In the wake of The Bachelor Australia crisis (actual crisis!) this week, I've been looking for my fill of the bachie that has been left wanting after the end of the show. But reading The Selection was like an exercise in numbnesss - there is a part of me that loves everything in it, trope-wise and character-wise...despite myself. It's like that part of my friend who loves Francis/Mary on Reign despite herself. THAT'S WHAT'S HAPPENING TO ME.
This is average at best, but with enough going on between the pages to keep you reading. Proceed with caution though; you must be able to handle gross misogyny! (I mean, I don't know if the whole "girls must remain virgins before marriage" thing was a pseudo-dystopian thing or an indictment of today's Virginity Myth or what the author actually believes but Cass really did not make that clear. Also, the entire premise of the Bachelor where girls are pitted against girls. Girls who are feminine and emotional are disparaged and denigrated, and girls like the main character who keep their cool are lauded.) Bland characters (Special Snowflake America Singer. Cardboard cut-out ~forbidden~ love interest)! Love triangle that I wish could burn in hell (Self explanatory)! Flimsy world building! You know what, The Selection reeks of The Hunger Games. Not to mention the shit the writer pulled when she received a critical/less than satisfactory review on GoodReads.
I probably should put this down to two stars but watch me as I rate this book three out of five. Because there are characters in here who are worth completing the series. Prince Maxon for one, Queen Amberley, Anne, Lucy and Mary, and little sister May. Did I mention The Selection appeals to everything I like, despite myself???????
The last book of this trilogy better be worth all my anxiety and all the freaking out I did at around page 400 because reading the last few chapters o...moreThe last book of this trilogy better be worth all my anxiety and all the freaking out I did at around page 400 because reading the last few chapters of The Eternity Cure was stress I absolutely did not need. I want those last few minutes of my life back.
I thought the ending to the last book was bad and now I'm just laughing at myself because the ending to this book was horrifying. I was so naive. So innocent. Poor me who is probably never going to recover again. We left The Eternity Cure's predecessor with Allison Sekemoto cast out of Eden, having last, desperate, goodbye kisses with the preacher's son (!!!), and embarking on her own sort of pilgrimage towards her sire and mentor, Kanin. I thought I could live with that ending because 1) It made sense, 2) Zeke and Allie's separation was realistic and rational in the hackneyed world of vampire/human relationships (this was an important one for me because what the Blood of Eden series does so well is that it absolutely does not attempt to downplay the blood-craving, monstrous nature of our favourite vamps), 3) It's okay, I'm used to my OTPs turning into NOTPs when I'm not looking, and 4) The ending to The Immortal Rules fed seamlessly into both Zeke and Allie's character arcs that I would be content to leave them there, in all their bittersweet glory.
But noooooooooooo, let me tell you this horrifying story.
For one, I still can't believe that vampires/dystopian is A Thing, or that Julie Kagawa made it A Thing and is now laughing evilly at her creation. Reading The Eternity Cure is kind of like being shoved into the movie Zombieland but, instead of zombies, we have vampires and rabids and 'bleeders' who just about want to eat everything, infect everything or kill everything. As far as sequels go, The Eternity Cure follows up with just as much punch, grit and enough squeamish scenes that made me recoil and scrunch my face in disgust. Reading Kagawa’s elaborate world-building where humans are blood cattle, whole cities and plains being inundated by brush, collapsing buildings and perpetual ruins, her world reminds me of the Discovery Channel’s Life After People, a series that speculates what the world would become should humanity instantly disappear. What we are left with in the Blood of Eden are the vestiges of a civilisation that near human extinction would leave behind. And that world, when populated with vampires, comes to fruition.
As an instalment, The Eternity Cure suffers from the wandering-in-the-wilderness that seems to make its home in dystopian/post-apocalyptic YA. With the exception of a few major discoveries, important character and relationship developments, The Eternity Cure did very little to add to the richness of the overall plot by following a supremely formulaic A-to-B-to-C plot line. There were climaxes of Kagawa pulling the rug from under our feet when it came to Jackal; a betrayal from an old friend; and also coming face-to-face with our antagonist Sarren, a violent, psychotic presence who possesses a complete disregard for human life, tortures for the pure thrill, and can only be described as sadistic.
So, it also comes to no surprise that I rate things because of my reading experience, the level of emotional turmoil that an author can make me feel, and general character goodness. For the best part, The Eternity Cure took me from the heights of short-lived joy (very short-lived joy) to the inevitable strains of anxiety, heartache and the fallout of having characters reconcile, ripped apart, brought together again, only to have them bite the dust a few pages later.
