Tag Archives: Mortal Instrument

The Infernal Devices – Trading Light for Dark

clockworkangle-265x400Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare

If you’ve been reading these book reviews, you may have noticed that I jumped over from The Mortal Instruments series to The Infernal Devices series. What can I say? I’m capricious. Actually, I’ve heard from several sources that City of Fallen Angles isn’t actually that great, and that was my next book in The Mortal Instruments. It didn’t give me a big incentive to run right out and read that. Eventually, I’ll get to it though, I promise. However, word on the street is that Clockwork Angel from The Infernal Devices is really good, and I’d have to agree.

Leaving modern day New York and heading back to Victorian London made for a nice change of pace, and while Ms. Clare admits that some of her locations don’t actually exist, it doesn’t detract from the story. Clockwork Angel finds Tessa Gray embroiled in…adventures. Like, Clary in The Mortal Instruments, Tessa doesn’t go looking for excitement, but it certainly found her. As the series name implies, The Infernal Devices has a darker feel than The Mortal Instruments, and focuses more heavily on those outside the Shadowhunter society. Warlocks, Vampire and Mundanes all play heavily in the story, and I like it. There is a bit of mystery surrounding Tessa. Mangus Bane also makes a reappearance, and I enjoy his character. Although, he hasn’t quite developed the flamboyancy that is his hallmark when he gets to modern day New York.

This is a good, fast-paced read. Interesting plot lines with some great twists and turns along the way. Clare’s characters have depth and purpose. As soon as the cover closed on The Clockwork Angel I was cracking The Clockwork Prince open to find out what happens next. As with The Mortal Instruments, The Infernal Devices moves quickly and expertly though the story arc. Clare has added much needed depth to the characters at the beginning that was lacking before, but has the pendulum swung too far in the other direction?

The Infernal Devices Book #2

The Infernal Devices Book #2

Enough comparisons however, let’s get into what makes this book tick. (I know! I couldn’t resist!) Let’s tackle the characters, in order of appearance…well, more or less, anyway. Tessa Gray, she’s resourceful and solid. She’s also American, and as a character she reflects that whole pull-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps vibe that is associated with the American Dream. Tessa’s perseverance in the face of adversity and determination to keep her emotional turmoil private is something that resonates. Don’t get me wrong, she’s still broken, and willfully blind to certain things, but that gives her humanity. The dark past gives her mystery.

William Herondale is the swoop-in-dashingly-to-save-the-day sort of guy, maybe. Uncovering the many layers of Will Herondale will take some work…and a shovel. Seriously, this guy has it piled on so thick that the only obvious truth is that the reader has no idea what the truth actually is about Mr. Herondale. He’s a broken man with secrets. It gives him mystery. (Are you beginning to see a pattern?)

James (Jem) Carstairs takes on the role of the strong silent type. The perfect foil to our young Herondale. Fair where Will is dark, quiet when Herondale is outspoken, thoughtful instead of brash, and with a mysterious illness that weakens him in opposition to William’s strength and health.  The pattern emerges, and I begin to wonder if Jem is a bit too likable.  Will he turn on us, or is his fatal flaw only the illness he bears with grace.

Then we have Jessamine. This poor girl hates everything about her life…with the exception of the wealth and privilege. She hates the role that has been thrust upon her and does everything in her power to ignore her duties and be the spoiled mundane she wishes she could be. In a cast of broken characters, she may be the most broken of them all. It is hidden beneath disdain and an air of entitlement, but there are glimpses of desperation. It is all very mysterious.

All these main character have so many hidden layers that it is like playing clue. The reader has no idea who actually plays which role. Hero? Villiain? Cannon fodder? Now, I’m all about leaving a bit to be uncovered later. There are another two books to come after all. However, everybody in this book has a secret or a dark past or unknown origins. All these hints but no revelations.  Really? Does everyone you know have a big dark secret that everybody knows is there but no one talks about? Get real. Of course people hide things, but everybody from the main character to the maid has a secret to hide. It makes for interesting reading, but it is completely unbelievable.

Don’t get me wrong, the plot is interesting, the characters have depth and layers and the pacing isn’t bad. In a novel containing so many supernatural beings, the unbelievable bit is the lengths to which the author went to make every major character…broken. The conflict arising in the plot doesn’t cause those living in the London Institute nearly as much angst as past events that we only glimpse do. Tension runs high because of mysterious events surrounding the Lightwood girl and William that no one discusses. Don’t even get me started on the leaders of the institute. Clare has gone from characters who developed too slowly to characters who’s profound mystery feels like the same kind of plot device that the lack of depth felt like in The Mortal Instruments.

However, that doesn’t detract from its’s enjoy ability in the least. I have to keep reading, if for no other reason than to uncover all the secrets! Time to grab my shovel and keep digging.

First Lines:

The demon exploded in a shower if ichor and guts.

‘Til next time,
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