I started A Darker Shade of Magic on my kindle a few months ago and I’m thoroughly ashamed to admit that I didn’t finish it*.
Oh my goodness. I don’t even know what to say.
Look at me being all productive and sticking to my word!
Hello! So, this isn’t a ‘few days later’ and this also isn’t a post about Anuska but… Oh well.
First off, let me apologize for being a terrible blogger and leaving you all with no me time for… what was it… two weeks? (I seem to do that a lot, don’t I?) And here I am, about to take another week-long hiatus as I go to the beach. I know, I know, how can I live with myself, indulging when all my desperate fans are out there clamoring for more? I suppose, as Evil Queen, I must do SOMETHING to retain my status… Anyway, I won’t be back to post until the 24th, so find something to keep yourselves occupied until then. Like this!
Let me tell you a story.
Once upon a time a young girl was wandering her kindle store because she doesn’t have a drivers license and couldn’t get herself to a real bookstore with real books and her next book on her TBR was taking FOREVER to ship and she was DESPERATE. And as she was wandering this virtual haven, she stumbled upon (for about the billionth time) Cassandra Clare’s The Mortal Instruments series. Now. This girl had, in the past, been wary about these books simply because she was/is a major book snob and didn’t/doesn’t like the covers but as I mentioned before, she was DESPERATE, and so she bought City of Bones, the first in the series.
And OH MY GOODNESS.
As you’ve probably figured out (because you all are smart lovelies, and you have good brains) I am the girl. And I was so completely, totally, and overwhelmingly wrong that there aren’t enough strong words to describe my wrongness. Even though I still think the covers are kind of cheesy and maybe a little trashy, we should all remember that age old adage, DON’T JUDGE A BOOK BY IT’S COVER.
The Mortal Instruments City of Bones
Author: Cassandra Clare
Genre: Young adult fiction/fantasy
Heat Level: Here’s the thing. There are a few real nice kisses which, in and of themselves aren’t bad at all, BUT. *spoiler alert* It turns out that two of the kissers are siblings, which is devestating because I really, really ship them. Now, I am not known for being a particularly compliant person so I sort of absolutely refuse to believe that they’re actually related (I mean come on; why would Cassandra Clare work so hard to give them such good romantic tension just to resolve it with incest? Please.) because multiple people on multiple occasions have remarked upon how little they look like each other AND in book two there’s that whole Seelie Court scene… Anyway. If the reality that you will no doubt ship incest is too much for you to handle, then this series isn’t for you.
Violence (on a scale of 0-5): I’d give this book a solid three. There are some demon slaughters that take place but since demons don’t bleed actual blood and sort of just thrash around until they disappear into black cloud puffs, it isn’t that bad. There’s some human blood, too, but it isn’t as gory as some things I’ve read. Certainly nowhere near Six of Crows.
Language: Since I am a Bad Blogger I finished this book a few days ago and have actually read the second and 3/4 of the third since then─I can’t exactly remember which scenes go with which book, but overall, the language was mild. A few colorful phrases here and there, but nothing too shocking.
Age Range: 13 years old and up.
Clary Fray believes that she is simply an ordinary New York City teenager residing in an apartment with her artsy single mom, hanging out with her bookish best friend, Simon, and drawing whenever she can. That is, until her mother disappears and Clary witnesses a murder committed by three tattooed teenagers* while out with Simon─a murder that no one else can see. Things only spiral from there when she learns that what she saw wasn’t a murder but was in fact a group of Shadowhunters killing a demon─a race blessed with the blood of the angel Raziel charged with ridding the world of said demons─by the names of Jace Wayland, Alec, and Isabelle Lightwood… and she absolutely should NOT be able to see them. How on earth did Clary─an ordinary mundane just like her mother─develop the Sight so suddenly? The Shadowhunters would most definitely like to know.
Overall, I really, really enjoyed this book, although I wonder if I would have enjoyed it just a tad less had I not gone into it with such low expectations… I’ll go ahead and start with the things that frustrated me.
