Speed Review: The Mermaid's Mirror is an impressive, wonderful novel that sucks The Reader in with its charming, developed characters and its exposure to the fascinating, magical world of the merfolk. Madigan cleverly explores a whole new and creative concept that suits YA fantasy extremely well. Go along with Lena to uncover startling, hidden truths, heartbreaking pasts and circumstances, a mesmerizing (yet a tad speedy) love, and an otherworldly, wonder-inducing species that haven't been touched upon very often in the YA genre.
In-Depth Review for the Curious Reader: *warning: it is possible that the following review will have spoiler-y content* This was my first mermaid-themed YA novel, and I have to say that I'm not disappointed in the least (a little exasperated, but that's not so bad). Lena is a character that I can find anywhere, at school, in my neighborhood, whatever. And I like that, that she's somewhat like every other teenager, because that incites a feeling of...connection, making her likable.
Reading as Lena uncovered the truth had been exciting and tense! I wanted to know why she had this keen sense of loss and aching, searching for something that wasn't there, why she didn't feel like she belonged more so than the average teenager. And even though The Reader could kind of already figure out the whole big mystery, that The Reader already sorta knew what was going on, did NOT take away from the impact of her discovery, which was astonishing considering.
I enjoyed getting involved with the characters also. They were just a really cool, really fun bunch of people, even if The Reader couldn't get inside their heads, discover their true feelings. The cast was still developed and managed to be real and amusing, which is after all my cup of tea. And going back to the merfolk, the characters in that world were pretty great too! They were so different (a little bit of understatement) from us humans, that learning about them, diving (metaphorically, of course) into their world kept me a) motivated to continue reading and invested in the story and b) oddly fascinated by this whole other place deep within the ocean. It was new, and dare I say exhilarating...
The romance was good, but a little speedy. Lena initially has a boyfriend, Kai, and their relationship I adored mainly because they actually knew each other and their was some substance there. Nix, while sexy and smokin', paired up with Lena was um...hot and romantic, BUT I still need to see some depth, a connection and understanding, which I didn't find.
I loved the writing in this book as well! It was thorough, descriptive when necessary, and set in the third person POV...what could be better, right? But, the true reason why this novel didn't land a five straight out was because of the ending. I was more than a little frustrated, but besides that I was slightly confused by it. Going back to the romance with Nix, I expected her to be a little more...I don't know, upset by their separation! I don't believe that she'd have to go all Bella Swan on me, wallowing in absolute depression, but she seemed vivacious where she should be sad as she had claimed to be completely in love with him...So, that I didn't get. But, other than that (hopefully) mild complaint, The Mermaid's Mirror is definitely worth the time it takes to read it. ...more
Is it me or does it feel like this series has been dragging on forever? To the point where you almost want to stop reading it?Told ya, more vampires!
Is it me or does it feel like this series has been dragging on forever? To the point where you almost want to stop reading it? I don't know, I feel exactly like that. And with the stakes higher and more deaths, I can't help but get a little turned off. And this eighth book didn't show me anything that reestablishes my love for this series. Which is sad, really, because I used to be sooo into it. However, unfortunately, I skimmed through a large chunk of the book as consequence from being either a) bored, b) interested in something else, or c) pissed and/or sad. Awakened is a little bit of a tear-jerker, I'll tell you that.
All my hopes, which have manifested since the last book, seem to come true... but at what cost? Loss strikes one of my favorite sets of teens again in Awakened, not pulling any punches whatsoever. It hits below the belt, and was very unwanted. But that's about all I can rant about that without giving anything away, so let me shut up...
Zoey Redbird. *sighs* You leave me conflicted, you do. In the beginning, I remember loving Zoey like crazy, but, these days, I'm not really feeling her actions or her narration for that matter. I only really get interested when James Stark is involved (Team Stark, raise your hands!). I've actually grown to love Aphrodite and Stevie Rae infinitely more, so much so that I wish they had more of the spotlight. Still, all of the things that I adored about these characters really shows itself in this installment. When any member of the team needs support the most, they don't hold back and answer unreservedly without question. I was struck with that familiar sensation of Go Team! and caught myself nearly fist-pumping.
