Marked is the first novel in the House of Night vampyre series. It was published in 2007, so I realise I’m a little late jumping on the bandwagon. SadMarked is the first novel in the House of Night vampyre series. It was published in 2007, so I realise I’m a little late jumping on the bandwagon. Sadly, I’m wondering why I bothered at all. There has been a lot of hype surrounding this series, so perhaps I set my expectations a little too high when I started reading, but as I sit here with my fingers hovering over my keyboard I’m lost for positive words.
P.C and Kristen Cast certainly have the right idea, but the execution, in my opinion, is all wrong. In sixteen-year-old Zoey Redbird’s world, vampires (note, with a ‘y’ not an ‘i’) have always existed, and unlike most other vampire novels around at the moment, everyone knows about them. They’re integrated into society, and they even have their own finishing school! Zoey, freshly marked as a fledgling, heads off to the House of Night Finishing School to learn all about being a vampyre.
Vampyre Finishing school isn’t all that different to regular high school. Except classes are at night (because vampyres are naturally nocturnal), and on top of all the regular school stuff, fledglings are required to take classes that will help them harness their powers. Readers follow Zoey as she makes new friends (and enemies) and quickly discovers that her new school is full of very attractive vampyre boys. Suddenly, Zoey feels like she is in high school heaven! But Zoey imprints on her ex-boyfriend, and forms a unique bond with him that is almost impossible to break. Such relationships between human and vampyre for a fledgling of her level are prohibited, however, and our protagonist finds herself in a bit of hot water.
The plot is strong and original enough, so I can understand why so many people are drawn to this novel. I had certainly never entertained the idea of a vampyre finishing school before reading this book. The characters, however, are its downfall. Zoey is little more than a two-dimensional cardboard cut-out. She’s tacky, weak and uninspiring. Being inside her head was frustrating and I found it impossible to lose myself in the story. I didn’t feel like I was sharing her experiences with her, and watching her stumble through one predictable situation after the next got tiring.
Heath – Zoey’s human imprint – displays no remarkable character traits whatsoever. He’s dopey, lazy and is definitely not the kind of boy you’d want as a boyfriend. Apart from the fact that he’s Zoey’s imprint, as an individual character he adds almost nothing to the narrative flow. It would have made for a much more interesting read if Zoey had imprinted on someone with enough brains to actually create some kind of trouble. Heath, however, reminds me a little of a loyal dog: always there, but achieves very little.
On the plus side, the cover art for this book is spectacular. The picture attached to this review does not do it justice. It is simple, yet incredibly eye catching and lures the potential reader into thinking that its pages hold a dark and chilling mystery. Sadly, cover art can be very misleading and this is a perfect of example of why we should never judge a book by its cover....more
Schuyler Van Alen is not just your average run of the mill vampire. She is part of Manhattan’s most popular and elite of all Blue Blood vampires, andSchuyler Van Alen is not just your average run of the mill vampire. She is part of Manhattan’s most popular and elite of all Blue Blood vampires, and life for Schuyler just became very, very complicated. She isn’t like the other vampires in her society – they all remember the details of their past lives, they all know where they come from. Schuyler, however, is a new spirit. She has no memories of her previous lives because this life is her first. As if being a teenager isn’t hard enough, the third instalment in Melissa De La Cruz’s Blue Bloods vampire series – Revelations – finds Schuyler tackling problems that transcend your regular teenage, adolescent dramas. Or do they?
After the death of her Grandmother, Schuyler suddenly finds herself living with the Force’s, against her will. Waking up to the sound of Mimi Force’s voice every morning isn’t exactly Schuyler’s idea of fun. It’s bad enough that she has to see Mimi every day at school, now that the two girls are permanent housemates, Schuyler’s home-life has taken a turn for the worse. To make things even more complicated, living with the Force’s also means sharing a roof with the one boy that Schuyler loves more than life itself. Shame that Jack Force is Mimi’s “twin”, and her destined life partner. Jack and Mimi share a bond so strong that such a bond has never been successfully broken in all of vampire history. Devoted fans, however, would be well aware of the growing sexual tension between Jack and Schuyler. Will living in the same house finally tip their attraction over the edge? And if so, what would be the cost? These were definitely the questions burning on my lips as I picked up this novel, and while I can safely say that Revelations does in fact reveal some of the answers the fandom seek, closure on the matter seems a long way off. As the epilogue comes to a close, I couldn’t help but feel that the narrative does a one-eighty, and readers end up back at the beginning, asking the same questions, pondering the outcome in much the same way we were at the end of Masquerade.
