Thursday, 26 June 2014

Clockwork Prince - Cassandra Clare (2011)

4.5 stars

I started this book straight after finishing Clockwork Angel and I just enjoyed it so much more than the last book and am now really interested to know how it ends (even though I kind of already know because of City of Heavenly Fire).

This book definitely focuses less on the plot of the series, defeating Mortmain, and more on the characters, especially Tessa, Jem and Will. I was surprised that I enjoyed all the character development and didn't mind the plot being a kind of a minor thing in this book, and although the love triangle is getting frustrating it's still being done very well and instead of being annoyed by the fact that it's a love triangle, I just feel really bad for Tessa and the situation she's in. I really enjoy Tessa and her narration, which I think is why a lot of people like this series better than the Mortal Instruments series because in that Clary is the narrator for the majority of the story and she can get so frustrating, but Tessa is really logical and she constantly either makes good decisions or has good reasons for her decisions, unlike Clary, and also she's just a really lovely and interesting character who I want to know more about. My favourite characters in this book were Sophie and Henry. Henry continued to be a very gentle character and in this book his love for Charlotte made me like him even more, and even though he must be around Charlotte's age, 23, I always think of him as like a middle aged kind of man because he's such a stabilising father figure to everyone. Sophie really surprised me with how much she was in this book and how important she became, but I really enjoyed learning more about her and I really just like her character and her appearances always make me happy. I would definitely recommend reading this, even if you didn't like the first book in the series because it is so different from it in many ways.

The book starts two weeks after the end of the last book at a Consul meeting where Benedict Lightwood challenges Charlotte for the leadership of the London Institute and the Consul then tells her she has two weeks to either find Mortmain or have strong evidence pointing to where he is or Benedict can run the Institute. Will tells Magnus that when he was twelve he opened a pyxis that his dad had kept from his shadowhunting days and the demon that emerged told him he'd put a curse on him where everyone that loves him would die, starting with his older sister who was helping him fight the demon off. His sister died that night and that's why he left his family and went to the Institute and that's why he's mean to everyone but Jem, who is already dying so he doesn't feel as bad getting close to him. He wants Magnus to find and summon the demon so he can get him to lift the curse so he can be with Tessa. They soon learn that Jessamine is seeing Nate and Sophie knocks her out when she was leaving for a party at the Lightwood's to meet him so Tessa changes into her and goes in her place. Once there she learns that Jessamine had been spying on them and reporting everything to Nate, who was telling the Magister everything, and that Benedict Lightwood was also working for the Magister. Will runs off after the demon who cursed him when he sees him at the party and then Tessa returns to the Institute and tells Charlotte what she learned, Charlotte then questions Jessamine with the mortal sword and then when they see Mortmain has placed blocks in her mind from telling them anything about him, she sends her to the City of Bones with the silent brothers. They get Jessamine to give them one of her and Nate's meeting places and Tessa changes into her again to go meet him but he already knows it's her and has an automaton nearby to take her. Will and Jem fight it off, but Tessa then changes into Nate and orders it to only listen to her and to pick up Nate, then she throws an invention Henry gave them to blow it up on it and Will dives on her and covers her with his body and gets impaled by shards of metal from the explosion. Nate then dies and Tessa faints after realizing she was also hurt in the explosion. Will gets a note from Magnus so he goes to see him and when they summon the demon, they learn that there was no curse on Will, the reason his sister died was because the demon got her with his stinger. The next morning Jem comes into Tessa's room and proposes to her and she accepts. Sophie tells them that she's been seeing Gideon Lightwood and that he knows what Mortmain has over his father, he has demon pox and Mortmain promises a cure. They learn that Lightwood's wife committed suicide because she had caught demon pox from her husband and they use that to blackmail him into giving up his challenge on the institute. Will tells Tessa of the fake curse and goes to kiss her, but she tells him of her engagement to Jem and when he tells her to break it off she realizes she can never do that, Jem thought he would die without love and even if he forgave her, she would ruin the bond between him and Will. The book ends with Will's younger sister Cecily coming to the institute to be trained as a shadowhunter.

