Book Review: The Little Selkie by KM Shea

The Little Selkie (Timeless Fairy Tales, #5)The Little Selkie by K.M. Shea
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I’m a big fan of KM Shea and her timeless fairytale series. Each book re tells one of the classic fairytales but has a little bit of a twist. They always have great female characters and this one is no exception.

This time the story is based on the little mermaid, however rather than a mermaid, who are apparently silly and vain, we have a selkie, Dylan. A selkie is a magical creature which has the form of a seal (or in Dylan’s case a Sea lion) in water but which can become human on land by shedding their pelt. Their role is to use water magic to protect the seas and rescue silly humans who go sailing in storms and get in trouble.

When Dylan goes chasing after the sea witch who has been terrorising their territories she gets captured and her pelt stolen meaning she is unable to return to the sea. Afraid the sea witch will force her to use her magic she asks a passing enchantress to seal her voice. When the bandits holding her take her to the palace she has to figure out what their plan is, recover her pelt and get her voice and power back to defeat the witch and return to the sea.

I did enjoy this book but I felt it was one of the weaker books in the series. The story seemed a little uneven. Parts such as the start seemed rushed whereas others were overly long. There were a few characters who seemed to pop up out of nowhere and disappear after a few pages with little explanation.

I did however really like Dylan as a character. I loved the fact that she really didn’t care about how she looked or whether people were talking about her. She let people dress her in whatever and only really reacted to comments if they hurt those she cared about. Some of her reactions to the bullying popular girls were priceless. She was a little reckless and didn’t back down from a fight. The best bits for me though were where she was obsessing about food. I think she spent most of the story thinking about, talking about or eating food.

Her interactions with the Prince made me laugh a lot and there were a lot of funny incidents however I think it was probably meant for a younger audience than me as some of it was a little silly.

Overall therefore I enjoyed it but it wasn’t as good as some of the others in the series such as Cinderella or Beauty and the Beast. Definitely a great book for young adults and I think it should be suitable for young readers.

Book Review: Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles, #1)

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

I’m a big fan of books based on fairytales and previously read the short prequel to Cinder in the Fierce Reads anthology so was very excited to finally get a chance to read the first book in this popular young adult series.

As you can probably guess the story is based on Cinderella however this is Cinderella with a very unique twist. Cinder is a cyborg. As a young girl her life was saved following an accident by replacing a number of her parts with robotics. Being part robot she is considered a second class citizen and the property of her guardian (the evil stepmother). Given her knowledge of all things robotic she is sent to work in the local market in Beijing fixing androids to make money and provide for her adopted family. While this is not exactly a happy life it becomes worse when her sister contracts the plague which is spreading across the earth and is taken away to a quarantine facility that no one ever returns from. Blamed by her stepmother for her sister’s disease it’s safe to say their relationship does not improve however it turns out that Cinder may hold the key to the cure and the salvation of the planet (no pressure there then).

I’ve read a lot of books based on fairytales recently but for me Cinder was definitely a stand out. As a young adult book it’s a nice and easy read but with a lot of big themes (discrimination, human rights) and positive messages about believing in yourself and accepting the things you don’t like about yourself. There are a lot of references and links to the original story which I loved but it somehow managed to put a twist on almost all of them. Her robotic leg, for example, doubled as the glass slipper and an old car she found in the junk shop was the pumpkin to get her to the ball. What I really liked about this book though was that it had such a strong and independent female character. Too often I find in books that the female characters are either dependent on someone coming to save them or spend all of their time obsessing over boys. While there is some romance in the book it’s not the main focus and there is no fairy godmother waiting to save the day. Cinder has to stand alone and make her own choices.

My only minor gripe is that I found some of the characters a little one dimensional and it was a little light on emotional impact but it’s probably about right for younger readers.

Overall, fairytales, romance, a feisty heroine, robots and aliens, what’s not to love. I’ve already bought the next book in the series.