While it has never been easy to like Mimi, readers might be surprised to find Schuyler is a little less likable than she was in previous novels. I hope for the sake of our protagonist that the questionable decisions she makes in Revelations are simply the result of immature, adolescent hormones, rather than a complete shift in her character and personality.
As I turned the last page, I found myself exhaling and feeling slightly frustrated that I would most likely have to wait an entire year for the next instalment. But I have to give De La Cruz props for her focus on action and drama. So much happens in such a short space of time that dwelling on specific events is never really an option. And although I feel a little ripped off in terms of closure, it is that exact feeling that will undoubtedly find me hanging for the next novel....more
Vampire Academy is the first novel in an ongoing series and is narrated through the eyes of Rose Hathaway. She’s a Guardian-in-training and it is herVampire Academy is the first novel in an ongoing series and is narrated through the eyes of Rose Hathaway. She’s a Guardian-in-training and it is her job to protect Lissa Dragomir – who is not only a Moroi Princess, but also Rose’s best friend. But Rose is not your average student Guardian. She can see inside Lissa’s mind and can feel all of her best friend’s emotions. And Lissa is pretty special too; she has very rare healing abilities that have only been seen a couple of times in all of vampire history. Oh yes, and they’re both heartbreakingly stunning. The boys love them, and the girls love to hate them.
Rose is a likeable enough character. She’s sassy, feisty and fiercely loyal. She’s quick to fly off the handle, so Vampire Academy is never without at least a little action. And it’s certainly not without its romance. Rose has a bit of a reputation as a player, but that’s the thing about reputations – you can never really tell if their genuine or made from gossip. Will her reputation deter Dimitri – her Guardian mentor – or will he allow himself to make up his own mind?
Rose’s mental connection with Lissa is an interesting narrative tool which allows readers to follow Lissa’s story quite closely, too. Because Rose feels all that Lissa does, readers are also invited to identify with her, as well as Rose. For me, however, Lissa proved to be nothing more than a shallow narrative agent which provides conflict and drama for Rose to deal with.
Unfortunately, Rose’s voice did not draw me in to the point where I was utterly hooked. It would be unfair to say that I was bored, because I wasn’t, but I certainly had to concentrate on the reading process. I had to force myself to become invested in the story and develop a connection with the characters.
If someone gave me the sequels, I’d read them. However, I’m in no rush to go out and buy them for myself. Vampire Academy is not a bad read, but it’s certainly nothing to brag to your friends about....more
High school is nearly over and Jason can’t wait to start college. Playing basketball at a college level has always been a dream of his; he’s even gotHigh school is nearly over and Jason can’t wait to start college. Playing basketball at a college level has always been a dream of his; he’s even got a scholarship and all. But then Jason decides that he can’t bear to hide his sexuality anymore and comes out to his team and his classmates. Eventually word gets out that he’s dating Kyle and in a moment of victorious joy after a smashing win on the court, Jason is captured by local television cameras giving his boyfriend a celebratory kiss. Soon after, Jason’s life takes an awful turn and he receives a letter revoking his scholarship. Jason’s folks recently split up and he knows that without that scholarship, there is no way that Jason’s Ma can afford to send him away to college. There go his plans for an awesome college basketball career. And what about Kyle? They were going to college together. How is he supposed to tell Kyle that they’ll be apart next year?
Little does he know that Kyle is harboring a secret of his own. Kyle wants nothing more than to move away and start life afresh with Jason next year. In fact, it’s all he’s wanted since he and Jason started dating. But then Kyle receives an offer of a lifetime: he’s accepted to Princeton University. Kyle applied to Princeton before he started dating Jason, but now things have changed. He loves Jason. He wants to be with Jason forever. More to the point, he doesn’t want to be apart from Jason next year. How is that supposed to happen when they’re both going to different colleges in different states? There are plenty of colleges in the country, but there’s only one Jason. What will Kyle do?
