Recommended Reads: Red, White, and Blue Edition

Hey everybody, welcome to my second post this week. I know, crazy right? Happy Independence Day to all my fellow Americans, and a very happy Wednesday to everyone, American or not. Today, in honor of the holiday, I thought it would be fun to do a little themed recommendations post. I’ve chosen 3 books, all of which relate to the colors red, white, or blue in some way. I’m going to give a little description of each book, why I think you should read it, and what makes it relate to this color to me.

Here we go!

RED

For red, I went with something obvious. Illuminae obviously has a reddish orange cover, but it matches in more ways than that. When I think of red, I think of fire. Fire is chaotic and destructive, and there is definitely a whole lot of chaos and destruction going on in this book.

The coolest part about this story is that it’s told in an unconventional way, through documents like maps, video transcripts, chat logs, journal entries, and even the internal monologue of an AI. It’s a very complicated story, but the gist, at least in the first book, is that it’s hundreds of years in the future, and the human race has found a way to leave Earth and colonize other planets. Our story centers on one planet and a feud between two companies that gets bloody, forcing the people who live on the planet to flee. This first book follows the people who managed to get off the planet as they struggle to escape the warship that’s trailing them. That’s bad enough, but they have to deal with other problems, too—like the AI that’s supposed to protect the ship seeming to do the exact opposite.

This book is a whirlwind from start to finish, and the other two books in the series are just as good. With the last book in the trilogy having already come out earlier this year, you can now easily binge-read the whole series. And don’t let the size of the books scare you away. These books may look big, but the unusual way they’re told make them read very quickly. Most of the pages have significantly less words than you would find in most books, and some have no words at all. It’s got action, humor, adventure, even a little romance—there’s seriously something for everyone in this book series.

 

WHITE

This is where my selection gets a little less obvious and, some might say, a bit of a stretch. For the book related to “white,” I chose the Lunar Chronicles series by Marissa Meyer, and more specifically, Winter, the last book in the series. This series is not one that you should read out of order, though, so for this recommendation, I’m going to be talking about the series as a whole, focusing especially on the first book, Cinder.

This series is four different interconnected fairy tale retellings, set on a futuristic Earth, where there are people who live on the moon and robots for everything from house cleaning to babysitting to taking care of medical patients. The first book is a Cinderella retelling, the second is a Little Red Riding Hood retelling, the third a Rapunzel retelling, and the last a Snow White retelling (that’s where I got the white from).

In the first book, we follow a girl named Cinder, who is a cyborg, which makes her a lower-class citizen. She is a talented mechanic who lives in New Beijing with her stepmother, two stepsisters, and a robot named Iko. It’s a Cinderella retelling, so I bet you have already guessed that there is a prince involved, but this book series is about so much more than girls falling in love with dashing guys. It’s got politics and action. It has a deadly plague, which is ravaging the Earth. It’s even got magic. It’s a story about love and loss and fighting for what’s right. It also has a creepy but very intriguing villain.

 

BLUE

For my blue book, I chose Legend, the first book in the aptly named Legend Trilogy, by Marie Lu. To be honest, there are only two reasons this book goes with the color blue. One, because it’s set in a futuristic version of LA (wow, I’m really into futuristic stuff today, apparently), where global warming has caused the oceans to rise, so a good amount of the city is underwater. Two, one of the main character’s eyes are blue, which is actually a pretty important plot point, in a way. Other than that, this book has very little to do with the color blue, but we’re going with it anyway.

This book is set in a world where the United States has split into two separate countries, but not the North and the South. Instead, it split into the West and the East, known, respectively, as the Republic and the Colonies. Our two main characters, Day and June, live in the Republic, but they come from very different worlds. June is a military prodigy, born into the Republic’s upper class. Day is a criminal—the Republic’s most-wanted criminal, in fact—born to a family in the slums. You wouldn’t think they would ever meet, but when June’s older brother is murdered and Day is blamed, she sets out on a mission to track him down and avenge her brother’s death. Along the way, they both discover that everything is not as it seems.

I absolutely love this series, particularly this first book. I haven’t read it in years, but just sitting here typing this with the book sitting next to me, I’m having to resist the urge to drop everything and reread it right now. It’s honestly one of the most unique dystopian novels I have ever read. It takes those tropes of a dystopian book—an untrustworthy government, omnipresent poverty and fear—and turns them into something new. If you haven’t read this book series yet, you absolutely should. The whole series has been out for a while. You can get them all!

 

Anyway, those are my red, white, and blue recommendations. Let me know if you guys want me to do something like this again in the future. One again, have a happy 4th!

Thanks for reading. I’ll see you next week!

-Ariel

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