Tag Archives: City of Bones

City of Ashes

The Mortal Instruments Book #2

The Mortal Instruments Book #2

City of Ashes,the second book in Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instruments series, is fast paced, filled with great action, and (my favorite bit) character development. (When I read this, I hear “character development” in a big booming announcer voice, you know the one I mean, right?  Every. Single. Time.)  As always, I promise not to spoil the surprises for you…no matter how hard it is. I swept through this book like a wildfire. There were no slow bits, no lagging parts, just good stuff. Clary, Jace and cohorts continue to gain depth, which just makes my little character-centric heart squeal with glee.

City of Bones kicked off the series. (Yes, yes, I know the review of City of Bones just went up last week….I really do like these books that much.) City of Ashes is a great follow-up.  While I felt City of Bones began a bit slow or rather flat (I still think it may have been purposeful); City of Ashes keeps you going at double time clear to the end.  The relationships get more complicated and there is strain placed at the very heart of the characters. Their fault lines are being uncovered and bits and pieces are exposed and hammered. The cracks that were hinted at in the last book are assaulted here, and new  weaknesses exposed.  Will anyone be safe?

Maybe I’m a bit evil, but I really hope no one gets a pass here. (Insert evil laugh here.  Bwahahahaha!)  Maybe, I’ve just been watching/reading things in which the writers are not nice to their characters, but the stories are just fantastic.  The worse things are for them the harder I root for them. (Unlike my father, who likes the bad guys.  He cheers and giggles when Ursula gets ginormous and looks like she’s going to win in The Little Mermaid. That just takes cheering for the underdog a bit too far…or maybe he just  likes to stir up trouble…yeah, I’m betting on trouble too.)  Seriously though, when bad things happen to good characters, as a reader/viewer/spectator, you get behind them.  If there life just went merrily on, there would be no real reason to jump on the proverbial bandwagon, now would there?

Confession, a scene or two made me a bit misty eyed.  Unlike movies, books have always gotten to me. Characters can’t hide anything.  In the real world, people can put up a front, keep the hurt inside and stopper up the tears to keep anyone else from seeing the damage.  Characters don’t always get that option.  You get to see every scar, all the turmoil, and each teardrop they refuse to let show, and it can break your heart a bit.  As the characters here have whatever remains of their childhood innocence ripped away in various ways, they’re growing up, getting stronger, more vulnerable, and leaving behind the world they once knew.  Kind of like coming of age while avoiding dying because a variety of creatures great and small are after you…because, you know, just growing up isn’t hard enough.

Ms. Clare touches on some big issues here. Racism, for starters, and I like the way she went about it. In the first book you see some hints, but nothing really overt.  In this one she calls it for what it is, and it becomes more of an issue.  We see it through a different lens here, Shadowhunters, Mundanes, and Downworlders, vampires, werewolves, and faeries, instead of skin color, nationality or religion, but it works the same. The younger generation, follows the teachings of their elders. Then, through the eyes of an outsider who has no preconceived notions of how it is supposed to be, the walls begin to break down. It’s slow, painful, and incomplete. Just as in the real world, but it is still breaking down. I have a feeling that nothing in this world of Ms. Clare’s will be the same by the end of the series.  I can’t wait to see where it goes.

Hmm….yes, I do believe I can squeeze a trip to the bookstore in this evening.  That next book City of Glass is calling my name.  Used bookstore?  The Frugal Bookworm is my favorite used bookstore here in Tulsa, but it is a bit of a drive.  Especially, now with the ever-loving construction…well everywhere.  Next up…City of Glass, Urban Shaman by C.E. Murphy, or Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness?  Not even I can tell you.

First line:

The formidable glass-and-steel structure rose from its position on Front Street like a glittering needle threading the sky.

What’s your favorite bookstore?  Where do you geek out the most when you shop?  (Hint: I geek out at bookstores…and places with Doctor Who merchandise, God help us all if I find someone selling Sherlock merchandise in a store…I really don’t know what would happen then, well, I do know my credit card statement would beat me up the next month.)

Any good words about City of Glass, Urban Shaman or Shadow of Night to get me amped up about one of them?

What is next on your to-read list?

Jessica


Book Before Movie? Movie Before Book? Decisions, Decisions

City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

City of BonesI’m breaking my rules with this book.  There is a movie, The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, being released in theaters on August 21, and normally I watch the movie first then I read the book.  This way I’m not disappointed in the movie and I enjoy the book.  Books are always better, you know that, and they have to cut so much out of the book to make the movie less than 17 hours long that I’ve generally been safe with this approach.  (Well, the only exception has been The Hunger Games I almost didn’t read that book because I watched the movie first.  However, my best friend bought the book for me as a gift, and I did end up reading it…and loving it too.)

