Update 06/10/10: changed star rating and added a little addendum/explanation at the end of the original review.
Loved this book, though it isn't anythiUpdate 06/10/10: changed star rating and added a little addendum/explanation at the end of the original review.
Loved this book, though it isn't anything particularly special; it isn't a life-changing read. But it's not a "check your brain at the door" book either. It's just a fun fantasy/adventure-type book.
Clary is your regular fifteen-year old girl growing up in New York - nothing particularly special about her or her upbringing, though her father passed away before she was born and she knows little about him. Her mother is a gifted artist who, for unknown reasons, has never allowed Clary to believe in magic, fairy tales or other such nonsense.
Clary spends most of her time with her closest friend, Simon. One night Clary witnesses a crime (murder) that, as far as she can tell, no one else can see - not even Simon. The three teenagers that committed the murder are surprised that Clary can see them. Thus begins our story.
In this book we find out that Clary is special and there is quite a lot that her mother never told her about herself. Though, we don't find out exactly what it all means because Clary's mother disappears the night after Clary witnesses the strange murder. Around the same time Clary's mother disappears Clary is approached by one of the teenagers that committed the murder - a cocky guy named Jace Wayland. Through Jace and his friends, Clary learns a little about who she is and why she can see things other people can't.
Anywho, the major romantic relationship in this series is...weird (not sure if that's the right word but 'taboo' seems a bit strong. Perhaps it can be classified as somewhere in-between, considering the circumstances? You have to read the whole series to get what I'm talking about), though I can't say I didn't see it coming.
I know, not a strong review, but I really do like this book and the rest of the series (City of Ashes & City of Glass). Seriously, the series is totally worth reading. Check it out.
I didn't know about any of the controversy surrounding the author, nor had I heard of the Draco Trilogy when I read this series. So I actually liked--okay, loved--the Mortal Instruments series when I first read it.
Before you strike me down, let me explain.
First off, at that time fantasy was a fairly new genre for me. The Twilight saga had just wrapped up, and though I found Breaking Dawn to be incredibly disappointing I still liked the paranormal/fantasy aspect the whole series. And so I started devouring every fantasy/paranormal novel I could get my hands on. It wasn't long before I came across this series.
At the time, City of Glass had just been published, and word on the internet was that it was a good series. I was too much of a noob to know better then to believe the vast majority of book bloggers. I didn't know they tend to sugarcoat their reviews. Or just plain lie. So. Yeah...
Anyway, I read City of Bones and I liked (loved) it. I finished reading the trilogy in less then a week.
Because this series was a breath of fresh air--my salvation, if you will--when I was drowning in a sea of horribly written YA vampire novels, I ignored the similarities to Harry Potter and Star Wars.
When it came to the Buffy universe, I was unable to make the connection, that Cassandra Clare had borrowed, liberally, from the Buffy universe. It was all new to me. (Just so you know, I've never watched an entire episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I'm a special effects snob, always have been, and the cheesy special effects on that series made me cringe.)
Even after I found out that she was an unoriginal hack and everyone seemed to hate her, I didn't think less of her. I was like, "so she borrowed liberally from several places and from her own (not actually published) work. Who cares? James Cameron did the same thing and nobody ever called him out on it. I mean, ever hear of Disney's Pocahontas Avatar?"
I even went so far as to read all the allegations against her, of which there are several, and I thought people needed to get over it, move on. So she made a (bunch of)(huge) mistake(s) years ago. I'm sure she's learned her lesson. People need to forgive and forget. It's not like she's Hitler. Besides there are far more important things to worry about in this world.
And that is where I stood on this matter for about a year.
Funny thing is, I tried rereading this series last month. You know what, I couldn't even finish City of Bones. I don't like it anymore. Now that my eyes have been opened, the series totally sucks and it's incredibly unoriginal. I know, it's strange that I didn't think this way about the Mortal Instruments series, and Cassandra Clare, until I tried reading it again. *shrugs* I don't know what to tell you--it is what it is, I guess...
