Sunday, July 23, 2017

Lady Midnight, by Cassandra Clare

Hey, all! 

I just finished reading Lady Midnight, by Cassandra Clare! 

know, it took me absolute ages to get to this series! Especially for someone who loves Cassie Clare's work as much as I do... To tell you guys the truth, I tried reading this book already last year, but got bored 200 pages in, so stopped ^-^. However, with the recent release of Lord of Shadows, I just had to try again, as part of my Shadowhutners Re-read, for the Young Adult Dome I write for, and just for my own interest. 

If you guys want to see my reviews for all other Cassandra Clare books, you'll be able to find them at some point today up in the reviews tab! I'm taking the time today to refresh that page, finally! 

parabatai is your partner in battle. A parabatai is your best friend. Parabatai can be everything to each other—but they can never fall in love.

Emma Carstairs is a warrior, a Shadowhunter, and the best in her generation. She lives for battle. Shoulder to shoulder with her parabatai, Julian Blackthorn, she patrols the streets of Los Angeles, where vampires party on the Sunset Strip, and faeries—the most powerful of supernatural creatures—teeter on the edge of open war with Shadowhunters. When the bodies of humans and faeries turn up murdered in the same way Emma’s parents were when she was a child, an uneasy alliance is formed. This is Emma’s chance for revenge—and Julian’s chance to get back his brother Mark, who is being held prisoner by the faerie Courts. All Emma, Mark, and Julian have to do is solve the murders within two weeks…and before the murderer targets them.

Their search takes Emma from sea caves full of sorcery to a dark lottery where death is dispensed. And each clue she unravels uncovers more secrets. What has Julian been hiding from her all these years? Why does Shadowhunter Law forbid parabatai to fall in love? Who really killed her parents—and can she bear to know the truth?

So I have loads of thoughts about this book. Overall it was good, especially towards the end! However I feel like the first half was slightly loose and messy. So far, Cassandra Clare has written series in such a way that her first installments are slightly weaker than the rest of the series, before publishing an explosive finale. This introduction to The Dark Artifices (You guys have no idea how many times I think the Artificial Devices, it keeps mixing up!) was quite strong and very different from her other introductory novels. In Lady Midnight, our main character, Emma Carstairs, already knows everything about Shadowhunters, their laws and histories. In that sense the only thing that needs to actually be introduced is the family and their situation. Now, this gave us a fresh perspective on things: they didn't have to explain the world again, which was something I think was really needed. 

This book had a lot going on through it: Emma is investigating her parent's murder, Julian is taking care of his many siblings, and around all of that there is a pot of its own that advances through the book. I had a little bit of a hard time adhering to the plot but it got better, again, towards the end.

This book definetley has its place in the Shadowhunter book collection. It has great supporting characters, and goes deeper into the Shadowhunter universe. We have a new branch of Shadowhunters called the Scholomance who do all the research and have secret information, and who have a different fighting pattern. This book also teaches loads about Fairies, as well as dark magic, which were both very interesting to learn more about!

This is all I can really talk about without delving into spoilers! So if you haven't read it yet, make sure to come back once you have! If you have, read on! :D 

Ok let's do this one 'thing' at a time. 

The book opens with this guy called Kit, the son of Johnny Rook, a mundane who knows about the shadow world. It was a confusing way to start because you never hear about Kit again until halfway through the book. But at the end, Tessa and Jem show up, kind of out of nowhere, and announce that Kit is actually... 


I actually gasped and closed my book in shock! There's another Herondale and he has the same name as Jace and he's going to be protected by Jem and THERE'S ANOTHER HERONDALE!? I was not expecting it, at all. I thought Johnny was maybe some half-fey or something, but never a Shadowhunter! I cannot wait to see how that plays out!! 

Also, in this book, we are introduced to a warlock called Malcom Fade. He's a hopeless romantic who is sweet and funny, who hangs out with the Blackthorn family, watches movies with them, and kicks demon butt with them. He has this way of talking that reminds me a lot of the gods in Percy Jackson. And then he ended up being the bad guy of the book... That killed me! I mean you can sort of understand why he wanted to revive Annabel, his old love, and why he hated the Blackthorns - because they killed her. But it still really upset me that he would turn on them like that! However, I highly doubt he's dead. Cassie glossed over that much too quickly. Plus he's a warlock, isn't he supposed to be hard to kill? 

Now, Emma. Emma wasn't my favorite. She was rebellious and snarky, but has a way of talking that made her sound like a side character, or someone who was trying too hard to be in the loop of things. Her parabatai is Julian. One of the big plot points in Lady Midnight is her and Julian admitting that they love each other - which is agains the Parabatai law. At the end of the book, Jem told Emma that when two parabatai are in love, they have warlock-like magic, that can be consuming and maddening, which is why it is against the law. Again I'm not convinced by the maddening part, so I'm looking forward to seeing how that plays out. 