Monday, 23 June 2014

Clockwork Angel - Cassandra Clare (2010)

3.5 stars

I hadn't read this book earlier because my friend told me that it was just like The Mortal Intstruments but in a different setting, but after finishing City of Heavenly Fire and then reading lots of positive reviews about it I decided to finally read it.

I enjoyed this book, but didn't think it was significantly better than any of the books in The Mortal Instruments series which is how I've often heard this series referred to. I did enjoy it though, and if this book was just setting up the other two books in the series then I'm sure they'll be really good. I can see the similarities to The Mortal Instruments in that the basic starting plot is sort of the same, as a girl who doesn't know of her unique power in the shadowhunter world is found by shadowhunters and introduced to the institute where two teenage boys that are parabatai and one guarded female teenager live with two parents, but asides from that general setup it is a very different story. One thing I hope that continues with the other books is how the love triangle is playing out. I strongly dislike love triangles for the sake of love triangles but I appreciate that the one in this book seems important to the story, not just to have something for fans to fight about, and that it is done in a way that doesn't make me feel like I'm reading a love triangle until I reflect back on it. I thought that knowing the ending of this book from reading City of Heavenly Fire it would mean that I wouldn't enjoy the series, but I find it really interesting that so far it hasn't really bothered me and although it reveals who Tessa ends up with, and the outcome of Will, Tessa and Jem there are still a lot of plot points in the series that I don't know the outcome of. My favourite character in this book is Henry, he reminded me of Arthur Weasley which is probably why I like him so much, but he was also a really welcome change to all the other shadowhunters that are in this book and The Mortal Instruments series because he's so gentle.

Tessa Gray moves to London after her Aunt dies to live with her brother Nate but once there she is immediately taken captive by two warlocks known as the dark sisters, who teach her how to use her ability - to change into another person and access their thoughts - that she never knew she had. After six weeks she is rescued by Will Herondale and a few other shadowhunters from the London Institute. She agrees to tell them what she knows about what the dark sisters were doing if they agree to help find her brother who was taken by them. They soon learn that "The Magister" who the dark sisters answer to and who wanted to marry Tessa is DeQuincey, a vampire that is at the head of the Pandemonium Club, a club for downworlders and mundanes that hate Nephilim. For the Clave to act against him, they must witness him actually breaking the accords, so Tessa changes into Camille and she and Will go and see DeQuincey harming a mundane at one of his parties and the mundane turns out to be Nate. Nate then tells them that DeQuincey is binding the demon energies to his clockwork soldiers tonight, and when he gives them the address, the Clave rush off to battle him but leave Jem and Will behind as they are too young. Mortmain, Nate's former employer and the one that supplied the clockwork parts to DeQuincey, shows up at the Institute and tells Jem and Will that the dark sisters are at another address to DeQuincey doing the necessary spells to bind the demon energies so they leave to go kill them. The clockwork soldiers then break into the Institute and Nate turns against Tessa and tells her that Mortmain is the real Magister and he serves him. When Mortmain captures Jessamine and Sophie he tells Tessa that if she doesn't come with him he will kill them so she turns her knife on herself and tells him that she will kill herself if he doesn't answer her questions. He ignores her and she stabs herself, but when Will returns and finds Mortmain over her body covered in blood Mortmain disappears using a ring like the one Sebastian uses in The Mortal Instruments. When Will goes to cradle Tessa she is alive and tells him that just when she went to stab herself she changed into a girl the dark sisters made her change into who died of a gunshot wound and bled whenever she changed into her. Tessa then decides to stay at the Institute and help them, and Will goes to Magnus asking him for help with something unknown.

Friday, 20 June 2014

If I Stay - Gayle Forman (2009)

3.5 stars

I saw a lot of people freaking out when the trailer for this movie was released and when I saw it on sale I bought it, but I think my expectations were way too high.