My love affair with Allison Sekemoto continues, and so does my investment in our favourite preacher boy and vampire girl’s relationship. I would be lying if I said that there weren’t times when Kagawa slathered on the romantic cheese. The romance, usually so on point, temporarily falling by the wayside when Allison’s self-loathing and her adamant holier-than-thou attitude appeared, but then quickly righting itself when the reader is faced with the reality of a human/vampire relationship in which Kagawa pulls no punches.
There are heartbreaking moments between these two, exacerbated by their apparent and fleeting happiness that may have occurred only pages before. Allie is asked to make terribly selfless promises; she is faced with the brevity of human life, resignation that she cannot save everyone, watches the only people she cares about being tortured (please note the plural, I’m not joking), as well as, my favourite, the push and pull of Zeke and Allison’s relationship. There is genuine care, not to mention the right amount of my favourite bloodplay kink between them (which, if I’m completely honest, is all I care about – not apologising), that exists between the preacher’s son and Allison. And it is so difficult for me to pinpoint the reason I root for their relationship to triumph, or why I even like Ezekiel Crosse who is just human goodness and morality personified, when broody, jaded, and morally ambiguous is waiting next door. I’m telling you guys!!! It’s because I am always going to see the act of voluntarily offering your blood for a vampire to take, especially when Zeke and Allison were in bed, kissing wanting to bang, as a sexual activity so who am I to refuse that kind of pleasure? Not to mention the religious undertones and motifs that mesh in the best ways possible when what is always associated with purity and light gets into bed with the devil.
I made a New Year’s resolution to review more frequently in 2014 and I’m glad that The Eternity Cure served up something for me to talk about, even if, by the end of it, I was doing more crying and pacing around in disbelief, waving my arms around in ‘omfg what just happened’ gestures than talking. (less)
What to rate this what in the fresh hell? Imagine my surprise when I was happily reading Batman: The Man Who Laughs which is sort of like a Joker orig...moreWhat to rate this what in the fresh hell? Imagine my surprise when I was happily reading Batman: The Man Who Laughs which is sort of like a Joker origin story/Batman's first encounter with the Joker post-Crisis, and then all of a sudden, out of nowhere, there's another story with the Green Lantern. My surprise, guys, my surprise!!
So now I don't know what to rate this? Do I rate it purely on the titular story or do I factor in the second story 'Made of Wood' with Green Lantern and Bats doing a bit of detective work on a murder mystery which I didn't like as much? 'The Man Who Laughs' had really great artwork and its iconic cover art of the Joker which I had to place face down on my bedside table because I just could not look at it without being creeped out. And just, the Joker in general is absolutely terrifying; talk about a complete disregard for human life.
My foray into the scary world of comics is going slowly but, you know, we're kind of getting there.
I'm..........going to come back and write my review because I need some time to happy-cry and maybe think about the little shit Eugenides and his ways...moreI'm..........going to come back and write my review because I need some time to happy-cry and maybe think about the little shit Eugenides and his ways of subduing palace politics.(less)
**spoiler alert** Erghhhhh. Once again, I can't rate this properly using the Goodreads system...
Still probably my favourite of the series, but, wow, a...more**spoiler alert** Erghhhhh. Once again, I can't rate this properly using the Goodreads system...
Still probably my favourite of the series, but, wow, are there some disgusting/problematic aspects to this that I can't ignore.
Pros: 1. Clary Fray Clary Fray practically owning every scene that she's in. She's really coming into herself, as a Shadowhunter and where her beliefs and values lie. There are some parts in here that I'm cheering for her so hard, because bby girl is making her own decisions, killing demons, recognising what she wants and goes after it, calling out people who try to stop her or control her or protect her. Because Clary Fray is not delicate or fragile <3
2. Sexual agency There's always one thing that Cassandra Clare does well and that is giving her female characters wonderful sexual agency. She doesn't turn virginity into some sort of measure whereby the worth of her female characters are measured on whether they've had sex or not. You know, I only say this because I've read so much YA where the state of a girl's virginity is the measure of her character, which, do I need to tell you is simultaneously treating sex as a taboo, shaming those girls who have and enjoy sex/'lost' their virginity, and preaching that girls become impure and tainted when they do. The best thing about The Mortal Instruments and The Infernal Devices is that all CC's characters exercise great sexual agency that says that a girl can be thinking about these things as a concept and not be vilified for it. Yeah, wonderful sexual agency...when CC isn't writing dubious consent, drugged up/inebriated sexual activity, which is like, ALL THE TIME.