Anyway, I (finally) understand where all you Cassandra Clare haters are coming from. She sucks, her books suck, and her work doesn't deserve to be published.
(*whispers* That said, I think I'm still going to read the two books she has coming out relatively soon. You're allowed to judge me. I don't mind. I'm already disgusted with myself, but clearly not enough to NOT read anymore books written by Cassandra Clare.
P.S. I'll be borrowing the books if that's any consolation.) ...more
UPDATE 01/14/11: Loses more stars because I finally found a YA paranormal romance about angels that is, quite frankly, a bazillion times better then aUPDATE 01/14/11: Loses more stars because I finally found a YA paranormal romance about angels that is, quite frankly, a bazillion times better then any other YA angel book out on the market. It's called Unearthly. You should read Unearthly. (You're welcome.)
Apparently Fallen Angels are the new Vampires, which is alright by me. I'm tired of vampires, especially the really lame sparkly ones that do little more then stalk, act like jerks and/or brood. I've noticed that there are more and more books on the market about fallen angels, and I've read a few (Fallen by Lauren Kate, Eternal by Cynthia Leitich Smith and I'm going to go ahead and count The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare even though it's technically about nephilim). This book and The Mortal instruments series actually make the whole angel thing somewhat interesting.
I might have given this book more stars--based on the the mild entertainment factor--if the love interest hadn't been named Patch (Patch? Patch??? Seriously? COME ON!). I hate that no one, throughout the duration of the book asks,"Is Patch really your name? REALLY???". Annoying name aside, I'd say this book is OK. Yeah, it's total paranormal garbage--my guilty pleasure--but I found it somewhat entertaining nonetheless. ...more
Quick (-ish) story: This book first came to my attention soon after it was released. I was at Borders trying to decide between three books, Strange AnQuick (-ish) story: This book first came to my attention soon after it was released. I was at Borders trying to decide between three books, Strange Angels among those selections. I read the first few pages of each book in an attempt to narrow things down. Based on the prologue and the first few pages of the first chapter, Strange Angels was removed from consideration.
Why had I been so quick to eliminate this book from the running? Although the prologue pulled me in from the first sentence it was evident that the protagonist was a "tough girl", not one to be reckoned with. And while I luvz me a tough main character, particularly when said character is a girl, it only really works when written correctly. IMHO, when it comes to this genre the tough girl concept fails more often then not. I'm not sure why, exactly. Lazy and/or unimaginative writing is my best guess. But I digress.
Fast forward to the beginning of December 2009: I had a few audible.com credits. Unfortunately there weren't any audio books I was particularly excited about. But I had a ginormous pile (read: mountain) of laundry to fold and I needed something semi-interesting to listen to while I did so. I stumbled across Strange Angels again, and for whatever reason decided to give it a go (If I remember correctly my decision had everything to do with audio book length more then any other factor, which is kind of sad, but whatever).
Long story short(-ish): I'm glad that I chose this book. Not only was it a worthwhile use of an Audible credit, effectively keeping me entertained while folding a few weeks worth of clean laundry (in one night, might I add). But this book is a really good YA paranormal read, not to be overlooked.
Strange Angels is the first book I've read by Lili St. Crow and it definitely won't be the last. I'm disappointed I didn't give this book a chance back when I first picked it up. I appreciate that St. Crow seemed to have a solid understand of the characters she was writing about--their history/background--before she started to write. What I mean is there are believable reasons behind the way these characters react to each other and to situations that unfold.
Within the last year I've read quite a few books from this exact same genre in which the characters are unrealistic in storylines that are incredibly preposterous, or worse yet, unoriginal, I was under the impression ANYONE can be published these days, so long as they write a story about a supernatural-something falling in love with a really insipid teenage girl. That being said, I can't seem to stop reading YA paranormal books which is kinda sad, I realize. But I feel the need to mention, books like Strange Angels make my addiction to this genre bearable. What I'm trying to say is this book is infinitely better then a large chunk (read: around 85%) of other books from this same genre.
