Review: City of Bones – Cassandra Clare

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The Mortal Instruments #1

SYNOPSIS: When fifteen-year-old Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder― much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with strange tattoos and brandishing bizarre weapons. Then the body disappears into thin air. It’s hard to call the police when the murderers are invisible to everyone else and when there is nothing―not even a smear of blood―to show that a boy has died. Or was he a boy?

This is Clary’s first meeting with the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons. It’s also her first encounter with Jace, a Shadowhunter who looks a little like an angel and acts a lot like a jerk. Within twenty-four hours Clary is pulled into Jace’s world with a vengeance when her mother disappears and Clary herself is attacked by a demon. But why would demons be interested in ordinary mundanes like Clary and her mother? And how did Clary suddenly get the Sight? The Shadowhunters would like to know…  – via Goodreads

You know, for years I have wondered about these books, figured I would one day get to them, kept forgetting about them, seeing them and remembering them again, and then forgetting about them. You can see the cycle, right? Anyway, recently Natasha started these and I was in a dark place, looking for something to read that would spark excitement in me again, as it had been too long. Naturally, she pushed these on me and I was like yeah alright, let’s do it. No. Regrets.

I thoroughly enjoyed the world that Cassandra Clare wove for us with the Shadowhunters. I must confess, early on in the start of the book, I was wondering how it would go. It was weird for me that there were sixteen year old kids out clubbing at midnight on a Sunday, but I figured this is some dystopian/futuristic YA (by the way, totally not, it seems the story exists in the same world we are in now, which makes me question parenting skills here). It started in a club and it didn’t really get any better, and the dialogue was a little cringy, but next thing I know? BOOM! Gotcha! I got dragged down this rabbit hole of fantasy that didn’t let up and I didn’t want it to.

We are introduced to a lot of characters, but not an excessive amount. A lot of them don’t really grow much or feature too much (though I would love to see more of Alec, for example). There are things I didn’t like about some of them – like the immediate and total dislike between Clary and Isabelle. It just felt weird. Then there was also that stupid love triangle (what is it about YA that insists there must be some form of a love triangle? Be Tris and Four, people!). It was stupid not only because it was a love triangle, but because the one player in it (Simon) felt like he was always just being dragged in and brought up so that there would be a love triangle, not because there was actual shared interest. Then there is Jace, who is a jackass but you gotta enjoy the guy, and I really like how he and Clary are with one another. Yep, Jace all the way. WOW.

Anyway. The book gets rolling and I really liked how easy it was to read (even though it may have been a tad long), and this read more like mature YA then really young YA, and I liked that. The world doesn’t ever feel too ridiculous (demons, warlocks, werewolves, vampires) it all just flows with the book, and that is cool. Clary also didn’t chap my ass like a lot of the heroines in these types of books do, though her name did grate on me. It feels uncomfortable to read it and to say it. I don’t know, I didn’t like it, though her full name is Clarissa and that is just fine. The book also brings in an interesting villain, and I would really like to see what Clare does with Valentine.

Anyway, City of Bones is a pretty solid introduction to what could potentially be a fantastic story, and I will certainly continue with it. It reads easily, has an interesting, dark world it has woven, and has a lot of characters that are well worth reading. I would definitely recommend this. I won’t lie, there was a development in the book that had me throwing my toys out of the cot in the extreme. Anger. Frustration. Denial. These were all strong feelings to be had. So we will see where it goes.

Review: 11/22/63 – Stephen King

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stephen-king-11-22-63-book-cover

SYNOPSIS: Life can turn on a dime—or stumble into the extraordinary, as it does for Jake Epping, a high school English teacher in Lisbon Falls, Maine. While grading essays by his GED students, Jake reads a gruesome, enthralling piece penned by janitor Harry Dunning: fifty years ago, Harry somehow survived his father’s sledgehammer slaughter of his entire family. Jake is blown away…but an even more bizarre secret comes to light when Jake’s friend Al, owner of the local diner, enlists Jake to take over the mission that has become his obsession—to prevent the Kennedy assassination. How? By stepping through a portal in the diner’s storeroom, and into the era of Ike and Elvis, of big American cars, sock hops, and cigarette smoke… Finding himself in warmhearted Jodie, Texas, Jake begins a new life. But all turns in the road lead to a troubled loner named Lee Harvey Oswald. The course of history is about to be rewritten…and become heart-stoppingly suspenseful. – via Goodreads

GRADE 10I am going to suffer such a book hangover because of this. I have been reading it for weeks now. It is quite a long book, and I was snatching snippets of time whenever I could to read this, and I loved every moment of it. In fact, I was pleased it was being drawn out the way it was for me, meant I had so much more time to enjoy it. Alas, I had to finish it sometime.

I am a huge King fan. There are still so many of his books I have yet to read, and I hope to someday have read them all, or as close to that as possible. I have been eyeing this for years, and it just seemed like the right time recently. I am fascinated by the JFK assassination, and I figured a book dealing with time travel to stop that assassination could only be good. I was so right.

King takes time to set up the story, so nothing is rushed, and you understand what is going on. He also takes his time with the characters, so they are rich and full, and become real people. Jake Epping really morphed into George Amberson for me, and Sadie was a wonderful woman. Then let us not forget Miz Mimi, Ellie, Deke, the adorable Mike or his unlucky girlfriend, Bobby Jill. I really appreciated all the characters. There are so many more than the ones I have mentioned, but they are the standout ones for me. I also really appreciated the relationships between them. They came across as genuine, and real. Also, the love story between Sadie and Jake/George. is beautiful. This is how I enjoy a romance to be woven through a novel. It just clicked, and didn’t come across as forced or unnatural.

Considering the time travel starts in 1958, you know that there is some time before the Kennedy assassination is to take place, so naturally you are going to be spending a lot of time in the past with Jake/George. I was okay with that, and what a story he had to tell! I feel that 11/22/63 had everything: some history, some romance, some humour, some drama, all of it. And it was fascinating. I was not bored at any point during my time with this book, and thought the pacing was good. I also liked how the book never really became predictable. There were so many ways certain things could have gone, some did, some didn’t, and there were plenty things that happened that went against what I thought. It was nice to have a book that kept me guessing again for a change.

King is also the master of putting just a dash of creep into his work, so every now and then, as much as “the past harmonizes”, there were other things that cropped up, not too in your face or anything, but enough to get just under your skin. I really liked that. Overall, I feel that 11/22/63 is a fantastic read that is worth every moment of your time. It is engaging, has a great set of characters and events to work with, and everything comes together so well. The book is a bittersweet affair, one I truly enjoyed, as you can tell. I don’t know when last I was this invested in a novel, so it was a welcome delight for me. King just doesn’t disappoint.