Tag Archives: Disney

Marissa Meyer – Scarlet (2014)

ScarletThis second installment of Marissa Meyer’s Lunar Chronicles was not as good as her previous one, Cinder, but definitely sets the tone for some interesting future developments.

The Lunar Chronicles are a set of young adult dystopian future novels where earth is being threatened by Letumosis, a plague like disease as the evil Queen Levana from the moon colony of Luna attempts to take over. While the first novel focused on the cyborg Cinder of New Bejing, who turns out to be the lost Lunar Pricess Selene, this novel takes the reader to futureistic France where we meet Scarlet Benoit, an iteration of Little Red Riding Hood.

Tied up in Scarlet’s story are her grandmother, who as it turns out helped keep Princess Selene alive and spirited her away from Luna, as well as Wolf, a Lunar Operative who has a change of heart after falling in love with her. The characters were interesting, but I felt they were unnecessary to the story, although I could be wrong.

Since this is a young adult novel, I’m curious to know how romance will play a role, or if it will at all. It seemed as though Cinder was destined to be with the Emperor of the Commonwealth, but with the introduction of rouge Han Solo-like petty criminal Carswell Thorne, I’m not so sure. Aside from the Scarlet-Wolf Twilight-esque warwolf-y love story, romance doesn’t seem to have a key role to play which is refreshing.

Meyer’s Lunar Chronicles are entertaining and I’m looking forward to reading Cress, the third installment in the series.

Ed Catmull – Creativity Inc (2014)

CreativityIncWhen I saw that a history of Pixar Animation was being published I was so excited to read it, but my excitement was dampened somewhat what I realized that above all else, this book was attempting to be a guide to leadership along the lines of How to make Friends and Influence People. My fears however were unfounded.

While Catmull is definitely intending to provide managers of businesses with sound advice, he does so by talking about past projects he’s worked on at Pixar, both the failures and the massive successes. The innovations that company has introduced, things like the BrainTrust meetings, (essentially a brainstorming session where everyone involved in the project is included), are spoken about as tools that can be implemented in any workspace, although it is clear that Pixar is still a special company.

Any company that employs so many creative people will have to come up with outside-of-the-box ways to manage them and funnel that creativity into the final projects that we have grown to love and cherish; Toy Story, Monsters Inc, Up, and the most recent iteration, Inside Out. Through all these movies, the story remains key and it is really interesting to read how some movies like Up started with an entirely different plot, then watching all the twists and turns that took place along the way before arriving at what we watch on the big screen.

This isn’t a traditional history of the company or of Disney animation, and it will most likely be found under the “Business” section of bookstores. This shouldn’t deter you though, anyone who has ever cried or fallen in love with any one of Pixar’s movies will find the tale told between these pages to be charming and insightful.

Marissa Meyer – Cinder (2012)


Falling into the genre of young adult fiction, Melissa Meyer’s Cinder is a science-fiction twist to the classic tale of Cinderella. While written for a young adult audience, (the writing style reflects this) it is still an enjoyable read.

Meyer’s world is a post apocalyptic one where humans must co-exist with cyborgs who are viewed as second-class citizens. The story begins in modern day Japan where Cinder, a female cyborg mechanic falls in love with Prince Kaito, Crown Prince of Eastern Commonwealth. The Eastern Commonwealth is threatened by war with the Lunars, a moon colony, as well as a plague called “letumosis” that is rapidly spreading and killing the population. Unsurprisingly, Cinder ends up being more than an ordinary cyborg, and the future of the planet may hinge on her.

The story follows similar plot developments as the familiar Disney version of Cinderella. There is a cruel and evil stepmother, two stepsisters, a handsome prince charming, and a ball where Cinder loses her shoe. (Noticeably absent is a fairy Godmother type of character). Unlike Cinderella there is no happy ending, at least not yet. Cinder is part of a series of 5 books, with 3 currently available. (Book 3.5 and 4 will be available in January and November 2015)

Overall Meyer does a good job with the novel. Her character has much more personality than the Disney version that so many are familiar with. She is fiercely independent and does everything herself (the absence of a fairy Godmother explained). I’m looking forward to reading the next instalment, which focuses on Scarlett, a reimagined Little Red Riding Hood.