- I’m going to say it right now; if any of you are die-hard Clary Fray fans, please know that I am in no way aiming to offend you. This is simply my own opinion, and it wasn’t even enough of a problem to take away from my enjoyment of the book. I still think Cassandra Clare is a brilliant author, I’m just trying for honesty here. That being said… Clary sort of got on my nerves. I mean, I understand her ignorance, as she has grown up with absolutely no idea that she was a Shadowhunter, but she still seemed to make some SPECTACULARLY stupid decisions. And maybe I’m being overly picky; maybe she’ll get better as the series progresses. I’ll just have to wait and see.
- Jace, too, got on my nerves. It’s just a bit difficult to see his appeal. (Other than his extreme physical attributes, of course.) All of these people are supposed to be in love with him─I mean, we all know Alec can do better than that─but, to me at least, he just seems kinda like a giant jerk. Again, it’s probable─possibly even likely─that he gets better in later books. I didn’t HATE him, either. I just… wasn’t attracted to him.
- Throughout the book there were these ginormous, ten-page-long information dumps that literally had me beating my KINDLE OFF OF MY HEAD. Or at least wanting to. I understand the need for background information but I thought that it could have been given more sporadically and with less plot-stopping length.
Aside from those things, though, I quite enjoyed this book (and have been enjoying the rest of the series so far) especially the remaining characters.
- Simon: Simon is my little geeky dorky nerdy baby. It took me approximately two pages to fall in love with him, and he delivered some of the sassiest one-liners. (“Jesus!” Luke exclaimed.
“Actually, it’s just me,” said Simon. “Although I’ve been told the resemblance is startling.” THAT SASS.) And even though I find his obsessive puppy love of Clary the tiniest bit annoying, I still think he’s sweet.
- Malec: I HAVE FOUND MY NEW OTP GUYS. There isn’t much Malec─Magnus Bane and Alec Lightwood’s ship name─in this first book, but what little bit there was, I was EATING IT UP. THEY ARE ADORABLE.
- Magnus Bane: Magnus by himself is almost as perfect as Malec. Magnus Bane is a warlock─the High Warlock of Brooklyn, to be exact─who is somewhere around 400 years old and freaking FABULOUS. He styles his long, fabulous black hair with glitter gel, and he has fabulous CAT EYES, and basically his favorite color is glitter. And he throws parties for his cat, Chairman Meow, that I fully support. This guy is basically a unicorn personified, and he’s my spirit animal.
- Luke: I would just like to congratulate Cassandra Clare for including a parental figure in her YA series that isn’t a complete and total idiot like so many others. *slow hand claps all around* Not only isn’t Luke an idiot, but he also isn’t a terrible person, or nonexistent, and I actually enjoyed him quite a lot. Can I get an amen?
- Alec and Izzy Lightwood: We didn’t get as much of the Lightwood siblings as I would have liked in City of Bones, but what we did see, I loved. Izzy was an inspiration; fierce, intelligent, beautiful, and not afraid to go out and take what she wants. We didn’t get much Sizzy, either─Simon and Izzy─but I sensed something there… And as for Alec─well. He was a study in emotions, I thought, and one of the more interesting characters. Very clearly in love with Jace, and yet just as clearly resentful of that love; he holds a grudge against Clary and yet still he helps her on her various ventures and missions. And then he meets Magnus…
All in all, I enjoyed City of Bones, and am properly ashamed that I judged it so harshly. So go out and read it to make up for my failure as a human being. Here’s a link to Cassandra Clare’s website that says in what order all of her books should be read, as the various series all interconnect. I hope it helps! Now scoot!
Read on, lovelies!
So, I finished this book a day ago but since I a) have zero time and, b) was* emotionally unstable, I put it off until today. Even so, this post will probably consist more of me randomly babbling than any actual useful information. Sorry.**
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Genre: Young adult/fantasy/fiction
Heat Level: So the romances were more developed in this book than in Six of Crows─as one would expect, being a sequel and all─but they still were most definitely not the center of the story line. All in all, I’d say it has about the same amount as Six of Crows (which I reviewed here).
Violence (on a scale of 0-5): Five. Just as unnecessarily graphic as SoC, although not more so. The graphicness─yes, you grammar person in the back, I’m aware that that’s not a word─of this duology─that is a word, I looked it up, so HA─is absolutely the only complaint that I have. Everything else is just so wonderfully subtle and gorgeous and perfect and… but this paragraph is about violence, so I should shut up now. In case you couldn’t make head nor tales of that, these books are a bit too descriptive in their gory details for my taste, so if that bothers you, this isn’t the duology for you.
