuation to The Lunar Chronicles showing the current lives of Cinder and her friends and aside from Cinder and company trying to tie up loose ends, things are more or less happy. We have Cress and Thorne travelling the world providing vaccinations for Letumosis and sight seeing, Scarlet and Wolfe living a happy quiet life in France, Winter acting as ambassador for Luna, Kai is working on convincing citizens to consider an operation to help resist the influences of The Lunar Gift, and Cinder is trying to convince the citizens of Luna that they do not need a monarchy to continue functioning.

The book’s main focus is Iko and her mission to hunt down the remaining Lunar soldiers on Earth to bring them to justice. However things are more complicated as they appear; with the army of Lunar soldiers on earth feeling Cinder is the same of Levana and would just have them return to their previous way of life.

The graphic novel is well paced and the story is very good, however the artwork of Doug Holgate did put me off at first. As I continued the story along I accepted this was the artstyle chosen for the graphic novel and decided to just go along with it since the story was really good anyways.

My only complaint is, it’s to be continued, like what the hell? I give Wires and Nerve four out of five fancy crowns.

Disposing of Villains

In alot of stories there is something to cause conflict, we usually call this something a villain. The villain exists because let’s face it a story would be as dull as dirt with just main protagonists. Granted a story doesn’t need a villain gloating twirling his evil mustache at the hero. Sometimes the conflict is something beyond anyone’s control, but today we will be talking of how in many works of fiction villains can be defeated in a variety of ways. Sometimes fans are satisfied, sometimes they’re not. Note I will be primarily covering select solutions to villains from works of fiction I’ve seen or read or watched, if you wish to counter argue some points you are welcomed to do so in a respectful way.

Spoilers for Many Works of Fiction, gosh I gotta find a way to write these things without spoilers.

Kill the Son of a Bitch!

That’s right, sometimes the solution to all of the conflict it for the hero to kill our antagonist! We see this action frequently in fiction these days where a villain is so bad they just need to be killed. The hero either kills out of necessity of a final solution unwillingly, because it needs to be done, or just because the villain needs to die.

This is somewhat common in anime and manga; in the Sailor Moon manga our heroines kill nearly all the villains they run into without any hesitation or second thought to the idea of killing someone because they are a bad person. I had an issue with this problem since when I got to read the Sailor Moon manga I had already watched the anime where alot of these villains didn’t die. This is probably so since Naoko Takuichi had to continue to get to the main plot of the story and didn’t have time to develop most of her villains and needed a reason for Sailor Moon to show off her fancy new powers for the new arc.

Both the anime and manga of Dragon Ball featured Goku and friends usually kill the antagonists they run into because it was their only resort after Piccolo and Goku fought in the world martial arts tournament (so many beings in that fictional universe that have the power to destroy planets with ease). In this situation though it’s because said villains are threatening the planet earth on a regular basis and don’t seem to think killing innocent lives is a bad thing.

This isn’t something restricted to just anime and manga; Disney is guilty of this too, just not too often. In Sleeping Beauty the good faries having had enough of Maleficent screwing around with them and ruining their best flowers take Prince Edward and show the bitch and her minions who’s boss. They turn her beloved pet crow to stone and enchant a sword that Edward throws into Maleficent’s heart killing her efficiently. Even in her version of the story Maleficent is pushed far enough that she has to kill her enemy for the greater good.

There is also Mulan, while she technically isn’t a princess (she only hugged the emperor of China), she has the highest headcount of any of her princess counterparts committing mass genocide against the Han via avalanche and launching a giant firework/rocket into the leader of the Han. Tiana kills Dr.Facilier and while not exclusively Disney, Dorothy Gale did kill two witches, both times as accidents though. Same for her book counterpart. Same goes for Anastasia who unlike the previous girls in this paragraph kills her foe in cold blood.

Back to television this is very common on kids tv; most seasons of Power Rangers have the Rangers kill the main antagonist because they’re evil. Not all antagonists are killed, but I’ll get to that later.  So far all three seasons of Agents of Shield have had to resort to killing the antagonist of the season because they’re that insane. And finally on Doctor Who, while the Doctor himself has a rule set for himself that he won’t kill an enemy (post reboot anyways), that doesn’t mean his companions are always as compassionate/willing to follow his set of rules.

Finally in literature it is a common theme in dystopia novels that the final solution to defeating an enemy is through killing. In The Hunger Games series it appears Katniss’ solution to the issues in Panem is to kill president Snow, however rather than killing THAT antagonist, Katniss chooses to kill president Coin realizing she’s just as evil (possibly more evil) and lacking in compassion as Snow.