This was a pretty quick read, I read it in a couple hours but I just kept expecting something really amazing to happen because of all the things I've seen about it and although it was a good book, it wasn't as phenomenal as I expected. I am really interested to see how they make it into a movie because it's told mostly through flashbacks as Mia lies in critical condition and thinks back on her life. This book is really good in the way it makes you think about death without actually being that sad, I mean it is sad, and I definitely cried numerous times, but I wouldn't really call it a depressing book. I know it isn't the point, but it also kind of makes me think that because I don't have a boyfriend if my whole family died in a car crash and I was on the verge of death this book kind of says that I wouldn't have anything to live for. I'm very excited to read the sequel though, because I really wanted to see Mia's reactions to everyone and the immediate ramifications she had to deal with, and I know that isn't what the sequel is about but it gets even better ratings than this book so I'm excited to see where it goes. My favourite character in this book was Nurse Ramirez, her attitude was really wonderful and I think she really helped move Mia's journey along. I would recommend this book to any people who like books with an emotional journey.

Mia and her family decide to go for a drive on a light snow day but a truck crashes into their car and Mia is the only survivor but is in a critical state. She is like a ghost in that she can see everything that's happening to her but she can't communicate with anyone. She remembers parts of her life through flashbacks that are relevant at the time, most prominent is her relationship with her boyfriend Adam. Her whole extended family, all her family friends, her best friend and Adam all come to the hospital and try to get her to wake up. She is ready to give in to death when Adam brings an ipod with Yo-Yo Ma loaded on it and puts it on her ears and she wakes up and squeezes his hand.

Cress - Marissa Meyer (2014)

4.5 stars

I started reading this as soon as I finished Scarlet and I'm really upset that I didn't hear of this series later so I wouldn't have to wait so long for Winter to come out.

The only reason I gave this book 4.5 stars and not 5 is because of the lack of Scarlet and Wolf in this book. They were so good in the last book and Scarlet is so far my favourite of the four protagonists and although I understand why there was little of them because she was setting up for the next book, I was still a little disappointed. This book is also told from varying perspectives like the last two books, but this time the main perspectives are Cinder and Cress because Scarlet is taken away pretty early on, but once again there are lots of random chapters from other characters like Kai, Dr Erland, Thorne and occasionally Sybil. This book has a lot less parallels to Rapunzel, the princess Cress is based upon, than Scarlet did to Little Red Riding Hood and Cinder did to Cinderella, which is understandable because the series is having to move on to focus on the overall plotline of stopping Levana, but the few that are in there, while not as clever as the ones in Scarlet, are pretty cool. I really love that there are no love triangles in this book, it makes me so happy that a fantasy book based on fairy tales, so there's a lot of romance, can be excellent and not have a single love triangle. It has four different main female characters and not a single one is conflicted and angsty about which man they love! They all know who they like, they think about it for varying amounts of time depending on the character, and that's it! I really want this series to become hugely popular with a movie adaptation so other authors can take note of this fact. It's possible to have a female teenager (or four) to fall in love with one person and one person only, while also focusing on the bigger plotline and ordeals they have to go through. This book is really just a giant setup for the next and last book in the series Winter, which doesn't come out till November 2015, because although it is the longest so far it doesn't really cover much time or have any giant plot surprises. They accomplish what they set out to do in the end of Scarlet and just build up for all that will unfold in the next book, including introducing the last princess, Winter, who seems like she'll be really interesting to read the perspective of considering she's going loopy. My favourite character in this book was Dr Erland, I thought it was really clever how he was connected to everyone in one way or another and I loved his little speech of rebellion to Levana in his last chapters. I would strongly recommend this book to any fantasy/dystopian fans that also, like me, have a soft spot for or enjoy fairytales.

