The back of “Days of Blood and Starlight” by Laini Taylor is perfectly non-spoilerific. Other summaries, though? They can be pretty bad.
I’ve been reading long enough to know that there are a lot of bad summaries out there: be they in the form of an incorrect literary reference (“It’s just like the Hunger Games except it’s not!”) or by adding in a romantic triangle that doesn’t exist (“Dru can’t choose between the boys… because she doesn’t care!”).
But last week I have had the displeasure of reading a book whose summary has committed the worst of sins: spoilers.
The offending summary can be found on the back of the UK edition of Patricia Briggs’ Hunting Ground – an absolutely amazing book, but one in which the action on the back cover did not take place until 2/3rds the way through the book. To make matters even worse, the summary spoils a major character death from the book*. WTF?
Here’s the offending summary (hidden to protect those of you who wish to remain pure):
View Spoiler »Anna Latham didn’t know how complicated life could get – until she became a werewolf. And now she’s not just part of any pack, but under the direct supervision of Bran, leader of the North American werewolves. And her mate is his son Charles, the pack enforcer.
With all the advances that have been made in forensics, the werewolves will not be able to hide their existence from humans much longer – and Bran wants their coming out party to be on his terms. But his European counterparts don’t see things the same way. Anna and Charles are chosen to represent Bran at a key meeting. But when a French werewolf, one of Bran’s most vocal opponents, is found murdered, Charles’s reputation shoots him to the top of the suspect list. And among the wolves, there is one penalty for breaking the law: death. The killer must be found, or Charles will take the fall.
« Hide Spoiler
Of course summaries are, by their very nature, bound to give away a certain amount of the plot. I understand that. I mean, even saying “Harry Potter is a wizard” is technically a spoiler for the first 4 chapters of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. But that is to be expected. Saying “Harry meets Voldemort in this first book!”, however, is a spoiler I do not expect to find in my summary. And that’s what happens in Hunting Ground.
Spotting this offender made me look back at the summaries for some other books I’ve read recently… and I found another sinner in the pack. This summary for Scarlet by Marissa Meyer not only manages to spoil the ending of Scarlet, it also sets up the plot of the third book, Cress!
View Spoiler »This is not the fairytale you remember. But it’s one you won’t forget. Scarlet Benoit’s grandmother is missing. The police have closed her case. The only person Scarlet can turn to is Wolf, a street fighter she does not trust, but they are drawn to each other.
Meanwhile, in New Beijing, Cinder will become the Commonwealth’s most wanted fugitive – when she breaks out of prison to stay one step ahead of vicious Queen Levana.
As Scarlet and Wolf expose one mystery, they encounter Cinder and a new one unravels. Together they must challenge the evil queen, who will stop at nothing to make Prince Kai her husband, her king, her prisoner . . . « Hide Spoiler
Exactly what drugs were these publishers on when they thought these summaries were a good idea… and how can we get them to rehab?
* It is worth noting that although this summary was on my edition, the US edition seems to have a much better one.
“Waiting On” Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted over at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that are being eagerly anticipated.
Cress (Lunar Chronicles #3) by Marissa Meyer
Goodreads – Science Fiction YA – February 4th 2014 by Feiwel & Friends
Rapunzel’s tower is a satellite. She can’t let down her hair—or her guard.
In this third book in the bestselling Lunar Chronicles series, Cinder and Captain Thorne are fugitives on the run, with Scarlet and Wolf in tow. Together, they’re plotting to overthrow Queen Levana and her army.
Their best hope lies with Cress, who has been trapped on a satellite since childhood with only 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 goes awry, the group is separated. Cress finally has her freedom, but it comes at a high price. Meanwhile, Queen Levana will let nothing stop her marriage to Emperor Kai. Cress, Scarlet, and Cinder may not have signed up to save the world, but they may be the only ones who can.
First things first: I WANT THIS BOOK SO MUCH IT HURTS.
But, er, yeah… that’s not really news. I think my review of Scarlet has rather given away my thoughts on this series.
However, I am somewhat confounded by one part of the description: “Cinder and her handsome accomplice”. Who are they referring to? A few lines earlier they mention Scarlet and Wolf, but these two are neither singular nor “handsome”. Any thoughts??
Scarlet by Marissa Meyer
Series: Lunar Chronicles #2
Published by Feiwel & Friends, Puffin on February 7th 2013
Genres: Fairytale Re-tellings, Science Fiction YA, Young Adult
Source: Received for review from publishers
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Also in this series: Cinder, Cress
The fates of Cinder and Scarlet collide as a Lunar threat spreads across the Earth...
Cinder, the cyborg mechanic, returns in the second thrilling installment of the bestselling Lunar Chronicles. She's trying to break out of prison—even though if she succeeds, she'll be the Commonwealth's most wanted fugitive.