Additionally, at the end of the book, Emma goes to Mark, asking if they can pretend to be together to trick Julian. Mark turned and replied that they didn't have to pretend, chichis freaking me out a bit! We'll see. 

Back to Julian, he's really nice, but really intense. He'll suddenly go to Emma and say something brute and harsh, or recklessly start kissing her. At the end he managed to spin a whole lot of lies to get his family out of trouble, arresting an innocent vampire instead. (Vampire who's using 'addictive demon powders' in his pizzas which made me laugh until yin fen crossed my mind... Please don't eat the pizza, Jem!) Something's up with him, and I really want to know more about it. 

Mark is kind of strange - I mean he's completely in character, having come back from a land where things are totally different than what he remembers, but I felt like it dragged out for a bit too long. I really ship him with Christina, though! Despite the whole Kieran and Diego thing I really think they could be good together! Christina is also amazing, I can't wait to know more about her. 

The plot of this series is interesting so far - the blend of necromancy, murder and their connection to Sebastian and his story is something I'm interested in reading more about! 

There is so, so much more I could talk about - if you want to talk about anything I missed please put it in the comments! I'd love to talk to you about it! 

I'm giving this a 4/5 feathers! Fun reading experience, but, as expected, many loose ends.

Have a great day! 
Stay bookish! 

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

The Summer I Turned Pretty, by Jenny Han

Hey all! 

I just finished reading The Summer I Turned Pretty, by Jenny Han! 

It's so nice to have the time to binge-read again! I read this in under 2 days, and it felt great!

"Belly measures her life in summers. Everything good, everything magical happens between the months of June and August. Winters are simply a time to count the weeks until the next summer, a place away from the beach house, away from Susannah, and most importantly, away from Jeremiah and Conrad. They are the boys that Belly has known since her very first summer--they have been her brother figures, her crushes, and everything in between. But one summer, one terrible and wonderful summer, the more everything changes, the more it all ends up just the way it should have been all along."

This book is a great summer read for anyone who wants to kick back and relax by the pool, or in the sunshine. It's light, fluffy, and not-too-serious. Plus, my favorite, it has short chapters! 

The Summer I Turned Pretty is about Belly (short for Isabel), who goes to the same summer house every year, and spends her time with the same people, summer after summer. Since she was young, she has been in love with one of the guys she stays with - the mysterious Conrad. She believes this summer might finally be the one where Conrad notices her. Yet, at a party, she meets Cam, a super sweet guy who becomes her first summer romance. 

This book was cute! I mean, none of the characters stuck with me as a favorite - you never really go deeply into these characters, their backstories or their appearances. 

Belly was kind of annoying in my opinion. She seemed to consider herself to be the center of the world, and every little action anyone did was for or against her. I was honestly uncomfortable with how she approached Conrad at the end of the book, trying to get him to admit he had feelings for her, even though there was no way for her to get any leads towards that. And I really didn't like how she used Cam to get Conrad jealous. 

Cam was adorable though! He was a Latin nerd, super sweet and considerate, and incredibly gentle. His character was a great contrast with Belly's, but he was only ever a tool for her - she was never happy about introducing him to her family and friends, and always seemed nervous or pushy around him. 

Conrad was fine, I guess. He was constantly moody and a bit of a jerk, but we never really got to know his point of view, or where his sudden anger stemmed from. I really wish we could have had one chapter with his point of view at one point! 

Jeremiah was actually great - he was always joking, smiling and simply happy! He was a steady, light factor in the story, however, I didn't appreciate it much when he suddenly told Belly that he liked her. It lasted one page

I loved their moms, though! Suzanna and Laurel were awesome friends and were always there for each other throughout the summer.

Now the plot was fine, very summery and very contemporary, yet slightly predictable and cliche. 

What was cool, though is that, like a good Coldplay song, this book was relatable in the sense that the characters could be anyone - yourself, someone you know, or fictional characters. The beach town could be any beach town, and the situations are common enough to be altered to be applicable to anyone. 

I really loved the flashbacks presented through this book! It was nice to have the characters mention a memory and then have the memories played out in the book, with just enough detail for it to even feel like a memory - slightly blurry yet crystal clear at the same time, if that makes sense! 

Overall, it was an enjoyable read, even though I had some problems with the characters. 

I'm giving this book 3.5/5 feathers! 

Have you read The Summer I Turned Pretty? What is your favorite summer read? Let me know! 

Have a great day! 

Stay bookish! 

Monday, July 10, 2017

The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare - Series Review

Hey all! 