Where was I? Yes, I remember now: I really liked this book. Which is why I gave it four stars. Were I to compare this book to books from YA paranormal alone, it would definitely get five stars.
Warning to my LDS friends: There is quite a bit of swearing in this book, but little to no sex. Actually there is no sex in this book, though there are one or two quite mild--but not exactly sexual--situations. Would I let my teenager read it? I don't know... probably. Because swearing aside, I think it's more worthwhile then any of the Twilight books. Do I think your teens should read it? Not my call. But honestly, I've always felt parents should have firsthand knowledge of what their teens are reading/watching, etc.
I'm torn with the rating I gave this book. It deserves more than three stars but I wouldn't say I 'really liked it'. So, even though I like this bookI'm torn with the rating I gave this book. It deserves more than three stars but I wouldn't say I 'really liked it'. So, even though I like this book more than I like it's companion, The Forest of Hands and Teeth, I gave it the same amount of stars.
Quick review: In The Forest of Hands and Teeth we were introduced to Mary, a not entirely likable teenage girl living in a remote village reminiscent of the village in M. Night Shyamalan's 'The Village'. Mary's village is fenced off from the surrounding forest which is full of zombies (referred to as the unconsecrated). Mary desires, more than anything, to venture outside the fenced-in village to find her way to the ocean, even though she's been told her whole life the ocean no longer exists. At the end of The Forest of Hands and Teeth Mary receives her heart's desire: she sees the ocean, and that is where her story ends.
The Dead-Tossed Waves is told by Mary's teenage daughter, Gabry. This is Gabry's story. Gabry (Gabrielle) is quite unlike her mother. Raised in Vista, the seaside city Mary discovered at the end of The Forest of Hands and Teeth, she has no desire to venture outside the city walls where the Mudo--unconsecrated!--dwell.
In the first chapter Gabry is invited by her best friend's cute older brother, Catcher, to sneak past the barriers to the abandoned amusement park, which, while still technically fenced in, is forbidden since those fences are no longer maintained or guarded. It is only the lure of Catcher, his flirtatious promise to protect her, that finally gets Gabry to do what she fears most: leave the relative safety of Vista.
It is in the amusement park, as Gabry receives her first kiss, that things go horribly wrong (who'd have guessed??? I kid, I kid). A Breaker--an über-mudo, if you will--attacks the group Gabry is with. Long story short: their little adventure outside the city walls does not end well.
Because of the commotion caused by the attack they know it is only a matter of time before the city militia arrives. So Catcher insists Gabry flee the scene because those caught outside the city walls will be punished severely. Before she leaves, Gabry tries to round-up Cira, Catcher's sister, to go back with her, but is unsuccessful.
Gabry returns to the city by herself, a decision with which struggles throughout the rest of this novel. She's riddled with guilt that she was unable to stop everyone from going to the amusement park in the first place. Gabry hates that, unlike Cira and the rest of her friends, she wasn't caught.
Because she's the only one who wasn't caught she's obligated to search for Catcher, at Cira's request. The only problem is, Catcher may have been bitten by a mudo. What's worse, he's hiding somewhere outside the city walls.
So Gabry ventures outside the walls once again, attacked by more mudo, and saved by a young man, named Elias, who is clearly not from her village. And this is when the adventure really begins.
Overall, this is a pretty good book. I think it's much better than The Forest of Hands and Teeth, mainly because I don't mind the protagonist; she's not selfish like her mother was at her age. Also I think The Dead-Tossed Waves is written better than The Forest of Hands and Teeth.
Before I go on, I need to mention that I'm not a fan of the love triangle in this book. It's not that I don't luuuurve me a good love triangle, because I do. It's just the fact that Carrie Ryan already did the whole love triangle thing, and not very well might I add (IMHO, Mary was undeserving of such attention so the love-triangle in The Forest of Hands and Teeth felt forced. And in the end it turns out the triangle was completely unnecessary).
