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This past summer I came to a point where my book stacks were dwindling and I was getting down to reread territory. Don’t get me wrong, I ABSOLUTELY LOVE rereading my favorite books and getting the chance to experience a favorite story or world of mine once again, but during my summer I didn’t want to travel to other places I had already gone: I wanted to go somewhere new and on an entirely new adventure! Due to my stockpile of fiction running dry, I decided to raid my older sister’s bookshelf and ended up asking if I could borrow her copy of Cassandra Clare’s “Clockwork Angel.” All I’ve got to say, readers, is #NoRegrets!
Immediately after I finished “Clockwork Angel,” I started “Clockwork Prince” and ended up loving it even more than the first book! “The Infernal Devices” is a great series in general, but I think that there was also something about the time in my life when I picked it up and the fact that I was craving a historical fiction setting that made me adore it to pieces. Oh, and I can never, ever, forget the perfect use of quotes to set the tone for each chapter and the classic literature references throughout this series.
For me there’s a fine line between an author taking good classic literature pieces to make their book better and an author who is trying too hard to be seem sophisticated or on another “level.” My first piece of advice to the latter authors: be you to the best of your ability while writing instead of trying too hard. Readers can see the difference, and I think what most of us really seek is honesty when we escape through the written word, so when authors are honest, whether their books are sophisticated or not, we can connect with them. I read a lot of the books that are cute and fluffy because a girl needs some lighthearted fun sometimes, but I also like elegant books that sweep me off my feet with their lyrical prose and transportive qualities. I know that I’m pandering a little bit here, but the point I’m trying to make concerning “The Infernal Devices” is that Cassandra Clare used classic literature to her advantaged and it added weight and depth to her series; the sincerity in which she used it made me feel like those pieces and references were really a part of the story and world she created. These books felt raw and real, but also refined in a way because of the addition of poetry and quotes. Another thing that I really loved was that the language (I just mean the English language in general) used in “The Infernal Devices” was not a higher form of what we speak now, but it also wasn’t simple and empty-headed. I thought that Cassandra’s writing was well-balanced in the sense that it felt fairly effortless, but it still had enough of the older way of speaking English to make me feel transported back to Victorian London. Then there were moments when the words and quotes that were so beautifully placed and wonderful in themselves that I kinda wanted to cry because of how lovely they were.
“The human heart has hidden treasures,
In secret kept, in silence sealed;
The thoughts, the hopes, the dreams, the pleasures,
Whose charms were broken if revealed.”
—Charlotte Brontë, “Evening Solace”
Cassandra Clare used some of the best poetry to compliment her books’ themes and to make me love them. P.S. I have a weakness for ALL things Charlotte Brontë!!! Oh, and the use of Latin was SO GOOD, and after I finished the series, I went on a crazed search for Latin sayings on pinterest and found the Shadowhunter creed, “Pulvis et umbra sumus,” paired with fan art for “The Infernal Devices.”
Isn’t it SOOO cool?!! Second only to the beautifully used quotes and Latin sayings, Will’s and Jem’s friendship HIT ME IN THE FEELS.
They were like Jonathan and David, and all of the parabatai stuff just really got to me. For some reason it was really the that the two of them and the skillfully used classic literature references that stole my heart while reading “The Infernal Devices,” and I kind of wish that this series didn’t have a heroine so that it could have been just about Will, Jem, and the other Shadowhunters; I know that it is mostly about them anyway, but I still wish that Tessa was not in it. She wasn’t a bad heroine, she just took page time away from Will and/or Jem, and all I wanted was more parabatai, parabatai all the time. Yes, I like the sound of the word, so I’m gonna say it one more time: parabatai.
Honestly, I just loved (still love) what that parabatai bond meant between them and to the other Shadowhunters who had it at one time or another, and it made me think about of all of my favorite friendship duos: Jonathan and David, Shawn and Gus, Corey and Shawn, Chuck and Morgan, Danny and McGarret, Solo and Kuryakin…I could go on for days, but I just loved what the parabatai relationship signified in this series, that friendship and love can never die even when one of the friends does, and I thought that was beautiful.
Okay, so I fond a lot of stuff beautiful and riveting in this series, but another thing that I adored (I know, I’ll stop after this!) was that Cassandra Clare chose “A Tale of Two Cities” by Charles Dickens as the underlining theme and message for her story. The way she used it in these books and the story behind the classic literature book just added SO MUCH depth and weight to this series. After finishing this series, I started to read “A Tale of Two Cities” and ended up loving it, and it is one of my favorite classic literature novels now! I really appreciate when an author uses other written works to ground their own ideas (A.K.A. beloved retellings) while still making it their own, and I especially love it when their work makes me want to go and search out the original.