Meanwhile, Nelson is having problems of his own. He’s mad at Kyle, for one. If Kyle accepts his offer from Princeton, all of Nelson’s college plans will be ruined. Kyle and Nelson were supposed to go to Tech together. It’s the only reason Nelson even applied to Tech. What is the point of going to Tech if his best friend isn’t with him?
Like Jason and Kyle, Nelson has finally found love. Jeremy is cute, sweet, and just a little bit older than Nelson. However, Jeremy is HIV positive. At first, Nelson doesn’t seem to care. Much to Kyle’s horror, Nelson isn’t being as careful with Jeremy as he should be. Nelson just wants to be with Jeremy and doesn’t think he should be treated differently because of his illness. But then Jeremy gets sick one day while they’re making out and Nelson gets a first hand account of what dealing with HIV can be like. Is he ready to be with someone so sick? And what kind of person does that make him if he’s not?
Being a teenager is hard enough; being a gay teenager can be hell. But as Jason, Kyle, and Nelson prove, friendship and love can conquer all kinds of hate, all kinds of challenges. Alex Sanchez’s characters are so alive in my mind they could literally walk off the page. Their individual struggles are presented in simple terms, allowing the reader to form their own opinion about the way the events are presented. Sanchez has a real knack for telling it like it is without telling you how you should feel about it. He’s a supremely talented writer and I think all teens should make the effort to read one – or all – of his books....more
Wow. I mean, just wow. I’m in shock, I think. I finished reading The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness about forty minutes ago and I just can’Wow. I mean, just wow. I’m in shock, I think. I finished reading The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness about forty minutes ago and I just can’t get my brain to work. I’m stuck in time, my thoughts frozen on the last sentence of the novel, my mouth hanging wide open in the shape of an O.
I’ve been reading a lot lately, devouring books faster than I can get my hands on them, but nothing – I repeat nothing – stands out nearly half as much as this book does. It’s profound, it’s remarkable, it’s downright captivating.
Imagine living in a world where women no longer exist. In fact, they’ve been extinct for so long that you’ve never ever seen one with your own two eyes. Well, that’s what life is like for twelve, almost thirteen-year-old Todd Hewitt. When his people settled in Prenticetown, New World, they had no idea that they were settling in a place full of disease. Before long all the men had contracted The Noise – the ability to hear the thoughts of everyone around them – and the women started dropping off like flies. Todd’s mother died just after she had him, and so did all the other women, which makes Todd the youngest, and last person born in Prenticetown.
In a town where everyone can hear everyone’s thoughts (including animals), there is never a moment of peace. Not ever. So when Todd stumbles upon a hole in all the noise, a patch of quiet, he knows something is very wrong. Everyone hears the quiet in his thoughts and suddenly Todd finds himself being chased out of town. Only, Todd didn’t really know there was an out of town. Suddenly, nothing makes sense.
While being pursued he stumbles across the quiet patch again, only to discover that the quiet is actually a she, a girl. And he can’t hear a single thought passing through her mind. But all the women died, didn’t they? If so, then what the hell is this thing in front of him? It must be an alien – a spackle – right? Wrong. It only takes Todd a few moments to realize that this is no spackle, and that he really is looking at a girl, for real. But where did she come from? And how did she survive the disease? Unfortunately, Todd and Viola (the girl) don’t really have time to get to know each other because all of Prenticetown is looking for him, looking for her. Todd’s life takes on a new meaning as he realizes that he must protect Viola at all costs. If the army catches up with them, they’ll kill her and they’ll kill him too.
Suddenly, as the truth about his people’s real past comes out, Viola and Todd realize that the only thing they have left is each other. Their survival depends on the other’s commitment to keep them alive. The Knife of Never Letting Go is a story full of betrayal, deceit, and the painful realization that the human race is capable of some seriously profound acts of evil. Everywhere Todd and Viola go, destruction seems to follow them. They realize they can’t go into any more settlements because the army tears through soon after, leaving a trail of destruction in its wake. When they make the choice to avoid all further settlements, in all circumstances in order to protect civilians from unnecessary harm, readers learn that perhaps, just maybe, there is a little bit of good left in humanity after all.
