Posts tagged ‘cassandraclare’

December 24th, 2010

Five Challenge: Series

by Madeleine Rex

First, a reminder: I’m participating in Persnickety Snark’s Five Challenge. For the remainder of the year, I’ll post 5 books daily that were the greatest in whatever category. Today’s is 5 Great Series. I love, love, love series! I’m qualifying a series if at least one of its books was published this year – not necessarily the first because that’s too complicated! The books pictured are the books in the series that came out in 2010.

Note: Pictures are linked to Goodreads pages.

1. Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare

Book one in The Infernal Devices, a companion series to The Mortal Instruments, Clockwork Angel was much anticipated by me and my friends. We were not at all disappointed, and the wonderful historical atmosphere and steampunk themes guarantee that this is going to be a series I love.

My Review

2. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

The last book in the beloved Hunger Games series! Need I say more? This was definitely, without a doubt, indubitably (+ a gazillion more synonyms) the book I most looked forward to this year. I still have mixed feelings about it, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t beautiful or that the series is one of the best I have ever, ever read.

My Review

3. Paranormalcy by Kiersten White

Everyone knows that I loved this book – even before I read it, really. It was pretty much love-at-first-sight-of-synopsis. Kiersten White is a fantastic lady herself, but even if she were some rascally old Grinch, Paranormalcy would shine. I cannot wait for the second book in this new series, Supernaturally.

My Review

4. The Iron Daughter by Julie Kagawa

This is book two in the Iron Fey series, and though it wasn’t my favorite, the series overall has definitely earned my love and appreciation. The mystical world of the fey, Nevernever, stole my heart from minute one, and the characters are out-of-this-world (quite literally, actually).

My Review

5. Matched by Ally Condie

I was so thrilled to find an a finished advanced copy at PNBA (Pacific Northwest Booksellers’ Association)! It’s a dystopian, it’s unique, and it’s really great. I love the world of this book, and the ending is fantastic. I am so excited for the rest of this series!

My Review

These are all such fabulous books, but it was still hard choosing them over some others. I’ve read great series books this year!

What were your favorites?

And Happy Christmas Eve!

December 23rd, 2010

Five Challenge: Covers

by Madeleine Rex

First, a reminder: I’m participating in Persnickety Snark’s Five Challenge. For the remainder of the year, I’ll post 5 books daily that were the greatest in whatever category. Today’s is 5 Great Covers. Because the covers were created in 2010, I’m including ARCs that are being published next year (I can’t resist).

Note: Pictures are linked to the Goodreads page.

1. Wither by Lauren DeStefano

Isn't it gorgeous? I love the graphics and coloring, but the bird in the cage is the real point that stands out to me. It's perfect for the story.

2. Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith

I know it's creepy and deranged, but I love this cover. It's amusing.

3. The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff

You can look at this cover and immediately get a sense of the book. It's abnormal, it's creepy, and it'll make you wonder.

4. Matched by Ally Condie

Simple, elegant, and a great color. Matched is just pretty. And the cover is nicely symbolic as well.

5. Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare

I like this cover far more than any of the TMI covers, but it’s really the color and background that make this one pop. Plus the gorgeous little angel in the middle, of course. I’m also a fan of the font.

I absolutely love book covers, and there were some great ones this year. What are some of your favorites?

July 27th, 2010

Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare; Review

by Madeleine Rex

Title: Clockwork Angel

Author: Cassandra Clare

Published: August 31, 2010 by McElderry Books

Number of Pages: 496

Rating: 5/5

Psst! Sorry about the length of the review. I think it’s worth it anyway!

Official Review*:

This book is simply astounding. Beautifully intertwining modernity and the fascinating beauty of Victorian England, Cassandra Clare has written a gem. I was originally worried that Clockwork Angel, and the entire Infernal Devices series for that matter, would be too similar to The Mortal Instruments, but this book is just as special in an entirely new and magical way. With some of the same elements that caused us to fall in love with Clare’s books originally and dozens of new, fantastic ones, this book will make readers swoon… and go slightly crazy when they’re finished. Believe me: Clockwork Angel will leave you restless.

Synopsis:

Magic is dangerous—but love is more dangerous still.

When sixteen-year-old Tessa Gray crosses the ocean to find her brother, her destination is England, the time is the reign of Queen Victoria, and something terrifying is waiting for her in London’s Downworld, where vampires, warlocks and other supernatural folk stalk the gaslit streets. Only the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the world of demons, keep order amidst the chaos.

Kidnapped by the mysterious Dark Sisters, members of a secret organization called The Pandemonium Club, Tessa soon learns that she herself is a Downworlder with a rare ability: the power to transform, at will, into another person. What’s more, the Magister, the shadowy figure who runs the Club, will stop at nothing to claim Tessa’s power for his own.

