Saturday, February 27, 2010

I love you, so I drew these tides of men into my hands and wrote my will across the sky in stars. T.E. Lawrence ~ Weeks 19 and 20

Please forgive me for my absence the past few weeks... I've been completely absorbed by the City of Bones trilogy by Cassandra Clare. This update will serve for all three books because they all blend into one glorious, couldn't-put-me-down, fabulous book!

Before we get started, let me introduce you to my new friend Jace. Jace is a Shadowhunter. Basically, he is part of a special race of "superhumans" tasked by the heavens to protect humankind from the lurking threat of demons. Jace is a badass. His hobbies include music, weapons, and killing demons. Oh and he's extremely good looking, cocky as hell, and looks really good without a shirt on (see above book cover). And he's funny. Gotta love a man with a sense of humor:

"Is this the part where you start tearing off strips of your shirt to bind my wounds? If you wanted me to rip my clothes off, you should have just asked."

I'm not gonna lie - I loved these books from the beginning and part of the reason was JACE!

Now to the rest of the book... Our main character, Clary, is unexpectedly thrown into a fantasy world after her mother is attacked by a demon that enters her apartment one summer night. Clary and her best friend Simon are thrown into a side of her hometown of New York City that she never knew existed - a world where werewolves, faeries, and vampires are a reality. Clary soon finds out that there's more to her seemingly normal upbringing with her mother Jocelyn and their close friend Luke, who raised Clary as if he was her own daughter.

On her journey to rescue her mother, Clary meets the Lightwoods - a family of Shadowhunters and old acquaintances of her mother. She also becomes acquainted with their adopted son, Jace Wayland. The attraction is almost instant. They become thrown together in a frightening and exciting world that Clary didn't even know existed. When Clary discovers that she's related to a notorious and diabolical Shadowhunter who is plotting ruin towards their race - she finds herself thrown into a ruthless battle between good and evil.

The good: A new take on some mythical creatures - vampires, faeries, and werewolves. No sparkly vampires here kids! The faeries were especially creepy... not your glittery, cute and friendly types. Another good thing - awesome characters. And YAY for a book with a strong female lead. I absolutely loved Clary's character. It was refreshing to read a book where the lead had a good head on her shoulders. I also loved Simon; Clary's wise-cracking best friend (who of course is secretly in love with her).

The bad: You won't find any bad here!

The verdict: As hesitant as I was to start reading another YA trilogy... after the first book I couldn't resist. Despite being three books long, you will not tire of this series. You'll probably decide to read it straight through like I did!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

By plucking her petals you do not gather the beauty of the flower. ~ Week 18

So begins the much awaited finale to the Uglies trilogy. I had mixed feelings about beginning this book. To be honest, I was kinda let down by Pretties, the second book in the series. I approached Specials with a little bit of trepidation, but I figured that since I was already "committed" to the series I might as well finish it off. Pretties left me with a lot of unanswered questions: Will Zane and Tally be reunited? Will Tally step up and do the right thing? Tally becomes a Special?

The bad: Annoyed by Tally's flakiness in the first two installements of the trilogy? Hoping that she'll grow up and mature a bit? Well, don't hold your breath. Tally is back in all her flighty glory! Starting out in Uglies, I had a lot of respect for Tally. She was strong and determined. As the series went on, I found her becoming a little bit annoying. Throughout the series, you can see how she goes from being a free-thinker and possibly someone that could lead in a revolution against the "pretties" society, but as it progresses I feel like she lost some of her strength. I was especially disappointed when I picked up Specials in the bookstore and realized by reading the back that Tally ends up becoming a Special. I thought this was kinda strange... seeing as in the first two books she fears and despises Specials. When she finally joins their ranks, I find it unbelievable that she would switch her perspective that easily. See- that's why I think she's flighty.
The good: Everything gets tied up in a pretty little bow for you at the end of Specials. I can respect a book that gives you some semblance of closure. I also have a peeve for books that keep dragging on and on, all for the sake of pumping out another installment in a series. Three seems to max it out for me - after that point you're just trying to get some more book sales (ala Twilight) if you ask me. Westerfield has another book (Extras) that pertains to the world of the Uglies/Pretties, but it centers around a newly introduced character and has a different storyline. Another good thing: action, action, and more action. Westerfield's books rarely leaving you craving some action. They are descriptive, colorful, and would make for an exciting movie. I kept imagining what those hoverboard chases would look like on the big screen.
The verdict: You have to admit- the idea of stunningly gorgeous, fast-as-the-wind, super-humans is kinda fun. Westerfield's Uglies trilogy is definitely catchy and interesting. As far as YA literature goes, I'd recommend it. If you're looking for something with loads action and a little bit of suspense- you won't be disappointed.