Becky’s Two Hundred and Fifty-Ninth Book Review: “Clockwork Prince” by Cassandra Clare

“Clockwork Prince” by Cassandra Clare is the second book in the Infernal Devices Series. The more I read Cassandra Clare, the more I admire what she has created. The Infernal Devices Series takes place in the same universe as the Mortal Instruments Series, but about one hundred and fifty years in the past. I was once again swept away by Cassandra Clare’s words.

 

SPOILER ALERT – There are some spoilers regarding the first book of this series “Clockwork Angel

 

Diving once again into the world of Shadowhunters and other magical forces, “Clockwork Prince” picks up shortly after the first book ended. We know that Nathan was the cause of Tessa’s initial capture and subsequent torture by the Dark Sisters. We know that Mortmain is the one with evil plans in the works, but his motivation and location is unknown. And as she continues to live at the institute, Tessa is working towards understanding who or what she is while helping out as much as possible.

Tessa is a great character. In the first book she discovers that she is not 100% human and has this gift that the Dark Sisters forced her to embrace. Then when she is saved from them and brought to the institute, Tessa tries her best to be helpful and use the gift for good. She goes above and beyond what anyone would ask of her and for entirely selfless reasons. Plus, she’s an avid reader and to me that makes her remarkably relatable.

There is a love triangle that comes to light between Tessa, Jem, and Will. Despite the attraction that Tessa feels towards Will, he has verbally attacked her so many times that she refuses to allow any fantasizing about him. Unbeknownst to her, Will is struggling with his feelings for her as well, not believing that he could love her without putting her in mortal danger. Then Tessa’s friendship with Jem slowly blossoms into more and Tessa is left wondering how it is that her (self-proclaimed) plain features could possibly attract the attentions of one man, let alone two. “She hated that Will had this effect on her. Hated it. She knew better. She knew what he thought of her. That she was nothing, worth nothing. And still a look from him could make her tremble with mingled hatred and longing. It was like a poison in her blood, to which Jem was the only antidote. Only with him did she feel on steady ground.” (Clockwork Prince, pg 35). On the one hand, I can’t help but want things to work out between Tessa and Will. The way that their relationship developed in the first book built up that expectation. But his behavior towards Tessa is too awful and she finds herself leaning towards Jem, who is a wonderful character that we know is doomed to die young. It is hard to cheer for a relationship that is pretty much guaranteed to have an unhappy ending. All the while, there are much bigger things going on in this magical world that Tessa has to prioritize. There were so many interesting things going on in this book; it was a real page-turner.

Would I recommend this book? Yes, I think this is a great series for anyone interested in fantasy young adult. Even if you don’t usually gravitate towards fantasy, this book is so entertaining that I think most people would find themselves swept away by Cassandra Clare’s words. I look forward to reading the next and final book in the series and I’m excited to devour whatever else Cassandra Clare writes next.

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Becky’s Two Hundred and Thirty-Seventh Book Review: “Clockwork Angel” by Cassandra Clare

“Clockwork Angel” by Cassandra Clare was a really entertaining book. I almost don’t want to tell you what it is about just because it is so absurd that it might turn some people off from reading it. Had I read the synopsis, I may not have picked up the book – that’s how crazy it is. But it was really good. It is the first book in “The Infernal Devices” series, which is set in the same universe as “The Mortal Instruments” series was set in, and this is a prequel to “The Mortal Instruments” series. “Clockwork Angel” starts off in 1878 where we meet Tessa Gray.

Tessa we learn has just lost the aunt who raised her and her brother Nate after their parents died, and she has traveled across the sea to be with Nate in England. “Without him, she was completely alone in the world. There was no one at all for her. No one in the world who cared whether she lived or died. Sometimes the horror of that thought threatened to overwhelm her and plunge her down into a bottomless darkness from which there would be no return. If no one in the entire world cared about you, did you really exist at all?” (Clockwork Angel, pg 17). I really liked Tessa as a character. Despite the lack of self-esteem and self-worth that she feels, Tessa finds a great deal of strength from inside. She is suddenly confronted with a world where demons and vampires are not fantasies in a book, but part of reality and she pulls from her inner strength to cope. She learns things about herself that she never knew were possible. I also really liked that she is kind of a book nerd. ““But the books are all behind bars.” She said. “Like a literary sort of prison!” / Will grinned. “Some of these books are dangerous,” he said. “It’s wise to be careful.” / “One must always be careful of books,” said Tessa, “and what is inside them, for words have the power to change us.”” (Clockwork Angel, pg 87). I couldn’t agree more with this quote – or relate to it any stronger.