In contrast with above, the heroines of The Lunar Chronicles only choose to kill Queen Levana because she’s that insane, has the power to control people against their will, and is just that much of a jerk to make people miserable. She even tries to pull the compassion card with Cinder by just asking the lead heroin to let her “just be pretty again” before attacking Cinder in a rare moment of gullibleness.

Then there’s The Chronicles of Narna where despite being Christian literature many foes are killed. Not in cold blood though, but rather because the enemies are just variations of Satan. The final book in the series does have all the remaining antagonists and grey area entities fates left ambiguous (probably in hell) and in a unique twist all of the protagonists died.

God/Nature/Gravity/Someone Else Does the Dirty Work

This is more common in children’s entertainment where it’s not such a good thing to have the protagonist kill, so why not have nature or gravity do the dirty work for them? This is very common in works of Disney so I won’t list any specific movies from Disney where this happens.

Outside of Disney this is fairly rare, but since it wasn’t always a Disney franchise there is the original Star Wars trilogy. Luke goes on a mission to try to redeem his dad and has to deal with the constant sarcasm of Emperor Palpatine, Anakin reawakens in Vader and kills Palpatine for Luke leaving the young Jedi fairly pure still.

The first few seasons of Power Rangers actually has all the villains constantly trying to one up each other rather than having the rangers kill the main antagonists. Supposedly had the franchise not been a success, actress Machiko Soga would have been flown to California from Japan so they could film the five rangers placing her and her team back into a dumpster and sending her back to space.

While the antagonist doesn’t have to necessarily be killed for this solution, it is a good way to keep the protagonist from getting their hands dirty and keeping a fairly clean image and my second least favorite approach to the problem.

The Nonviolent Solution and Possible Redemption

Continuing with Power Rangers in what was thought to be their final season Power Rangers in Space where all hope is lost in the universe and five Rangers on earth and other rangers teams/allies fighting a losing galaxy wide battle against the Alliance of Evil consisting of all their previous foes teaming up together and doing planet wide attacks rather than sending one monster at a time. Zordon orders Andross the red ranger in this hopeless moment to kill him thus reducing nearly all the villains to ashes and redeeming villains such as Rita, Zed, Divatox, and even bringing Andross’ sister back from the dead.

Power Rangers Time Force went a step further and rather than killing the monster of the week, the rangers arrested them and froze them to be imprisoned. It is in the finale that the main villain Ransik chooses to surrender to the rangers in a moment of realization at the evil he has caused after nearly killing his daughter Nadira. Nadira had previously turned against her father after being told by a friend to break the cycle of hate that had caused the events of the season (oh and helping a woman give birth when she went into labor when Nadira was robbing a store). Ransik chooses to surrender to the rangers and be arrested.

As stated above in the Sailor Moon anime many villains and antagonists are in fact still alive because Usagi and friends treasure life and the power of love and friendship is that strong that all enemies can be redeemed. Didn’t work for Nephrite though. The French/Korean children’s show Miraculous LadyBug actually runs on this where on a weekly basis the protagonist Ladybug has to use her Lucky Charm powers to solve problems without killing any of the antagonists.

This is also a major issue with the children’s cartoons Avatar The Last Air Bender and Avatar the Legend of Korra where both incarnations of the Avatar choose not to kill the final antagonist. For Aang  in the final episodes of the series he is conflicted by his personal belief that killing is wrong despite the past Avatar incarnations saying that it was his duty to kill Fire Lord Ozai belief’s be damned. However a new option is presented and Aang jumps at that opportunity to save the day. In Legend of Korra, the lead heroin does kill one of her adversaries, but admits she regrets that there was no way for her to save him. In her series finale she approaches Kuvira and rather than using force against her talks her down into surrendering. Kuvira does not get off easy with Korra’s friends though.

Finally there’s the Twilight saga, as bad as the series is I do respect it for one reason. Rather than going for the bloody intense fight that Stephenie Meyer had been building up to in the final book Breaking Dawn our author chooses to have our protagonists and antagonists not go into battle with one another.

I will say that despite how anticlimactic this solution is at times, this is my preferred solution to a story since in real life (joking aside with my friends) I am a pacifist and I’m not particularly fond of violent solutions to problems.

Why Does it Matter?

