Book Review: The Last Ever After by Soman Chainani

The Last Ever After by Soman Chainani
Series: The School for Good and Evil #3
Release Date: July 21st 2015 by HarperCollins
Language: English
Print Length: 704 pages
Genres: Fantasy, Magic, Adventure, Romance
Target Reader: Young Adult/Middle Grade

Ebook: Amazon US • B&N • Kobo • iBooks
Int. Paperback: Amazon US • Book Depository
Indonesia: Periplus (Paperback/Hardcover)

In the epic conclusion to Soman Chainani’s New York Times bestselling series, The School for Good and Evil, everything old is new again as Sophie and Agatha fight the past as well as the present to find the perfect end to their story.

As A World Without Princes closed, the end was written and former best friends Sophie and Agatha went their separate ways. Agatha was whisked back to Gavaldon with Tedros and Sophie stayed behind with the beautiful young School Master.

But as they settle into their new lives, their story begs to be re-written, and this time, theirs isn’t the only one. With the girls apart, Evil has taken over and the villains of the past have come back to change their tales and turn the world of Good and Evil upside down.

Readers around the world are eagerly awaiting the third book in The School for Good and Evil series, The Last Ever After. This extraordinary conclusion delivers more action, adventure, laughter, romance and fairy tale twists and turns than you could ever dream of!

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REVIEW BY ALEXA

Apa asyiknya jadi penjahat kalau tidak ada pahlawan kebaikan yang akan mengimbangi sepak terjangmu? Itu yang dirasakan murid-murid sekolah Good and Evil, sekarang sudah berubah menjadi Old Evil dan New Evil. Semua pangeran dan putri dari sisi Good diwajibkan untuk belajar tentang seni kejahatan dan bersiap untuk melayani School Master (yang kembali menjadi ABG keren, bayangkan Jack Frost!!!) dan calon ratunya, Sophie.

Setelah jatuh cinta pada buku pertamanya dan ngenes setengah mati pada buku keduanya, buku terakhir ini menawarkan banyak penghiburan dan juga kejutan sejak chapter pertamanya. Misalnya tentang penolakan Sophie terhadap lamaran Rafal tapi juga perjuangan gigihnya demi mendapatkan cinta. Atau kehidupan Agatha dan Tedros setelah Ever After ternyata tidak bisa dinilai sebagai happy ending.

Porsi besar perjalanan penuh aksi pertualangan dan tentu saja scene-scene gelap yang lebih berdarah-darah. Buku terakhir ini juga lebih lucu, punya alur berbelit dan dramatik bak telenovela. Hubungan dan banter Tedros dan Agatha memang jauh dari mulus dan penuh pertengkaran sarkastik.Tapi scene-scene mereka berdua jauh dari membosankan dan scene romantis sederhana mereka jelas melelehkan organ dalam sampai akhir.

Karakter utama dan beberapa karakter pendamping jelas digali lebih mendalam kepribadiannya. Tedros yang tampak dangkal dan selalu heroik ternyata bisa tampil rapuh dan menggemaskan. Sophie yang makin nampak Evil dengan semakin keras usahanya untuk tampil menjadi Good. Aric yang semakin kejam. Transformasi Hort dengan perut berpetak dan sikap cuek-cuek butuhnya yang pasti menggetarkan.

Buku ini juga memunculkan kembali 13 hero/heroine fairytale yang sudah kita kenal. Cinderella yang judes, Pinocchio yang kebangetan jujurnya, si kembar Hansel Gretel yang berantem tiap saat biar sudah uzur, Putri Tidur dan Jack Si Kacang yang akan menikah, Peter Pan yang menyesal sudah jadi dewasa dan Merlin yang super kocak dengan topi ajaibnya.

Kisah terakhir ini juga menawarkan storyline fairytale dengan konflik berlapis yang epic dan twist tiada akhir yang akan membuat matamu melekat pada tiap halamannya sampai akhir. Pesan dalam novel ini agak bias dan mungkin sulit untuk dipahami para pembaca muda, karena itu perlu bimbingan orang tua sehingga tidak disalah artikan.