Would I recommend this book? Absolutely! It is so well written, Cassandra Clare has real talent. Her books would be considered young adult, but I think that they would appeal to a much wider audience. If you’re willing, Cassandra Clare’s novels will take you on an adventure unlike any other. I never thought that I was all that interested in fantasy novels, but Cassandra Clare has opened me up to whole new worlds – literally – in her fantasy novels. I cannot wait to read the next book in the series.

 

Becky’s One Hundred and Seventy-Second Book Review: “City of Heavenly Fire” by Cassandra Clare

“City of Heavenly Fire” by Cassandra Clare is the sixth and final book in the Mortal Instruments Series. I started this book a bit reluctantly as I didn’t want the series to end, while at the same time I needed to know what happened. I am happy to announce that there are more books by Cassandra Clare set in this world but with a different main character. They are already on my Christmas list.

SPOILER ALERT: DO NOT READ ANY FURTHER IF YOU HAVE NOT READ THE FIRST FIVE BOOKS IN THE MORTAL INSTRUMENTS SERIES (UNLESS YOU DO NOT CARE ABOUT SPOILERS IN WHICH CASE ENJOY)

The sixth book in the Mortal Instruments series starts out a little differently from the others. The book opens on a young Shadowhunter in training, Emma. She is dropped off at the L.A. Institute to train and going about her day as normal until an alarm is sounded. Sebastian had broken into the institute and began turning as many Shadowhunters into Endarkened as possible. Among all this chaos, Emma is trying to get to safety with the other children that were training by jumping through a portal. Although she was terrified by everything that was happening, Emma remained levelheaded. I instantly liked her character.

“Heroes aren’t always the ones who win…They’re the ones who lose, sometimes. But they keep fighting, they keep coming back. They don’t give up. That’s what makes them heroes.” (City of Heavenly Fire, pg 95).

The last book ended with Clary severing the tie between Sebastian and Jace by stabbing Jace in the heart with the sword of Heavenly Fire. Instead of destroying him, the Heavenly Fire stayed inside Jace to the bafflement of the Silent Brothers and everyone in the Clave. This made for certain complications when it came to Clary and Jace doing anything from holding hands and kissing to other stuff. Their hormones aside, the Heavenly Fire was the only way they knew to stop Sebastian and since it was inside Jace they had no way to harness it. The L.A. Institute was not the only one that Sebastian attacked to create more Endarkened and no one in the Clave has any idea how to stop him.

“You think they are kind, that the Nephilim are kind, because they are good, but goodness is not kindness, and there is nothing crueler than virtue.” (City of Heavenly Fire, pg 173).

I don’t want to give too much away, which is challenging because there are so many things that happen in “City of Heavenly Fire” that I just want to talk about! But my whole goal with writing reviews is to encourage others to pick up the books I do and check them out, which doesn’t make sense to do if you already know the entire story. That being said, here is one quote that I really enjoyed, “All love is precious. It is why we do what we do. Why do we fight demons? Why are they not fit custodians of this world? What makes us better? It is because they do not build, but destroy. They do not love, but hate only. We are human and fallible, we Shadowhunters. But if we did not have the capacity to love, we could not guard humans; we must love them to guard them.” (City of Heavenly Fire, pg 235).

Cassandra Clare’s writing instantly pulls you into the world of Shadowhunters and Downworlders and you won’t want to leave. Her writing has evolved with each new book in the Mortal Instruments series and reading these books was consistently a wonderfully addictive experience. Would I recommend this book? Absolutely, I thought that “City of Heavenly Fire” was exciting and at the same time did a great job of tying up all the lose ends in the series. She ended things very satisfactorily. I am really excited by the fact that Cassandra Clare has written other books that are already out there and published, just waiting to be read.