Fifteen years ago today there was an event that affected people around the world and changed the world we live in. Where lives were lost and people felt emotions from sorrow to anger. It was the day my dad took me aside and decided to take the religion he had chosen for me more seriously by telling me that the people responsible for so much death were bad people, but that not all the people of the Islamic religion were responsible for all the potential days meant to be lived by those people lost.

Ten years later on May 2nd 2011 Osama Bin Ladin had been killed. I remember that day crying because I realized something horrible. That in the act of him being killed by US soldiers and celebrating his death that we had sunken to the level of evil (conspiracy theories aside (all conspiracy theory comments will be deleted btw)) needed to claim so many lives. I know not all of the world felt joy in his death, but it felt very wrong to me at that moment and even now that it had to be the final solution to a problem that still hasn’t been fixed as a result in today’s world.

To finish this, I’ll leave a quote from Fred Rogers; When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look at the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” 

 

 

 

Thoughts on The Lunar Chronicles: Winter

WINTER IS HERE! And has been here since November, and yes it’s been two months since I finished winter, but once again higher education takes higher priority than this little blog I do.

Before I get to the spoilers let me say that I was heavily satisfied with the book, the pacing was very well done with an equal amount of screen time dedicated to each protagonist and chapters ending on deadly cliffhangers for each character making me frequently have mini heart attacks one of my favorite characters may die. Now then onto the spoilers.

Spoilers from this if you do not wish to be spoiled do not read beyond this bold text.

First, EVERYONE LIVES YAY! And although my horrible fear of Iko dying or something horrible happening to Cress, or any of the other main protagonists did not happen, this may be a flaw, but I will get to that later.

As I said earlier the pacing between each character was very well done this time, we even got new characters Winter and Jacin enough development to fully flesh out they were and what their motives are in this science fiction adaption of Snow White (also bonus points for making Scarlet the Ruby Red to Winter’s Snow White).

Winter would be a near Mary Sue character for being not only the perfection of beauty both body and soul, but being skilled in not only crafts, but also restoring a home (no really, she rebuilding a house for about two weeks), the thing that keeps her from being a Mary Sue though is the fact that she’s slowly going insane from not using her Lunar Gift and these arts and crafts she does keep her mind occupied thinly preserving her sanity. She’s also resourceful, a little insane in her war strategies, but resourceful. Jacin is a combination of Prince Charming and the Huntsman from the Snow White tale.

We also meet Wolf’s mother, as one would expect she lives long enough to meet Scarlet and dies violently and tragically as any other kind mother would in any other YA book.

As I said earlier each chapter ends with a dramatic cliffhanger for each character giving us the thought that literally any of our protagonists can die with Cress, Cinder, and Iko having the largest amount of cliffhangers that could have lead to their demise.

Unfortunately although I am happy everyone made it out alive (granted they are beaten down pretty bad physically by the end of the novel), that is the primary problem I have with Winter. There is a lot of build up that there will be sacrifices, loved ones will die, ships will be destroyed by death and killing and that there will indeed be consequences for the actions of Cinder and her friends would have to face that just doesn’t happen. Excluding the entire city of Lunar refugees and those killed during the lunar civil war we only have about six named protagonists die.

I give The Lunar Chronicles Winter four and a half lunar apple flavored candies out of five.

The Lunar Chronicles-Cress

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Apologies, for some reason my post deleted itself, here is the review for The Lunar Chronicles Cress. Damn this is so annoying that I lost three paragraphs of writing.

I liked Cress ALOT! This made up for Scarlet so much, the pacing was so much better and it was so much nicer to not be jumping back and fourth between Cinder and the primary protagonist of the book. I mean it does happen, but it’s not as bad as it happened with Scarlet.

Spoilers from this point on, please do not read if you don’t want to be spoiled.

At the end of Cinder we are introduced to the character Cress that I couldn’t help but label a fangirl despite her barely having any screen time. As of this book I can confirm that Cress is a fangirl. A shockingly realistic one too. I’m thinking Merissa Meyer may have gotten inspiration from the fact that most fans of anime or television in general are aware of torrent sites and with the few clicks of a mouse and clicking of a keyboard can get media through torrent sites to flesh out Cress’ character more. Cress is a computer genius who can hack satellites and has been making Lunar spaceships invisible to Earth nations for seven years with her computer abilities all alone on a satellite.

However she does get bored and due to Lunar’s not caring for recorded work she settles for Earth media and grows to love it and becomes a fangirl of Earth and humans. She is a shell so she doesn’t have any glamor abilities and isn’t affected by them. I gotta say I really do like her as she felt more relatable to me. Despite having a Y chromosome and not necessarily being a fangirl (yes even men have inner fangirl moments), I was able to sympathise more with her concerning her living situations. Sadly with no combat abilities Cress is more of a damsel in comparison to Scarlet and Cinder who have some minor combat abilities.

