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The Mortal Instruments: Book 1: City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

 

City of BonesThe Mortal Instruments: Book 1: City of Bones by Cassandra Clare
City of Bones is the first book in the six book Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare. This is also the first published work by Cassandra Clare. There were originally supposed to be three books, City of Ashes and City of Glass in this series, however, Clare has written a second trilogy, City of Fallen Angels and City of Lost Souls, with the final book, City of Heavenly Fire, which comes out in 2014.
There is also a spin off trilogy called The Infernal Devices, consisting of The Clockwork Angel, The Clockwork Prince, and The Clockwork Princess, which came out earlier this year. There are also two more upcoming spin off trilogies: The Dark Artifices, consisting of Lady Midnight (which comes out in 2015), The Prince of Shadows, and The Queen of Air and Darkness, and a yet unnamed series which I assume will come out after The Dark Artifices.
There are also three companion books: one of which is a companion guide to the Shadowhunter world: The Shadowhunter Codex, which came out in 2013. There is also Shadowhunters and Downworlders: A Mortal Instruments Guide, which contains essays written by several other prominent YA authors, including Holly Black (one of the writers of the The Spiderwick Chronicles and the author the Modern Tales of Faerie series, which has been featured on this blog), Rachel Caine (author of The Morgansville Vampires series), and Kami Garcia (author of the Beautiful Creatures series).
Finally, there is a series of short stories available on ebook called The Bane Chronicles, which was originally a set of ebook short stories, and will be put together into a printed collection that comes out this November. This series stars one of the most popular character in the series, Magnus Bane.
Ok wow, there’s a whole lot of books in this series. Let’s talk about the actual book.

City of Bones starts off with the main character, Clary Fray, a fifteen year old artist who lives with her single mother in New York city, and her best friend Simon Lewis going into 16 and up club. While she is there she sees three teenagers dressed all in black with weird tattoos follow lure another teen to the back of the club.
Suspicious, Clary follows them, just in time to see them murder the teen- except when they do, the body dissapears in a puff of smoke. The teenagers (Jace Wayland, Alec Lightwood, and his sister, Isabelle Lightwood) Also, when she tries to call security, she finds that she is the only one who can see them.
Simon and Clary leave, with Clary hoping to forget about what happened. However, when her mother is kidnapped by a demon, she is forced into the world of the Shadowhunters- a world filled with mystery and danger.

I’m going to be honest here- this is one of my favorite books. It can be a little cheesy at times, but it makes up for it with really compelling characters and imaginative world.
That being said, there is a really big secret twist at the end of this book. So far I’ve noticed that there are typically two reactions to it: either one runs out to get the next one, or they just kind of go “well… ok then” and don’t continue the series.
That being said, I really recommend this book for anyone who wants something a little different from the usual teen supernatural fare.
There is also a movie adaptation based on City of Bones that came out last August. It was… not very good, and I don’t think there will be any more adaptations of the series in the upcoming future.

Rating: 7 out of 10.

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Ironside: A Modern Faery’s Tale by Holly Black

Ironside-A-Modern-Faerys-Tale-214x300 Ironside: A Modern Faery’s Tale by Holly Black

Ironside: A Modern Faery’s Tale is the third and final installment in Holly Black’s urban fantasy trilogy Modern Tales of Faerie series. Holly Black is also the author of The Spiderwick Chronicles.

Though some of the characters in Valiant: A Modern Tale of Faerie make appearances in this book, only Luis, the kid with the ability to see through the faerie’s glamour (which is called True Sight), and his troublemaking brother, Dave, act as major players in the story.

The book starts off with Kaye going to Roiben’s coronation, while Corny goes to find out ways to stay safe from faeries.  He starts off by looking through the library to find reliable information on faeries, and ends up kidnapping a small imp to get information from the source.

Yeah, in case you’re wondering Corny is still really messed-up from the events of Tithe: A Modern Faerie’s Tale. I mean, I don’t blame him for not being totally fine (in fact, I applaud Black for knowing how to write a character who has undergone some pretty serious trauma well), but at the same time I found myself feeling a little scared when seeing how far Corny goes with his revenge on the faeries. In a way, that makes his part of the story really interesting.