OVERALL RATING

4.5stars
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Book Review: A World Without Princes by Soman Chainani

A World Without Princes by Soman Chainani
Series: The School for Good and Evil #2
Release Date: April 15th 2014 by HarperCollins
Language: English
Print Length: 448 pages
Genres: Fantasy, Magic, Adventure, Romance
Target Reader: Young Adult/Middle Grade

Ebook: Amazon US • B&N • Kobo • iBooks
Int. Paperback: Paperback • Book Depository
Indonesia: Periplus (Paperback/Hardcover)

In the New York Times bestselling sequel to Soman Chainani’s debut, The School for Good and Evil, Sophie and Agatha are back in Gavaldon, living out their Happily Ever After, but life isn’t quite the fairy tale they expected. When Agatha wishes she’d chosen a different Happy Ending, she accidentally reopens the gates to the School for Good and Evil, and the girls find that the world they knew has changed.

Witches and princesses reside at the School for Girls, where they’ve been inspired to live a life without princes, while Tedros and the boys are camping in Evil’s old towers. A war is brewing between the schools, but can Agatha and Sophie restore the peace? Can Sophie stay good with Tedros on the hunt? And whose heart does Agatha’s belong to—her best friend or her prince?

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REVIEW BY ALEXA

“Once upon a time, all I needed was a friend to be happy. Then I thought I needed more. It’s the problem with fairy tales. From far away, they seem so perfect. But up close, they’re just as complicated as real life.” ~Agatha

Fiuhh.. Akhirnya lolos juga dari ancaman DNF setelah on off baca buku ini selama 2 minggu dengan diselingi baca hampir 5 buku lainnya. Berbeda dengan buku pertamanya, membaca A World Without Princes jelas jadi perjalanan penuh cobaan untukku. Sebelumnya, aku jatuh cinta pada fairy tale baru yang unik ini karena berani mengangkat tema yang berbeda dari kisah-kisah klise yang kita tahu semenjak kita kecil. Soman juga memberikan aura dark yang dibalut dalam kemasan cute, penuh humor level tinggi dan cara bercerita yang menawan.

Di buku ke-2 ini kita masih mendapatkan aura intens yang sama, detail-detail dunia baru yang diciptakan Soman juga masih mengesankan. Interaksi antar karakter complicated dan penuh penggalian emosi. Tapi ada beberapa poin yang membuat otakku harus berjuang keras untuk bisa menerima ide-ide dalam buku ini.

  • Karakter yang tidak konsisten. Aku kecewa berat dengan Agatha yang jelas super out of character di buku ini. Di buku 1 dia begitu misterius, cerdas, penuh sarkastik dan punya keyakinan. Tapi kemudian dia tumbuh dan mulai mellow menggalau, curigaan, plin plan dan jauh dari kata cerdas. Sophie si antiheroine untungnya masih konsisten dengan caper, narsis, egois tapi super loveable dan kita bisa memahami alasan dibalik semua tindakannya.Tedros yang dibuku 1 agak dangkal dan tipikal di sini mulai dikorek masa lalunya, untuk menjelaskan perubahan sifatnya yang ekstrim.
  • Alur melelahkan yang bikin depresi. Buku ini terbagi menjadi 2 bagian, di desa Agatha dan Sophie pasca ending “anti mainstream” mereka dan kembalinya ke sekolah good and evil karena Agatha membuat permohonan yang berbeda. 58 % awal buku ini membuatku frustasi dengan alurnya yang lambat, penuh narasi kegalauan dan detail tidak penting yang terus di ulang-ulang. 42 % lainnya kuisi dengan frustasi karena penyebab yang lain.
  • Plot dan konflik super megadrama. Begitu banyak detail yang harus ditelan dan tema yang tidak terfokus. Jangan lupakan intrik berdarah penuh rahasia, keraguan dan pengkhianatan. Terombang ambing diantara dua cinta yang berbeda jenis, rumit dan tidak jelas maunya apa.
  • Ide yang over ekstrim. Ide untuk memisahkan sekolah “Good dan Evil” itu sangat jenius, begitu juga dengan sekolah “Girls dan Boys”. Pesan moral tentang kita tidak perlu mengubah diri demi mendapatkan perhatian lawan jenis atau bersikap mandiri dan menyelamatkan diri sendiri itu jelas bagus. Tapi saat Soman mulai memasukan idenya, scene yang membingungkan dan pesan-pesan terselubung yang tidak jelas maksudnya ke arah mana (swap gender dan triangle love super magical) cerita ini jadi susah kucerna sampai ending HEAnya yang “maksa” banget.

