Review: “Lady Midnight” by Cassandra Clare

I am still really sick, so this review is a bit out of sorts BUT it’s really important to me because I did not expect to love this book as much as I did. I didn’t like the romantic plot line I thought was coming, but the emotional weight of the entire family dynamic made it a love and must read for me!

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Worth It Wednesdays: “Clockwork Angel” by Cassandra Clare

Worth It Wednesdays is a weekly post where I feature my favorite YA titles. Find out more about it here!

clockwork angelTitle: Clockwork Angel

Author: Cassandra Clare

Goodreads Description: In a time when Shadowhunters are barely winning the fight against the forces of darkness, one battle will change the course of history forever. Welcome to the Infernal Devices trilogy, a stunning and dangerous prequel to the New York Times bestselling Mortal Instruments series.

The year is 1878. Tessa Gray descends into London’s dark supernatural underworld in search of her missing brother. She soon discovers that her only allies are the demon-slaying Shadowhunters—including Will and Jem, the mysterious boys she is attracted to. Soon they find themselves up against the Pandemonium Club, a secret organization of vampires, demons, warlocks, and humans. Equipped with a magical army of unstoppable clockwork creatures, the Club is out to rule the British Empire, and only Tessa and her allies can stop them…

Why it’s worth it: First off, Cassandra Clare is a wonderfully amazing author. I am incapable of letting people ask “What should I read next?” without screaming HAVE YOU READ CASSANDRA CLARE? That said, most people are familiar with her The Mortal Instruments series, which I also love a lot. However, I honestly think that this series is more strongly written than the TMI books–and also is a tighter, more thoroughly planned trilogy.

The Infernal Devices series has all the elements that I love in the first series, while being set in a more Steampunk setting. The characters are a bit more complex and the plot line deals with more issues than just magic/action/thrills. That said, they read REALLY fast and are good for plenty of heart-pounding and emotions and laughter.

ALSO THE ROMANCE. I have never been more on the fence with who I wanted the main character to pick in a love triangle. Yes, love triangle. BUT A GOOD ONE. Cassandra Clare basically only wrote this love triangle because Holly Black told her that no one could ever write a good love triangle. Clare succeeded big time.

…just talking about them now makes me wish they were here at school with me so I could read them again and again and again.

Anyways, if you were looking for a gateway into Cassandra Clare’s world, LOOK NO FURTHER. There is definitely some debate on how best to read the series (since they interlock in weird ways, given the order in which they were published), but starting here will show you all the best that Clare has to offer, which will get you through some of the not as strong showings in TMI.

Read it if you’re looking for: steampunk, magic, fantasy, kickass heroines, romance, good love triangles, action, adventure, humor

Review: “Clockwork Princess” by Cassandra Clare

princessClockwork Princess (The Infernal Devices #3) by Cassandra Clare

Goodreads | Amazon

Tessa Gray should be happy – aren’t all brides happy?
Yet as she prepares for her wedding, a net of shadows begins to tighten around the Shadowhunters of the London Institute.
A new demon appears, one linked by blood and secrecy to Mortmain, the man who plans to use his army of pitiless automatons, the Infernal Devices, to destroy the Shadowhunters. Mortmain needs only one last item to complete his plan. He needs Tessa. And Jem and Will, the boys who lay equal claim to Tessa’s heart, will do anything to save her.

4 ½ stars

So this is it. And so soon after the end of Shadows in the Silence, too. I literally may die. I can’t handle this. Even if Cassie is going to be writing like a bajillion more Shadowhunter books.

This book starts out much like you might expect: Tessa is trying out a wedding dress, Jem’s in love, Will’s moody because all the women in his life seem to do is vex him and Benedict Lightwood has transformed into a giant bug thing because of demon pox.

Oh wait. No, I wasn’t expecting that last bit there.

The inciting incident of this novel is, in fact, that Benedict Lightwood has becoming a giant bug demon and that he ate his son in law. Gabriel Lightwood has nowhere to go but the London Institute for help. Charlotte is of course going to give it to him, without telling the Clave because of the shame it would cause the Lightwood family. Let the games begin!

Interestingly enough, these events are also interspersed with correspondence between the Clave and the Consul, telling the Consul that they are considering Charlotte as the new Consul. The characters have no idea this is going on, but we get a sense that the Consul has bad plans for Charlotte to keep her from getting his job. Throughout the book, these letters will keep cropping up to advise us of where the Clave is in their plans and just exactly what the Consul is thinking without making him a major POV character. It was a really interesting device, and I think it worked really well.

If you were expecting all the feels with this book, though, you’d be right. There is not one character mentioned who doesn’t rip at your heart strings. (I know the cliché is tug at your heart strings. This is way too tame for this book.) Even Gabriel Lightwood realizes he has a soul. The relationship between Will, Jem and Tessa continues to build, to the point where I almost couldn’t stand the idea that she would pick one over the other. But more on that later.

