City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare.

8755776The Mortal Instruments, Book Five

542 pages

Published May 8th 2012

Contains spoilers for previous novels.

Jace his now a servant of evil, bound for all eternity to Sebastian. Only a small band of Shadowhunters believe he can be saved. To do this they must defy the Clave. And they must act without Clary. For Clary is playing a dangerous game utterly alone. The price of losing is not just her own life, but Jace’s soul. Clary is willing to do anything for Jace, but can she still trust him? Or is he truly lost? What price is too high to pay, even for love?

 

I used the book’s blurb because I struggled to write one of my own. This is one of those books that you look back on and think, ‘Five hundred pages? Really?’ It’s probably just a Young Adult thing, but it really makes me appreciate the pace of books like Silence of the Lambs, where so much happens in just three hundred and thirty-odd pages. Obviously they’re completely different, and I’m not comparing them. But I’m not sure I’ll ever understand how some YA books can be so long when not much seems to happen. The original trilogy was pretty long too, but a lot more seemed to be going on.

Having said that, I quite enjoyed City of Lost Souls. It took me a while to get through, but (and I know I’ve used this excuse before…) I got addicted to a TV show and there were three seasons to get through and I just couldn’t make myself stop watching! My copy was always by my side though, partly so I could jump back in at a moments notice and also because it smells amazing. Anyone out there who loves the smell of books will understand, there are different scents, and like Goldilocks tasting Baby Bear’s porridge, this one was just right. I’d pick it up randomly and just smell it as I was watching my show.

I think that the threat of the enemy is much better written this time around (new trilogy versus old trilogy, I mean). The idea of Valentine was good, and he eventually lived up to his menacing ways, but at first he was a bit weak, plus he wasn’t around a whole lot. Sebastian, however, is much more present, and when you get to the finale of Lost Souls, you’ll see that he follows through better than his father. In my opinion, anyway.

The final book is shaping up to be quite promising, and I look forward to getting stuck into it.

My Rating: 4/5

Goodreads Rating: 4.32/5

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City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare.

6752378The Mortal Instruments, Book Four.

424 pages

Published April 5th, 2011

Clary is finally in training to be a Shadowhunter, with her gorgeous boyfriend Jace (who is most definitely NOT her brother!) at her side. Poor Simon is still adjusting to life as a vampire, while juggling two girlfriends – which came about as an accident, really, but he still feels bad about it.

When Jace starts acting weird, and continually pulls away from Clary, she doesn’t know what’s going on. Has he stopped loving her? But the truth is much worse, and something none of them saw coming.

 

Originally, there were just three novels, so City of Glass had a good ending, wrapping things up. So I was wondering what would happen in the second trilogy. As I read this, I realised that there were actually lots of things that were left open at the end of Glass, like Simon’s Mark of Cain, and the whole thing with the Seelie Queen, and the fact that Simon and Isabelle still weren’t really together (but I think they should be!). So in that respect, this was an interesting read. But I feel that the way these three books go is going to be the same as the first three: Bones was alright, Ashes was better, but Glass was definitely the best. We kind of had to start over, but with less world building.

Some of the relationships were at the point where they have a big complication and that can be tedious to read about, especially when there’s more than one couple going through it.

There’s a new enemy, but who that enemy is remains a mystery until the end of the book, and when all is revealed, it makes sense.

I didn’t love City of Fallen Angels. But it was alright. After reading it, I realised that there really did need to be more after City of Glass. Once I was forced to think about the ending again, I could see that the things that happened would definitely have consequences. You can’t just play around with power like that and have everything work out hunky dory. In this book, the characters have to deal with the repercussions of their actions.

Like I said, I think that the next books will be better.

Goodreads Rating: 4.16/5

My Rating: 3.5/5

City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare.

1582996The Mortal Instruments, Book Two.

410 pages

Published January 1st 2008

[Contains spoilers for City of Bones]

Clary’s mother is still in a coma, her evil father is out of sight and up to no good, her former love interest is actually her brother, her best friend wants to be her boyfriend, and she’s still coming to terms with the whole ‘being a Shadowhunter thing’. So, she’s got a fair bit going on.

While Clary and Jace deal with the confusing nature of their feelings for each other (now that it’s been discovered that they are siblings), outside forces are conspiring to change the entire Shadowhunter world. Valentine is up to his old tricks, but this time he’s working form a different angle. Plus, Jace is under suspicion by his fellow Shadowhunters. So much so that the Inquisitor, a terrifying woman with a lot of power and weight to throw around, has been called in to decide is he’s in cahoots with Valentine or not.

 

First of all, City of Ashes is much more enjoyably readable than City of Bones. I was able to breeze through it without getting sidetracked. I think it’s due to the fact that the world building stuff has been taken care of, and now we can just enjoy the story. I found the finale to be much more exciting than in book one, also.

The relationships between all the characters have started to get a bit messy – obviously! The dynamics are changing, which makes it interesting. All of your favourite characters are back, Alec and Isabelle, Magnus Bane and Simon, Raphael the vampire, plus some new ones – we meet some faeries, and Alec’s and Isabelle’s mum and little brother come back to town, and some new Downworlders.

All in all, this was a very enjoyable book, with plenty of new situations/information to keep it interesting, but not so much that it affects the pace of the plot.

My Rating: 4/5

Goodreads Rating: 4.24/5

City of Bones by Cassandra Clare + A Ranting Movie Review.

