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

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Vampire Shift by Tim O’Rourke.

11824848Kiera Hudson Series One, Book One

Kindle Edition

Published June 6th 2011 by Ravenwoodgreys

Kiera is a twenty year old constable, literally just out of the academy. She’s just been offered a position in The Ragged Cove, with an extra yearly bonus and free lodging. Cops don’t seem to last very long at The Ragged Cove, but Kiera isn’t deterred. She’s a talented young constable with a talent for ‘seeing’ things – clues and stuff that other police officers usually don’t notice straight away.

Once at The Cove, Kiera learns about a string of horrific murders – twenty over the past three years – and even investigates one on her very first night. Her fellow workers seem callous and mocking, all except for the good looking Luke Bishop – who is the closest thing that Kiera has to a friend, even if he isn’t always reliable.

Everywhere Kiera goes in The Ragged Cove, there are strange references to vampires. The bar/hotel where she’s staying has garlic strung up everywhere and bottles of holy water and crucifixes for sale.  She doesn’t think much of it, but as weird things keep happening to her, she forced to start believing.

Vampire Shift is a nice quick read that is very fast paced. The plot has more twists than you can poke a stick at and there is a great, creepy atmosphere. The town seems to be cut off completely from the outside world.

The ‘romance’ is nothing to write home about, but there’s plenty of other stuff to make up for it. The characters are all very quirky and/or creepy and mysterious – everyone seems off at one point or another.

As for Kiera’s gift of ‘seeing’ things – it’s kind of like in Psych, the way Shaun Spencer notices everything and puts clues together really well. Only Kiera does it all at once without really noticing and isn’t dramatic about it like Shaun (how great is Psych, by the way? It’s one of my favourite shows). It’s sort of a supernatural power, really.

I will definitely continue reading this series.

My rating: 3.5/5

Goodreads Rating: 3.95/5

House of Night series by P.C. Cast & Kristin Cast.

First Book Published in 2007

In the House of Night world, vampyres are just a fact of everyday life. As a teenager, you may become marked, which means you are going to go through the change and turn into a vampyre (or you may just die). Then you go to a special school for blood suckers to train to become an adult vampyre. There’s a heavy focus on a higher power. In this case, it’s the vampyre goddess, Nyx. There are high priestesses and lots of ceremonies and stuff.

Zoey is our main gal. She’s just been marked and moves to the house of night school in her city. She is more special than your average vampyre fledgling. She quickly makes friends, love interests and enemies while learning about vampyre stuff and battling evil.

I’ve no doubt that you would have seen the House of Night series around. Maybe you’ve even read some of them. I bought the first three at the same time, and if I had only bought the first one then I doubt that I would have kept going. To begin with, these novels are pretty frustrating. There’s a shameless amount of name dropping, silly replacement swear words, annoying characters and ridiculous romance elements – that’s right, there isn’t just one guy after Zoey, there’s three!

But after book three, it improves a lot. Everyone seems to mature, the love square disintegrates and the plot is a lot better too. There’s ten books out so far, with more to come. I’ve only read the first seven or eight, but I’m going to catch up one of these days.

So if you gave up early on in the series, then why not give it another go – I promise it gets better!

Team Human by Justine Larbalestier and Sarah Rees Brennan.

Image

Paperback, 359 pages

Published July 1st by Allen & Unwin

IBSN: 9781742378398

Tagline: Friends don’t let friends date vampires.

Let’s examine what a prize that it is one more time: no more direct sunlight ever again, no more laughter. You get eternity, but you don’t have the sense of humour to enjoy it! Also, vampires don’t eat food. You never get to eat chocolate again. Ever.

I’d rather die.

All the vampire wannabes and vamposeurs mystify me. Who would choose the possibility of immortality over chocolate?

New Whitby was founded by vampires way back. They were looking to create a place where they could live peacefully without too much persecution from us humans. Nowadays, unless you are a vamp groupie, humans in New Whitby don’t really see a lot of the vampires.

Mel lives there, so she is used to the idea of the fanged undead. But that doesn’t mean she wants one at her school, as the object of her best friend Cathy’s affections. Enter Francis, a cold-on-more-than-one-level vampire, who inserts himself into Mel’s group, much to her dismay (and Cathy’s delight).

Even Mel’s obnoxious and rude remarks aren’t driving him away.

I gave creepy, cold Francis a bright smile, clapped my hands together, and said: “Can you believe summer is over? Hands up, who’s going to miss the sunshine?”

Anna, Mel’s other best friend, is going through a crisis of her own. Not long ago, Anna’s dad ran off with one of his patients – a vampire – and hasn’t spoken to her since. Mel believes that something is definitely amiss, and promises Anna to help.

As if her life isn’t busy enough, what with sleuthing for one friend and trying to keep the other from falling in love with a bloodsucker, Mel runs into some romantic complications of her own when she meets the cute and funny Kit.

Team Human is written in a funny way – think Meg Cabot – as opposed to a more serious Stephenie Meyer style. It has some great little laugh (or snort) out loud moments, especially in the beginning.

I didn’t find the romance side of things to be anything spectacularly original or exciting, but I think that it was supposed to take a back seat to the mystery storyline anyway. Also, I didn’t see the need for the mentions of Mel’s previous two boyfriends. They didn’t seem to add to the plot (except maybe as a cautionary experience for her, or a twist to how she views guys now), so why bother?

Sarah Rees Brennan hasn’t featured on my bookshelf thus far, but I read Justine Larbalestier’s Liar – a twisty, werewolf tale – some time ago and liked it a lot. In comparison, Team Human is a fair whack lighter than Liar is.

The tagline (friends don’t let friends date vampires) was the thing that really made me buy this book. It’s like the Maureen Johnson line on the back of my copy says: “…if you love vampire books, this is the book for you – if you hate vampire books, this is also the book for you.” Because Mel has such strong, borderline (sometimes way over the line) racist views of vampires, Team Human is less a swoonish OMG-I-love-vampires book aimed at tweens than it is a book about a seventeen year old girl who happens to live in a city founded by vampires. It kind of takes the mickey out of vampires, to be honest. Meanwhile, there are a few interesting ideas about them – like their inability to laugh or feel great emotions – and the risks of becoming one that just make sense to me.

I recommend this to anyone after a light, funny read with a few dark, serious touches here and there. I liked it!