“Because we grow up. When you’re young, you think your best friend is everything. But once you find real love . . . it changes. Your friendship can never be the same after that. Because no matter how much you try to keep both, your loyalty can only lie with one.” (Tedros)

Kuharap buku ke-3 akan memberikan happy ending yang lebih masuk akal daripada keseluruhan isi buku ke-2 ini. Cerita ini wajib dibaca dengan dampingan orang tua karena ada beberapa issue yang mungkin bisa diterjemahkan secara harafiah oleh pembaca belia dan sulit dipahami.

OVERALL RATING

2starshappyreading

Book Review: Winter by Marissa Meyer

Winter by Marissa Meyer
Series: The Lunar Chronicles #4
Release Date: November 10th 2015 by Feiwel & Friends
Language: English
Print Length: 824 pages
Genres: Fantasy, Romance, Fairy Tales, Dystopia
Target Reader: Young Adult/Teen

Ebook: Amazon US • B&N • Kobo • iBooks
Int. Paperback: Book Depository
Indonesia: Periplus (Paperback/Hardcover)

Princess Winter is admired by the Lunar people for her grace and kindness, and despite the scars that mar her face, her beauty is said to be even more breathtaking than that of her stepmother, Queen Levana.

Winter despises her stepmother, and knows Levana won’t approve of her feelings for her childhood friend—the handsome palace guard, Jacin. But Winter isn’t as weak as Levana believes her to be and she’s been undermining her stepmother’s wishes for years. Together with the cyborg mechanic, Cinder, and her allies, Winter might even have the power to launch a revolution and win a war that’s been raging for far too long.

Can Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, and Winter defeat Levana and find their happily ever afters?

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REVIEW BY ELLE

Wohooo… The final book! Wait… what… the pages??!! R u kidding me?!! Okay… calm down.
I finished this long train wreck in 2 days. I think it’s my average speed for YA genre. Like I mentioned before, I RARELY read YA & Fantasy. BUT, Lunar Chronicles intrigued me because the fairy tale retelling. Guess what? I’m so surprised that I enjoyed this long journey. Satisfied enough.

Credit: http://embercrown.tumblr.com/

What I liked:

  • I loved Winter. She’s the most different character from all Snow White I’ve ever known. She’s not weak and stupid. Yeah, almost all Snow White is too naive. Winter never use her power and it droves her mad. She has a lunar disease and made her hallucinate. She has quick thinking and witty. Winter is my favorite character so far.
  • Jacin Clay; her bodyguard and longtime (boy)friend. He’s very serious man and intense. Jacin is hardly likable at first but in this book, I loved him as much as Winter. They’re really adorable couple with special cases. I could feel their chemistry. They’have their own each other back. Even Jacin never shown his true feeling but I could feel his struggle to be with Winter.
  • I thought we all too fast arrived in Lunar and it will end soon. But, it’s not like that. The author takes Lunar region very seriously and invite us to feel the atmosphere and environment around the Lunar. It only show the important part for the story and wrapped nice and quick.
  • Cinder, Iko, Wolf, Scarlet, Cress and Throne has their adventure for the rebellion. They have on-off and doesn’t end for a long time. Well… two has gone, two is coming. Kaito himself has to face Levanna with his diplomatic style which I never like but it’s his only excess. Kaito is the least likeable hero for me. Cress and Thorne is an adorable couple but still immature. Scarlet and Wolf is the second fave couple because they’re strong and kick-ass!
  • There are some unpredictable events that I never think of that will happened. Of course, the group meet some obstacle and it’s not an easy one.