It all began when I was in Dallas for the Neil Gaiman signing, I went to the Half Price Books headquarters, and came across Clockwork Angel also by Cassandra Clare.  This is the first book in the Infernal Devices series…it comes after The Mortal Instruments series, and it looked good…really good..really interesting, and I realized that if I didn’t start at the beginning there might be spoilers…I hate spoilers.  The Mortal Instruments and The Infernal Devices are all part of the Shadowhunter Chronicles…I’m listing them below, because they are now on my literary “grocery list”.

So should I risk it?  Should I break my own rule and read the book before watching the movie?  My rule hasn’t been a secrete, I’ve proclaimed it often and sometimes loudly (I’m just not a quiet person), and since announcing my rule about watching the movie first, I have had several people inform me that I have it backwards.  Really? Can you be wrong about this kind of thing?

Well, wrong or right, I’m not able to wait.  Patience may be a virtue, but it really isn’t one I can claim….and people told me I was wrong, so I have to at least test their theory, right?  Can anyone say unnecessary justification? Basically….screw it, I’m reading the book now.

onesheetCity of Bones has that whole bit with a layer of the world beneath ours that most people can’t even see that I just can’t get enough of.  I found Ms. Clare’s world to be very well built.  There were none of those so-how-does-this-work? moments for me.  Only people with the Sight can see Downworlders, demons and Shadowhunters for what they really are.  Everyone else lives on blissfully ignorant of the war being raged around them…it isn’t a new plot device, but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t a good one.

I like the mythology that she uses to build her world as well, and I’ve read enough to have heard mention of the Nephilim and the mortal instruments.  In this last season of the television show Supernatural they referenced the human-angel hybrid, Nephilim.  House of Night series by P.C. and Kirsten Cast also reference the creatures.  Wikipedia’s page lists a whole ton of references from Assassins Creed, The Dragoneers, X-Files, Magic: The Gathering and Hex.  Even before my trip down the fascinating rabbit hole that is Wikipedia, there was enough tickling the edges of my brain to make me want to go digging.  (Where did I read about this stuff?  The bible?   This is what happens when you pair an English Literature Major with a Minor in History…It has been driving me bonkers!)

clockworkangle-265x400WARNING!  Sometimes I’ll go off on random tangents to dig up all the information I can find whatever subject strikes my fancy at the moment. (Don’t worry,  I promise that if I go a-researching I won’t stop writing my blog….it may get a bit more…esoteric at times though, fair warning.)  Previous “hunting trips” have included gemology, theology (everything from Judeaism to Buddhism to Wicca) and how to read and write in Arabic (I did live in Saudi Arabia at one point.  I also don’t recommend trying to learn a language on your own…especially if it involves another alphabet…it is REALLY hard!)  Curious minds want to know!

Aaaaaannnnddd, back to the book!  City of Bones started out a bit slow, but picked up nicely with in the first couple of chapters.  I say it started out a bit slow, but there’s a murder in the first handful of pages, so really not that slow.   The more I think of it the more I wonder if could have been done a bit deliberately.  There’s a roughness to the beginning of City of Bones opening chapters.  You already know I’m a sucker for a well written, well rounded character, and Clarissa (Clary) Fray seemed a bit flat at first.  Something in the first few chapters just seemed off, unfinished maybe, but I think that’s intentional because there are revelations to be had, my friends.  My thoughts are either that the unfinished feel of the early chapters was an intentional device or the author was trying a bit too hard not to reveal secrets, because, without revealing spoilers, there are secrets aplenty.  With each new unveiling, the characters gain depth, the plot, as they say, thickens, and even the imagery gains sharpness that was lacking.  Friendships are built, relationships are broken, enemies made and allies gained….and nothing is really as it seems.  Excuse me while I go grab the next book City of Ashes  so I can see what happens next….

First Lines:

“You’ve got to be kidding me,” the bouncer said, folding his arms across his massive chest.  He stared down at the boy in the red zip-up jacket and shook his shaved head.  “You can’t bring that thing in here.”

Would you rather read the book first or watch the movie first?

Any books that are coming to the big screen that are “must reads” ?

‘Til Next Time,

Jessica

The Shadowhunter Chronicles

The Mortal Instruments Book #1

The Mortal Instruments Book #1

The Mortal Instruments Book #2

The Mortal Instruments Book #2

The Mortal Instruments Book #3

The Mortal Instruments Book #3

The Mortal Instruments Book #4

The Mortal Instruments Book #4

The Mortal Instruments Book #5

The Mortal Instruments Book #5

Coming April 2014 art by Cassandra Jean

Coming April 2014 art by Cassandra Jean

The Infernal Devices Book #1

The Infernal Devices Book #1

The Infernal Devices Book #2

The Infernal Devices Book #2

The Infernal Devices Book #3

The Infernal Devices Book #3