Still, it wasn't enough to make up for the dig-in-your-toes-so-drag story line. I mean, when does it end? When can we expect these teens to hand out misery to Miss Villain instead of the other way around? Why is each book thus far about one of the following: recuperation, loss, sex, and tangled-up relationships? Why are these latest books so focused on these aspects instead of centering on the characters working to bring down Miss Villain? I don't appreciate the lack of plot direction. I don't like feeling like I'm being pulled along for the ride so I can finally finish it, half not wanting to. Like I have to go on with the series. By this point, I'm no longer in love with the books and Awakened, I think, played a huge role in that definite absence of feeling.
Instead of convincing me of its greatness, I'm stuck with an undesirable plot device to stretch out the story, and, as much as I adore these characters, I'm getting tired of these books that are full of situations in which the good guys consistently get slapped around with no real retaliation to the darker forces. I want more action, more magic, and waaay more battling! No more moral conflicts, healing, or philosophical crap to egg the story on. I want the good guys to defeat Miss Villain, get their happy endings, and move on with their lives. Awakened initially got me motivated and excited, only to end in tragic failure of luring me deeper into the series. Now more than ever I want to pull away.
I really hope that these last set of books change that. That I won't be disappointed. Things for the House of Night aren't looking up, and I need that to change soon. Otherwise, I don't think I can take anymore heart-twisting situations to keep the story going. Just finish already!
If you've watched the above video, you'll see that the handbook looks pretty neat. It has a lot of great pictures, mostly depicting ancient paintings and artifacts, which aroused my interest while reading. The thing I found the coolest about this first guide into the HoN series was it being written as though you are a student in the House of Night, as if you're a fledgling making the transition to adult vampyre. It talks a lot about what happens, in terms of biology, when you are Marked and are making the Change. It goes onto the rituals performed throughout HoN, their histories, the priestesses who performed them over the centuries. The handbook then proceeds to talk about human connection to vampyre history, the vampyres as a whole, and how the stories and myths humans grow up with aren't actually the entire truth. The story that held the most appeal for me would be "The Tragedy of Pompeii", where the story of Theodora and Antonia is told. The love between Theodora and her warrior; the bond of sisterhood, of twins; the selfish Brutus whose madness cost many; and the unexpected outburst of the "brooding mountain" Vesuvius that consumed "Pompeii and Herculaneum, [where] so many human consorts [died] that it is said that an uncountable number of vampyres lost their lives that day attempting to save their humans from death..." (106), makes for an incredibly woven tragedy story by the remarkable P.C. Cast.
When I was done reading it, I did feel that I gained some, if only small, previously unknown knowledge of the vampyres of the House of Night. I'm glad that I have the Fledgling Handbook 101 in my possession, a new addition to my growing collection of this amazing series. ...more
Clockwork Angel (Book 1/3) Author: Cassandra Clare (@ LJ/Website) Release Date: 8/31/10 Publisher: Simon & Schuster Age Group: Ages 14+ (YA) Source: Bought (Amazon) Go Buy It! Amazon/Barnes&Noble/BookDepository Rating: ☺☺☺☺☺- Stunning and fascinating!
"Magic is dangerous--but love is more dangerous still.
When sixteen-year-old Tessa Gray crosses the ocean to find her brother, her destination is England, the time is the reign of Queen Victoria, and something terrifying is waiting for her in London's Downworld, where vampires, warlocks and other supernatural folk stalk the gaslit streets. Only the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the world of demons, keep order amidst the chaos.
Kidnapped by the mysterious Dark Sisters, members of a secret organization called The Pandemonium Club, Tessa soon learns that she herself is a Downworlder with a rare ability: the power to transform, at will, into another person. What's more, the Magister, the shadowy figure who runs the Club, will stop at nothing to claim Tessa's power for his own.
Friendless and hunted, Tessa takes refuge with the Shadowhunters of the London Institute, who swear to find her brother if she will use her power to help them. She soon finds herself fascinated by--and torn between--two best friends: James, whose fragile beauty hides a deadly secret, and blue-eyed Will, whose caustic wit and volatile moods keep everyone in his life at arm's length...everyone, that is, but Tessa. As their search draws them deep into the heart of an arcane plot that threatens to destroy the Shadowhunters, Tessa realizes that she may need to choose between saving her brother and helping her new friends save the world...and that love may be the most dangerous magic of all."
Plot & Ending: I loved this book. It was nicely paced, enough that when you're reading it you don't even notice how many pages you're turning. I didn't put this book down unless I absolutely had to.
