Tuesday, April 26, 2011

City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare

City of Fallen Angels (The Mortal Instruments, #4)City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Epic and straight forward, as long as they still have their beautiful sarcastic wits I'm all for this extra trilogy.

I'm not going to sit here and summarize everything that happened since, frankly, I don't have the time. If you really want to know, you can read the jacket summary in Barnes and Noble or you can simply go online pretty much anywhere books are sold. If that doesn't do it for you, I'm sure there's a review on Goodreads somewhere that has some spoilers for you.

However, with that cleared up, I can delve into a short review of what CoFA did for me as a reader.

I appreciated the new plot lines. Like lacework, Clare has sewn together a new epic storyline with the same beloved characters. I was a bit surprised when I heard that there were going to be three more installments to what I had been told was only a trilogy beforehand. At first, like many others out there, I cynically thought that it was simply another ploy for what has become a mountainous money hoard. Perhaps it partially is, but seeing as I was dissatisfied with the end of City of Glass, I can't really complain that she has decided to continue on with such an epic series.

One thing I love about this series, is each character's own sense of humor. I actually laughed out loud while reading this book, something I haven't done for a while in all honesty. It was refreshing to return to a series that is admittedly very compelling. I returned to adoring Jace, and being slightly annoyed with Clary (slight spoiler: hiding in the hedge, Clary? Really?! Predictable and slightly ridiculous...). I also fell in love with Simon and his own challenges, while not particularly loving his mythological state. I'm so sick of vampires right now... I even rooted for the minor characters that seem to claim bits of my heart and attention with each installment I read. So, these characters are pretty much gold. Even Clary. I have to give her credit for getting a rise out of me.

The only thing that annoys me about these books (other than Clary sometimes) are the villains. Other than the little helpers like Camille (who I think is the bomb), the main evil doers are too... evil. It's so easy to hate them and there isn't anything particularly human that makes me think they could be redeemed. Flannery O'Conner would probably nod her assent in that she has definitely influenced me on how antagonists are supposed to be written. And the demons are so demonic and monstrous that I always picture cartoons when Clare describes them. Seriously, the three headed guard demon at the church of Talto was like an old friend from Dragon Tales. I really pray that Sebastian will regain some of his humanity. Not for any redeemable purchase of his, but so I can at least say that he's not as cliche as a classic Disney movie witch. I mean, even Disney's newer movies have come up with more sympathetic villains than some of Clare's "muhaha" types. This is my only pet peeve really with the whole story.

The rest is golden. Pick it up if you get the chance.

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Sunday, April 10, 2011

Wither by Lauren DeStefano

Wither (Chemical Garden, #1)Wither by Lauren DeStefano

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Warning: Some spoilers...

WITHER was a different kind of dystopian novel. I really loved and yet I'm still not quite sure what to think about it. I felt that it was too short. What I initially had thought it would be like turned out to be fairly different and in a good way, but there were certain characters and relationships that I felt were still undeveloped.The ending felt like it was lacking for me also.

For instance, there was such an important relationship between Rhine and Gabriel and yet at the end, I felt like there was still something missing. Perhaps it was Gabriel's development in the story. I still feel like we don't know very much about him. I do know that this is a trilogy and that more information will be given in the sequels, which I can't wait for, but I still really wish she could have told us more about him.

Now that I've given my reasoning for that one missing star, I can say just how much I loved everything else about this book. It was really beautifully written. Rhine was a lovely character, with hopes and dreams, and this insatiable need to be free. Everything about her was admirable. Housemaster Vaughn was perfectly creepy and his "experiments" in the basement were enough to create that desired ominous effect fort this reader. I grew to Love Governor Linden as well. I had a lot of conflicts, just as Rhine did, on how I should feel about him, but in the end I've come to the conclusion that I feel just as she feels; he is an oblivious, yet lovable and kind person that was raised in a corrupt fashion. I even think that Rhine really did fall for him in the end, which leaves me wondering if he will become another interest in future books. As for the sisters, I loved them too. While Cecily was difficult to love and quite annoying at times, I can't help but feel a pinch of compassion for her in this twisted world they live in. Jenna was absolutely beautiful and such a wonderful person that I came quite close to crying at one part in the book. Basically, all of the characters were amazing. Even Deirdre, Adair, and Elle. I felt reader's love for all of them.

I'm still thinking about this one, which makes it great, but I'm still stuck on this feeling of it being too short. I want more and the ending wasn't as satisfying as I'd hoped. Perhaps it was because it seemed to play out so easily when I expected a dramatic mess that would have left me on a cliffhanger for the next book. Either way, I'll definitely be reading the sequel next year.

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