The plot was pretty good in this one, if a little over laden with dialogue sometimes. The most gorgeous moments in this book do occur through dialogue, but even I wished sometimes that somebody would just kill something. At the same time, the amount of character development was striking and I would have hated to not have had a moment of it. But just don’t expect all that much action.

So I know the big thing here is: who does she end up with? Well, I’m not going to tell you, obviously. I WILL tell you that if you want to be surprised by the ending, don’t get curious as to why the inside of your hard cover book jacket sparkles. There’s a family tree in there that tells you all you need to know and I looked at it way too soon.

This is mostly for my folks who’ve already read the ending and want to know what I think, but without spoilers so those of you who haven’t can try to puzzle it out. I thought the ending was heartbreakingly perfect—until the epilogue. I’ve read Cassie’s explanation for why she added the epilogue, but I’m still not sure I like it. On the one hand, the romantic in me finds it absolutely perfect. On the other hand, the reasoning that led Tessa to make her original decision just broke my heart in all the right places. It said so much about the beauty of their whole relationship. I may have died inside when she made the choice, but I probably could have come to grips with it a lot faster than this whole epilogue thing.

This review has already gone on way too long, but I had to make this a perfect send off. I will always love The Mortal Instruments, but the level of writing in The Infernal Devices is just off the charts. I love the characters in TMI, but the TID characters just break my heart, and I can’t stand to see them go. Thank you for a breathtakingly beautiful story, Cassie. I have to go cry again now.

Relationships and Love Triangles in YA Books DONE RIGHT

Okay, so, if you’ve been following my blog then you’ll know that I’ve been quite angry at YA authors lately. I’ve been annoyed with the horrible way they portray relationships and love triangles and a whole bunch of other nasty stuff. Therefore, I figured it miiiight be time to do a post that is positive rather than not, because a great many authors DO write amazing relationships and–sometimes–even love triangles. Here’s my list:

Love Triangle Done Right – Will/Tessa/Jem from Cassandra Clare’s Infernal Devices trilogy

Seriously, guys. I have NO IDEA how Clare MAKES THIS WORK. Usually in love triangles, there is a clear guy who the author is pushing the torn female towards. Even if, somehow, they don’t, you seem to really start rooting for one and hating the other one. Or, at least, that’s what I think and, erm, do. A lot. 😛 However, I adore Will. I adore Jem. AND I HAVE NO IDEA WHICH ONE IS BETTER FOR TESSA. It’s inconceivable to me that I have just fallen in love with all three characters who have somehow made this love triangle possibly the best I’ve ever seen.

Love Triangle Done Right – Humberto/Elisa/Alejandro from Rae Carson’s The Girl of Fire and Thorns

Okay, I’m not entirely sure this counts as a love triangle because I never really thought Elisa was actually in love with Alejandro, but still. There was a definite love triangle set up here since she was married to Alejandro but fell in love with Humberto and well you can kinda figure out the plot line from there. OR CAN YOU? This isn’t on this list because of the relationships, or the fact that I totally couldn’t make up my mind which one I loved more, but rather HOW THE BOOK ENDED AND WHAT CARSON DID. GUYS. I want to build her an altar. She took everything cliché plotline I’d already thought up for how the book would end and THREW A BOMB ON IT. And therefore, this is here. See my review for more.

Relationship Done Right – Anna/Etienne from Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

GUYS. GUYS. I MAY NOT BE ABLE TO SPEAK WITHOUT CAPS LOCK. GO CHECK OUT MY REVIEW FOR MORE. Besides this book being AMAZING IN EVERY WAY, this relationship was so real I fell in love head over heels AND THEN SOME. Rarely have I ever seen teen romance done this amazingly. Actually, put this at the top of my list for top teen romance EVER. Sure, the setting is kinda out there, but screw it. Everything else about this book is the best thing ever.

Relationship/Love Triangle Done Right – Dimitri/Rose/Adrian from the Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead

It’s very rare when a series of books goes like this one. You know why? IT’S A REAL RELATIONSHIP PROGRESSION. I don’t want to ruin this for people who haven’t read the series, but trust me this one is totally swoon-worthy. Rose and Dimitri are obviously the couple pushed from the beginning, since Adrian isn’t introduced until about halfway through, but then he’s in love with Rose and you’ve got this psuedo-triangle on your hands because Rose is totally head over heels from Dimitri. But then something bad happens to Dimitri and Rose decides to try to move on with Adrian. And then Dimitri comes back and then HELLO. That’s a really bad description because I’m trying to avoid spoilers, but this point is this is real. Nobody here is perfect. All three of them try to fight the way they feel, do the best in the situation and then they all screw up in their own way. There is a real show of love triangle fallout which KILLED *spoilerhiding* fans, but come on. He came back in Bloodlines and was freaking awesome, so the readers aren’t left completely bereft and hating Mead.