The companionship that develops between Todd and Viola is heart warming, to say the least. Their instinctual, primal desire to survive is what brings them together, but it’s their friendship that ultimately keeps them fighting, keeps them alive. They not only want to stay alive for themselves, but they want to stay alive for each other, too. Because really, a life without companionship isn’t a life worth fighting for. The moment Todd realizes this is both beautiful and poetic, and I found myself feeling a little choked up, searching for tissues.
Patrick Ness’s phonetic use of language really helps set the tone of the story, and assists in building clear, perfect images of the characters in question. When Todd finds Viola, it is instantly clear she’s not from his planet because she pronounces words differently to him. I normally find phonetic manipulation of language like this annoying as it tends to slow down my reading process, and interrupts the narrative flow of things. The phonetic manipulation in The Knife of Never Letting Go, however, makes for effortless, colorful reading.
The Knife of Never Letting Go is nothing short of brilliant. Every page brings with it new revelations, new drama, deeper character development. Just when you think the book can’t possibly get any better, Ness raises the bar and takes the story to a whole new level of greatness. Reading this novel has been a real pleasure, and one that I know I’ll repeat many times over in the months to come. To say that I am eagerly awaiting the second instalment of this story is the understatement of the century....more
Being a novel about sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll, I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone comes with an explicit content warning, as all good rock ‘n’ roll storiBeing a novel about sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll, I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone comes with an explicit content warning, as all good rock ‘n’ roll stories should. It is the tale of Emily Black, a messed up teenager from Carlisle that channels herself through her guitar.
Emily is one of those tortured artist types. When she was just a baby, her mother left her with her father to ‘follow the dream’ and chase the punk scene around the country. Now Emily is a teenager and her mother still has not returned. Although she won’t admit it, Emily is hurting and she’s angry – very angry. She is feisty, cold, incapable of loving, and charged with way too much self-confidence. She’s got a vile mouth and she’s one of those teenagers that get involved in adult things way too early. She lost her virginity at fourteen, she first got drunk at twelve, she smokes, takes drugs and sleeps around.
Emily’s life goal is to make music. She doesn’t have a backup plan because she doesn’t need one; she’s going to make it as a rock star and that’s all there is to it. Luckily her best friend is the best drummer Emily has ever met, and together they’re practically unstoppable. They recruit Tom – a kid from the school band – to play bass and before they know it they’ve got interstate gigs, and people are calling out their names on the street.
Sounds very glamorous and feel-good, right? Wrong. There is nothing feel-good about this novel. Its edgy, hard and I squirmed uncomfortably as I flipped through the pages. As painstaking as that was, I was unable to stop reading. Emily is such an emotionally closed character and her pain weighed heavily on my heart all the way through.
The novel also follows Louisa – Emily’s mother – on her journeys around the country. The victim of a horrible crime, Louisa runs far and wide so she doesn’t have to emotionally process what happened to her. I’m sure many readers will feel sorry for Louisa as they engage in her story, yet I found myself unable to do so. She’s weak, whiny, and cowardly. Her reasons for leaving her family behind are a little pathetic and completely unforgivable.
Kuehnert’s love for music bleeds from the pages of this book. Her knowledge is extensive and her passion is blindingly obvious. As far as debut novels go, this one is pretty spectacular. Kuehnert’s prose is strong and she manipulates the English language like Emily manipulates her guitar: perfectly and poetically. Her characters are vibrant, three dimensional, and complex; and they prove that even bad girls make for excellent literary reads. Relating to Emily was difficult, but empathising with her was not.
If you love music, if you like your books a little on the rusty, edgy side, if you enjoy reading about strong, angsty female characters, then I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone is the novel for you. We give it two very big thumbs up here at yaReads and we can’t wait for whatever comes next from Stephanie Kuehnert....more
Short stories have never really been my cup of tea. Just when I’m getting attached to the characters, just when I’m immersing myself in the plot, everShort stories have never really been my cup of tea. Just when I’m getting attached to the characters, just when I’m immersing myself in the plot, everything gets wrapped up really quickly and then it’s all over. I like to spend time getting to know my characters, spend time losing myself in the story. Yet the thought of a book containing works from authors like Scott Westerfeld, Justine Larbalestier, Melissa Marr, Gabrielle Zevin and Laurie Faria Stolarz was too good to pass on, and I felt like I just had to give Love is Hell a go.
