Mini-Reviews: Glitches and The Queen’s Army, Marissa Meyer (2011/2012)

October 16th, 2015 7:00 am by Kelly Garbato

four out of five stars

Recently orphaned in a hover accident, we’re introduced to eleven-year-old Cinder as she travels from France to New Beijing. She is accompanied by her adoptive father Garan, a kindly but preoccupied scientist. The surgery that saved her life also left her with two synthetic limbs, and a netscreen where her memories should be. Cinder is a cyborg, in a world that doesn’t think too highly of them. (In a word, cyborgs are considered property.) Shortly after her arrival, Garan falls ill with Letumosis, leaving Cinder in the “care” of her cruel and bitter stepmother Adri, who already has two young daughters to care for.

Glitches is a nice way to kill time while you wait not-so-patiently for the next book in the series to come out. While enjoyable, it doesn’t really tell us anything that we don’t already know or can’t otherwise infer from Cinder. For example, I had hoped that we’d get a glimpse of Adri before she turned evil – that smiling, happy woman Cinder marvels over in the family’s early photographs – but not so much. The story gives a little context for Adri’s unhappiness – Garan is frequently absent, frittering time away on useless projects as the family slips further and further into debt – but at the end of the day, she’s still a nasty bigot. Ditto: Pearl, who’s already inherited her mother’s general awfulness.

Though it’s a prequel to Cinder – Book #1 in Marissa Meyer’s The Lunar Chronicles series – Glitches is probably best read after Cinder.

(This review is also available on Library Thing and Goodreads. Please click through and vote it helpful if you’re so inclined!)


 

four out of five stars

Set in Marissa Meyer’s The Lunar Chronicles ‘verse (read this after Cinder), The Queen’s Army takes place on Luna, where twelve-year-old Ze’ev Kesley has just been conscripted into Queen Levana’s Army – the army we first got a glimpse of in Cinder. Z awakes after nearly a month in a coma to find his body radically transformed; think: Beast from The X-Men, but with a less friendly and philosophical disposition.

Z swiftly joins his pack, which serves the Thaumaturge Jael. Life is bleak and brutal – all members must fight for food, respect, and to secure a place in the hierarchy – but at least he hasn’t yet been fully transformed into a mindless beast. Z’s is one of several dozen packs being considered for a special assignment, and for that they need their wits. But things go from bad to much, much worse when, several years into training, the newest and final conscript joins Z’s pack: and it’s none other than his younger brother Ran.

As with Glitches, The Queen’s Army is a fun enough read, though I found myself wishing for more. I’d love to get a better look at Luna, for example, but most of the story takes place underground, in cavern bunkers. That said, The Queen’s Army does have a leg up on Glitches in that it clues us into details not revealed in Cinder: I feel like I know a little more about the ‘verse after having read it.

I suspect that these short stories will pack a greater emotional punch once they’re all collected together in Stars Above. Until then, it’s a great way to pass the time between books.

(This review is also available on Library Thing and Goodreads. Please click through and vote it helpful if you’re so inclined!)
 
 

Comments (May contain spoilers!)

Diversity: Glitches is a prequel to Cinder, a futuristic fairy tale mashup that takes place in New Beijing – a city built on the ruins of Beijing, which was destroyed in a world war (IV?). Eleven-year-old Cinder travels from France to China to meet her new family, which is presumably Asian, as are many of the characters in Cinder. Shortly thereafter, her stepfather Garan dies, leaving her at the mercy of her cruel and bitter stepmother Adri.

The Queen’s Army is also set in the universe of The Lunar Chronicles and takes place on Luna, where a young boy has just been conscripted into the Queen’s Army. Physical descriptions are scarce, but two of the characters have Jewish names: Ze’ev and Jael the Thaumaturge.

Animal-friendly elements: n/a

 

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