Relationship Done Right – Sam/Ana from Incarnate by Jodi Meadows

If you know me, then you know there is nothing that I hate more than insta-love. Well, Incarnate was my answer – THERE IS REAL RELATIONSHIP BUILD UP HERE. I wanted to jump up from reading and shout “Hallelujah!” But couldn’t, because I was, you know, reading. They have a REAL relationship with REAL issues and it doesn’t happen instantly. Other people, take note. For more, see my review.

For sure, there are plenty of other examples out there, but those are my top 5 of the moment! How about you?

Countdown to 2012: Books I Can’t Wait To Read (Part 2)

Yes, this countdown required not one but TWO postings. Why? Because there are so many amazing books out there! If you missed part 1, you can find it here. But enough babbling, let’s get to the BOOKS.

RAPTURE by Lauren Kate (Fallen #4)

Release date: June 12

Why: Because I enjoyed all three previous books for the most part, and I’ve seen this through so far I can’t help but see it through. If you’ve read my blog before you know I hate hate hate the instantly in love YA cliché, but Kate makes it work as much as it ever can. The last book, Passion, was a genuinely interesting trek through time that really departed from the first two, so I hope Rapture will be just as interesting!

 

THE GOLDEN LILY by Richelle Mead (Bloodlines #2)

Release date: June 19

Why: Because Mead’s Vampire Academy world is freaking amazing. I may never adore another set of her characters like I did Rose and Dmitri, but honestly the characters of Bloodlines are putting up a pretty goodfight–even though I hadn’t liked many of them when they showed up in the VA books. Then there is Adrian, whom I would read ANYTHING about. Plus, the end of Bloodlines? The VA character that showed up? I NEED TO READ THIS SO BADLY. It comes out the day after my birthday, so those future gift cards of mine have already been waaay committed.

ENDLESSLY by Kiersten White (Paranormalcy #3)

Release date: July 24

Why: Okay, I’m not going to lie: these books are quirky. They are way quirky. It takes a certain type of reader to be able to take the quirkiness that is Evie. But you know what? I love it. The books are easy reads that are cute and funny, and pretty exciting when you get into it. Also, interesting. The plot line is pretty original for a “let’s through every paranormal in the world into one book” scenario. I love me some evil faeries. Endlessly won’t be on my MUST HAVE NOW list the second it comes out, but it will most certainly be on my bookshelf pretty soon after.

COURTSHIP AND CURSES by Marissa Doyle

Release date: August 7

Why: Because I’m genuinely curious. I read Doyle’s Leland sisters duet and thoroughly enjoyed them, and this is clearly in the same vein. Goodreads billed this as the third book in that series, but the blurb makes no mention of them at all. Are they in it? Is this going to be a redux of that series with a new character with a much less flashy name? I suppose we’ll see August 7!

 

HIDDEN by PC and Kristin Cast (House of Night #10)

Release date: October 6

Why: Because I’m hoping it’s the last one, honestly. I’ve held on with this series this far because I didn’t think they could drag this out THIS LONG and because Stark is hot. That is baaaasically it. I haven’t even bought the last one yet (pictured here because I wanted a pretty picture)because I wouldn’t cry if I had to give up the series right there because HOW MUCH MORE? How much more stringing out can there BE? WHERE do they keep coming up with more? It is this twisted reasoning that allows this book on this list.

UNTITLED by Tahereh Mafi (Shatter Me #2)

Release date: November 2012

Why: No, this book doesn’t have a title or a cover yet, but it can’t help but be on my list. The first book (pictured here) made my book review turn into a rant of epic proportions and made me LOSE MY MIND. I can’t NOT read this book because Tahereh Mafi is writing it and I have this yearning faith that she’ll get her act together and write like the FANTASTIC writer she is just waiting to be.

UNTITLED by Ally Condie (Matched #3)

Release date: November 13

Why: Because I genuinely want to know how this ends. I’m still trying to get my hands on Crossed and my review of Matched wasn’t glowing, but…hey. This series is only three books and I’m interested. Why not? Pretty sure these books are worth it just for Ky, anyways. Maybe my views will change when I read the second book, but I’m staying open-minded. (The image here is only the teaser cover, not the actual one–in case you were wondering.)

 

CLOCKWORK PRINCESS by Cassandra Clare (Infernal Devices #3)

Release date: November

Why: Must we go over this again? IT’S CLARE. Yes, in case you were confused, this is a different series. Clare is currently going back and forth between them to keep them both moving along so nobody kills her. With the hangers she always ends the books at, it wouldn’t surprise me if someone threatened her with that. Especially, you know, Clockwork Prince. This book needs to come out SO MUCH FASTER. With the addition of the 3 “not planned” books to The Mortal Instruments, I must say that The Infernal Devices has become my favorite because it feels fresh and exciting, not like she’s forcing more plot out. I was really worried the books were going to turn out too parallel to each other but…nope! They are both equally amazing and equally different. GIVE ME MORE!

 

And that’s it for now! Until, you know, tomorrow when I’m browsing Goodreads and OHMYGOODNESS LOOK AT THAT BOOK THAT’S COMING OUT. Because it will happen. It always does. 😀