The title says it all. Each story has some kind of supernatural, warped love story at its centre. Each writer brings something unique and different to the compilation, showcasing a whole variety of characters. Out of the five stories, two in particular – Scott Westerfeld’s ‘Stupid Perfect World’ and Melissa Marr’s ‘Love Struck’ – stood out for me.
Stupid Perfect World is set in the future. The humans take ‘vitamins’ which help alter the human body so things like excessive emotions are kept in check, sleep is not only unnecessary but also unheard of, and disease and illness are non-existent. In Scarcity class, Keiren has to choose a condition from the ‘olden days’ to experience and report on. Inspired by Hamlet and never having slept a day in his life, Keiren decides to give the whole sleeping thing a go. Maria, Keiran’s classmate decides to turn off her hormonal balancers so she can experience the full force of teen angst. Stupid Perfect World follows the pair as they progress through their projects. The ending – which I’m not going to divulge – has a healthy dose of the warm fuzzies and left me smiling like a goofy kid. I fell in love with Keiran instantly, and developed a soft spot for Maria just as quickly. More importantly, I got everything I wanted from this story and as Westerfeld brought the tale to a close, I found myself feeling completely satiated.
Melissa Marr’s ‘Love Struck’ is the tale of Alana, an average teenage girl who is forced into courting Murrin, a Selchie from the sea. On the way home from a party one night Alana steps on Murrin’s discarded skin, therefore binding her to him indefinitely. Murrin hadn’t intended for Alana to step in his skin; he wanted her to fall in love with him naturally, but of course, in matters of love, things never go as planned. Alana is angry that she has been lured into such a commitment and resents Murrin’s advances initially. But like all fey folk, Murrin’s allure is too seductive to ignore. Love Struck follows Alana’s journey as she falls in love with Murrin, both cosmically and naturally. Melissa Marr writes beautifully and I found myself going back to the beginning to read it again as soon as I finished. Like all of her fey characters, Murrin made my stomach flutter and my heart beat just a little faster. He’s sweet, sexy and everything a girl could possibly want in a boyfriend.
Love is Hell is an easy read. I was pleasantly surprised when I realised that short stories can be just as great as lengthy novels – you just have to read the right ones, by good, talented authors!...more
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian is absolutely, positively, undeniably one of the best books I’ve read for a good long while. If it werThe Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian is absolutely, positively, undeniably one of the best books I’ve read for a good long while. If it were possible for a book to stop traffic, this would be the one to do it.
Arnold Spirit doesn’t want to end up like the rest of his community. He has big dreams for himself; he wants to leave the reservation and give life a good go. So he asks his parents if he can go to the rich, white school on the other side of the reservation border. When they say yes, Arnie’s life changes enormously.
Suddenly he doesn’t fit in anywhere. The kids on the reservation think he’s a traitor, and the kids at his new school think he’s an outsider. Arnie’s life is one complex day after another. But then things start to change. Penelope – the most popular girl in school – takes an interest in him, and suddenly he’s asked to try out for the basketball team. As it turns out, Arnie is a pretty good ball player, which does wonders for his popularity status. Then Arnie’s new team comes up against his old team for the show down of a lifetime. How will Arnie deal with the confrontation?
Although it does so in a highly entertaining and comedic way, this novel deals with some serious issues. On the reservation, Arnie is surrounded by family members and friends who all abuse alcohol and drugs. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian addresses the serious, life-changing consequences of such social problems. Although Arnie tends to trivialise these things through humor, the gravity and dangers associated with drug and alcohol abuse is certainly not lost within this story. I therefore insert my tear-jerker warning here. Tears from some readers are highly possible.
Ellen Forney’s illustrations add immeasurable worth to this story. They’re funny, descriptive, and provide an extra layer that words alone could never achieve. They’re definitely the icing on this already utterly hilarious cake.
Arnie’s voice is likeable and easily relatable. Even if you’re not a Native American Indian, even if you know nothing about Indian culture, I’m almost certain you will be able to find something of yourself in Arnie. If there were more kids like Arnie around, the world would be a better place.
You’ll laugh your hearts out; you’ll cry enough to fill a fish tank. Reading The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian is an emotional journey that everyone everywhere should experience. It’s a serious story told through a pair of not-so-serious eyes, making it easily digestible and readily accessible to all. This is definitely a book I can see myself coming back to over and over....more
The Hunger Games is the first novel in a planned trilogy, and what a ride it is!
