Tag Archives: demons

Review: Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare

8 Jan

Series: The Infernal Devices, book #1

Published: August 31st 2010 by Margaret K. McElderry

Details: Hardcover, 479 pages

My Rating: 4/5

My Summary:

Prequel to The Mortal Instruments Series which I LOVED. Set in Victorian London, shape-shifter Tessa is captured by evil warlocks and saved by a group of shadowhunters, among them handsome and arrogant Will. While I loved revisiting this world, the relationship between the two main characters in this book bothered me a little, as did some of the repetitive factors. All in all, a great fast-paced read and a good start to a series, but not as amazing as The Mortal Instruments Series.

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A few chapters in:

As a fan of Cassandra Clare, I was superexcited when I heard that she had written a spin-off series, set in the very same shadowhunter world that I’ve come to love after reading her Mortal Instruments Series. The question was only: was she going to be able to replicate the success that was The Mortal Instruments series?  Well, judging by the many rave reviews it appears as if yes, she has succeeded. And so, I am really excited to finally delve into that world again!

I’m now a few chapters in. Set in the Victorian England, this is the prequel to The Mortal Instruments Series. Many of the characters are therefore ancestors to Jace, Alec, Isabelle and Co.

The main character however is of unknown family. Her name is Tessa – an american orphan girl – who upon following her brother to London, is captured on arrival and held captive by two weird-looking sisters named The Dark Sisters. It turns out Tessa has a rather unusual talent which the evil sisters intend to use: Tessa can shape-shift into any human form. After weeks in prison, she is saved by the gorgeous and arrogant shadowhunter Will, and taken to the shadowhunter institute in London, where she meets the rest of the members of the shadowhunter family.

And this is where I couldn’t help but start noticing the similarities with the City of Bones. Tessa, like Clary, doesn’t belong in the shadowhunter world, yet is saved and accommodated at the shadowhunter institute seeing as her remaining family (Tessa’s brother as well as Clary’s mother) has disappeared. At the institute Tessa is introduced to the members of the shadowhunter clan, where Will seems like a Jace with brown hair, Jem is the equivalent of Alec (all though straight), and Jassamine is a slightly more bitchy Isabelle.

And this is as far as I’ve got. While I do love diving into this world again, I hope these new characters will differentiate themselves from the ones that I know in The Mortal Instruments. I hate to be comparing them like this, but I just can’t help it! Hopefully, the more I get to know about them, the less comparable to Jace and Co. they’ll seem.

 

 

After finishing the book:

As you know, after reading a few chapters, the similarity to The City of Bones bugged me. However, as I read more, the characters started taking on a life of their own, which meant I could enjoy it for what it was – another entertaining trip into the shadowhunter world of Cassandra Clare.

After finishing it however, I have to admit it lacked that special something that made the Mortal Instruments amazing. What special something? Well, it lacked a romantic lead as appealing as Jace. And there were some repetitive factors. But I’ll get to that in a moment.

First, let me tell you what I loved. As always with Cassandra Clare, she provides a detailed and intricate world-building that makes you feel as if you literally live and breathe within that world yourself, in the midst of all types of supernatural creatures in a London set in the Victorian era. Not an easy feat, but Clare sure pulls this off beautifully. I also love the sharp, interesting and quirky dialogues. But most of all, I think it’s her wonderfully fleshed out characters that stand out for me. After all, she was the author who created my one fictional crush last year – Jace.

In this book the characters are once again wonderfully drawn. There is Tessa with her identity issues, Sophie – the reasonable maid, Jessamine  who struggles against her shadowhunter heritage, the kind and fierce Charlotte and so on. Even if not that much is revealed about them in this first installment, you get a feeling that things are in store for all these characters, and that they will all play a role eventually. And that’s precisely what I like about Clare’s writing.

Yet, there was one character I had an issue with in this book, and that is Will, the potential love interest of Tessa. I first had an issue with him because he is just too similar to Jace in how he keeps the rest of the world at an arm’s length with sarcasm. As you can imagine, anyone too similar to Jace pales in comparison.