Becky’s One Hundred and Seventieth Book Review: “City of Lost Souls” by Cassandra Clare

“City of Lost Souls” by Cassandra Clare is the fifth book in the Mortal Instruments series. The series is so enjoyable and as always I find myself devouring the book. I dove into the fifth book as quickly as possible to find out what happens next after “City of Fallen Angels” ended with a cliffhanger.

SPOILER ALERT: DO NOT READ ANY FURTHER IF YOU HAVE NOT READ THE FIRST FOUR BOOKS IN THE MORTAL INSTRUMENTS SERIES (UNLESS YOU DO NOT CARE ABOUT SPOILERS IN WHICH CASE READ ON)

The fourth book in the series ended with Sebastian being brought back to life by Jace while under Lilith’s control. Clary left Jace on the roof to guard Sebastian without thinking about the fact that the mark Lilith had been using to control Jace would heal itself after Clary had destroyed it. Clary goes up to the roof to find that Jace and Sebastian are both missing.

At the beginning of “City of Lost Souls” the search for Jace and Sebastian has been going on for several weeks. There has been no luck finding either and Clary is beside herself with worry. She hasn’t been allowed to be involved with the search teams and is going stir crazy from her inability to act. Then when it looks as if the council is deprioritizing the search for Jace, Clary determines to do something about it. She goes to the Seeley Queen and is told the payment the queen wants in order to grant any help is a pair of magical rings in the institute. Clary breaks into the library during a council meeting and goes after the rings. When she is about to retrieve them, she suddenly has company. After weeks of nothing, she sees Jace and Sebastian working together to steal something from the institute.

Shortly after this, Jace comes to Clary and tries to get her to leave with him. Clary realizes that Jace is no longer her Jace. He is connected to Sebastian in a way that allows Sebastian to have control over him. Their connection also means that any harm that comes to one of them affects both. Clary does not know how to get her Jace back, but she is determined to do anything.

Clary decides to keep the rings the queen wanted for her own use and goes after Jace alone – her only lifeline being the rings. Simon wears one and she wears the other and they can communicate through them. Of course Simon can’t help but use the rings for a casual question. “Her voice came through, tinged with alarm. What is it? What’s happened? Did my mom find out I’m gone?
Not yet, he thought back. Is Azazel the cat from The Smurfs?
There was a long pause. That’s Azrael, Simon. And no more using the magic rings for Smurf questions!” (City of Lost Souls, pg 207). I really do enjoy how Cassandra Clare inserts humor throughout the book. There are times when things get very dark in this series and I think that her humor helps keep a lighter tone to the books, which helps make them overall more appealing to a greater number of people.

I think that another great thing about Cassandra Clare’s writing is that she inserts a fair amount of wisdom into her characters. For example, at one point Maia is begging for help from the Praetor Lupis and makes a promise on behalf of another. “…his voice held a note of warning. “I hope you understand that when you make promises in other people’s names, it falls upon your head to make sure they follow through.”” (City of Lost Souls, pg 204). This is something that I see a lot of people do and it is interesting to have a character explain what it really means to make a promise like that.

Would I recommend this book? Yes, I don’t think that you could possibly read the first four books in the series and not be dying to know what happens next. Cassandra Clare creates an amazing fantasy world that I can’t get enough of. As the series continues to evolve, so does Clare’s writing. This book was just as enjoyable as the first four books in the series.

Becky’s One Hundred and Sixty-Sixth Book Review: “City of Fallen Angels” by Cassandra Clare

“City of Fallen Angels” by Cassandra Clare is the fourth book in the Mortal Instruments series. This is a series that I have very much enjoyed so far and it was no different going into the fourth book.

SPOILER ALERT: DO NOT READ ANY FURTHER IF YOU HAVE NOT READ THE FIRST THREE BOOKS IN THE MORTAL INSTRUMENTS SERIES. TO REITERATE – IF YOU HAVE NOT READ “CITY OF BONES”, “CITY OF ASHES”, AND “CITY OF GLASS” YOU SHOULD STOP READING THIS REVIEW UNLESS YOU DO NOT CARE ABOUT SPOILERS.