“Do you ever think about the future?”
His expression turned wary. “Of course I do.”
“And … does it include me?”
His gaze softened. Releasing the overhead pipe, he tucked a strand of hair behind her ear. “That depends on whether I’m thinking about the good future or the bad one.”
Cinder tucked her head under his chin. “As long as one of them does.” ~Cinder to Kai

What I didn’t like:

  • This is very long journey for a revolt. Not simple but complicated. Like shit happened all the time. They’re such an unlucky group. Hahaha… Sorry. It’s real! The plot is keep going backward and forward.
  • I could just skip the battle part, you know. No adrenaline rush and forgettable. It should be the main point of Cinder’s plan.
  • Anti-climax. Well, that’s easy. After all the act she has done, she’s gone just like that?? No suffer?? It’s too kind, you know. Unbelievable.
The conclusion: Winter is almost perfect for me. There are some flaws that I couldn’t let it go. The ending was wrapped quickly and efficient without dramatize too much. They get happily ever after. It was an entertaining journey with a list twists and turns. So much for emotions; happy, sad, confused and frustrated. Marissa Meyer successfully re-telling the fairy tale story mixed with futuristic theme. It’s not easy to imagine but her world building is kinda engaging till the end. I would love to read other series from this author.
“I have lived in fear of her my entire life,” she continued. “If this is the only chance I’m given to stand against her, then I have to take it. I don’t want to hide. I don’t want to be afraid. And I don’t want to be separated from you, ever again.” ~Winter

Credit: http://basiltonpitchs.tumblr.com/

** Long live Her Royal Majesty, Queen Selene Channary Jannali Blackburn of Luna. **

OVERALL RATING

4.5starshappyreading

Mini Review → Fairest: Levana’s Story by Marissa Meyer

Fairest: Levana’s Story by Marissa Meyer
Series: The Lunar Chronicles #3.5
Release Date: January 27th 2015 by Feiwel & Friends
Language: English
Print Length: 272 pages
Genres: Fantasy, Romance, Fairy Tales, Dystopia
Target Reader: Young Adult/Teen

Ebook: Amazon US • B&N • Kobo • iBooks
International: Amazon US • Book Depository
Indonesia: Periplus (Paperback/Hardcover)

Mirror, mirror on the wall,
Who is the fairest of them all?

Fans of the Lunar Chronicles know Queen Levana as a ruler who uses her “glamour” to gain power. But long before she crossed paths with Cinder, Scarlet, and Cress, Levana lived a very different story – a story that has never been told . . . until now.

Marissa Meyer spins yet another unforgettable tale about love and war, deceit and death. This extraordinary book includes full-color art and an excerpt from Winter, the next book in the Lunar Chronicles series.

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REVIEW BY ELLE

“Come here, baby sister,” she whispered, and despite the terror twisting inside Levana’s stomach, her feet obeyed. “I want to show you something.”

Credit: http://qselene.tumblr.com/

Wow… Even for a novella, I was surprised with the story. Omg, this is very DARK read for Young Adult. It’s just pure evil in many ways. Levana is the main character in Fairest along with Channery; her sister queen. Poor Levana… I don’t want to spoiler but this is a must read. I know it’s so sad what happened with Levana, then I realized what’s behind all of her condition. She’s smart, very ambitious and determined since a little girl. We will know the glamour behind Levana. Ever her cruel sister, Channary who become queen seems stupid and ignorant. She doesn’t care about the kingdom until the point she realize that she need a heir to secure her position. She has unrequited love with her royal guard but she didn’t care. She keep pursue him until the point she has to use her power over him. Her thought is more disturbing since her nephew; Selene born.

She has learned that there is no kindness and pity, otherwise she wouldn’t survive. Levanna learned the hard way to achieve everything she desired. Her love was blinded by jealousy and obsession. She has consistency for being DARK and CRUEL more than Channary. It’s just WOW… I liked it! But I don’t think this book is a good read for children because some material is a little disturbing. The ending is a quite unpredictable and somewhat heart-breaking. Well, I couldn’t wait for Winter. Almost my question and guess already answered in Fairest but i still need the conclusion in Winter 😉

description

OVERALL RATING

4.5starshappyreading

Book Review: Cress by Marissa Meyer

Cress by Marissa Meyer
Series: The Lunar Chronicles #3
Release Date: February 4th 2014 by Feiwel & Friends
Language: English
Print Length: 512 pages
Genres: Fantasy, Romance, Fairy Tales, Dystopia
Target Reader: Young Adult/Teen

Ebook: Amazon US • B&N • Kobo • iBooks
Int. Paperback: Amazon US • Book Depository
Indonesia: Periplus (Paperback/Hardcover)

In this third book in the Lunar Chronicles, Cinder and Captain Thorne are fugitives on the run, now with Scarlet and Wolf in tow. Together, they’re plotting to overthrow Queen Levana and her army.