Then, as I read on, Will started taking on a slightly different personality than Jace. Which, in a way was good (because I’d hate to be comparing him to Jace), but was also bad, because what was revealed of his personality was not very appealing at all.

Will is like a darker version of Jace, who seems to use sarcasm in order to hide his ugly true self. While Jace (despite his sarcasms), was unable to lie, Will seems unable to tell the truth. All he seems to do is lie and being mean and rude, just for the sake of hurting others.

I don’t care whatever reasons may lie behind his behaviour, or that he occasionally seems to care for Jem. I still don’t think there is an excuse for acting the way he does. Most importantly, he treats Tessa horribly, and I’m actually bound to agree with the maid Sophie when she advised Tessa not go get involved with him.

Jem on the other hand grew on me. There is some actual bonding going on between him and Tessa, which seemed more grounded and real, as Jem (as opposed to Will) is someone you can actually talk to. He seems mature beyond his years, and despite his tragic circumstances he’s above self-pitying which is what seems to be consuming Will. Yet, Will is sure to be the romantic lead, or so I think. The next installment will most likely “explain” his earlier behaviour. The problem is, I’m not sure I’ll buy that explanation.

Lastly, the repetitive factors, some of which I mentioned earlier made for a slightly lower grade. All though the characters eventually took on lives of their own, it still could not take away the fact that some parts of the plot were quite similar to The Mortal Instruments. For instance, there is a questionable parentage of the main heroine, a villain who is raising an army to take down the shadowhunters, a main character discovering she has a powerful talent, a love triangle featuring two guys where one is kind and the other arrogant and so on.

The Bottom Line:

That said, I enjoyed reading it and I definitely plan to read the next installment, Clockwork Prince, out in September next year. It just couldn’t quite compare to The Mortal Instruments, that’s all.

Oh, and on a sidenote, what is it about Magnus Bane that makes him so appealing? I literally squealed when he made an appearance again. One of my favorite characters in this series, that’s for sure!

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Review: Succubus Blues by Richelle Mead

5 Aug

Series: Georgina Kincaid, book #1

Published: March 1st 2007 by Kensington

Details:  Paperback, 343 pages

My rating: 3/5

My summary:

Start of a series, by same author as Vampire Academy. About a succubus who seduces and pleasures mortal men (while sapping their life energy), but also longing for what she can’t have, a true love. This was ok, not as bad as Bitten, but not great either. Good writing but a weak plot. I may read another one in the series to see if it gets better.

See my full review here:

Synopsis:

Succubus (n.) An alluring, shape-shifting demon who seduces and pleasures mortal men. Pathetic (adj.)

A succubus with great shoes and no social life. See: Georgina Kincaid.

When it comes to jobs in hell, being a succubus seems pretty glamorous. A girl can be anything she wants, the wardrobe is killer, and mortal men will do anything just for a touch. Granted, they often pay with their souls, but why get technical?

But Seattle succubus Georgina Kincaid’s life is far less exotic. Her boss is a middle-management demon with a thing for John Cusack movies. Her immortal best friends haven’t stopped teasing her about the time she shape-shifted into the Demon Goddess getup complete with whip and wings. And she can’t have a decent date without sucking away part of the guy’s life. At least there’s her day job at a local bookstore–free books; all the white chocolate mochas she can drink; and easy access to bestselling, sexy writer, Seth Mortensen, aka He Whom She Would Give Anything to Touch but Can’t.

But dreaming about Seth will have to wait. Something wicked is at work in Seattle’s demon underground. And for once, all of her hot charms and drop-dead one-liners won’t help because Georgina’s about to discover there are some creatures out there that both heaven and hell want to deny…

My thoughts:

This book is written by the same author as The Vampire Academy, which is an highly acclaimed vampire series. I’ve also read a couple of good reviews and so I decided to give it a go, despite the synopsis which sent off a couple of alarm bells.  You see, it revolves around  a succubus, who feeds of sex from mortal men. It felt like this could be one of those adult romance type of novels, which really are porn disguised in a paranormal romance package.