256683The Mortal Instruments, Book One

442 pages

Published March 27 2007

Clary thinks she is just an ordinary teenage New Yorker. But after a crazy experience in an underage nightclub, where she saw one guy stab another guy, her whole world starts to change. Her mother disappears, her mum’s friend Luke (who has always been like a father to Clary) refuses to see her, and, to top it all off, she starts seeing things that she never could before.

Her new ‘friends’ (the people she saw in the nightclub fight) are Shadowhunters, who fight and kill demons. She learns that pretty much every story is true: vampires, werewolves, faeries, mermaids, pixies, warlocks – they all exist.

But where exactly does Clary fit into this strange, new world?

 

This was my second reading of City of Bones – I’ve read the first three, but needed to refresh before I read the rest of the series. I remembered that I found it hard to get through the first book, but the next two were more readable. Rereading it, I found it just as hard to get through. It’s strange, because in theory, this book has everything – cool urban setting, danger, hot boys, monsters, amazing creatures, a bit of mystery, a Shadowhunter homeland that mundanes like us know absolutely nothing about, an evil guy who everyone thinks is dead, a shock at the end, etc, etc, etc. Despite all of this, it seems like something is missing. It’s a little dry, maybe. I found myself procrastinating and putting off reading it. It took me the best part of a week to finish, which is a long time for me. But like I said, I’m pretty sure that the next two books are better. And, there was definitely a lot of really cool stuff going on here. There’s a fair bit of world building and back-story to get through.

The shock bit at the end is pretty effective, but (if you’ve read the book you’ll know what I’m talking about) kind of redundant, because you just know, in that way that justice and fairness to all will prevail in the end, that it will probably be turned around again in the next books anyway. Also, I didn’t find the ending to be very exciting. It was a bit drawn out and flat. I don’t think that Valentine, the bad guy, was set up the best way that he could have been. He wasn’t very ominous or scary. It also doesn’t help that I couldn’t help but compare him to Voldemort from Harry Potter (it’s the ‘V’ names, mainly, but there are other similarities), which isn’t very fair to poor old Valentine, but there you go.

That sounds like a lot of negative stuff. But there’s plenty that I liked, even loved, about this book. For example, I love those series that just throw all mythical creatures in. That makes sense to me. I mean, if vampires and werewolves exist, why not faeries and trolls and all the rest? There’s a lot of scope there, lots of things to be explored. It’s excting.

If you like supernatural series, then definitely read this (if you haven’t already – it was released a fair while ago!). And if like me, you struggled with the first book, read on because the next ones (Books two and three, I can definitely vouch for) are better.

My Rating: 3.5/5

Goodreads Rating: 4.13/5

THE MOVIE ADAPTATION:

In one word, terrible. I actually turned it off before it got to the big finale. And I’ll watch anything – I immensely enjoyed such movies as Sand Sharks and  Jack and Jill (!). It got to the point when I just couldn’t take anymore. I’ll probably watch what I missed one day, but I just couldn’t hack it that night. I wanted to scream at the screen! But since it was late, I simply hissed my abuse at the screen, so as not to wake my sleeping family members.

You see, they chop and change everything. The events from the book are just all over the place, and some of the included ones have been majorly altered so they aren’t as meaningful anymore – like with the demon in Clary’s apartment. Then there’s new stuff that really doesn’t add anything to the plot, in my opinion. People who read the book are seeing the movie for a reason, you know? They’re probably not gonna appreciate it when important things are left out so that new things that must’ve seemed exciting to the moviemakers can be put in, at the expense of the movie’s entertainment.

It’s just a big, dumb adaptation that’s about as subtle as a brick through your front window with the words “I’m a brick being thrown through your front window” written on it. Everything is shown, and information is fed to you right away, rather than little breadcrumbs that keep you wondering, like in the book. There’s no mystery or suspense.

I would recommend this movie to approximately no one. Die hard fans will probably either love it or be offended on behalf of the book, like I was.

Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry.

13560086Pushing the Limits, Book One

392 pages

Published June 1st 2012

Noah and Echo are two broken people, looking for answers and fighting for what they want.

Echo has repressed memories of a night two years ago when something horrible happened to her. She has the scars, and the incomplete story that people told her, but beyond that, nothing. She wants to find out the truth, but is scared it may break her even more.

Noah has been in the system since his parents died, and he’s had his run of bad foster parents. Because of some of his bad choices, he’s lost most of his access to his younger siblings. He wants it back, and is willing to do anything.

Just as Echo is starting to put herself out there again, she and bad boy Noah keep getting thrown together. There’s obvious attraction there – but does she want her old life back, with the footballer boyfriend and peppy friends, and her father controlling her? Or does she want a new, better life, where she can have all of the things she really wants?

 

There was so much hype about this book. While I thought it was pretty good, I found it a little tedious. I think my main issue was that I hated how Echo just let everyone tell her what to do, and I could not wait until she finally started doing what she wanted to do. It seemed to take ages. I understand that that’s who she is, but I was uncomfortable while reading it.

The characters were all right. While I sympathized with Noah and Echo and their issues, I didn’t really connect with either one of them.

I’m not sure if I’ll go on with the companion novels or not. But I would recommend it to people who like high school novels with a bit more substance. The style of it sort of reminded me of Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles.

My Rating: 3/5

Goodreads Rating: 4.13/5