Okay, so now that I’ve probably driven you nuts by all of my chatter, I’ll leave you with this: If you like historical fiction, adventure, romance, poetry, quotes, and the kind of friendship that rips your heart out because it’s so good, then you need to pick “The Infernal Devices” up if you haven’t already. I hate to be aggressive, but seriously, read these books!
Thanks for reading, everyone!
“5 to 1” by Holly Bodger
3 1/2 out of 5 stars.
“In the year 2054, after decades of gender selection, India now has a ratio of five boys for every girl, making women an incredibly valuable commodity. Tired of marrying off their daughters to the highest bidder and determined to finally make marriage fair, the women who form the country of Koyanagar have instituted a series of tests so that every boy has the chance to win a wife.
Sudasa doesn’t want to be a wife, and Kiran, a boy forced to compete in the test to become her husband, has other plans as well. Sudasa’s family wants nothing more than for their daughter to do the right thing and pick a husband who will keep her comfortable—and caged. Kiran’s family wants him to escape by failing the tests. As the tests advance, Sudasa and Kiran thwart each other at every turn until they slowly realize that they just might want the same thing.
This beautiful, unique novel is told from alternating points of view—Sudasa’s in verse and Kiran’s in prose—allowing readers to experience both characters’ pain and their brave struggle for hope.”
I read “5 to 1” about a month ago, and I really liked it. It was odd at first trying to get used to the perspectives in this book since one was written in verse and the other prose, but once I got used to switching back and forth between the two styles, I really started to get into Holly Bodger’s story.
Both characters felt like they were on the younger side of young adult fiction, yet that didn’t stop me from appreciating this story. It was a coming of age story after all, so the characters were intentionally written to be young adults growing into themselves and their futures. Another aspect I liked about “5 to 1” was that Kiran and Sudasa weren’t just two rebellious teens being ridiculously immature and demanding that they should be allowed to make their own choices and treated like adults while they were acting like petulant children. Instead, both Sudasa and Kiran were good, responsible teens who had come to a point in their lives where they had to make a choice, and they understood that their futures hung on that one monumental decision. I enjoyed the fact that these to characters weren’t moody teens being rebellious for no justifiable reason, and I also liked that they were mature and calculated in their choices instead of brash and not thinking about the consequences of their actions.
Besides liking how Sudasa and Kiran eventually made their own choices, I really liked that Holly Bodger made me think about how the world in “5 to 1” was a reflection of our world. There were moments that subtly emphasized that bitterness and prejudice lead to a very unequal society, whether it be women being bitter/prejudice towards men and men towards women, and one race against another. This is another one of the books in YA book culture that they are listing as being feministic fiction, and to tell you the truth, I approve of this book. “5 to 1” showed both the good and bad of women taking full control of a society, forcing men to the lower rungs of the social ladder, and this book also pointed out the faults in a predominately male run society. Both are dysfunctional and will continue to be so while males and females are continuously trying to rip the other down to make themselves higher than the opposite sex; “equality” approached in that way will never be found because those are not the actions of people looking for a level playing ground, but individuals looking for revenge. I really respect Holly Bodger for pointing out the flaws on both sides in such a good and simple way.
Overall, I really enjoyed reading “5 to 1,” and I thought that it was a beautifully written book that showed what bitterness can do to people, how broken worlds and societies suffocate their people in the name of justice, and how choices made by individuals every day draws the line between making the world a better place to live in or letting it spin around in the same, hopeless cycle. I also really liked that it was set in India because there are not a lot of YA books that take place there, and that made this book feel like a unique and fresh setting to read. I would definitely recommend “5 to 1” to anyone who is looking for a quick, interesting read.
“Daughter of Dusk” by Livia Blackburne
3 1/2 out of 5 stars.
“After learning the truth about her blood lines, Kyra can’t help but feel like a monster.
Though she’s formed a tentative alliance with the Palace, Kyra must keep her identity a secret or risk being hunted like the rest of her Demon Rider kin. Tristam and the imprisoned assassin James are among the few who know about her heritage, but when Tristam reveals a heartbreaking secret of his own, Kyra’s not sure she can trust him. And with James’s fate in the hands of the palace, Kyra fears that he will give her away to save himself.
As tensions rise within Forge’s Council, and vicious Demon Rider attacks continue in surrounding villages, Kyra knows she must do something to save her city. But she walks a dangerous line between opposing armies: will she be able to use her link to the Demon Riders for good, or will her Makvani blood prove to be deadly?
In this spellbinding sequel to Midnight Thief, Kyra and Tristam face their biggest battle yet as they grapple with changing allegiances, shocking deceit, and vengeful opponents.”