In Katniss Everdeen’s world, the government randomly chooses one boy aThe Hunger Games is the first novel in a planned trilogy, and what a ride it is!
In Katniss Everdeen’s world, the government randomly chooses one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen from each of the twelve districts in her country to participate in the Hunger Games. The “Tributes” as they’re called, are then taken to the Capitol and thrown into a huge arena which is set up to simulate the wilderness they live in. From then on, it’s pretty much a kill or be killed situation, and the last Tribute alive wins – obviously.
When Katniss wakes up on the day of the Reaping, she never thought her own sister would be the Tribute selected from her district. In an effort to save Prim’s life, Katniss volunteers herself instead. And so the Hunger Games begin…
This novel is a real page-turner. I started reading early in the afternoon, and I was physically incapable of putting it down. Instead of showering, I ran myself a bath so I could cleanse and read at the same time. I skipped lunch and dinner and refused to go to bed until it was over.
Katniss is a strong character, and her resourcefulness is inspiring. She understands the essence of the game; she knows that unless she wins, she’s going to die. Her focus does not waiver and she does not allow her emotions to control her actions. Yet the value of human life is not lost on Katniss, as it appears to be on her fellow Tributes. Where they kill ruthlessly in their own quests for survival, Katniss has a different strategy.
What I like about Katniss, however, is that she is smart, yet not cocky. She is confident in her abilities, yet humble when it counts. She is a thinker, but does not allow her ponderous thoughts to cloud her judgement. She appreciates the value of friendship and family, but she is definitely more than capable of standing on her own two feet. She is a strong, independent and utterly likeable character.
Girls, if you’re looking for a book that empowers your womanhood, look no further. If Katniss can, you can too! And boys, don’t despair. While this story is narrated through a female’s perspective, there is so much action in The Hunger Games I doubt you’ll ever feel bored. Katniss’s narration is far from the girly girl slang that seems to be saturating Young Adult bookshelves these days and reading through this particular girl’s eyes wont be a problem for you.
Not only does Collins really capture the essence of good characterization in this novel, but she proves to readers that she really is a master of the English language. Her prose is beautiful, creative and full of powerful imagery. It was hard to believe that I wasn’t actually in that arena with Katniss, watching her on her travels.
I take my hat off to you Suzanne Collins – the world needs more writers like you!...more
John Green is no stranger to praise. His previous novels, Looking for Alaska and An Abundance of Katherines scored much recognition, and won many awarJohn Green is no stranger to praise. His previous novels, Looking for Alaska and An Abundance of Katherines scored much recognition, and won many awards. The hype surrounding his new novel, Paper Towns, is huge. Everyone knows someone that has read it, or knows someone who wants to read it. So when I picked up the three hundred odd page novel I had super high expectations. That’s the problem with expectations: as soon as you expect something, you’re almost always going to be disappointed. And I was, but not for any reason that I can justify. I think I thought it was going to be breathtakingly mesmerising from the very first word. In all the hysteria, I forgot that a novel needs to lay its foundations and introduce its characters to the reader before any kind of connection or relationship is achieved. Once I remembered all these things, I let my preconceived ideas dissipate and found myself really enjoying everything Paper Towns had to offer.
Paper Towns is narrated through Quentin’s point of view. His neighbour – and long time crush – Margo Roth Speigelman has a thing for running away from home. When she disappears again, everyone is upset, but no one is surprised. Only this time it is different, and Quentin thinks Margo wants him to find her. He uncovers some clues, which he believes she deliberately planted for him, and begins piecing all of them together. While Quentin spends the final months of his senior year looking for Margo, the rest of his friends spend their final months preparing for prom and revelling in the fact that their high school days are finally numbered. Quentin becomes totally consumed with finding Margo and misses out on all kinds of experiences (like graduation) as he follows dead end lead, after dead end lead. He starts to wonder all kinds of crazy things, like whether or not he’ll find her alive, or whether he’ll ever find her at all.
