I feel like I started to read this years ago and quit because I couldn't understand the odd language. Lo and behold, after several years of Russian St...moreI feel like I started to read this years ago and quit because I couldn't understand the odd language. Lo and behold, after several years of Russian Studies, it all makes so much more sense now. I really finished this five months ago, back in January, but I still haven't entirely determined what I think about it. I do like this edition with the original extended ending much more than the Kubrick style one. Literature can make a point without being entirely devastating and hopeless. While the intense scenes of violence in the book are certainly disturbing, they don't seem to be as bad because of the disconnect in understanding them from the language gap. In the film, where you not only completely understand what is going on but see it in full Kubrick over-the-top glory, it's very difficult to watch. (less)
Aside from being generally depressing and one of those stories that makes you want to lose faith in humanity, this was a very interesting read. Hearin...moreAside from being generally depressing and one of those stories that makes you want to lose faith in humanity, this was a very interesting read. Hearing about the warfare and genocide from the perspective of someone who has gone through it is very different than the third person snippets we usually get through news and documentaries. The most appalling and difficult part to comprehend is how much Ishmael is forced into the situation. It's not a case of a child who made poor choices and ended up in a challenging situation, Ishmael made no choice to go through this hardship. It was forced upon him as a child and he did what he had to to survive. The one main flaw I had with this book was the ending. I'm glad Beah is doing well but we don't get the tail end of the story; how did he find his way to the states? The narrative ended rather abruptly and didn't quite draw to a close. I would have like a more cohesive resolution.(less)
Due to being a crazy person working three jobs and the general insanity of the holidays, I am way behind on my book reviews so now I'm stuck playing c...moreDue to being a crazy person working three jobs and the general insanity of the holidays, I am way behind on my book reviews so now I'm stuck playing catch-up. That being said, I finished reading this about a month ago so I'm fuzzy on the details but I think I remember most of it. Overall, this book was ehh. It wasn't amazing and it wasn't terrible, but there were several aspects of this book that really made me wonder about how it fit into the series overall. I'm still trying to decide whether the second three books needed to be written (or were intended to be) or if it was just a case of milking the cash cow.
The first thing that I'm still struggling with the whole series about is how Simon and his Jewishness fit into things. In some ways, its an innovative idea. If being damned is based on one's religious belief, then how does this affect those not from a Christian background? And what about atheists? Can they not say G-d either? When you're in a universe based upon the existence of demons and angels, the whole existential concept of God has to come into play somewhere. However at the same time, the way Clare goes about it comes off as cliche sometimes. Kinda like 'let me throw in some Hebrew phrases here and there so I seem multicultural and politically correct'. While Simon struggles some with his own spirituality, it seems like his Jewishness is a very base level characterization. Its not something he has a great deal of conviction or belief about; its just a very surface level aspect of who he is and once Clare meets her quota, it conveniently goes away. All this being said, I am kind of a huge fan of the way the plot line worked around the Mark of Cain. It felt right that it be on Simon and keep with Jewish tradition to some extent. It was a very innovative and clever idea on Clare's part and it felt like a natural progression of the storyline rather than something forced. I also like the way that it was resolved so that Simon doesn't remain this immortal day-walking superhero.
There was one part at the beginning that also borderline creeped me out. I get that Clary is all amazing because she can create magicky new runes but Clare went overboard on that in parts. The way this new rune is described is ridiculous. 'simple as a cross' 'new to the world as a just born baby' 'held a sleeping threat' 'born out of rage, guilt and impotent anger'...... WTF?? Honestly, I don't even remember now what the damn rune did. That's a lot of poorly written hype for something so inconsequential. BLEGH
Another problem with this book: Where the hell did the Iron Sisters come from? Clare says they're the female counterpart to the Silent Brothers and that makes sense and all, but why have they not been mentioned until the next to last book in the series? I assume this is a case of 'let me make up a bunch more crap so I can write three more books in this series.' I can give some leeway in world-building being added beyond the first few books but she needed some kind of reason why they just appear out of nowhere.
Another wtf episode in this book: the whole thing about Izzy's parents cheating. It's believable, they just lost a son and everything (although I think the cheating was supposed to have been years before) but why does it matter? Did Clare just feel like adding some more scandal to this book? It doesn't seem relevant at all and the Lightwood parents (esp. the father) aren't very important in the scheme of things. Is this supposed to be for the purpose of developing something in Izzy's character? Yeah, let's just go with that.
And the super WTF scene of this book? The super make-out scene between Jace and Clary. I assumed that Clare kept things PG rated because she's writing for a YA audience and I have to admit, I kind of respected her for it. So much for that.... I guess it's supposed to show that Jace isn't himself.. blah blah blah. But I feel like that was evidently expressed a dozen other ways quite well and that whole super fairy juice make out scene was just unnecessary. Also, aren't they like 17-18. And they're just drinking all this crap like nothing. So much for that stellar example for our youth thing, Clare.
Another thing I never quite 'got' in the book: how Clary notices that Jace is Jace but 'not' Jace. He's different but not possessed different... even though he's kinda possessed by Sebastian. Right? Am I the only one confused at this distinction? And if you can notice something clearly 'off' about your boyfriend/girlfriend, then how on earth can you just make out with them like everything is absolutely normal?
I started off really liking this series. The world drew me in; I liked the characters, even if they are supposedly Harry Potter ripoffs.
[tangent alert] which by the way I never got. If you look closely, you can see some similarities between Jace and Draco but they're not the same at all. They have become differentiated enough that the comparison is a stretch anymore. Also, the obvious Lupin/Luke thing: Both are derivatives of the word lycanthrope so that's where that comes in. And in world where vampires and demons abound, it seems very appropriate to throw some werewolves in the mix. Anyways [tangent over]
So, I started off a pretty enthusiastic fan of the series (even though I haven't seen the movie yet) but it's starting to go downhill for me. I think that somewhere in the middle of the 3rd book, Clare decided that maybe she didn't really want to end it so she left a door open for follow-ups. However, the 4th and especially 5th books in the series are adding some pretty long stretches into believability. One of the best things about this book though, was that it seems Simon is coming into his own more and I'm looking forward to seeing how that plays out.
Okay, end of superlong ramble. Thanks for reading. :D (less)