Friendless and hunted, Tessa takes refuge with the Shadowhunters of the London Institute, who swear to find her brother if she will use her power to help them. She soon finds herself fascinated by—and torn between—two best friends: Jem, whose fragile beauty hides a deadly secret, and blue-eyed Will, whose caustic wit and volatile moods keep everyone in his life at arm’s length…everyone, that is, but Tessa. As their search draws them deep into the heart of an arcane plot that threatens to destroy the Shadowhunters, Tessa realizes that she may need to choose between saving her brother and helping her new friends save the world…and that love may be the most dangerous magic of all. [From Goodreads]

Review:

As proof of my amazement, here’s something I tweeted not long after finishing the book (as in, immediately – because my brain was going haywire and I didn’t want to lose my thought):

HOLY CROW! EVERYONE *MUST* READ CLOCKWORK ANGEL! 5/5 TOTALLY ASTOUNDED.

I think that gets the point across fairly well. There’s nothing like your opinions in “the heat of the moment.” Honestly, this book is phenomenal. The writing is even more delectable than that in The Mortal Instruments series, refined in a way that perfectly suits the time-set of the novel. I appreciated the intricate way Cassie wove the old-time London atmosphere and culture into the story. I love fiction written in the 1800s and early 1900s, and this book captures that time beautifully.

As I said in my official review, this book has many of the same features as The Mortal Instrument series (which makes sense, as they are companions), such as the Shadowhunters, Downworlders, and Demons. In addition to all that though, are totally new and epic fantasy elements. Surprisingly, this book has very few Demons in it, instead dealing with clockwork creatures. Yeah, you heard me: Steampunk meets 1878 meets Shadowhunters. Those who are planning on reading this book (which should be most of you) are truly in for a treat. Cassie’s clockwork creatures are horrific and mesmerizing. In fact, one of the high-points of the book is the curiosity it incites in you. You could read simply because it’s interesting. Interesting in its own, unique and utterly fantastic way.

I cannot wait to see how this world develops into the one Clary and Jace live in.

Speaking of characters, what fun! As most of you know, characters are really the driving force in my reading. Even a gripping, dramatic plot won’t woo me without the aid of lovable people. This book aces characters. Passes the tests. Flying colors. All that. One really enjoyable experience was meeting ancestors of characters we’ve already met in TMI. Such as Will Herondale, Gabe Lightwood, etc. To top it all off, we get a nice scoop of Magnus Bane. I’ve never been so happy that warlocks live for centuries. It was like a family reunion.

Ah, Will Herondale. I mentioned him here, in my post about complex characters. Quite honestly, he is one of the most incredibly deep, confusing, and utterly mystifying characters I’ve ever read of. How can I tell what to think when half the evidence I’ve gathered is probably moot? His character is so blurry. I love the mystery that revolves around him (actually, it doens’t revolve. It’s at his core), the way I shiver whenever he talks, apprehensive and wondering what surprising thing he’s about to say/do. I can’t say that I generally like him. He’s charming, but he’s so locked up that there’s no possible way to know him. (Which is one of the reasons that, when asked if I’m on Team Will or Team Jem, I reply: “I don’t know.” Again – You can’t tell fact from fiction half the time when it comes to Will. You can make assumptions, infer things, but there’s no concrete evidence as to what sort of person he really is.)

And then you have Jem. His story is one I bet everyone will sympathize with. He’s also quite fascinating, and I’m willing to bet that, though he seems pretty simple as a person (which does not mean he isn’t three dimensional – he is), there’s far more to his past, present, and future than we can interpret from book one. I enjoyed his thoughtful remarks and advice. He’s a little silver-haired philosopher. (And despite what I just said, he is not eighty-years-old.)

Holy cow. I want to spotlight every character! Unfortunately, I don’t have that much time (well, I do, but I’m afraid I’m losing your attention). I can’t end this review in good conscience, however, without mentioning Tessa. She is a truly wonderful main character. Her strength and determination to ask questions (finally! A main character who doesn’t just let things pass) are both pleasing and relieving. All this is made more interesting by the fact that she’s actually been fairly brain-washed by many of the common assumptions concerning the “status” of women of that time period. Yet, somehow, as she talks about all that, she’s contradicting herself. Everything she does proves how strong she is, that she’s equally talented and smart as the boys. It’s fun to watch her as she learns that she’s worth more than she had ever anticipated. I am very grateful that I have an entire series ahead of me with a girl main character who is admirable in nearly every way.

Last but not least, the climax and the ending. This book is twisted to the point that an attempt at untangling it would be futile. You will be surprised – trust me.

And the ending? It certainly will leave you restless. I may or may not have banged the floor with my fists while my cousin (who I read the book out loud to) groaned and moaned. So, um. Prepare yourselves.

In Harry Potter O.W.L terms, this book is Outstanding. (Though it also “Exceeded Expectations.”)

*Thank you so much for the ARC

P.S. Thanks, Miranda, for grabbing this! I owe you!