Cinder, Scarlet and the rest of the crew contact Cress and she gets them to come get her so she can join them and help in their rebellion against Levana. Just before they come to get her Sybil comes to check on her and learns of her contact with them, when Thorne arrives she ties him and Cress up and then gets her pilot Jacin to fly them to the Rampion in the podship and sets Cress's satellite to plummet to Earth and kill her and Thorne. Once on the Rampion, Wolf wounds Sybil and Cinder shuts them off from the ship after a fight but then realizes that Sybil tricked her into thinking her guard Jacin was Scarlet, so Cinder has him and Sybil takes Scarlet to Luna. Jacin says he's loyal tohis princess so Cinder trusts him and gets him to fly them to Africa so they can meet up with Dr Erland and he can fix Wolf and help them. Thorne manages to free Cress in time for her to set a parachute to go off and save them from crashing, but he bumps his head in the process and when they land he realizes he's blind. He cuts of all Cress's hair because they were tangled together in it and they then have to walk through the Sahara desert and try to make it to civilisation. They encounter a group of travellers who help them make it to the next town, but they then take Cress because they realize she's a shell and they take her to sell to Dr Erland, who is trying to discover a cure for mutated Leutemosis that affects Lunars. Thorne follows after her and manages to pick up an escort droid on the way for Iko to have. They then break into the palace on wedding day and Cinder kidnaps Kai and Dr Erland manages to create a serum that will fix Thorne's eyesight before trapping himself in quarantine because he sees he has the plague. When the others come to take them to the Rampion Dr Erland explains why he's not going, apologizes to Cinder and Wolf (who he helped create) and then explained to Cress that he was her father and if he knew she was alive he never would've stopped searching for her. When they arrive at the ship Sybil and her guards are already there and Thorne kisses Cress after promising her in the desert that he wouldn't let her die without being kissed but then Cinder manages to break into Sybil's mind and torture her into insanity. All but Jacin and Dr Erland then make it onto the ship and Levana is so furious that her wedding was so close she declares war on Earth. Scarlet is forced to chop off her own pinky after not being able to answer any of Levana's questions about Cinder, but then before any other harm can come to her, Winter asks to keep her and she tells her that they're going to be friends. Kai wakes up on the ship and after Cinder explains everything to him, including her being Princess Selene, he kisses her and agrees to go to Luna with them.

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Scarlet - Marissa Meyer (2013)

4.5 stars

Although I liked Cinder I didn't really understand the love for this series until I read this book. I've already started Cress and if the series keeps progressing like this I'll be so excited for Winter.

I was so excited for Cinder to rock out on her own without Kai, and when she found Thorne I was initially disappointed, until I fell in love with their rapport and bickering. Scarlet is a wonderful character, and the little red riding hood references are so good in her storyline that I'm constantly smiling whenever they happen. I really like that this story is told from different perspectives all the time, it's most often Scarlet and Cinder, but it's really cool that if there needs to be a chapter from Kai's or Thorne's perspective Marissa just throws it in. My favourite characters were Iko and Wolf. Iko is just a really good comedic character that lightens up the tense situations and is a good way of humanizing the androids in the story. Wolf is one of the great fictional loves of my life (yes I have a list) and although he was rocky in patches, my faith was rewarded in the end. I also like a good double agent where it's hard to learn where their loyalties lie for a while. If you were kind of unsure about the series after reading the first book I would definitely recommend reading this book before giving up entirely on the series.

Scarlet's grandmother goes missing and when she learns she was taken by a street gang, she enlists one of it's wayward members, Wolf, to help her find her. Cinder escapes from prison with Thorne, a military cadet who stole a ship and many valuables before being caught. Cinder and Thorne become allies and they fly his ship to go find Michelle Benoit, Scarlet's grandmother, because she was the one who had Cinder before she has her memories with the Linh family. Scarlet and Wolf start to develop feelings for each other and he tries to get her not to confront the pack that's taken her grandmother but when she does he turns on her and hands her over because it was his mission. Cinder and Thorne find Michelle Benoit's farm empty with Michelle's ID chip left on the table and they go to find Scarlet. Wolf gives Scarlet an ID chip so she can escape and then he goes and attacks the city because the pack is actually an army of medically enhanced lunar operatives working for the Queen, all controlled by different thaurmaturges. Scarlet escapes and finds her grandmother, who tells her to find Princess Selene, her name is Linh Cinder and to help her overthrow the Lunar Queen. Wolf's brother Ran then comes in and kills Michelle and is about to kill Scarlet when Wolf comes and kills Ran. Cinder and Thorne then help kill Wolf's thaurmaturge and take Wolf and Scarlet onto their ship to start a battle plan against Queen Levana.

