I was hesitant to read this book for a couple of reasons.
1) I'm not usually impressed with YA fiction. 2) I was wary of this 'over-hyped' se...more★ ★ ★ ★ ½
I was hesitant to read this book for a couple of reasons.
1) I'm not usually impressed with YA fiction. 2) I was wary of this 'over-hyped' series since Twilight had the same affliction, and was not anything to write home about. 3) I feared anything that centered around the pain/killing of children. I am weak. I confess. 4) It is a series and I am physically unable to stop reading series work unless it is truly horrible. Drug addiciton, series addiction; what difference?
To my great joy, I found that I was not only enjoying this book as I read it, but looking forward to the next installment. As an example of writing, it is not 4 stars, but only 3. The story idea and promise of future plot development however, earned it another star. It suffers from the same problem that most YA fiction does, in that it rarely delves deep enough in the motives of characters and their thoughts and feelings. Instead the writing is very centered on the minutia of the action. In this case though, the minutia was at such a steady even pace that I didn't want to tune it out. YA fiction, like conversations with teens, can sometimes be exhausting due to all the implied drama and all you want to do is turn down the volume.
My complaints about the book would be mostly in regard to the lack of backstory on the world itself. Not so much as to what caused the current state of the 'world' naturally or politically, but a bit more story on the formation of the current political structure. This government is what I sense will be the actual antagonist in this series, and I dislike feeling so uninformed about 'main characters' even after the first book is closed.
My compliments would be in regard to characters. I found myself liking almost every one of them, be they idiots or heros. As I mentioned, it didn't feel that the author really dove deeply into any character and flushed them out, but she did give us a quality, overall picture of almost every character we touched. In the first person, this is saying something. My greatest compliment is what I mentioned before, the even pace. The characters unfolded (not deeply) but evenly, the plot was the same. All this while still maintaining a steadily increasing tension to the end of the book is a sign of good, solid work. Any author can create dips and highs in writing, turning the strength of the writing up and down. True plot development isn't even required for that, just frantic focus on a moment. This however, was a good solid base for what promises to become a really incredible three-book story. I'm on my way to track down the next!(less)
This could have been 4 stars but I couldn't get past the revelation that occured with Jace and Clary at the end. I don't have some sort of squ...more★ ★ ★ ½
This could have been 4 stars but I couldn't get past the revelation that occured with Jace and Clary at the end. I don't have some sort of squeamish issue with (view spoiler)[the incestual overtone in general. It would be prudish and immature and that isn't my motivation. I however, am adopted. My brother is adopted. Both my MIL and my FIL are adopted. The concept written of in this book makes individuals like me nervous. I can work consciously on not letting it bother me, as many would, but it still can wiggle its way into my mind on occasion and I just can't shake the queasy feeling it gives me. Urgh! (hide spoiler)]
Overall, I really enjoyed the story and thought it was a great begining to a series. Although I thought the entire first half of the book suffered from YA-Fantasy-itis*, it managed to recover at the mid-point and really ended quite well. I felt that the internal issues for Jace in the final chapters in regard to the antagonist were written well and as realistically as any of us can imagine feeling in that situation.
BIG complaint here though. There is no way that two teenagers were going to be able to deal so easily with the emotional confusion that Jace and Clary obviously would have been dealing with in the final chapters. Two, strongly centered and emotionally confident, grown adults would have struggled longer with the final issue. Good grief!! That really got swept under the rug in a, "Oh, I guess I need to end the book now..." kind of way. Let's hope we see it finalized a bit better in the next book. If that was the last we will see of it, then this author is a major sell-out. You can't write a YA book with a central premise that is so emotionally complicated, and then resolve it it about 4 paragraphs. Jeesh! Without this issue (and minus my personal hang-up), this could have earned 4 1/2 stars as a YA book.
I will be reading the next, if only to find out how Clary and Jace deal with this new personal twist later.
*YA-Fantasy-itis: Tendency to hyper-focus on the minutia of the moment-to-moment action. Usually failing to give any real character development. To much casual banter and all internal monologue is action-based, or revolves around confusion over motivations of other characters. No real emotional speculation.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
I often feel bi-polar when I in the process of reading anything by Gaiman. I find myself thinking that I am reading the most bizarre book of my life,...moreI often feel bi-polar when I in the process of reading anything by Gaiman. I find myself thinking that I am reading the most bizarre book of my life, or the one that makes the most sense. Sense to the point that I am mystified as to why no one else had written something like it. In either case however, the writing is superb and this book is no exception. This was such a fun, original idea that I was destined to like it. Gaiman is one writer who manages, EVERY TIME, to make his subject macabre and funny at the same time. This takes talent (a lot folks), and once again the man has delivered.
The YA tag on this one is pointless. The only YA part of this book is the age of the protag. Ignore the DOB on your driver's license and just read this one. It is too odd...you'll have to enjoy yourself out of self defense! :)(less)