I did not expect to like this. It was the third vampire book I read in a week. Hey, I was at the beach.
Anyway, I was not sure I would like it at allI did not expect to like this. It was the third vampire book I read in a week. Hey, I was at the beach.
Anyway, I was not sure I would like it at all because by the time I started into the first chapter I felt like I was kind of over it. The whole vampire thing, I mean.
Also, the writing style is so very... modern. At times it reminded me of being a senior in the English department, plowing my way through technically 'edgy' essays and reading the efforts of my fellow students as they tried too hard to be too cool.
But hey, check out those four stars I gave it! That's because I loved it. After a few chapters, my fascination with vampires was renewed. That is really the main positive thing that this book did for me. It took a topic that I used to love (vampires) but was starting to regard as tired and boring and made it totally interesting again. It took me back to childhood memories when vampires were actually terrifying. When my older cousin woke up crying because she dreamt a vampire was in her room. When we used to sleep holding our covers up right below our chins to hide our necks.
This book made me remember that I used to be frightened of vampires. As a child, that is.
I grew up and they got all sexy, rather than dangerous, and tortured rather than downright evil.
Dracula still retains some of that sensuality, but he's more monster than man and that was the main appeal of the book. Once you throw out all the 'romance' associated with this diabolical figure in history you are left with someone very twisted and very scary. It was just raw and felt so real that I was personally in danger of paranoia.
So much of the story takes place in the solid, real world. The 'fantasy' world of the book is built on the same history, the same prejudices and rational of the real world. The vampire myth is offered up with all the fascinating history and religious baggage of Europe held on its shoulders. I loved the history aspects of the book and the careful, deliberate and at times even tedious delicacy with which each piece of evidence was revealed.
It has the subtlety of the best scary stories, it feels like there is a lot of action going on, even though, in retrospect, we (as the readers) were not present during most of the gritty action sequences, vampire attacks, suicide attempts etc... we hear about a lot of that stuff through being told by the characters after the fact. Still, it works.
This book is definitely not for everyone. I felt as if I was chest-deep in detail, or even in danger of asphyxiation, at times. The pacing is slow. Intentionally. It helps that the perspective switches so often, but it is still a whole lot of reading about people reading.
The cultural themes helped to paint the story with richness and vibrancy that is positively charming. The romantic parts of the book were refreshingly dignified and classy. Love is portrayed with realistic innocence and awe, in fact all the relationships in the book are layered with gritty realistic secrets and disagreements and idiosyncrasies as well as deep spiritual and personal ties. The characters are flawed but entirely lovable, they follow you around for a while after you shut the book. ...more
Lemme start out by saying I haven't read and don't know ANYTHING about Cassandra Clare's other books (September 2011 amendment. YES I HAVE! I didn't rLemme start out by saying I haven't read and don't know ANYTHING about Cassandra Clare's other books (September 2011 amendment. YES I HAVE! I didn't realize at the time that this is THAT Cassandra Claire, who wrote the very secret diaries that made me laugh until I seriously had tears streaming down my face and couldn't breathe, and I might have choked on some gum and needed to be resuscitated. Being a fourteen year old teenage girl was really, really great, for that one year. What a priceless sleepover. The Very Secret Diaries (LOTR) were fanfiction, but geez... they were excellent for what they were; very silly, very raunchy, spleen bursting ridiculousness.) I didn't know anything about her published work, except that some of them have something to do with the same world of Clockwork Angel, but in modernish day times? Maybe? I'm purposefully trying not to find out too much in detail. I read this book as a tiny innocent thing of innocence with no prior knowledge of the other series and I don't really plan on reading the other books until I finish with this prologue series first. Right now. I might change my mind. I reserve the right to do so, at least.
Overall, I was really pleased. The most charming thing about the book is the funfunfun dialogue and the characters. The story itself was interesting. I only have one real complaint which is that when Mortmain first came on the scene and gave them information I thought he seemed like too flabby of a red herring and decided that he was properly secretly the big baddy bad guy and then I thought "Nah, give her some credit, she'll do something more interesting. That's dumb."
But... you know... she didn't. That did actually turn out to be the twist and I saw it coming and I was sad about that, because right when the Dark Sisters turned up all necromantic and creepy I thought of an alternative twist that I liked much better. I got really excited about my idea that Magnus Bane was the real Magister and that Mortmain and de Quincey and even Camille were all just his puppets, like maybe de Quincey was going for a power grab, so Magnus used Mortmain and the Shadowhunters to get double revenge and take care of all his enemies in a few, arms-length schemes... I don't know WHY I got so attached to this idea in just the few short pages before the truth all tumbled out. I think it was because I felt like there was something so great and mysterious about Tessa's adventure as Camille. Perhaps Magnus knew that Camille would be able to hide some things from Tessa, or maybe she didn't really know enough about Magnus. He led them right into the library and plus there was the creepy Camille memories. Like maybe he just wanted to get close to Tessa for a minute in the process. Magnus was so subtle. Mortmain went out of his way to be suspicious.
I don't know. None of that turned out to be what was going on, which was disappointing by the time I figured out that Mortmain really was the big baddie.
So, there's my only real complaint. (Just kidding, I also didn't like the last page) we got some set up, so a little hintsie wincie about the next bit and instead it was just a tease. The door shut on us and I was like, "Cheap."
But mostly it was that whole Mortmain thing. I had this whole other ending in my head and it was getting kind of epic and then I had to come back to reality, where the idea I'd already dismissed as too obvious turned out to be real, in all it's anticlimactiosity. Too bad.
However, I love a book that makes me laugh out-loud. I love steam-punk aesthetic and clever, clever heroines who are vulnerable and relatable and love books and have to get saved at the beginning, but by the end they learn how to rescue themselves. Even if they fake their deaths to do it. That was awesome. Can I just say? Favorite!
Also, I was actually surprised that Nathan turned out to be such a little twisted weasel after all. I figured that he had probably been cowardly and neglectful of his sister to a somewhat forgivable degree and I even wondered if he was going to betray her, but I had not correctly gadged to what extent. He hadn't just tripped off the deep end accidentally, he took a diving leap and it shocked me and I sort of loved every minute of it.
As your typical rakish hero Will grew on me and I decided that he was legitimately charming in certain scenes. At first I sort of gagged a bit to myself and hoped I wasn't going to have to endure a few hundred pages of our main chica mooning over this creep, but even his creepiness worked for him. Eventually. Jem. What's not to like? What a fine sympathetic young man. I wanted Thomas to get more screen time, but that didn't work out... I liked the fun bite-sized pieces of everyone's backstory.
So... I'm terrified to continue the series though. I've got high hopes. I want this to progress and really go somewhere. I want the characters to grow and change and not just march in teenage circles, gazing longingly at each other. I'm worried those hopes will be dashed to little bits...
I will not be ruled by fear. I will procure the next book (when it comes out in December) and continue....more