I've been a long-time reader and fan of Clare's Shadowhunter series since the get-go. I remember picking up City of Bones in a Walmart back when I wasI've been a long-time reader and fan of Clare's Shadowhunter series since the get-go. I remember picking up City of Bones in a Walmart back when I was in high school and then immediately reading the next two books and from then on, having to wait for every book to come out after that. I've read literally every single Shadowhunter book Clare's written. And I've had mixed opinions on her books and her writing.
I thought that her original story of Clary and Jace went on for too long. I thought the story of Tessa and Jem and Will was absolutely perfect, one of the best series I've to this day ever read. I thought the story of Emma and Julian was entertaining and delightful, but after there've been so many other stories set in this universe, a little boring all the same. And wayyyy too long. When you start writing books that are close to 1000 pages long, it's not good.
I'll be honest: I didn't really like Alec in the previous books. I thought he was always mean and rude and while I understood his reasons, sometimes it just grated on me. But as the Mortal Instruments series went on, he grew on me. His and Magnus Bane's relationship for sure grew on me.
I very much enjoyed this book. I wouldn't say this is the best series Clare has ever written, as I think that honor goes to the story of Tessa and Will and Jem, always. I highly doubt she's ever going to be able to top that series.
But I enjoyed Alec and Magnus so much more in this series. I think the issue I had in previous books was that I didn't fully understand what was going on in Alec's head. In previous books, whenever Alec's character was more delved into, it was usually in reference to his relationship with Jace and how his whole entire life revolved around Jace. I love Jace, I do, but sometimes I just really needed him to shut up and let other characters around him have some spotlight.
It took me a minute to realize that this series is being written between City of Glass and City of Fallen Angels. For some reason, I thought this story took place after City of Heavenly Fire but before the story of Emma and Julian. I'm not sure if I like that. I was kinda hoping I was going to get to read about the direct aftermath of City of Heavenly Fire and how the characters dealt with their emotions/PTSD. Also because I've recently finished reading the trilogy of Emma and Julian and the many, many details of what happened in all the Mortal Instruments series. Because there's just so much damn information. I feel like it's almost a clever trick on Clare's part to make readers go back and reread all the original books.
My main complaint about this book was that, to me, there was a distinct difference in the writing style here. Probably because it was co-written, which makes sense. I adored The Bane Chronicles. I loved reading about Magnus and his adventures. But I felt that he was a little lacking here. Don't get me wrong - he's still got his pizazz and glitter and sassy comments, but there was just . . . something missing that I can't quite put my finger on. I think this book would've been better if it hadn't been co-written. I feel like when you've crafted such an intricate universe as this, bringing on another writer makes things too complicated. Your readers know your writing by this point and will notice the difference in the writing style. And it wasn't a particularly good difference.
I don't want to make it sound like I think Wesley Chu is a bad writer, but I feel like having another writer thrown into this universe at this point just makes it that much more complicated.
I also think this should've been a standalone. Or maybe a series of short stories, like The Bane Chronicles. Not everything has to be a trilogy.
But overall, this was just fun to read. I learned more about Alec, and I like him much more now. I already had a soft spot for Magnus, and I do feel there were things that I learned about here that makes some of the events of City of Heavenly Fire make more sense. Or at least tie in to each other.
Also, hello Helen Blackthorn and Aline Penhallow. You shall soon be wed and I greatly look forward to it. And all the sass that leads up to it....more
More of a 3.5 star book for me. I went back and forth with how much I liked it, but ultimately it was the ending that saved it.
There was a little tooMore of a 3.5 star book for me. I went back and forth with how much I liked it, but ultimately it was the ending that saved it.
There was a little too much family angst to the point it got a little annoying, and while I love sister-sister drama, there wasn't a whole lot of resolution between the two girls. I have some beef with books/movies/shows that point to the heroine just misunderstanding or not knowing everyone's situation/history and that's why they're all shitty people who do shitty things. And so somehow she's the bad guy for having very understandable and relatable reactions and opinions based on the actions of the people around her. That's called being human. And just because other people have shitty backgrounds or are going through a bad time doesn't mean their bad behavior is excusable. And this book had a little too much of making Nina seem like the bad guy because of those reasons.
I also had an issue with how her sister, Artemis, reacted to Nina being a Slayer. Artemis is human too with very human reactions, but it was too much. And when your girl crush points a gun and has a knife to your sister's throat, the last thing you should do is get all hot and sweaty about the one threatening her.
Those were the downsides, obviously. But I still quite liked this book. I think it would be hard for me to not like a book based off Buffy. The romance - sparing though it was - was fantastic. It was just enough to keep me satisfied without getting annoyed at Nina for being way too goo-goo eyed while the world is ending. Girl has her priorities.