The last we left off with the series, Jace and Clary had discovered that Valentine had lied to them. They were not brother and sister after all. Therefore, the love and lust they felt for each other was not a terrible and forbidden thing. This was discovered shortly before the great battle that took place. In this battle, Jace killed Sebastian, Clary’s actual brother who was made part-demon and was pure evil. Also during this battle, Jace was sacrificed by Valentine when he stabbed Jace through the chest. This caused the angel to be summoned and grant one wish to the person that summoned him. Once Jace had been stabbed, Clary returned the favor to Valentine and killed him. This meant that once the angel arrived, Clary was able to have any wish granted that she wanted. All that Clary wanted was Jace, and so she asked for him to come back. That is how “City of Glass” ended. Little did she know, that one wish to have Jace returned to her caused a domino effect of terrible things to occur in Clary and Jace’s world. Another thing worth mentioning is that in “City of Glass”, Clary carved a rune onto Simon’s forehead – the mark of Cain – so that her closest friend could go into the battle and help without the fear of his coming to harm himself.

I liked the fact that in “City of Fallen Angels” that other characters were followed more thoroughly. Simon, Clary’s friend-turned-vampire-turned-daylighter, was followed almost as closely as Clary was in “City of Fallen Angels”. I have a soft spot for Simon – I think it is my affection for nerds/geeks in general. His character is so well defined and I enjoyed reading from his perspective. “On the one hand, he didn’t think Isabelle had ever referred to herself as his girlfriend before. On the other hand it was symptomatic of how strange his life has become that that was the thing that had startled him most tonight, rather than the fact that he had just been summoned to a meeting by the most powerful vampire in New York.” (City of Fallen Angels, pg 12).

A lot of “City of Fallen Angels” focuses on Simon and the adjustments that he is being forced to make as he transitions into his new life as a vampire. He runs into difficulties with feeding and he also discovers the true power of the mark of Cain that Clary carved into his forehead. Simon shortly finds himself in need of a new place to stay and ends up crashing with a new member of his band. Jace stops by Simon’s place and displays his cocky attitude immediately. ““I can see why you like it here,” he said, making a sweeping gesture that encompassed Kyle’s collection of movie posters and science fiction books. “There’s a thin layer of nerd all over everything.” (City of Fallen Angels, pg 120). This line actually made me laugh aloud. Sometimes Jace’s little quips can be very entertaining.

Here is another quote from Simon that I enjoyed, this one focusing on the fact that he’s newly a vampire and even more newly a daylighter. “Despite the fact that the sun didn’t harm him, he could feel the pull of the nights, the desire to be out under the dark sky and the glimmering stars. There was something in him that wanted to live in shadows, that felt the sunlight like a thin, knife-like pain – just like there was something in him that wanted blood.” (City of Fallen Angels, pg 273). As Simon tries to figure out his life, Clary is trying to figure out why Jace is pulling away from her.

Would I recommend this book? Yes, definitely. This series is highly addictive and such a quick, fun read. I think that it would appeal to a wide range of individuals. The only caution I would leave you with is do not start to read this book if you do not have the next books in the series. This one ends with a bit of a cliffhanger and I was happy to have the next book in my possession so I could dive right into it. This series is highly enjoyable. I cannot wait to finish it.

Becky’s One Hundred and Thirty-Fourth Book Review: “City of Glass” by Cassandra Clare

“City of Glass” is the third book in the Mortal Instruments Series by Cassandra Clare. Ever since the whole “Twilight” fiasco, I’ve been a little wary of young adult novels. Seeing as how the Mortal Instruments Series is a young adult series, I did approach it with a certain amount of reservation and caution. I’m very pleased to state that Cassandra Clare hasn’t disappointed, her novels are unique, entertaining, quick-paced, and have just the right amount of humor balanced in the mix.

Before I get into the review, I just want to state for the record – I love how this series is clearly numbered! On each cover it clearly states which number book it is. The cover says in small type “The Mortal Instruments” and under that “City of Glass”. Between the two titles it says in a dark circle “book three”. I have more than once picked up a book not realizing it was in a series and started to read it only to find out I was going out of order. It’s a very unfortunate situation and I’m glad that the author/publisher had the foresight to include this small but wonderful detail. Now the review:

 

SPOILER ALERT: DO NOT READ IF YOU HAVE NOT READ THE FIRST TWO BOOKS IN THE MORTAL INSTRUMENTS SERIES (CITY OF BONES AND CITY OF ASHES) AND ARE PLANNING ON IT

 

“City of Glass” picks up with Clary planning her trip to Idris to meet Ragnor Fell, the warlock she has been told will be able to wake her mother from the spell she is under. She is bursting with anticipation, not only at the prospect of finally getting to talk to her mom about the whole new world she is now a part of, but at the idea of going to the land of the shadow hunters.