Quentin is an incredibly likeable character. He’s compassionate, dedicated to his cause, and everybody’s best friend. Margo, on the other hand, I found harder to care about. Although she is gone for a lot of the novel, readers learn a lot about her through the clues that Quentin uncovers on his journey. From my vantage point, Margo is conceited, superficial, melodramatic and not worthy of Quentin’s affections at all. I found myself wishing that he’d stop looking for her and just let himself enjoy the last few months of high school with his friends. But if I’m honest with myself, Quentin’s supreme dedication to find her, dead or alive, is one of the characteristics that I admired about him most.
In the end, although none of them really think they’re going to find her, all of Quentin’s friends forfeit their graduation ceremony so they can accompany him on a last ditched effort to follow a lead. They end up in a car headed for New York. It’s during this trip that readers are really exposed to the true strengths of friendships, relationships, love and loss. The road trip to New York is my favorite part of the novel and I found myself re-reading several pages because I was so touched by some of the words and actions of the individual characters. I’m not going to tell you whether they actually find Margo or not, because that would ruin the ending for you all. But I am going to tell you that I think Margo is someone that will always run, will always look for the quickest escape route when anything gets tough. She’s one of those girls that lack the strength of character to look life in the face and deal with its raw and brutal consequences.
This was my first experience reading a John Green novel and I can happily say that it will not be my last. There is a little something for everyone in this novel, with action, drama, romance and real life experiences and emotions spread across its pages for all to absorb. yaReads give you two very big thumbs up, John Green. Two very big thumbs indeed!...more
Fans of the first book – City of Bones – are going to love this. City of Ashes is masterfully suspenseful, and utterly engaging. If you became emersedFans of the first book – City of Bones – are going to love this. City of Ashes is masterfully suspenseful, and utterly engaging. If you became emersed in the characters’ respective stories in book one, then I can safely say that their individual journeys in City of Ashes will leave you speechless.
What would you do if you were in love with your brother or sister? How confusing, how scary would that be for you? Welcome to the world of Jace and Clary. Of course, when they fell for each other they had no idea they were related. As I’m sure you can imagine, City of Ashes finds things between Jace and Clary a little on the tense side.
Although she is trying really hard, Clary is unable to stop thinking about Jace in a romantic capacity. She tries distracting herself with a new boyfriend, but that doesn’t really work out for her. And Jace, well he deals with it just like everyone expects him to: he tries alienating Clary in every possible way. However, just when readers think that all hope is lost, Jace comes face to face with the original fear demon and we learn that he’s really more in love with Clary than ever before. Everything is a mess, and they’re both unbearably confused.
So what do two kids in this situation do? How long can they keep denying each other? And is it so wrong to act on their feelings, even though society says it is? These are the questions the narrative poses as they tackle their demons – both real and metaphorical. Readers will be stunned, joyed, and totally peeved all at the same time by the outcome.
To make matters worse for Clary and Jace, their father is causing trouble for the Clave, and Jace finds himself in all sorts of strife. Clary does what she can to help him, but how much can you really help a stubborn kid like Jace? And will this only get Clary in trouble too? Valentine’s involvement in this novel will reveal some impressive, yet anxious plot twists and turns.
Some of the secondary characters take a nice big step forward in this book. Although readers were told Alec was gay back in book one, here in City of Ashes, proof is served up on a shiny, glittery, half Asian platter otherwise known as Magnus Bane. I’m either the most naïve person on the planet, or Cassandra Clare did a really good job of hiding the hints that these two were dating within the pages of her story. Magnus is just what Alec needs; he’s got spunk, he’s carefree and he’s very into Alec. So what is stopping Alec from really opening himself up to Magnus, and will Alec get himself together in time? My heart goes out to you Magnus Bane, and I can’t wait to read your story in book three.
Simon – Clary’s best friend – goes through some changes of his own. Totally in love with Clary, Simon finds it difficult to be around Jace. Simon is more perceptive than everyone gives him credit for, and he can see the deep connection Jace and Clary share.
And it burns him up inside.
His anger, his confusion and his self-pity lead him into a place of darkness, and he makes some choices that will change his life – forever.
The reality of growing up is intricately woven into the supernatural elements of this story. The magic, the drama and the fantasy are all portrayed so clearly that its easy to forget that this is just fiction.
Cassandra Clare’s prose is flawless, engaging and a pleasure to read. My enthusiasm for this series increases with every single read through. Like so many others, I am eagerly awaiting the arrival of the third installment. March 09 can’t get here fast enough....more