[triggers for rape, sexual assault, abuse, domestic violence, assault]
Cons: 1. Sexual assault as a plot device OMFG, CC, IS THERE A PROBLEM IN USING A PLOT DEVICE THAT IS NOT RAPE/SEXUAL ASSAULT?? oMg I am so angry about this as I always am. You know what, this is why I can never, never stan Cassandra Clare as an author and a person.
You don't need to have your heroine raped/beaten/sexually assaulted - in which all three seemed to happen in this book - to prove a point about the person who is violating her and not, in any way, using her absolutely horrifying experience to advance her character arc or even for the victim, to not have any thoughts about later on.
It is never okay to use sexual assault as a way to show how 'villainous' a character is especially when the victim does not even think about it some time later and is making sexually-lewd jokes with her boyfriend just days later. Omfg, we know Sebastian is irredeemable: he has planned genocide, murdered children, is guilty of sexism, homophobia, racism, possessing other people, has left other people to be assaulted/rape [Aline and the demon in City of Glass], HAVING HIM NEARLY RAPE AND ASSAULT HIS SISTER IS UNNECESSARY. Especially when it WASN'T about Clary dealing with the aftermath of being beaten by her biological older brother and almost raped by him, but was used to say that Sebastian is a terrible, inhuman monster.
There are consequences to sexual assault. I'm not saying that I want Clary to suffer (which are the actual words from Cassandra Clare when she was notified that some people were triggered majorly by this disgustingly explicit scene that "you just want to see Clary suffer," Y U being so misogynistic about my characters etc etc) but ARE YOU SERIOUSLY TELLING ME THAT SHE WAS OKAY WITH BEING ASSAULTED AND BEATEN BY HER BROTHER AND THEN NEARLY RAPED AND BE PERFECTLY FINE WITH IT? THAT YOU DON'T THINK ABOUT IT ANY MORE. If it was anything but the explicit and detailed and couple-of-pages-long narrative that was devoted to Sebastian assaulting Clary, and it was just something that was mentioned or alluded to, then maybe I would be somewhat not as disturbed, but in reality, the scene wasn't alluded to, it took up big chunks of the text to demonstrate that it was, in fact, a monumental scene.
I have problems that this was glossed over. I have problems with the, frankly, shit way Cassandra Clare responded to fans who questioned her about it. I have whole fucking problems with using sexual assault as a device to drive home the point that the villain is actually the worst. I have problems that Clary was used like that to prove that Sebastian was really Not A Good Person. I have problems that after her assault, it absolutely did not affect her character and she was okay with making sexual innuendos to her boyfriend later. I have problems that so many people were affected/triggered/had break downs because of this, and Cassandra Clare defended herself by turning the whole argument on its head, suggesting that we feel like this because we're being sexist.
IT IS YOUR DUTY AS AN AUTHOR - WHOSE READERSHIP IS PREDOMINANTLY MADE UP OF TEENAGE GIRLS - TO FOLLOW THROUGH ON ISSUES LIKE THIS. OKAY, yes I agree that trigger warnings should not be used in books because books are used as a platform to tell a story, and unfortunately, rape is still a horrifying and disgusting part of reality but; if you're going to write a scene so triggery that includes incest, near-rape, assault, sexual assault, indecent assault, then don't reply to your readers who were affected with the rhetoric that "they're sexist" or defending the crap out of your shit plot devices. YOU ABSOLUTELY DO NOT HAVE YOUR MAIN CHARACTER ALMOST RAPED BY HER OWN OLDER BROTHER THEN HAVE HER ACT LIKE NOTHING HAPPENED. YOU DO NOT GLOSS OVER SOMETHING LIKE SEXUAL ASSAULT. YOU DON'T ATTEMPT TO COVER UP SOMETHING THAT TRIGGERY THAT YOU'VE WRITTEN, NOT WHEN YOU HAVE A POSITION OF SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY.
2. Sigh, again, Maia getting back with her formerly abusive boyfriend
The thing that gets me is that Cassandra Clare could be using her books as platform to promote healthy romantic and platonic relationships, sexual agency that does not involve people committing sexual acts while under the influence of drugs and alcohol, and pro-female thinking and feminism, but she doesn't. And it's made worse when you scroll through her tumblr and she purports herself as someone fighting the sexism and misogyny in YA, when she herself is contributing to the very same isms in the genre and defending herself for it.
I AM SO ANGRY. Brb I will write an actual review. CAckling.
UPDATE!! Ok. Let me tell you how angry I got at this book, and mostly because WILLIAM HEROND...moreI AM SO ANGRY. Brb I will write an actual review. CAckling.
UPDATE!! Ok. Let me tell you how angry I got at this book, and mostly because WILLIAM HERONDALE IS A LITTLE SHIT PERSON I ABSOLUTELY HATE AND I CANNOT STAND TO LOOK AT HIM.