Nearly a year ago I went to a Barnes and Noble book panel where five different female authors were being interviewed and answering their fans’ questions, and Livia Blackburne was one of them. That was my first ever bookish event that I had participated in outside of online interviews and twitter chats, and it was one of the funnest things that I have experienced. I have such fond memories of that day hanging out with my siblings and meeting the wonderful authors who were present at the book panel, and I am so grateful that I had purchased on a whim Livia Blackburne’s first book, “Midnight Thief,” and asked her to sign it for me. I, surprisingly, really enjoyed “Midnight Thief” despite my wariness of high-fantasy fiction at the time, and so I was really excited for Livia’s second book to come out this August from Disney-Hyperion!
I had really liked “Midnight Thief” last year because I thought that Kyra was cool heroine who had experienced a lot of growth as a character over the course of the book. I had also liked Tristam as the good guy whose moral compass was always what he looked towards for guidance, and Jason, the bad boy, who was always wicked and dynamic and extremely fascinating. For being a debut author who was approaching a younger audience, I was very impressed by Livia’s skill as an author when I read “Midnight Thief,” and that didn’t change with “Daughter of Dusk.” The second book in this series was very good and I liked that Livia Blackburne tied all of her loose ends up really well, and I enjoyed the fact that the end of “Daughter of Dusk” felt satisfying. My only problem with “Daughter of Dusk,” though, was the characters.
I wouldn’t say that this is the most complex series to read since it is for younger audiences, but it this has a lot of depth and most of that comes from the characters. In “Midnight Thief,” Kyra was a feisty, strong heroine who grew a lot as an individual, Tristam was the noble Knight who eventually saw beyond the thief to the real Kyra, and Jason was mysterious, interesting, dynamic, and evil. Just between those three characters, the first book had a lot going for it, but in “Daughter of Dusk,” I didn’t feel like they were as compelling because two of them were moody and the other one was barely present. I get the dilemma that both Kyra and Tristam were having concerning their friendship and her heritage; everything was unstable where the two of them were involved and that made them both moody and uncertain. Their feelings and actions were understandable, just not very likable, and I was hoping for their relationship to evolve just a little before the end of this series came.
I had obviously really liked Kyra and Tristam in the first book, but with their mild attitudes in “Daughter of Dusk,” I gravitated towards Flick and Jason. Flick really stepped up his game in this book and I really enjoyed the fact that Livia Blackburne wrote parts of “Daughter of Dusk” from his point of view; Flick had a distinctive voice (like Jason’s in his own way) and it was refreshing to move from Kyra’s and Tristam’s perspectives, which no longer felt very distinct because of their broody inner monologues, and I think that Flick ended up being my favorite character in this book besides Jason.
I’m going to leave this short and sweet: Jason was misguided, evil, and one of the most dynamic (partial) villains I’ve had the pleasure of reading. I loved him in “Midnight Thief” and had mentally slapped myself (many times) for liking the assassin who I knew was bad, but had hoped wasn’t. I wish that there was more from his perspective in this book, but alas, there was not!
Overall, I think that Livia Blackburne did a great job wrapping up her first series. I didn’t end up liking “Daughter of Dusk” as much as the first book, but Flick was a great character whose voice I enjoyed a lot, Jason was still fascinating, and although I wish Kyra and Tristam hadn’t sulked so much, I enjoyed this sequel. Livia Blackburne’s writing remained high quality in “Daughter of Dusk,” and I would recommend this series to younger and older readers looking for an interesting high-fantasy read!
WARNING: There is definitely violence, but it is not graphic and Livia does not dwell on it for long periods of time.
“Heir of Fire” by Sarah J. Maas
4 out of 5 stars.
Finally ready to stir up ghosts from her past and intending to uncover some of the painful truths behind her heritage, Celaena leaves Rifthold behind to sail east across the Great Ocean to Wendlyn in the hopes of finding her aunt to seek out answers. But instead of meeting her aunt, Queen Maeve, Celaena encounters a warrior with a foul temper named Rowan Whitethorn, and he is standing between her and the answers she seeks for herself and those she left behind in Adarlan. Precious time is passing as Celaena attempts to prove herself to Rowan and her aunt, and all the while everyone in Rifthold and the rest of Erilea is dangerously close to succumbing to the King of Adarlan’s dark influence.