Halfway around the world, Scarlet Benoit's grandmother is missing. It turns out there are many things Scarlet doesn't know about her grandmother or the grave danger she has lived in her whole life. When Scarlet encounters Wolf, a street fighter who may have information as to her grandmother's whereabouts, she is loath to trust this stranger, but is inexplicably drawn to him, and he to her.
[Note: I've edited this summary, as the official version has spoilers for the end of the book! #Fail]
Thoughts: It is an absolute TRAGEDY that I am only now writing this review. Tragedy, I say, because Scarlet is everything I’ve ever wanted in a YA novel and you’ve all had months not knowing that. Fortunately, you can go out now and get it. Right now. Go on. I can wait.
Got it? Good. Now we can talk.
You see, I normally have serious issues with the Red Riding Hood retellings. Despite liking Cinder, I had been apprehensive about how the story would play out in Scarlet. But, without spoiling the novel for you, let me just say this: Meyer’s portrayal of Wolf and his pack makes me want to send her gold stars. No really, actual gold stars. If anyone has her address, I’ll send them now. It was genius.
The strength of this book is in its characters: Scarlet‘s heroine is independent but extremely loyal to her family. She’s tough and worldly, but not so hardened by life as to stop loving. She reminds me of Mercy Thompson from Patricia Briggs’ novels – which is quite the compliment, I assure you. As for the Wolf in the tale: he has the right mix of violent-and-distrust-worthy and worthy-of-redemption. So many authors strive to write bad boys and just end up pissing me off. Marissa Meyer, I am happy to report, is not one of those authors. Wolf is a victim in this tale; albeit a victim that can rip your throat out.
Scarlet follows directly on from Cinder and, because of that, it follows more than one POV. This can at times mean serious confusion and reader fatigue… but not in this case. The action was easy to follow and the transitions between narrator only heightened the tension. The only critique I have is that, well, I don’t particularly like Cinder as a character and so wasn’t too interested in what she had to say. Her chapters unfortunately dragged my rating of this book from 5 to 4.5 stars.
Besides my dislike of Cinder’s character, one of my biggest peeves from Cinder was the predictability of the plot – something I am happy to report Scarlet has none of. While I could certainly tell that none of the characters were quite who they said they were, I didn’t know what to expect. Scarlet‘s plot twists and turns had all the oomph I love. There were leaps from moving trains, fights in empty theatres and kidnappings galore – but, best of all, I didn’t see any of them coming.
My goodreads updates for your amusement:
Bottom line: Scarlet is a brilliant, brilliant book. Even if you weren’t impressed by Cinder, you’ll love it.
In this month’s (double) wind-up: BEA-palooza, books continue to glare, and Marissa Meyer does the best version of Little Red Riding Hood known to man.
April and May were the best months of my literary year: not only did I get to meet the brilliant Michael Grant, I also attended Book Expo America. My recaps of these events were numerous and detailed. Check them out:
My favourite book of the past two months was – by far – Scarlet by Marissa Meyer. I don’t know WHY I haven’t reviewed it yet, as I had so many overwhelmingly positive feelings about it. (Although, same goes for The Fault in Our Stars, which I am still trying to work out how to review coherently.) Scarlet came off of my April TBR pile and made everything else I picked up pale in comparison.
In May, I set out to read a whole tonne of books that were the final installments in my favourite series. Out of the TBR pile, I finished off the Vampire Academy series, the Soul Screamers series and… that’s it. I blame BEA for distracting me so thoroughly from this noble attempt of mine!! Still, I feel very good about having Last Sacrifice off of my TBR pile. That book has been glaring at me for years now.
The Non-bookish (ahem, TV)
I’ve been loving Elementary and Game of Thrones these past few months. The former I had hoarded on my computer awaiting my trip to New York – it was a great, Sherlockian preview of the city. As for Game of Thrones, who isn’t watching that? No really, if you aren’t watching it, let me know so that I can convince you of the error of your ways.
I had some very intense exams early June, hence the slow postings, but I shall be on full-time this summer starting with the return of the Summer Shorts. This is my weekly summer feature (every weekend, July and August), in which I review fantastic YA and Speculative Fiction short stories. The 2013 edition of Summer Shorts will have a bit of extra engagement in it, so look out for how you can participate!
So, my last monthly TBR pile turned into a two-month pile. That’s my life: lots of books, way too little time! Although I know I can’t read all of these books, I’m glad I have monthly pile. It gives me a bit more focus, rather than just staring at my TBR Mount Doom in terror.
I’ve got a few newbies on this month’s TBR pile: books I’ve received for review that I might not have found out about otherwise.
Also, I’ve got a few on the pile that I kinda “need” to read – namely, Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman (ebook). I am desperate to listen to the BBC radio version of this classic UF novel, so I need to finish off the real thing first! To be honest, I’m finding it a bit hard going at the moment – great but a bit confusing. I also really really really want to get to Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor and The Killables series by Gemma Malley.
I’ve also got a few newbies off of Netgalley (Ink by Amanda Sun and The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau) though the likelihood of me getting to those this month is very, very, very low. But I will! Any day now…