I’m relieved to say that no, it wasn’t that bad. Yes, of course there is some sexual content, as we are dealing with the life of a succubus, but it never felt like it was too much. It was there to move the plot along. So in that aspect, all good.

I like the writing style as well. It wasn’t poetic or anything like that. But it was kind of easy-going. It had a flow which made you get into the story very easily.

Still, despite all this, I wasn’t blown away by the book. And I’ll get to why in a moment.

The main character Georgina is a charming and witty girl who works at a book store in Seattle, living a relatively normal life. She is also a succubus, which means she feeds of sex with mortal men, in which she sucks their life energy.

She hates it though and refuses to destroy good mortal men, and as such, prefers feeding of scums, guys with low moral values. Her friends include, apart from the mortals working in the book store, a vampire, a demon and an angel.

When we are introduced into the story, Georginas favorite author has just arrived to town. A charming guy called Seth. And here begins her struggles with liking him but not wanting to give him too much encouragement, because obviously any sort of physical contact would be impossible, seeing as that would destroy Seth.

Seth is not the only love interest though. There are several other guys around in this book, all utterly charmed by Georgina of course seeing as she is a very attractive woman, due to her shape-shifting abilities (as part of her being a succubus).

While Georgina is running around not wanting to get too close with any of the guys that she likes, yet doing exactly that, a murder mystery is going in Seattle. Someone is killing immortals, i.e. vampires, demons etc. And somehow all this is linked to Georgina. She’s getting these mysterious notes from someone who appears to be the killer.

So yes, you might have guessed it already.. I thought the plot was pretty weak. I didn’t believe in the murder mystery – it seemed to have only been thrown in there in order to create some suspense. It also got a bit tiring with Georgina’s all love interests. I mean, if she had such an issue with guys being attracted to her, why not just turn of the charm or shape shift into a less attractive woman? Problem solved! Also, the love interest Seth felt quite bland. Yes, he was a nice guy but he lacked charisma.

I did however root for one side character. I won’t say who, but if you read the book you might guess who I’m talking about. I am kind of curious to see if he will play a bigger part in the books to come. So even though I wasn’t too impressed by the start of this series, I think I might read another to see if it gets better.

Review: City of Glass by Cassandra Clare

5 Aug

Series: The Mortal Instruments, book #3

Published: March 24th 2009 by Margaret K. McElderry

Details: Hardcover 541 pages

My grade: 5/5

My Summary:

WOW!! What a great ending to a mind-blowing series! Yes, not the most original but great writing and amazing characterization! The growth of the characters is palpable – have now come to love them all, Jace, Simon, Clare, Luke, Magnus Bane..and the world of shadowhunters & downworlders. Eagerly anticipating fourth book, City of Fallen Angels, out next year.

My Full Review:

This is the third installment of the Mortal Instruments trilogy. And I’ve just warily started reading it. Warily, because I know that once I’m a few chapters in it will result in a “bye bye social life”. I’ll retreat into the house and will not get out until I’ve finished it. That’s how addicting I predict it to be. Needless to say, I’m a big fan of The Mortal Instruments series.  A fourth book in the series to be released in April next year, City of Fallen Angels. Yay!

Update:

I forced myself to read this over a week, just to savour it as long as possible, all though it was hard, really hard, especially nearing the end. Let me just say, what a great ending to a fantastic trilogy! I know I know.. another book is coming – and will get to follow these characters yet again, all though from Simon’s point of view – but it was meant as a trilogy from the beginning. And you can tell that this was the original end. Everything is wrapped up beautifully in this one.

I thought the two first books were great too, but I felt like this was the best, possibly because I’d grown so attached to characters and the story. Basically, I just I loved it, from start to finish. Yes, it may not be the most original story, but the world-building and the characters, and the witty dialogues, and the heart-pounding romance..it all makes up more than well for the lack of originality. I felt completely transported into to the land of the shadowhunters, Idris, where they travel in this book, to participate in a looming war against Valentine, and frankly, I never wanted to leave. Thank god for that fourth book, I’m just saying.

