Review: Clockwork Prince – Cassandra Clare

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The Infernal Devices #2

Please note, there was a lot I wanted to talk about in this review, so there is a spoiler paragraph. I will note it, however.

SYNOPSIS: In the magical underworld of Victorian London, Tessa Gray has at last found safety with the Shadowhunters. But that safety proves fleeting when rogue forces in the Clave plot to see her protector, Charlotte, replaced as head of the Institute. If Charlotte loses her position, Tessa will be out on the street—and easy prey for the mysterious Magister, who wants to use Tessa’s powers for his own dark ends.

With the help of the handsome, self-destructive Will and the fiercely devoted Jem, Tessa discovers that the Magister’s war on the Shadowhunters is deeply personal. He blames them for a long-ago tragedy that shattered his life. To unravel the secrets of the past, the trio journeys from mist-shrouded Yorkshire to a manor house that holds untold horrors, from the slums of London to an enchanted ballroom where Tessa discovers that the truth of her parentage is more sinister than she had imagined. When they encounter a clockwork demon bearing a warning for Will, they realize that the Magister himself knows their every move—and that one of their own has betrayed them.

Tessa finds her heart drawn more and more to Jem, but her longing for Will, despite his dark moods, continues to unsettle her. But something is changing in Will—the wall he has built around himself is crumbling. Could finding the Magister free Will from his secrets and give Tessa the answers about who she is and what she was born to do?

As their dangerous search for the Magister and the truth leads the friends into peril, Tessa learns that when love and lies are mixed, they can corrupt even the purest heart. – via Goodreads

Oh. My. God. I just knew that this was going to shatter my soul, I knew it! I did not expect to fall so completely and utterly in love with these books, but here we are. I mean, I expected to enjoy them, but I did not think that they were going to take over my life, though why exactly I didn’t expect it is beyond me, seeing as how I am hopelessly addicted to The Mortal Instruments series. I got wrecked reading this book.

SPOILER PARAGRAPH: I started this one hot on the heels of Clockwork Angel, as I was so interested to see where Clare was going to take the story. And boy, I was rewarded and crushed. It seemed evident in the previous novel that she was cooking something up between Jem, Will, and Tessa, and the horrors! A love triangle?! Who knew?! But no. Let me stop you there. What Clare wove instead is a positively tragic, complex web between these characters. It’s tangled and twisted and so sad. It’s like… you know the horse you are supposed to be betting on is Will, but you have nothing but love for Jem from book one, and when he finally displays his interest in Tessa openly, you know that it is going to end in pain and suffering for everyone involved, including the dear reader. You would not be wrong, either. Seriously. I think this is probably the first time ever that a love triangle has not grated on me. Instead it broke my heart.

Okay, that is clearly an aspect I can discuss for ages, so let me break away. The characters grow much more into themselves in this one, rounding out and becoming more whole and complete. We discover much about Will and his past, and Jem also has his shining moments. Tessa becomes a far stronger woman than before. Jessamine still works on my absolute last nerve though. There is Charlotte and Henry and some wonderful developments between them, and Sophie grows into a wonderful character to read about. The pages are filled with loads of wheelings and dealings all over the show, and you are so interested to see where it all goes. Let us not overlook our beloved Magnus Bane, who is still just the most fabulous character. I do so love to read about him! I did not think I would love the characters in this like I loved the characters from The Mortal Instruments series, but I was dead wrong about that.

The writing is also really solid, and breezes along. The humour is back in full swing, and there were tons of times where I actually snickered and laughed out loud. It has been entertaining my husband endlessly, who says I am so very expressive when I read.

Sooooooo happy to have read more about parabatai in this one, as anyone who has read my reviews for Clare’s work must know that I am obsessed with the concept.

Needless to say, I was completely taken in with this book. I am in love. I cherished every page as I devoured it, feeling that there was not really filler material, just a story that demanded to be heard. Clockwork Prince is far more character-centric than its predecessor, and I thought it to be most rewarding. I enjoyed the more contained romance within this, and feel Clare did a great job bringing the time to life. Clockwork Prince is well written and tells a beautiful and terribly sad story. Yes, there are developments that are predictable and not shocking, but it does not come across as tired, as you just want to stay with the characters. I highly recommend giving these a read!

