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Monday, August 22, 2011

City of Ashes


City of Ashes (The Mortal Instruments Book Two) by Cassandra Clare

(Summary taken from the inside book jacket) "Clary Fray just wishes that her life would go back to normal.  But what's normal when you're a demon-slaying shadowhunter, your mother is in a magically induced coma, and you can suddenly see Downworlders like werewolves, vampires, and faeries? If Clary left the world of the Shadowhunters behind, it would mean more time with her best friend, Simon, who's becoming more than a friend. But the Shadowhunting world isn't ready to let her go--especially her handsome, infuriating, newfound brother, Jace. And Clary's only chance to help her mother is to track down rogue Shadowhunter Valentine, who is probably insane, certainly evil--and also her father. To complicate matters, someone in New York city is murdering Downworlder children. Is Valentine behind the killings--and if he is, what is he trying to do? When the second of the Mortal Instruments, the Soul-Sword, is stolen, the terrifying Inquisitor arrives to investigate and zooms right in on Jace. How can Clary stop Valentine if Jace is willing to betray everything he believes in to help their father?"

I was really excited to read this book and it did not disappoint. It kept up the high-paced action and drama of the first book and added a few twists and turns. There were some things that really surprised me and some things I wondered about. A few questions were answered, but more are asked. There is no closure and you're left hanging once again. I really like Ms. Clare's style of writing except that sometimes she'll end a paragraph and then start the next paragraph at a completely different place. I had to go back a couple of times to make sure I hadn't missed anything, but that is just how she writes. So there are some transition issues but overall it's a fast and easy read. It is, once again, quite violent. There are some graphic scenes and quite a few deaths. There is love, betrayal, fighting, friendship, and magic. The characters are well developed and I like her descriptions a lot. I really feel like I'm in the middle of the action. There are some "physical intimacy" innuendos, with some kissing, but they never actually do anything more than kiss. I'm hooked for sure, so look forward to my review of the next book soon (hopefully).

Rating: PG-13 Violence, gory deaths, fighting, "physical intimacy" innuendos, kissing. There are also the homosexual characters (Once again, I know and love people who are homosexual--it just kind of feels forced, like a statement rather than a storyline, in this particular book.) and some innuendos from them. There is also language in this book as well.

Recommendation: I'm sticking with high school seniors and up.

I really enjoyed this book and can't wait to read the next one!


Tuesday, August 2, 2011

City of Bones


City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments Book One) by Cassandra Clare

(Summary taken from the back book cover) "When Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder. Much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with odd markings. This is Clary's first meeting with the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons--and keeping the odd werewolves and vampires in line. It's also her first meeting with gorgeous, golden-haired Jace. Within twenty-four hours Clary is pulled into Jace's world with a vengeance, when her mother disappears and Clary herself is attacked by a demon. But why would demons be interested in an ordinary mundane like Clary? And how did she suddenly get the Sight? The Shadowhunters would like to know...."

I didn't know what to expect with this book. I do not usually read the summary beforehand so I did not expect it to be about werewolves, demons, Shadowhunters, etc. I don't know why. Anyway, the book immediately captured my attention. I have read a lot of good books lately, but none of them have really grabbed me. I'll read at night and that is usually it. This book, however, grabbed me enough in the first page to keep me reading. I read all the next day and then every second I could after that. (My house and children suffered, but....oh well. It was only one day, right??) I really liked the characters in this book. They were all believable. Ms. Clare did a very good job with the character development. I really liked Clary. I liked her a lot more than I liked Bella in "Twilight." She is a strong, independent character and doesn't just whine or need a man all the time. I liked Jace as well. I felt a connection to Simon because he seems kind of nerdy, and that is what I was in school. I was not into Dungeons and Dragons, but I was nerdy.

I liked the plot and thought it was well done. There is a twist at the end, and I did somewhat anticipate it, but there was still some doubt in mind. I liked Ms. Clare's style of writing. It was fast-paced from the beginning and really kept me reading. There were some "lazy" writer moments, like when she just stops a paragraph mid-thought and then puts two or three spaces in between the next paragraph, which may or may not continue where the last paragraph ended. This didn't really bother me in reading it. There was also an unresolved question I had with a fight scene. The main characters are fighting a demon and are in trouble. They can't get out because the door is locked, but then someone comes and busts open the door from the outside. Huh??? How did that happen? Anyway, it still didn't slow down my reading.

I did not like the language in the book. For a young adult book it had a lot of language in it. A lot more than I expected. There is also a homosexual character in the book. I thought it seemed out of place and awkward. Don't take me wrong, I have people I know and love that are homosexual, but in this particular book I thought it seemed forced. It seemed more like a statement than a part of the storyline.

Overall I really enjoyed this book and can't wait to read number two!

Rating: PG-13 (almost an R) There is a lot of language in this book. There is also the homosexual character, violence (killing demons), and death.

Recommendation: High School Seniors and up. I know, it's kind of harsh, but I don't think it's appropriate for children any younger. I wouldn't want my 13 or 14 year-old (if I had one) reading it.