OH MY GOD. OMFG. I have never been so angry in my life (WHATEver I am always angry but today more than usual.) This is going to be the worst review ever.
I’ve been on a bit of a Cassandra Clare binge lately: I finished City of Glass after I put the book down for two years, and then I picked up Clockwork Angel because it seemed that everyone was reading Clockwork Princess and I actually could not go on the internet without seeing everyone in pain. So, what do I do? Well, I couldn’t avoid the internet for ever. So I picked up Clockwork Angel and I made the biggest mistake of my life.
William Herondale is an actual little piece of – DON’T WASTE YOUR TIME ON HIM, ACTUALLY DON’T. I don’t understand how someone like Will can go from amiable to jerk in 2.5 seconds. I don’t understand how this same person can be cruel but so caring when Jem, his parabatai, is involved and I don’t know if this means that I love him. Will is an archetype; I understand that he fulfills ‘beautiful and broken,’ *internal anguish,* and succumbs to vice. I got really angry at him for being cruel and cold-hearted and I don’t think I will ever feel that much hatred towards someone who I actually came to really like during the course of the book. There was this one point between Tessa and Will on the roof of the Institute which made so angry. Must you be the worst possible person to someone you love? You are not like this, Will.
And you know what?? Who said that this series was a love triangle??!!! Who? I don’t understand how this love triangle could not have been solved with a threesome at the very beginning. Threesomes solve everything, you should know this by now. I went into this book expecting that I would clearly have an OTP, but instead I got an OT3. Everyone has been lying to me about Will/Tessa and Jem/Tessa, because obviously it should be Will/Jem/Tessa or even just Will/Jem as the brotp of all brotps. Surely.
This book only got bumped up a star because of stupid Jem Carstairs and how much I loved him, and how much William stupidhead Herondale loves him, too. How they are closer than brothers, how Will says, “Don’t think that you know Jem better than I do,” or how Jem is always in a mild state of amusement with Will, but never denigrates or chastises him. This dynamic actually makes my heart melt and it's the best thing CC has ever written IMO.
I didn’t think that I would like Jem that much because there is a certain archetype of boy that I do like and know that I am attracted to when choosing the side of the love triangle (lol), but you would really have to be reading a different book if you couldn’t tell that Jem is such a calm, steady, comfortable force in both Tessa and Will’s lives. And to read about him is so refreshing. It was an absolute pleasure to meet you, James Carstairs.
<3Jem bby<3 Jem who is suffering from this heartbreaking existential crisis every minute of his life. Jem Carstairs who is from Shanghai; who I will always love because I love my Men of Colour - who are also protagonists - more than I love you. Cassandra Clare did one thing that did not annoy me, and that was to cast a male protagonist and love interest who is part Chinese, part British, because it’s really fantastic to finally get someone like Jem heading up a series like this.
I don’t want to read the rest of this series because something bad is going to happen and I’m going to be in pain. Basically because of this: “I know about parabatai,” said Magnus, an angry, dark undercurrent to his voice. “I’ve known parabatai so close they were almost the same person; do you know what happens, when one of them dies, to the one that’s left —?”
Someone on Twitter said “i hate cassanda clare a lot her writing is pretty shotty and shes not a v. nice person but the infernal devices mAAAAAAAAAAAN”
Five stars because ~Christian Prescott and how everything turned out all right in the end. FIVE STARS KEEPING IN MIND THAT MY OTP WASN'T EVEN ENDGAME....moreFive stars because ~Christian Prescott and how everything turned out all right in the end. FIVE STARS KEEPING IN MIND THAT MY OTP WASN'T EVEN ENDGAME. (Lol I am sometimes pathetic. No I'm actually not. I am gr8.) Christian Prescott is great.
Baby Christian Prescott. Let me just talk about him for a moment, or a few moments, idk.
Woah, there were some lines in here (see: "I know that you are a modern, liberated, independent woman. I respect that, and I understand that you are capable of paying for your own meal, but I will still be paying for dinner, and whatever else." And then............. "And just because I’m paying for dinner doesn’t mean that I expect anything from you. I just want to treat you tonight, and that’s all.") Where I scrunch my nose because, like, I actually don't think you exist?????? This is making me like you already on top of the amount that I already like you PLUS social commentary all at the same time. So I kind of love you already and then some.