I feel Carrie Ryan should have gone a different direction this time around--not everybody has two equally good-looking guys vying for their attention. I feel Carrie Ryan, along with a lot of authors these days, are relying on the love triangle a little too much. I think Carrie Ryan cheated herself, her story, and the readers, by focusing too much attention on the love story.
Example: Gabry spends too much time being torn up over the whole Catcher or Elias question. Especially when, as far as I'm concerned, her preference is obvious. I wish Gabry had made a decision early on, sparing everyone involved (including the readers), and spent more time thinking about more important things. Such as the many interesting ethical questions raised by various characters in this book (What is the difference between existing and surviving? Is there a difference? How are the infected (mudo/unconsecrated) different from the non-infected? When a body Returns, is part of their former self--their soul--still there, just trapped inside?).
There are other things I didn't necessarily like but I can't bring them up without giving away too much.
Basically, what I'm trying to say is, while I do quite like this book (and I'm planning to read the next one) I'm left feeling a little disappointed. Carrie Ryan could have done so much more with this storyline, the deeper elements are present but not explored. Which is why I couldn't give this book four stars.
(I do want to give Carrie Ryan props for writing zombie books targeted specifically at females. If it weren't for her I wouldn't have picked up a zombie book, ever. Which, in retrospect, would have been quite unfortunate as it is a genre I quite enjoy.)
Side note: Also, I think Carrie Ryan could have should have released The Dead-Tossed Waves first and eventually released The Forest of Hands and Teeth as a prequel. Why? Because The Forest of Hands and Teeth does not actually add to this story, seeing as Gabry spends the majority of this novel (mostly) ignorant of her mother's past. Sure, we the readers are able to make the connections, but that just takes away from the reading experience--we already know what Gabry doesn't. It's sort of infuriating.
Plus, the way in which this book ends I'm assuming the next book, The Dark and Hollow Places, will start where this one leaves off; Gabry still telling her story. Which is just another reason why it doesn't make sense that The Forest of Hands and Teeth was released first. ...more
Reading it again in preparation for the sixth book. Observations this time around? Georgina is a major hypocrite and not nearly as likeable as I rememReading it again in preparation for the sixth book. Observations this time around? Georgina is a major hypocrite and not nearly as likeable as I remember her to be. Also, Richelle Mead needs to figure out how to write a less-selfish character.
Rose Hathaway = Georgina Kinkaide
Also, I sort of hope Seth dies. (Actually, I don't sort of hope it. I totally hope he dies. I hate Richelle Mead for writing a such a despicable set of lovers)
Richelle Mead is a very talented writer. Her books have solid characters, creative storylines and interesting plot twists. I like her books. They amuse me, entertain me. That being said--after reading this book--I'm no longer sure she's one of my favorite authors.
Here's the deal, it's not like there is anything wrong with this book, exactly. Actually, it's up to her usual standards--if not better, entertainment wise. But I can't help but feel a little bit disappointed and more then a little ripped off.
I'm disappointed because, as far as I'm concerned, the hints Ms. Mead puts out there are about as subtle as a nuclear bomb being detonated. I just didn't want to believe it until now--because, seriously, they're just so blatantly in your face I forced myself to believe they were red-herrings planted to throw us off. Because of these 'hints' it turns out I've known--or rather, strongly suspected--the "big secret" of this series before I even finished reading Succubus Blues, the first book in the series.
(By the way, the "big secret" isn't necessarily revealed in this book, but based on all the obvious hints peppered throughout this book, not to mention the gi-friggin'-normous doozy dropped at the end of the novel, you'd have to be extremely dimwitted not to see it.)
I'm feeling ripped off because the series could have easily been wrapped up in this book--the fifth book--of the series. Especially since this book--while entertaining--is pretty much just filler, nothing else. I didn't learn anything I didn't already know and I hate that.