Champion - Marie Lu (2013)

4 stars

I ordered this book as soon as I finished Legend and although that book is still my favourite in the series I think this book was a good end to the trilogy.

This book is told in the same way as the past two with alternating chapters from June and Day except for at the very end where there's two June chapters in a row, but one is kind of an epilogue. I really loved the Metias memories in this book, and the scene where Thomas relives his murder was one of my favourite parts of the book. How she ended things with June and Day really annoyed me, it would've been fine if she had done it and left maybe a few weeks or so in between, but ten years? I found myself thinking of the scene in Gilmore Girls where Lorelai says she doesn't want to find true love when she's old, she wants a middle, and I want a middle for June and Day. I loved how Tess was back to her normal self in this book, in Prodigy she turned into a crazy jealous bitch, but in this book she returned to her normal kind self and I found myself loving the friendship between her and June. My favourite character in this book was Eden, I loved how he became the only thing that mattered to both June and Day, but also how he only wanted everyone to be safe and happy and I thought he was a really nice change from the intensity of June, Day and Anden. I would recommend this book to any dystopian fans.

This book picks up eight months after the end of the last book where Day is living in Los Angeles and June is in Denver with Anden training to be Princeps-Elect. June calls Day to get him to come to Denver where Anden asks him if they can test on Eden because a plague is being spread through the colonies and they are threatening war if the Republic doesn't give them the cure. Day refuses to let them test on Eden,the colonies start war on them without any warning and June finds out that Day is dying. The colonies take Denver and the people are only just evacuated in time because Commander Jameson is helping the colonies and feeding them inside information. June and Day have sex, which is always a bad sign, and then Day and the patriots help take down the colonies before he collapses from being shot by Jameson. June then fights with Jameson before getting some of the soldiers to shoot her. Day gets his operation and when June goes in to see him he doesn't remember her because due to the surgery he can't remember the last year. June decides to give him the gift of not having to love the person that destroyed his life and walks away. Ten years later with the Republic running smoothly they run into each other on the street and they introduce themselves to each other after Day realizes that she's been missing from his life.

Monday, 2 June 2014

City of Heavenly Fire - Cassandra Clare (2014)

4.5 stars

I loved this entire series and I was pretty excited to see how everything would end in this book, I was very happy with the end to this series.

Everyone knew this book would end with Jace and Clary together and with everyone happy in some way or another and despite the fact that I knew it was all going to be okay, I loved this book. It didn't beat City of Glass, which was the original final book and my favourite book in the series, but it did a good job of surprising me while wrapping up everyone's stories.The thing that annoyed me most about this book was how much it discussed the prequels, The Infernal Devices, although I haven't read them, I have wanted to and now I kind of know how they're going to end. I know it was probably really cool for people who had read the prequels to see how the characters ended up and how everything tied together, but it just annoyed me that now if I read them I won't really be surprised by anything that happens, and I think there could've been a way for her to do that without giving as much away as she did. I was really sad when I finished this book and for a while I couldn't work out why, because although it did make me cry near the end, the epilogue gave it a happy ending, but then I realized that I just really loved this series and it's characters that always had me laughing (I mean "salt my game and I'll stake you"? Iconic.) and I was just sad to know they wouldn't have any more stories. My favourite character in this book was Simon, I love every character, which can be seen in all my previous reviews of the other books, but I feel Simon really goes under everyone's radar and Cassandra Clare brought that to my attention loud and clear with this book. His love and compassion for everyone, his scene in the cave with Alec, his hilarious banter with Jace and his sacrifice in the end just showed how well rounded a person he is and made me realize how much I enjoyed his character's constant presence. I also really liked Emma and I'm going to read the Dark Artifices just to see what happens to her. I would recommend this series to anyone who likes young adult paranormal fiction.