Back to the plot: Kaye goes to Roiben’s coronation in the UnSeelie Court. See, Kaye is worried that she is not good enough for Roiben, because she has spent most of her life thinking she was human, and his people would judge him for it.  Which is probably a good thing, because it’s made very clear early on that they do.

During the after-coronation revel, Kaye has a bit too much wine and her fears of being inadequate get the best of her. Some random faeries tell her that the best way to prove your worth to royalty in faerie culture is to declare yourself to them, after which the monarch will give the declarer a task which upon completion, the declarer will become that person’s consort. And so, Kaye declares herself to Roiben.

And Roiben gives her this lovely little task: to find and bring to him a faerie that can lie.

One would think that that wouldn’t be too hard, since the fae are known for their trickery. Well, here’s the thing: faeries by nature are not able to lie. And by that, I mean they are literally unable to lie. I’m pretty sure that this comes from an old legend.

After that disastrous mistake, Kaye meets up with Corny and she tries to move on from Roiben’s obvious rejection by going to her mother’s concert at a local bar. While they’re there, Corny spots a faerie that’s spying on Kaye. He then lures said faerie into the bathroom and tries to torture him into giving him advice against faeries. This doesn’t exactly work, he’s spotted and the angry faerie curses him so that anything Corny touches turns into ash.

And then, after they escape the cops, Kaye and Corny meet Kaye’s mom at her she’s really a changeling that some faeries switched out for her real daughter.

The mom takes it surprisingly well, in that, Ellen just kicks Kaye out instead of attacking her for kidnapping her daughter for what could have been her entire life.

I’ve decided that Kaye is the queen of bad decisions.

And so, by chapter 4, our heroine is homeless and the only person she can truly trust can’t touch anything without it withering away, and frankly isn’t at 100% mentally. Once again, Kaye and Corny get trapped into nefarious faeries plots, and with the help of Luis, a homeless teen with the ability to see the faeries for what they really are, they have to figure out the Seelie Queen’s plot to capture the UnSeelie Court before Roiben gets taken down.

After reading all three of these books, something I’ve noticed is that both Kaye and Val (the protagonist of Valiant: A Modern Tale) both had a tendency to be reactionary heroes for a good first part of the book. As I said in the reviews of the other books, I don’t really see this as a bad thing, as it makes sense considering that both heroines were dealing with forces they could not control. In fact, I would say that this is one of the few times where this worked to its advantage.

Ironside was a nice blend between Tithe and Valiant, keeping the horror and kind of meandering plot of the first book with the more mystery feel of the second book. However, I will say that I felt like the ending wasn’t very satisfying. Yes, the plot was resolved, but it had kind of an ambiguous ending.

Something about me and my personal tastes, I don’t like ambiguous endings.  I like to know exactly what happens to the characters I fell in love with after the book ends.  If that doesn’t bother you, then hey, different tastes, but that’s really my only huge nitpick with this book.

Overall, I thought Ironside: A Modern Faery’s Tale was a well done book, even if I’m not a fan of the ending.

Rating:  7 out of 10.

As for the series as a whole, I think I honestly liked Valiant: A Modern Tale the best. As much as I loved Kaye as a character I could feel myself at times getting frustrated with her as she kept making mistakes and not thinking things through. Val was a smarter and more responsible person and made planned her next move in advance. Though I definitely think that Kaye was a more interesting character, I also feel that Val was a stronger protagonist, in that Val always kept the story moving, while Kaye was easily sidetracked and the plot suffered from it. In addition, Tithe had a good concept, but had a tendency to wander from the plot for periods of time, while Valiant: A Modern Tale was better at keeping the plot at a steady pace.

I recommend the series to anyone who likes a good horror or mystery novel. However, I will once again give a warning that Tithe does have a rape scene in it, so I recommend proceeding with caution when it comes to that book.

Overall Series Rating: 8 out of 10.

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