In all her excitement, she still finds herself frustrated by Jace and his blatant displeasure at the idea of her going to Idris. They argue over it and leave one another in a huff. Then on the day that they are supposed to be leaving, Jace calls Simon to get him to lie to the Lightwoods and say that Clary would rather stay in New York with her mother. Simon is apprehensive at first but Jace is on the verge of talking him into it. Before Simon can make the lie however, they are attacked by Forsaken and all hell breaks loose. Simon is gravely injured and Jace pulls him into the Portal that they are all escaping through.

Clary arrives at the Institute to discover it deserted, dark, and silent. Magnus Bane – the warlock who made the Portal for everyone to get to Idris – is there and explains the attack of Forsaken on the Institute. Clary demands he open another Portal for her so she can get to Idris and save her mother. Magnus tries to explain that this is easier said than done when Clary decides to take it into her own hands. She draws a Portal using her newfound talent of creating runes and goes through it with Luke in tow.

I don’t want to give too much away because that’s no fun, but so much stuff happens in this book! I have to say that I picked up this book with plans to read it by the couch, getting through a few pages at a time. Then I got sick and was not in the mood to do anything other than sleep. When I picked it up again, I finished it in one day. I couldn’t stop reading it!  

Would I recommend this book? Yes, “City of Glass” is a great read that would be appealing to a wide range of people. I look forward to seeing what else Cassandra Clare has in store for us. She is very talented and certainly knows how to keep readers wanting more. 

Becky’s One Hundred and Twenty-Fifth Book Review: “City of Ashes” by Cassandra Clare

SPOILER ALERT: DO NOT READ IF YOU HAVE NOT READ THE FIRST BOOK IN THE MORTAL INSTRUMENTS SERIES AND PLAN TO READ IT AND DON’T WANT ANYTHING RUINED FOR YOU.

“…there was also a wariness about him, as if he were waiting or watching for something. It was something she had noticed about Jace as well. Perhaps it was only the awareness of mortality.” (City of Ashes, pg 25). 

“City of Ashes” is the second book in the Mortal Instruments series and it was just as good, if not better, than the first book. I am very pleased with Cassandra Clare so far. The series may have been written for young adults, but the material definitely seems geared towards adults. There is a great story and underlying comedic tones that just make the book very enjoyable. For example, “‘There’s nothing wild about me. I’m stolid. Middle-aged.’ ‘Except that once a month you turn into a wolf and go tearing around slaughtering things,’ Clary said. ‘It could be worse,’ Luke said. ‘Men my age have been known to purchase expensive sports cars and sleep with supermodels.'” (City of Ashes, pg 69). This exchange was one of many that made me laugh aloud. This does have the side effect of making me look a little crazy when sitting on the train, but what are you going to do? 

In “City of Ashes”, our story picks up once again with Clary who is still waiting for her mother to awaken from the magical coma that she is in. Clary is dealing with many things including a new level to her relationship with Simon, living with Luke whom she now knows is a werewolf, trying to get past her feelings for Jace now that she has discovered he is her brother, not to mention coping with the fact that everything that she grew up with knowing to be a truth is a lie – that the world she lives in is much more complicated than anything she could have imagined. Although this quote is from later in the book, I really thought it spoke for how Clary really felt throughout the whole book, “…she was suddenly and strangely reminded of being four years old at the beach, crying when the wind came up and blew away the castle she had made. Her mother had told her she could make another one if she liked, but it hadn’t stopped her crying because what she had thought was permanent was not permanent after all, but only made out of sand that vanished at the touch of wind or water.” (City of Ashes, pg 450).

“City of Ashes” is a very entertaining, fast-paced book with very interesting twists and turns. I think the book is quite a good read and something that would appeal to a wide audience. Would I recommend this book? Yes, it was a great read and I look forward to checking out the next book in the series.