Also if you live in Australia (or I hear also UK) you get a comic strip from the prequels and a cool poster included at the end of the book.

The book starts with Sebastian's attack on the Los Angeles Institute where Emma Carstairs, her best friend Julian and his younger siblings escape to Alicante from, but not before Sebastian turns all the others in the institute into endarkened ones. All the shadowhunters must then travel to Alicante so they can decide on what they are going to do against Sebastian and his growing army. Before all the Shadowhunters evacuate Sebastian tries to attack the London institute but is stopped by a force that many people didn't know about (and I assume it's a ghost or something from the prequels) and don't quite understand, so wanting to win a battle he burns down the Praetor Lupus headquarters and kills all the wolves in it. He then stabs Jordan in front of Maia and tells her to deliver his message of join with him or die to all the other downworlders and just before leaving says to her "your boyfriend's dead, by the way" and she's left clutching Jordan's dead body. Sebastian launches an attack at the Adamant Citadel and the Clave fall into his tricks despite Jace and Clary's warning that he no doubt has more soldiers than what they can see laying in wait so they run through the portal before the Clave can stop them and when Sebastian stabs Jace, the heavenly fire in him injures Sebastian and he and his army retreat. Brother Zachariah then tries to help heal Jace but the heavenly fire that is out of control in him latches onto Brother Zachariah and turns him back to his original shadowhunter state (another character from the prequels). The next night the downworlder representatives and Jocelyn are invitied to a dinner in the faerie court, but they are taken hostage because the faeries have allied with Sebastian. That night Sebastian comes to Clary's room as he knows she'll be alone and holds her in place with a spell while he tries to convince her to come rule with him, after she refuses he tries to force himself upon her similar to the last book but then Jace comes in and stops him. The next day, with the help of Emma, they realize that the reason no one can find Sebastian or his prisoners is that they're in Edom, the demon realm of hell, which can only be accessed through faerie court so Jace, Clary, Alec, Isabelle and Simon portal there together. They quickly realize that the faeries have betrayed them and Alec, mad that they've taken Magnus, shoots Meliorn in the heart before they get the Queen to show them the way to Edom. Once there they quickly take refuge in a cave for the night and realize that this world is a mirror to theirs except in this world the shadowhunters were defeated and demons scorched the earth. The next day Jace ventures out and encounters the ghost of the Iron Sister he killed when Sebastian was controlling him and she goads him to lose control of the heavenly fire and he blazes up the entire desert. Clary uses a fireproof rune to approach him and they control the fire in a way they won't tell the others. That night with the heveanly fire under control Jace and Clary sneak away from the others and (finally) have sex, which really prompts me to ask, why when they were going on a mission to kill Sebastian did Jace think to pack condoms? The next day when they reach Sebastian's headquarters, they split up and while Izzy, Alec and Simon find the prisoners Clary agrees to be Sebastian's queen if he seals off this world from theirs, saving everyone in it. He starts the process and it forces everyone into the room they are in and they see Clary on the throne and think she's betrayed them, until he asks her to kiss him to show that she's loyal and she stabs him with her blade that she had used the first rune she ever envisioned to trap the heavenly fire inside. While dying, the evil is removed from Sebastian and Jonathon tells them he was sorry and to throw the infernal cup in his runes to destroy the endarkened ones, which they do. They then must call upon Magnus' father Asmodeus to send them back to their world, but as he as a demon he won't do it for free and requests Magnus' immortality, which will kill him because his age will catch up with him. As Magnus is trying to convince them it's the only way, Simon offers himself up and Asmodeus takes him, but also takes all his memories of the Shadow world so he won't remember any of them. The epilogue is set six months later at Jocelyn and Luke's wedding where Alec's father finally tells him he is a good man and he and Magnus decide to stay together no matter what, Clary and Jace discuss their future wedding, Maia and Bat rekindle their old flame and Magnus manages to restore some of Simon's memories and he and Isabelle discuss him becoming a Shadowhunter.