I just finished reading the entire Mortal Instruments series, by Cassandra Clare

*I'm sorry I've been MIA for so long - uni just ended for the summer so now I have loads of time to read and interact more with you guys, my lovely readers!*

So this review will be a whole lot more straight-forward than my single-book series, as I'm reviewing it as a whole. This series is an amazing roller-coaster of emotions and plot, with tiny details that fit together like puzzle pieces to create an amazing story. It has its ups and downs, like any long series, however is wrapped up amazingly in the end!

I did review the first three books separately, you can find that review by clicking each of the names: City of BonesCity of Ashes, and City of Glass

Now I did the thing that so many people recommended, and read The Infernal Devices before reading the last three Mortal Instrument books, and, I must say, that that was the perfect way to read the series! The last three books are so much more emotional when you actually know who Brother Zachariah and Tessa are, and why Magnus mentions a loyalty to the Herondales! It was also great to have read The Bane Chronicles in between, because he talks about those stories a lot! I also have reviews for both of those sections of the Shadowhunters books! 

And now for the last three books; City of Fallen Angels, City of Lost Souls and City of Heavenly Fire! 

These three books really felt separate from the first three - whether it is because the main villain of the first 3 books is no longer a concern, or if it's because I waited a while before reading the last 3, but there was a different vibe for sure. 

Books 4 and 5 felt like they could have been combined in one - they both seemed loose, not deep enough compared to the others. While the stories were interesting, they felt fluffy. I am sure that the two stories brought from these books could have been put in one big book and would have been just as great! 

In this second half, we meet loads of new characters - we get to know Sebastian and his motives better, Jordan is presented, as well as a bunch of other secondary characters that all become increasingly relevant in the best ways. 

What I loved is that we get to know the secondary characters more - the first three books were heavily centered around Clary and Jace: Instead, these books show you deeper aspects of Isabelle, Alec, Simon, Magnus, and Maia, which was incredibly interesting! Their backstories and personal stories really bring another color to the books that I loved! I actually really like Sizzy and Malec! While Clace was annoying in books 1-5, they were a lot more credible in book 6! 

In general, book 6 was the one that brought out the most emotions in me - Simon's sacrifice, in the end, was heartbreaking! However, I was never 100% sure that some characters died until the book was over and they never showed up again - it just never sank in? But the whole plot of book 6 was intricate and well done, and very unique compared to the rest of the books. 

Another thing I liked about book 6 is that it tied a lot of loose ends - are there really several dimensions of Hell? What if Sebastian was never evil? What about Magnus and his past? What if Clary never told Simon about the Shadow World? So many of these questions were answered and it was done elegantly, cleverly and incredibly well! 

And now I'm going into spoilers! Stop here if you haven't read the whole series! 

There were so many parts that I loved, while there were others that I didn't like as much. 

Simon is one of my favorite characters - he is so nice and honest yet a total nerd. But I can't believe that he was two-timing Maia and Izzy... I felt like that was out of character, but the way he handled it was totally in character, if that makes sense. 

BUT when Simon's memories are taken away at the end of book 6, I almost cried. How could he not know anyone, not even Clary?! I was broken! But then he calls his band The Mortal Instruments and I squealed a bit because his memories were coming back! Cassie Clare you are cruel! 

Also, you guys by now know my love for Jem, from The Infernal Devices. My favorite character ever, he is back in these books as Brother Zachariah, but there are LOADS of hints as to who he is - his 'need' to protect Jace due to his Herondale bloodline, his past love towards two people, his casual Chinese phrases... MY HEART! So in book 6 he touches Jace with a special rune, and the Heavenly Fire from Jace cleans the demon poison from his blood and he is healed and becomes himself again! Then he shows up with Tessa at Jocelyn and Luke's wedding and my fangirl heart was happy. 

These books got increasingly lovey-dovey, though. It some ways it was nice and sweet and other times it just felt in the way, or enforced. 

Also can we talk about how Jordan just dies, and then is ignored? By the end of the book I had forgotten that he died until someone mentioned it again. I wish that could have been drawn out a bit more. 

When Sebastian was killed by Clary (which was a strange scene but eh you can't have everything, right?) he becomes himself again - the person he would have been without demon blood, and we get a bit of Sebastian redemption. He apologizes for his actions and wishes things could be different. In a way it was nice to know that he wasn't a bad person on his own account. 

But he's still a really intense villain!

One of my favorite parts of book 6 is when each of the main characters were in one of the demon realms, and they each started dreaming of their deepest desires. This was done perfectly, and really reflected each of the characters unexpectedly. Honestly was an amazing section, but at the same time it was super dorky and sweet and I loved it! 

There is so much more I could talk about when it comes to this series, but don't want this review to become pages and pages long! 

I'm giving this entire series a 4/5 feathers! 

Who is your favorite member of the Shadow World? Let me know! 

Stay bookish!