Language: I mean… well… they’re street thieves and thugs, right? So they’re allowed to have dirty mouths, right? RIGHT? Dear gosh, I feel like an over doting mother making excuses for her heathen children that she thinks are little angel babies. My angel babies need a good washing out of their mouths with a bar of soap à la A Christmas Story, ok? Don’t judge.
“But Eden,” you ask, sounding really annoyed/angry/DONE WITH ME, “why are you sobbing in a corner? You haven’t explained that very well.”
First of all, you should know by now that I don’t explain things very well. Second of all, I am sobbing in a corner because it wAS SO SAD. ONE OF THEM DIES. Of course I can’t tell you which one dies because I took an oath not to reveal any spoilers on my blog*, but suffice it to say that it was one of the saddest things that has ever happened to me in the history of my reading life (although definitely not THE saddest. I will never forget Lupin and Tonks) and I might need intensive therapy to get over it. Seriously. Ask my family. I just wandered around the house clutching The Raven Boys─the next thing on my TBR─and sighing mellowdramatically, too afraid to start it for the fear that it might be devastating, too.**
*No I didn’t. I lie too much.
**I still haven’t started it. I’m reading V.E. Schwab’s A Darker Shade of Magic right now, and it’s fabulous.
But even though Crooked Kingdom caused me immense emotional and mental trauma, it, along with SoC, is still on my best books of 2017 list.* You know that feeling when you read a sequel and it’s just… just… meh? Like maybe it’s a gazillion times thicker than it’s predecessor, or it just rehashes the same themes as book #1, or, for some reason, the characters that you originally loved now are the most annoying/infuriating/just not fun people in the bookaverse** and you inexplicably start rooting for the antagonist? Well, I am proud to say that not a single one of those things happened in CK. The six main character’s backstories were delved even deeper into, and I was happy to see the addition of Wylan’s voice to the narration. Kaz is still my beautiful little messed up sort of scary angel baby, Inej is still too pure for this world, and GUESS WHAT. THERE WERE NO STUPID LOVE TRIANGLES AND ALL OF MY SHIPS SAILED. Do you have any idea how absolutely and completely and incandescently OVERJOYED this makes me?
*That list doesn’t really exist except for in my mind, but if it did, I think I would rename it Best Books That I Have Read In 2017, ‘cuz CK was published in 2016. Just so you know.
**Made that word up too.
I was so so SO SO SO SO SO happy with how all of the relationships turned out; each of them were explored to the extent that it seemed right for those characters feelings to be explored, and there wasn’t anything… uncomfortable, if you know what I mean.
“I would have come for you. And if I couldn’t walk, I’d crawl to you, and no matter how broken we were, we’d fight our way out together-knives drawn, pistols blazing. Because that’s what we do. We never stop fighting.”
Yes, Kaz said that. And yes, I had to put down my book and take deep breaths and stare into the middle distance until I calmed down.
I don’t need your pity.
“Have any of you wondered what I did with all the cash Pekka Rollins gave us?”
“Guns?” asked Jesper.
“Ships?” queried Inej.
“Bombs?” suggested Wylan.
“Political bribes?” offered Nina. They all looked at Matthias. “This is where you tell us how awful we are,” she whispered.”
The dialogue in this book was just so funny. Maybe I didn’t notice it in SoC, but I think that the humor was really expanded on in CK, and it provided a nice distraction for all the not-so-nice things going on. Also, did anyone else notice the Hamilton referance in that last quote, because I sure did and I freaked out.
Well, I think it’s safe to say that this post has completely derailed. I’d like to thank you all for sitting here and listeneing to me. Maybe now I won’t need as much therapy.*
Read on, lovelies!
Eden (because I currently lack a signoff and I have 0 skill with technology)
GUYS. OH MY GOSH GUYS. GUYS. GUUYYYSSSSS.
This book… I don’t have the words. But I’m gonna try anyway.