Don't get me wrong, like I said earlier, this story is quite entertaining but very little happens to further the overall plot. Like, the progression made--plot-wise--could have filled maybe as many as ten chapters, but that's it.
This book deserves five stars because of the entertainment factor, but loses two (should be three, but I'm feeling generous today) because of the complete and utter pointlessness of the majority of this book. *sigh* ...more
I had to take a long break from this book when I was about three-quarters through. In fact I was thisclose to abandoning the series entirely without fI had to take a long break from this book when I was about three-quarters through. In fact I was thisclose to abandoning the series entirely without finding out how this book ends.
For well over a month my copy of Jealousy sat atop my filing cabinet gathering dust. Every time I saw it I was met with a handful of unpleasant emotions: regret, anger, sadness, bitterness, anxiety, guilt and a smidgen of curiosity. It was that small bit of curiosity that kept me from getting rid of this book.
This past weekend my husband organized our office area and that's how this book ended up in a very prominent place: my bookshelf. Since Saturday it's been staring at me, mocking me, daring me to read it. I've been glaring back at it, wishing I had the ability to shoot lasers out of my eyes so I could be rid of the infuriating thing once and for all.
This morning I couldn't stand it any longer. I had to finish it. And I'm glad I did.
The Strange Angels series is one of the few YA urban fantasy series that doesn't make me want to retch, although I'm willing to admit this installment was starting to make my stomach churn (about three-quarters of the way through; the reason for the break).
Anyway, enough about me--I'll be posting an actual review of Jealousy within the next few days.
I've been aware of this series for a little over a year now, but I had no intention of ever picking up any book in this series. I mean, look at the coI've been aware of this series for a little over a year now, but I had no intention of ever picking up any book in this series. I mean, look at the cover: a curvy chick with a tramp stamp--super classy. And don't even get me started on the the title. The premise? A werewolf named Kitty who has a late night radio talk show. About supernatural critters. Really??? It has Trashy Urban Fantasy written all over it, and while I loves me a good urban fantasy, I do have my limits.
And then by chance, I came across Ceridwen's Drunk Book Review of Kitty and the Midnight Hour. Though her review is full of hilarious drunken digressions, it's actually quite poignant. Anyway, because of Ceridwen's review, and the complete lack of anything else to read (seriously, what is up with the lack of book releases in January?), I finally picked up Kitty and the Midnight Hour. And, you know what? I'm glad I did.
Cover art and title aside, this book is actually one of the best urban fantasy novels I've read in quite a while. It is leaps and bounds better then the Anita Blake series(I couldn't force myself to read through the first book in the series) or even the Rachel Morgan/Hallows series (I also couldn't get through the first book in this series), both are actually quite popular and highly recommended. For the life of me I don't know why. They are truly dreadful.
The characterization in this series is quite good. It is clear Carrie Vaughn had a full understanding of who her characters were before she started writing, which I fully appreciate. Kitty is flawed, but she doesn't have the typical flaws bestowed upon most protagonists in this genre. Yes, she has quite a lot of baggage and is struggling with her identity, but there are special circumstances that make her situation that much more unique, and therefore interesting.
All the back stories were fully developed and interesting as well.
Yes, there are a few plot holes, one in particular got under my skin, but it wasn't enough for me to give up on the book; I hand-waved it since it is her first published work (I think). And anyway, by that time I was already invested in the story. Besides, I've read much, much worse.
Contrary to what the cover suggests, this book isn't plastered with ridiculous, disgusting, gratuitous sex scenes. That is not to say there aren't sex scenes in this book, because there are--one or two, if I remember correctly--it's just that they serve a purpose. And the sex scenes in this book aren't descriptive. If anything I'd say they're well-written fade to black type sex scenes. And no ridiculous/icky/dirty names are used for what few body parts are mentioned.
I'm struggling with how many stars I've given this book--because of the plot holes and a few other little things--but it deserves more then three stars; I really like this book. A lot.
Oh, and, in case anyone was wondering, this is a quick read. I finished it in less then a day. ...more