But hey, Christian, you said some pretty stupid stuff that made me angry and ~rage and I got annoyed at you sometimes. But I also think that you are very aware of your flaws, faults, and you recognise your own privilege etc. (Likewise, how I understand that it also made you realistic I guess, and some of the things you said came out of anger and of worrying so much about this girl that you’re in love with walk into Hell. I absolutely understand, but please don’t call her “crazy” next time, since you basically did the same thing for her and no one is calling you out and it is seen as ~~romantic when it comes from the hot boy.) This was actually the only thing that I didn’t like about ‘Boundless,’ and maybe the constant see-sawing between Tucker and Christian which I could not handle by page 90.
Anyway; Dear Christian Prescott,
The thing is: you could see how wrong it was, how wrong it was to mould Clara and your relationship into that of "belonging to each other" because it made you both realise that belonging with each other didn't make any of you happy. That even when that was your purpose, you kept thinking that there must have been something more to all this "belonging" together than just belonging and being with each other, and that there should be something more to it. You realised that there has to be a progression, foundations laid and friendship built, in order to justify it.
And it happened.
And that’s what hurts because you came to love each other and it became something more and it became your own and not of someone else's meddling. (Btw, I really do not give away anything here so don't read too much into it. Like dude, this is my review, don't expect anything better than rambling.)
You saw how you were meant to be with Clara because it's what you've learnt your entire life and sort of how your entire existence has been programmed around it, but the thing is!!!! Your entire relationship with Clara, your actions and your words (your very, very great actions and words), are the very anti-thesis of that attitude which is usually, what I like to call – my favourite word (!!) - problematic. Everything you do (minus some wayward lines, I don't even want to go there because I already talked about it) don't add up to the "we belong together" purpose that God (literally! this is an angel series fyi) assigned you and because it was your destiny or s/t.
I side-eyed every time you said "we belong together" (more on this later!!!!!) and cringed at it because ew, gross, not a trope that I can endorse, wait while I stick myself with a fork. But Christian somehow contradicted that very belief because he realises that, "Well, fuck, it's wrong. Why am I even thinking this?" and he realises it on his own (and it’s beautiful) and how he has to let go and that no one belongs to anyone. "We belong together" turned into this thing with me where I liked it because I think the concept evolved from just a basic "you and me belonging-without-free-will” type of thing, to, "We belong together in a sense that we make each other stronger; we belong together because we ground each other to humanity, to earth, to what makes us human; we belong together because we would go to hell for each other (literally), fight for each other, die, sacrifice so much for the other because when I'm with you, it feels like it's the right thing to do. We belong together in a sense that you make me brave and you remind me that there is always someone who will be there for me. When we're together, we are more than the sum of our parts, because you are here. With me. More like we belong together, come hell or high water instead of problematic "we belong together"" and when I realised this on some page around 350 - it was okay. And it also made me realise that I could deal with it and whatever ending "Boundless" promised. (An ending which I already knew coming into the book, keep this in mind pls.)
No but seriously, this is a love triangle. Like, an actual, very well done love triangle where it is respectful, seriously, absolutely respectful on both sides of the triangle (ie both boys) where neither of them are slighted and the other bolstered, and it is up to the girl!!!!! This is also one of my favourite love triangles ever, and I hate love triangles on principle, but this love triangle is complicated and painful and not obvious and you can’t tell which way it’s going to go until the very last pages of the book. It makes you think and second-guess yourself which is sometimes frustrating but you can see that it can go both ways. And those are the best love triangles where they make you hurt for both sides.
And I went into this book knowing that my otp wasn't, in fact, endgame and I expected not to like it w/e (because otps are awful) but this book was written in such a way that made me see that it was the love triangle that never was a love triangle, and I was sort of happy with how it ended (?????). Shhhhhhhh I'm a sucker for epilogues that are set somewhat several years on in the future where everyone is happy but there is obviously a sense of something wrong, something /missing/, an absence where that other choice would have been had she gone down that path and chosen that other boy.
Jfc, the last chapter was so bad. Bad as in "why" it hurt so much no. Also, I didn't like what Angela's aka the secondary female character was reduced to because it is sort of way too common in YA that the secondary female character is smited. Also, her whole purpose was, wow, the more I think about it, the more I don't like it. However, Cynthia Hand's writing is one of my faves foreverrrrrr.
And just -- the overarching themes of destiny and free-will and how they intersect, and of, omg, of family!!! And mums!!!! And loyalty!!!! And strength!!! Let's not forget all the awesome things Clara does.
(And how much Christian was there to help her come into herself. And how they make each other stronger. And how they make each other braver. That being said, I liked what happened in the end. Because it's hopeful and content but there's also regret and longing which are the best kind of endings tbh. Actually, they aren't, because those kind of endings don't give you closure and they’re actually the most terrible.)