I can also feel that Cress really is a fangirl since like most people in fandoms she researches her favorite characters (in this case Thorne) and has daydreams about falling in love with them. She’s actually adorkable.

Alot more is also explained concerning the backstory of the world Cinder takes place in; the discrimination towards cyborgs is explained, ironically I was nearly spot on about people discriminating against cyborgs for the sake of having something to discriminate against something.

We also get character development from all the characters with CInder realizing that she has no choice but to start a revolution against queen Levena, Dr.Erland’s backstory fully revealed and his regret at sacrificing so many lives, Iko getting her own humanoid body (my favorite part), and Thorne proving to himself and everyone else that he is more than a freeloading perverted thief based on the feelings Cress has for him.

The book does end on a cliffhanger (again), but with a war finally starting between Earth and Luna and with two books coming out next year (one a prequel about Queen Levena and the final book based upon Snow White) the series is definitely going to have a dramatic ending.

Also it appears that with the addition of a Snow White character Merissa Meyer has indeed created her own Sailor Senshi team. I give the book four out of five starts.

 

The Lunar Chronicles part 1-Cinder

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Here is the first official blog concerning my thoughts on books/entertainment. What better way to do this than with the Young Adult genre (nevermind that I’m in my mid twenties…) I discovered the book via the webshow Booze Your Own Adventure (formally 50 Shades of Green), at first I was reluctant to read along with our two lovely hostesses because the Spring Semester for classes had just started, but after a while I gave in.

Despite the size of the hardcopy book itself Cinder is a pretty fast read. The actual story is a retelling of Cinderella, with a twist to actually make the book readable. Cinder is a cyborg, the scum of society because society needs discrimination one way or another, she’s also a mechanic and earns the money for her household of the typical wicked stepmother and stepsisters, one stepsister nice and the other following in her mother’s footsteps.

For the first two thirds of the book the story loosely follows the usual Cinderella story, unlike the majority of Cinder’s counterparts the ball and Prince charming/Prince Kai aren’t the highest priorities for her. Her highest priority is her own freedom from her stepmother and the health of her stepsister Poeme who has been infected with a deadly virus that Cinder is immune to.

At this point I will warn that there will be spoilers, please do not read on if you hate them or intend on reading the books.

One of the different things between Cinder and it’s Cinderella counterparts is that aside from being set in the future is that there is political friction between the earth alliance and the moon government. Lunars are humans that have evolved to ‘glamor’ not only themselves, but the naked eye of regular people. The moon queen desires to rule both the moon and the earth by any means necessary. She desires to pull this off by marrying prince Kai and killing him and the only person who can stop her is the long lost moon princess.

Does this story sound familiar to you? Well if you grew up in the nineties it should because it’s the plot for the first arc of Sailor Moon, and just like the first arc of Sailor Moon it’s pretty obvious who the moon princess is if you’re older than the target age group. In fact that’s the only flaw I could find in Cinder was that it was predictable. Not in a bad way like most ‘Twilight clones’ are where ‘muggle meets X and has their world turned upside down and discovers an amazing life’. But predictable in sense that you know that Cinder is the moon princess, the emperor of China will die, Kai will have to take over and the Lunar queen is evil for the hell of it. It’s also predictable who will die and that Cinder has to go to the ball.

There are a few flaws in the story aside from the predictability. Mainly my questions of why are the Lunar’s so evil? What happened that there is harsh feelings between the earth alliance and the moon kingdom? Why is the royal family of the moon kingdom so blood thirsty? How did Lunar’s gain the ability to glamor? (sorry Marissa Meyer, evolution doesn’t work like that).

The Pro’s outweigh the cons though. Do you wonder why this story sounds alot like Sailor Moon? Well here’s the reason, Marissa Meyer, author of The Lunar Chronicles is a Sailor Moon fan and wrote Sailor Moon fanfiction. And unlike most people these days who wrote fanfiction and eventually got their work published (some of them partially cheating and self publishing (THAT MEANS YOU E.L. JAMES!)) Meyer produced very GOOD fanfiction. She took two stories, one known to nearly every person around the world and the other known to all who watch anime and read manga and she created her own original story out of it.

If you want a fast read, then please pick up Cinder! You will enjoy it greatly! I give it 3 1/2 out of 5 stars 🙂