February Blind Spot Review: Atonement (2007)

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atonement-poster

“I don’t know how I could’ve been so ignorant about myself… so… so stupid. And you know what I’m talking about, don’t you? You knew before I did.”
– Cecilia Tallis

SYNOPSIS: Fledgling writer Briony Tallis, as a thirteen-year-old, irrevocably changes the course of several lives when she accuses her older sister’s lover of a crime he did not commit. – via IMDB

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GRADE 8.5I have been meaning to watch Atonement for years, and for all sorts of reasons, I never got to it, hence I thought it would be a great addition to my 2017 Blind Spot list. Man, oh man, this movie. My heart! Goodness, there is so much to talk about it, so I suppose I best order my thoughts and try to convey what I felt about this in some form of coherent review. That, and a gif overload. I can’t help it, the movie was beautiful to look at.

James McAvoy is an actor I would watch in anything, and not just for science. The man is ridiculously talented, and this was just another example of how phenomenal he is when he sets his mind to something. I was so taken with his character Robbie. I adored him. I mean wow. Then, opposite him, is Keira Knightley. She is one of those actresses that irrationally annoy the crap out of me (again, thanks for that one Abbi). I don’t know – she’s not a bad actress, but she grates on my last nerve every single time, without fail. Not in Atonement. In fact, I thought she was very well suited to the role.  Knightley and McAvoy have great chemistry and fit together really well, and you are drawn in from the off to see if class was going to be set aside for them to be together. Just watching them was an experience on its own!

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The rest of the cast was incredibly good, too. Saoirse Ronan was excellent as the young Briony Tallis, and demonstrated that even as a young actress, she is a gifted, capable performer. I thought her subsequent counterparts to depict her while ageing were great, as both Ramola Garai and Vanessa Redgrave convincingly looked like her. Benedict Cumberbatch, another actor I adore, made my stomach turn completely here. I mean ick, ick, ick. I knew he was up to no good, but holy crapsticks, you nasty, despicable man! I found it pretty creepy that Juno Temple again played a character that got some nasties done to her by an older man (hem hem Killer Joe).

Anyway, Atonement was truly a heartbreaking story. I felt like the entire world was dark and doomed by the end of it, but I liked it. It was a bit predictable – I wasn’t ever actually shocked, but I was so invested in the outcome, even when I knew how it was supposed to go. That being said, it still had moments to shock you endlessly. The pacing is great because it gets you, and it gets you quickly. Then this story unfolds, flicking between the observations of a child who does not understand what she is seeing, to the actual events taking place. The difference between the two is amazing, and was used perfectly to point out that you don’t always know what you are looking at, and shouldn’t  jump to conclusions.

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I thought that visually, the movie was simply stunning. My word, it was shot well, and was a feast for the eyes, pretty much from the opening scene. So many things came together, and besides the performances and score, you could not overlook the specific shots that came together throughout the movie. There were so many scenes that captured such beauty, but I will just show a few here.

Let’s start with Robbie in the flower fields, it was so peaceful and serene.

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There was the scene with the water bursting into the tunnels, with everything breaking and the newspaper flying out.

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I was particularly fond of the ferris wheel. Everything about this scene just worked, especially with the sun shining through, the bandstand with the soldiers singing, and the smoke rising in the background. So much just came together to give us this.

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Another aspect that just worked was the score. The music set the tone, it did, and I particularly enjoyed the sound of the typewriter keys thwacking away being used to create a score, too. It was original, and so suited for the movie. It was great.

Anyway, as I am sure you can tell, I thoroughly enjoyed Atonement, and did not feel that the predictability of it hurt it at all. A visual feast to behold, with a love story that will make your heart ache and amazing chemistry between Robbie and Cecilia, I would wholeheartedly recommend this movie. Just know that it is a heavy watch, but worth every moment of your time, even if it feels like the world is never really going to be okay again.