Ok, so beware of:

SPOILERS———————-SPOILERS—————————–SPOILERS

As I said before, I loved the characters in this book, and the witty dialogues..

– Magnus Bane for one is a brilliant character. I was a bit worried at first that he wouldn’t participate as much in this book as the rest, but I needn’t have to worry, as he shows up pretty soon in Idris.

– Sebastian. I may be blind but I didn’t see this coming. At first I thought it was going to develop into a love triangle between him, Jace and Clary. Then I started to realize that something was up with him, and began pondering that if he is Valentines son, how does Jace fit into all this?

– Jace. My oh my. Of all the characters he is the best. Tortured, strong, vulnerable, sarcastic, romantic, casanova, hero..I mean seriously, I have not come across such a complex character in some time. And the relationship he has with Clary is the core of the book. I just wanted more of them, all the time. Each one of their encounters was so emotional, tense, romantic and fierce that it blew me away each time. Absolutely wonderful!!

Valentine. Wonderfully drawn evil character, who believes, actually believes that he is doing the shadowhunter world a favor. He is that crazy. And I think that somehow he loved Jace, and he definitely loved Jocelyn. He wasn’t always mean. That is what makes him fascinating and more real somehow.

Even though the ending was pretty neatly tied up, there were a few loose ends left hanging. For instance, we know how the angel blood is affecting Clary making her being able to create runes. But Jace, what are his abilities? Apart from being able to move and jump faster and higher than others, we don’t know much about that. Also, Sebastian’s body was never found so expect that to continue in the fourth book. And, the fairy queen tells Clary that she does not know all the secrets of her past, implying this may somehow affect her and Jace. How? Well, I suppose that’s to find out in City of Fallen Angels as well. Can’t wait!!!

Review: City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare

5 Aug

Series: The Mortal Instruments, book #2

Published: March 25th 2008 by Margaret K. McElderry

Details: Hardcover 453 pages

My grade: 5/5

My Summary:

Ok, so I am officially hooked on the Mortal Instruments series. The more time I spend in this world, the more addicted I get. Great second book, with lots of suspense and plot twists. And did I mention Jace is hot?

Full review:

If you have not read the prequel City of Bones, be aware of some serious spoilers!

City of Ashes is the sequel to City of Bones, which I loved and devoured. Except for possibly that twist at the end which left me utterly devastated. I even hesitated about reading the next book, because if I weren’t to follow the budding romance of Jace and Clary, then what else was there to intrigue me? Or so I thought.

Well, I needn’t have to worry. This second installment is about as good (or even better) than its predecessor! Action-packed with twists and turns, great characters and now a forbidden romance. What else can you ask for, really?

It starts just where City of Bones left off. Life has been pretty turbulent (mildly speaking) for Clary ever since she saw the shadowhunters at the Pandemonium club that night. It turns out her mom is a shadowhunter, her dad is evil and she has a brother she didn’t know about – her love interest Jace!

The one person who could have explained a few things to her – her mom – is in coma, so Clary just has to try to figure out things on her own. For one, she tries a romantic relationship with her best friend Simon, because..well he is available and a possible option (as opposed to Jace). However, after a devastating scene for Simon in a fairy court (and possibly the best scene in the whole book!), things are made pretty clear where Clary’s heart stands.

Meanwhile, Jace is having problems, stemming from the fact that the Clave (the shadowhunter government) are now suspicious of his intentions. As the son of Valentine, they figure he may very well be working as Valentine’s spy. A new inquisitor arrives to investigate the matter, which really make things spiral out of control.

Simon is also struggling with some pretty serious issues, which result in a very dramatic situation half way through the book. I was shocked to say the least! And while all this is happening, Valentine continues planning his revenge on the shadowhunters.

There so much more, but I’m afraid to give away too much info. Suffice to say, this is as action-packed as the first installment. I raced through the pages in a matter of hours, loving every second of it.