Isolated in the glass castle of Rifthold, Dorian Havilliard is hard-pressed on all sides, and each day proves to be a struggle as he tries to conceal his new-found abilities. One wrong move and Dorian’s father would gladly dispatch his own son and anyone connected to him. With Choal Westfall distant and Celaena gone from Rifthold, Dorian finds himself terrifyingly alone until he meets Sorcha, a servant in the glass castle. But even with Sorcha helping him find a solution to his abilities, Dorian still fears that the answers he seeks will not be found before it is too late to save himself and those he loves.
Everyone linked to Celaena is in danger of succumbing to the darkness infecting Erilea, and it is only a matter of time before war will sweep across the continent. Celaena must embrace the piece of herself so long forgotten in order to fight against the darkness and save those she loves. Can Celaena become the warrior she needs to be to save the Faeries and humans from the coming tide, or will she fail and have to watch those she loves perish along with all of Erilea?
“Heir of Fire” was a cruel, cruel book, but I loved it! Sarah J. Maas recaptured my attention with the third book in her “Throne of Glass” series, and I loved how I got to see more of her well-developed and expansive world. Sarah took me beyond the boarders of Adarlan to Wendlyn in the east and also to the far west, but as interesting as some of those places were, my favorite parts of this book happened in Rifthold. The majority of Sarah’s previous books in this series took place in Rifthold, so you would think that I would like the change in scenery, but Rifthold was where Dorian was, so…
Dorian!!! I was so happy to see that he was a key player in “Heir of Fire,” and I loved every moment I got with him. Dorian had changed a lot as a person over the course of “Throne of Glass” and “Crown of Midnight” because of everything that he had experienced, but despite those changes he was still Dorian in “Heir of Fire.” He struggled throughout this book to keep his abilities in check, and the constant strain of that and everything his father was trying to do to the people who were under his thumb wore on Dorian, and it made my heart ache to see a good person like him being stuck in such a horrible situation. Dorian’s life was on the line this entire book and if he took one miss step, I knew as a reader that he could die; Sarah J. Maas doesn’t hesitate when it comes to killing her characters off, so no one is safe in her books. Despite the dire situation Dorian was placed in, Sarah helped his parts to not be entirely doom and gloom by writing moments of him being brave and smart, and he even had a love interest in “Heir of Fire.”
From my previous reviews, you all know how hard I SHIPPED Celaena and Dorian and that hasn’t changed, but I still really liked Dorian and his love-interest, Sorscha, in this book. Dorian had been betrayed and discarded by all of his friends and relations by the time “Heir of Fire” began, and I just wanted to see him be happy, whether that happiness be Celaena or not. If Dorian was/is happy, then I’m happy. Sorscha and Dorian were sweet together, and I enjoyed seeing them working together and making one another happy. Sorscha was one of many new characters added to the “Throne of Glass” series by Sarah J. Maas, and I really liked her as a strong female who was cool despite the fact that she wasn’t a ninja/assassin. As much as I liked Sorscha, though, my favorite character who was officially introduced to this series in “Heir of Fire” was Aedion Ashryver.
So, yeah, I fell in love with this character and all of his AWESOMENESS in “Heir of Fire.” Aedion Ashryver was smart and he got business done in this book, and I found that to be extremely attractive in this male character. He operated in more of the gray zone, and normally that would be off-putting for me, but I completely understood what his motivations were, and in the end, his intentions made me respect and love him all the more. I loved how cunning and decisive he was; he knew what he wanted and was ready to pay the price to get it. Aedion played a huge role in “Heir of Fire” despite his minimal page time, and I really respect Sarah J. Maas for creating such a layered and dynamic character who drew me into her book. I loved Aedion as much as Dorian, just for different reasons, and I wanted to learn so much more about him. My greatest hope for “Queen of Shadows,” besides more Dorian time, would be to get more of Aedion’s perspective.
Standing next to Aedion and Dorian, Chaol Westfall was lackluster and seemed fairly useless in “Heir of Fire.” I know you already understand that I don’t like Chaol, but I just want to point out that this is book three in the “Throne of Glass” series and he still hasn’t been able to change my opinion of him. Thinking about everything that Aedion, Celaena, and Dorian did and sacrificed, I don’t remember Chaol ever doing anything particularly impacting in “Heir of Fire,” and if he did, it didn’t affect events in this book enough to make me remember that he did it. Sorry, guys, I just still do not understand the appeal of this character…
Although my dislike for Chaol in this book was no surprise, I was, however, shocked by how much I ended up liking Rowan. Rowan and Aedion were very much alike for me in the sense that I found both of them to be cunningly intelligent and dynamic characters. Rowan was a strong male character like Aedion and despite his initially jerkiness, I really warmed up to him. He and Celaena worked well together because he was a seasoned warrior who had a more collected approach of getting what he wanted whereas Celaena was brash and would leap into a fight without thinking about an alternative approach. Rowan and Celaena tempered each other well, like fire and ice (no pun intended!), and I enjoyed seeing them form a friendship as “Heir of Fire” progressed. Personally, I want them to end up together; I desperately want Dorian and Celaena to be together, but I could still be happy with Dorian and Celaena remaining friends and she and Rowan riding off into the sunset. Honestly, as long as Chaol’s out of the picture, I’ll be perfectly satisfied with the relationships in this series.