Their best hope lies with Cress, a girl imprisoned on a satellite since childhood who’s only ever had her netscreens as company. All that screen time has made Cress an excellent hacker. Unfortunately, she’s just received orders from Levana to track down Cinder and her handsome accomplice.

When a daring rescue of Cress goes awry, the group is separated. Cress finally has her freedom, but it comes at a high price. Meanwhile, Queen Levana will let nothing prevent her marriage to Emperor Kai. Cress, Scarlet, and Cinder may not have signed up to save the world, but they may be the only hope the world has.

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REVIEW BY ELLE

Yay!!! Rapunzel is my other fave fairy tale (not Disney version). Cress is book #3 from Luna Chronicles and her story based on Rapunzel. We could see a glimpse of her story from Cinder and Scarlet. And the fact that Cress is the one who helping Cinder all this time. Too bad, Cress didn’t meet my expectation to be more entertaining than the previous series. There were some pros cons when I finished Cress.

Credit: http://booksandsugarquills.tumblr.com/

“Captain?”
“Yeah?”
“Do you think it was destiny that brought us together?”
He squinted and, after a thoughtful moment, shook his head. “No. I’m pretty sure it was Cinder.” ~Cress to Throne

What I liked:

  • Cress has some consistency on her character. A genius and brilliant hacker. She is the one who protect Cinder group all this long. She’s shy and sweet but not introvert because she was never socialized with another person beside Sybil Mira. Unfortunately, I’m not impressed with Cress beside her amazing skill. Cress is too naive and helpless. It’s quite hard to find some positive thing about her. I feel that she’s more like cameo on her own book than main character which is always Cinder. She has some potential to be explore.
  • Thorne… is being Thorne itself. He always the spices for this gloomy group which is I found he’s very interesting character. And he’s not useless. He’s the one who makes sense better than Cinder. (Thanks for Chris Pratt being my imagination). My kind of prince charming! *swoon*
  • The bad one is more evil than before. It took a while to process that part because I’m very sure this book is for YA, right? So, I don’t have any critic for the bad guys. They’re just so evillll… 😀
  • The father and daughter moment even just for a while. It should be longer but… Ugh, my feels. I could taste tears.

“Maybe there isn’t such a thing as fate. Maybe it’s just the opportunities we’re given, and what we do with them. I’m beginning to think that maybe great, epic romances don’t just happen. We have to make them ourselves.”

What I didn’t like:

  • The story is more boring than Scarlet. It’s too descriptive with everything and so much unnecessary event (e.g the desert part!). That’s why i had to drag my ass to finished this. Sigh.
  • I would love to read more Cress and Thorne. They have potential but apparently, it was cut down just like Scarlet and Wolf. I thought this book is about Cress?
  • Sometimes… Just sometimes, I feel he’s like a pedophile towards Cress. Just saying. LMAO. Maybe, Cress is too innocent and… childish? She’s lack of affection and seeing Thorne save her like ‘Prince Charming’.
  • We will see Jacin; the royal guard who claimed that has been controlled and now, he decided to help Cinder… which is not interesting. He still in grey area.
  • There is no adventure which give me no adrenaline rush. Just liked bedtime story for children. And The ending is a bit anti-climatic. Argh.
  • Most of the characters didn’t develop very well. They’re just… plain, especially Kai. He couldn’t do anything, for god’s sake! He’s a prince but he never have military education? Or self-defense? #facepalm
Cress didn’t impress me and somehow boring. It’s too often changing chapter before I could process it. I was glad to found that Winter is going to be the last book. I couldn’t handle more ‘cameo’ because apparently, Cinder is the main point/character in this entire books (Is it because she’s Princess Selene?). It seems the whole group is rather useless even some of them has special skill but there is no improvement. At all. I didn’t really enjoy Cress because this is the weakest story. Like I said, there are so many unimportant things mentioned. That’s why I need Winter asap to wrap this quickly.

OVERALL RATING

3stars

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