What a wonderful series this is turning out to be. If you have not read The Mortal Instruments Series yet, what are you waiting for?? Get your hands on it now! You will not regret it!

Review: City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

5 Aug

Series: The Mortal Instruments, book #1

Published: March 27th 2007 by Margaret K. McElderry

Details: Hardcover 485 pages

My grade: 4.5/5

My Summary:

First book in trilogy. About a girl who enters a magical world she had no idea existed, yet finds out she belongs to. I started off thinking it was a rip-off of quite a few books I’ve read before, especially Harry Potter. Then I got too invested into the characters to care. This is a world I will want to visit again. Loved Jace.

My Full Review:

This is a series which has been figuring on just about every list for twilight fans, and on top of that recommended by Stephenie Meyers, and so it felt like it was just a matter of time before it ended up in my hands. Finally, it did, and I was able to find out if it was as good as everyone said it was. Well…was it?

Absolutely!!! Every bit as good!!

However, to tell you the truth I wasn’t totally converted at the beginning. Two reasons for this:

1) Many bits and pieces have been borrowed from other fantasy work, and at the beginning all I could think of was where these bits and pieces came from (that Hodge resembled Dumbledore in Harry Potter etc).

2) There is also a lot of world building going on, with so much background info weaved into the story that at times I got detracted from the plot.

Hence, it took quite a few chapters before I started to get used to the world of shadowhunters and demons that Clare has created. Once I got into it though, I got into it deep, and before I knew it, I raced through the pages in no time at all. So regardless of my hesitations at first, this is extremely addictive stuff! It truly is.

As for the plot, Clary is an ordinary New York girl, or so she thinks. She lives with her artist mother and has one best friend – the geeky Simon. All is well until the day the two of them head out to the notorious goth club Pandemonium, where Clary witnesses something very strange.

She doesn’t know it then, but what she does see is three shadowhunters capturing and destroying a demon. You see, in this world, all types of nightly creatures exist, demons being the most dangerous. Normal people are of course oblivious to all of this, and the shadowhunters, whose work is to keep the world somewhat demon-free, like to keep it this way.

What is odd is that Clary sees them, despite the glamour the shadowhunters use in order to avoid being detected by normal people. But the odd things have only just begun. Not long after, Clary’s mom is kidnapped and Clary herself is attacked by a demon, and brought to the shadowhunter’s home (an old cathedral which has been made into their New York Institute).

The shadowhunters are Alec and Isabelle who are siblings, and Jace –  their adopted brother. The new arrival of Clary stir things up a bit within the small and tight shadowhunter group, in particular Alec and Isabelle who both have their reasons to stay wary of Clary. Jace however feels inexplicably drawn to Clary right from the start and they end up spending quite a bit of time together, at the institute or during various dangerous missions.

I loved watching their budding romance enfold, but mostly I loved Jace. He jumped out of the pages right from the start. It´s been some time (if ever) since I read about such a fascinating, complex and sexy character! The moment he got more page time with Clary in The City of Bones, I was a convert.

So yes, there is no denying it that the number one reason why I loved this first installment was Jace. Yet, there is so much more to this novel. The well-rounded characters (Simon, Luke, Magnus, Alec, Isabelle), the non-stop action and last but not least the quirky dialogue.

See a snippet below:

“Have you fallen in love with the wrong person yet?’
Jace said, “Unfortunately, Lady of the Haven, my one true love remains myself.”
…”At least,” she said, “you don’t have to worry about rejection, Jace Wayland.”
“Not necessarily. I turn myself down occasionally, just to keep it interesting.”

The book is filled with this kind of sarcastic dialogue – mostly from Jace, but Magnus Bane and Simon will occasionally pitch in as well to create some really funny moments.

There is really only one minor disappointment with this book and that is the unexpected twist at the end, which I can assure you will be quite frustrating. But I urge you to keep reading, because it only gets better. Having read all three books, it now stands as one of my all time favorite young adult series (along with Twilight of course.)