One of the things that I thought was really interesting about this book was how dynamic and interesting characters like Rowan, Aedion, Dorian, and even Sorcha were, yet Celaena as a person was only fine in “Heir of Fine.” She was cool at moments, but her whining in the first half of this book didn’t make me feel for her or root for her more, and she also felt a lot less dynamic than some of the other heroes and villains in “Heir of Fire.” I can respect the fact that Celaena was going to get business done at the end of this book, but her initial griping didn’t make me look forward to her parts of the book; if Rowan and her hadn’t spent so much time together, I might have grazed over her chapters just a little bit, but thankfully the new and intriguing male leads and Dorian helped to keep me reading. Despite all that, I am very interested in seeing where Sarah takes Celaena as a character in “Queen of Shadows” after that kind of ending.
OH MY GOSH THAT ENDING!! Sarah J. Maas can be oh, so cruel to her readers. “Heir of Fire” left me cruelly hanging off of a cliff of despair and with no way of know whether the characters I loved were dead or going to die. EVERYTHING HURTS AND I WANT CHOCOLATE!!
Overall, I really enjoyed “Heir of Fire,” and I liked that it really let the secondary characters shine who deserved to have their voices heard. “Heir of Fire” didn’t take the place “Throne of Glass” in my heart, but I loved it and am looking forward to reading “Queen of Shadows” to see if anyone I love survives. I’M COMING FOR YOU AEDION AND DORIAN!!!
I know that it’s not a book, but I just couldn’t resist posting about “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.” after my sister and I saw it this morning. Let me tell you, “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.” was one of the best movies I’ve seen all year, second only to “Cinderella,” and I absolutely loved it! I mean, this movie literally had everything going for it with its fantastic retro-feeling filming, a fabulous car chase scene in the beginning,
Armie Hammer on a motorcycle pulling a Steve McQueen move, *swoons*
Henry Cavill playing a suave spy with moves like this,
I have no words for how fabulous “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.” was/is, and you just need to go and experience it for yourself! Go forth and watch it!!
“Bridge of Snow” by Marie Rutkoski
5 out of 5 stars.
Ignore the stirrings of war. Let the carriage to a royal ball wait. There is a story to be told: of a starless night, a mother and her sick son, and a mortal who falls in love with the snow god, and will do anything to have her…
Marie Rutkoski completely captured my attention and my heart with this prequel to “The Winner’s Curse”! “Bridge of Snow” was elegantly mournful, and I absolutely loved reading this novella because of how it gave me a glimpse of Arin as a child and let me see his bond with his family firsthand. “Bridge of Snow” made my heart ache even more for the older Arin I knew from “The Winner’s Curse,” and this novella made me want to go back and read the first book again!
One of the things that really stuck out to me while reading this prequel was something Marie Rutkoski had written in her introduction to “Bridge of Snow” that was created for the Macmillian novella collection called “Kisses and Curses.” After telling her readers a little bit about why she decided to write “Bridge of Snow,” Marie went on to describe Arin as a character who was “intelligent, sensitive…and destined for loss.”
This novella was only about thirty pages long, but I felt like it gave me a hint as to what might happen at the of “The Winner’s Kiss,” and to tell you the truth, this quote and the story behind “Bridge of Snow” makes me a little scared of what Marie might do in her last book. “The Winner’s Trilogy” is the first series that I’ve read by Marie Rutkoski, so I honestly don’t know what kind of writer she is and the kind of agony her third book could wreak upon my heart. Marie Rutkoski’s is an amazing storyteller and I’m looking forward to “The Winner’s Kiss,” but I’m also frightened by the fact that I don’t know where she will take her final installment of this stunning trilogy. She’s a loose cannon and a lover of Shakespeare, and that both terrifies and excites me. I fear a terrible end for Arin and Kestrel.
Reading this novella was as enlightening as it was frightening. I am anxious to read “The Winner’s Kiss” so I can find out whether Marie Rutkoski wrote Arin and Kestrel a happy ending, or if their fate was like that of the desperate human boy and the girl made of snow…
I love to hear from you, so please feel free to comment and tell me what you think about “Bridge of Snow.” Happy Fangirl Friday, everyone, and thanks so much for visiting my blog!