First off, who wasn't fascinated by the Victorian Era? Top hats, waistcoats, carriages, the dark, polluted sky of London, wonderful. Ms. Clare really takes us back in time, to the late-1870s to be exact, and uses vivid details to describe to us the time period. The hardships and struggles of the discriminated. The etiquette and demeanor of the general population. And there is the shocking transition from the then Shadowhunters to the now ones.
*shivers* Oh, dear me, Shadowhunters. No matter the time period, they manage to intimidate you and bewitch you. Come on. Those fighting sequences, particularly the ones featuring Jem and Will *cough*. The eighteenth century automatons, the whole not born of heaven or hell concept was a nice touch. It was definitely creepy, too. When you read this, avoid doing so in the dark, especially when you're alone.
As always, when reading a Clare original, as a reader, I imagined myself wrapped around her little pinky finger. Why? Because of all those twists and turns. Those shocking revelations. The angst and drama. The irritation and anger felt toward certain *sneeze* Will *sneeze* characters. As for the end, without giving away too much, I wonder what's up with Will. I have some theories, but his desperation and urgency still puzzles me.
Characters: So far, Cassandra Clare's characters have been anything BUT dull and/or flat. Each one has their quirks, their secrets and pasts, and their vibrant, distinctive personalities that you end up falling in love with (including the characters you come to hate).
Will - A dark, witty, arrogant boy who manages to make you love him and get you ticked off all at once. He holds a dark secret and has an unspeakable past. Can I just say that Will is entirely swoon-worthy. *swoons* "'You cut me,' he said...He looked at his hand with critical interest. 'It might be fatal.' ...He tilted his hand to the side. Blood ran down it, spattering the floor. 'Dear me, massive blood loss. Death could be imminent.'" --Will Herondale (36)
Jem - A thoughtful, perhaps sweet boy who you cannot help but adore and quite possibly love. He too carries secrets and is trailed by a vivid, shadowy past. Because I saw so much of Jem's inner-workings in my own mind, I fell for him hard, as he's a beautiful person...and also swoon-worthy. *swoon* '"Will is . . . difficult,' Jem said. 'But family is difficult. If I didn't think the Institute was the best place for you, Tessa, I would not say that it was. And one can build one's own family. I know you feel inhuman, and as if you are set apart, away from life and love, but...' His voice cracked a little, the first time Tessa had heard him sound unsure. He cleared his throat. 'I promise you, the right man won't care.'" --Jem (472)
Henry - An eager, absentminded young man who spends most of his time tinkering away down in, I believe, the basement. Henry resembles, to me, a sane crazy person who just walks around very carefree like, wrapped in his own little world. He is adorable. '"Oh yes,' Henry said eagerly. The flames were now nearly to his shoulder. 'I've been working like a man possessed all day...' ...Henry glanced down at his arm, and his mouth dropped open. 'Bloody hell"...Henry beamed and patted the burned sleeve of his jacket with a look of satisfaction. 'You know what this means?'" --Henry (69)
Tessa - A good, strong young lady, with a practical mind and an unwavering heart. She has a deep passion for books and reading as well. She might just be one of my favorite heroines of all time. "'It was Will who broke the silence. 'Very well. You have me alone in the corridor--' 'Yes, yes,' said Tessa impatiently, 'and thousands of women all over the world would pay handsomely for the privilege of such an opportunity. Can we put aside the display of your wit for a moment? This is important.'" --Tessa and Will (355)
Jessamine - Miss Lovelace is a spoiled, selfish girl who cannot physically put aside her own needs and wants for the good of the many, the good of the whole. But, she is one girl you'll just love to hate. I know I did. "'Jessamine ignored him [Will]. 'Is it dreadful, being so evil? Are you worried you'll go to Hell?' She leaned closer to Tessa. 'What do you think the Devil's like?' Tessa set her fork down. 'Would you like to meet him? I could summon him up in a trice if you like...'" --Jessamine and Tessa (68)
Cover: Loved it! In regards to the cover art, am I the only one who feels blessed by the angels to have been sent this cover? Is it not beautiful, magnificent? Does it not make you want to wear a top hat very, very badly? I know. I understand. I feel the same way. And I love the old clock tower in the background, as well as the other faded mechanisms. Oh! And that little glimpse of Will's tattoos, too. ...more