And the ending was the best part. The last 50 or so pages I practically inhaled. I'll definitely be picking up the next book....more
There were some issues I had with the characters and their choices, but overall this is just a fun read. The setting and magical retelling of a bunchThere were some issues I had with the characters and their choices, but overall this is just a fun read. The setting and magical retelling of a bunch of old childhood tales is fantastic, and you can really see how Houck's writing has improved in this standalone. The descriptions and creativity here is some of the best I've read in a while....more
The most common sentiment about this novel is that this is like a Harry Potter fanfic with HarryxDraco.
This is a completely accurate seRating: 4 Stars
The most common sentiment about this novel is that this is like a Harry Potter fanfic with HarryxDraco.
This is a completely accurate sentiment.
And I loved every bit of it.
If you know me, you know that I’m obsessed with Rainbow Rowell. I think it would take quite a bit for me to give one of her books a bad review. Particually, I love her novel Fangirl. And if you’ve read Fangirl, then you know that Cath, the main character, is obsessed with the Simon Snow series, which is basically a fanfiction version of Harry Potter. Cath writes Simon Snow fanfiction and is darn good at it. And now, Ms. Rowell made all my dreams come true and wrote an actual book based on Cath’s version of Simon Snow.
I loved everything about this. It was a little slow at the beginning for me, but that didn’t stop me from reading this book in one day. I ripped through this sucker. I ate it. I inhaled it.
Firstly, I loved the cast of characters. Of course, you can’t read this book without thinking about Harry Potter – I mean, this is a book about a magic school in England and a chosen boy – Simon Snow – who has been prophesized to defeat a great evil. And Simon and his gang go on adventures all the years they’re at this magical school to defeat evil beings from stealing their magic.
“Just when you think you’re having a scene without Simon, he drops in to remind you that everyone else is a supporting character in his catastrophe.”
Sound familiar anyone?
But I didn’t mind this. Of course I love Harry Potter (who doesn’t?), but that had nothing to do with my love of this novel.
I loved this because I found Simon adorable, if a bit thick at times (but in an adorable and hug-worthy manner, of course) and Baz hilarious and very loveable, despite the fact that if anyone ever said that to him he would probably bite their face off . . . literally.
I loved Baz’s swagger. Yes, I do mean swag. That boy has it.
“I am going to die kissing Simon Snow. Aleister Crowley, I’m living a charmed life.”
Baz is so utterly confident and vicious and sarcastic and I loved everything about this boy. I loved that I saw a bit of Draco in him, because personally I’ve always loved Draco, despite his crap decisions, because if you want to get right down to it, Draco sure as heck didn’t have a lot of good choices to begin with.
Baz was born a villain. Born into one of the highest Families there is and expecting to defeat and kill Simon Snow for no other reason that he is the Mage’s Heir and he is seen as the personification of all things good. It’s not actually a question of if he wants to kill Simon . . . but that doesn’t necessarily mean he’s complaining about it either.
For a moment – not even a moment, a split second – I imagine him saying, “The truth is, I’m desperately attracted to you.” And then I imagine myself spitting in his face. And then I imagine licking it off his cheek and kissing him. (Because I’m disturbed. Ask Anyone.)
Baz isn’t trying to be good. He doesn’t want to be good. It’s not a question of if he can prevent Simon’s or his own death – he knows he can’t. But he’d like to get to the point where maybe the day they actually face off for the last time, neither would actually be trying to kill the other because they want to, but just because they have to. That’s all he wants.
And while Baz is confident in his prideful, swaggy way, Simon is just as confident. He’s not shy about anything.
Simon is confident he’s not the “chosen one.” He has too much magick in him, and none of it good. He can’t control it.
Both boys are playing roles that were decided for them both long before either was born. And neither can really do anything about it. Sure, they may have choices – Baz could leave his powerful family in their cold castle and Simon could tell the Mage to suck it, but doing either of those things won’t really help anything, not when there are places all over England loosing magick.
There are always choices, but neither Simon nor Baz have any good ones between them.
Personally, I would have loved more from this book. I’d love for a sequel, especially after that ending. I would have loved to go more in depth for Penelope and Agatha. Because one thing I can say about Rainbow Rowell is that she doesn’t create background characters.
Penelope is basically Hermione. And Agatha may seem to be the spoiled, beautiful girl who doesn’t know what she wants, but she’s also the girl who wants to break away from magick and live a Normal life, because that’s just the one she prefers. She, too, has been placed in a role – a role next to Simon Snow, because she and he look so perfect together that no one could ever think they weren’t made for each other - and doesn’t really know how to break free from it.