Six of Crows
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Genre: Young adult/young adult fantasy/fiction
Heat Level: The actual romance is minimal and definitely not the center of this story line, but there are a great many mentions of brothels and a little bit of sexual innuendo.
Violence (on a scale of 0-5): Five. Remember when I talked about those books that left you feeling like you had stumbled into the middle of a massacre and watched your best friends die? This was one. But… not in a bad way─if that’s possible. There were a few detailed scenes that I honestly could have done without, but I suppose I understand the need for that in order to develop the characters and provide motive and all that jazz. And when Kaz did that thing for Inej─well, that certainly helped me understand his feelings. But still.
Language: Soooo… yeah, there’s quite a bit. I mean obviously I’m not going to give you any examples, but you get the idea. It was very creatively used, though; it always made me laugh.
Kaz Brekker, thief, is hired by Jan Van Eck to Break into the Ice Court─a military stronghold that is the most notorious in the world. He is charged with kidnapping a hostage that they have there by the name of Bol Yu-Bayur who holds the secret of creating the dangerous drug, jurda paraam that, if unleashed, would wreak havoc upon Grisha and non-Grisha alike. In order to complete this dangerous heist, Kaz must recruit a crew that is desperate enough for money─for if they succeed there is plenty of money to be had─to undertake this suicide mission. And so he does, finding six of the most dangerous outcasts, thieves, and thugs that Ketterdam has to offer.
These are some of the most wicked, nasty, sarcastic, rude, and completely lovable characters that I have ever read. Six of Crows is written in third person so that we’re provided insight into each of the characters thoughts, although sometimes that still doesn’t tell us anything, and while most of the time I’m dubious of this format, in this case, it worked. It wasn’t confusing─at least no more confusing than it would be had it been written from only one character’s perspective, with the intricacy of the plot─and I was able to understand each of them better because of it. I especially loved the diversity of this cast; out of the six main characters, two of them weren’t caucasian, and I’m fairly sure that at least two of them weren’t completely heterosexual, either. There is Kaz Brekker, thief, and the most I-am-Kaz-and-I-don’t-feel-anything character EVER; Inej Ghafa, ex-acrobat-turned-killer dubbed the Wraith by Kaz; Jesper Fahey, sharpshooter, sarcastic, crafty, and unable to resist any challenge; Nina Zenik, Heartrender, beautiful and she knows it; Wylan Van Eck, son of Jan Van Eck, young, naive, and unintentionally useful; and Matthais Helvar, guarded and pious Fjerdan who ALSO literally fights the most obvious feelings for tHE WHoLe DArN boOK. What is it with these boys and emotions? Pull it together, Dregs.
“Kaz leaned back. “What’s the easiest way to steal a man’s wallet?”
“Knife to the throat?” asked Inej.
“Gun to the back?” said Jesper.
“Poison in his cup?” suggested Nina.
“You’re all horrible,” said Matthias.”
And here we have a Slytherin, Gryffindoor, Ravenclaw, and Hufflepuff─sorry. I let my fangirl take over for a moment too long.
So if you can’t tell already, I loooved this book. It was dark, and descriptive, and beautiful; Kaz is the most extra person ever except where it comes to admitting that he loves things other than money (I mean come on; who breaks his leg, doesn’t set it right, and then has a magical-bone-breaking-crow-headed cane made for him just so he can look cool? And has a different haircut for the same reasons? And refuses to ever take his dark, mysterious, card-magic-assisting gloves off? And wears the fanciest suits ever to make the good ol’ boys jealous?) but I still love him; and the world building was FLAWLESS. I saw each and every country, city, town, heck even the OCEAN as if it were truly there before my eyes.
“Greed is your god, Kaz.”
He almost laughed at that. “No, Inej. Greed bows to me. It is my servant and my lever.”
I most definitely recommend this book, and I can’t wait to read the sequel, Crooked Kingdom! Leigh Bardugo is extremely talented to have taken on such an ambitious endeavor and succeeded─almost as talented as her characters─and while I’ve heard mixed reviews of the Shadow and Bone trilogy, I think I’ll go ahead and try those, too!
“No mourners. No funerals. Among them, it passed for ‘good luck.’”
Read on, lovelies!