City of Lost Souls

City of Lost Souls (Mortal Instruments #5) by Cassandra Clare

The demon Lilith has been destroyed and Jace freed from captivity. But when the Shadowhunters arrive, they find only blood and broken glass. Not only is the boy Clary loves missing, so is the boy she hates: her brother Sebastian, who is determined to bring the Shadowhunters to their knees.

The Clave’s magic cannot locate either boy, but Jace can’t stay away from Clary. When they meet again Clary discovers the horror Lilith’s magic has wrought – Jace and Sebastian are now bound to each other, and Jace has become a servant of evil. The Clave is determined to destroy Sebastian, but there is no way to harm one boy without destroying the other.

Only a few people believe that Jace can still be saved. Together, Alec, Magnus, Simon, and Isabelle bargain with the sinister Seelie Queen, contemplate deals with demons, and turn at last to the merciless, weapon-making Iron Sisters, who might be able to forge a weapon that can sever the bond between Sebastian and Jace. If the Iron Sisters can’t help, their only hope is to challenge Heaven and Hell – a risk that could claim their lives.

And they must do it without Clary. For Clary is playing a dangerous game utterly alone. The price of losing not just her own life, but Jace’s soul. She’s willing to do anything for Jace, but can she still trust him? Or is he truly lost? What price is too high to pay, even for love?

Love. Blood. Betrayal. Revenge. Darkness threatens to claim the Shadowhunters in the harrowing fifth book of the Mortal Instruments series. (Goodreads)

The Story:

If you’re reading this review of the FIFTH (count ’em) book in the Mortal Instruments series, I’m going to assume you’ve read the other four and that I don’t have to bring you up to speed, so I digress.

Jace and Mr. Evilpants himself, Sebastian, are connected in some kooky, dark magic-infested way.  They’re like twin souls, with Sebastian manipulating Jace, molding him into some weird best-buddy. And Jace, clearly under a strange spell, agrees to everything because he thinks Sebastian is the bees knees. Poor Sebastian; he’s just misunderstood, you guys!

While Jace and Sebastian have up and disappeared, Clary and the Lightwoods are totally out of their tree, desperately trying to find the new BFFS and save Jace from Sebastian and from the Clave since they now believe that Jace is aligned with Sebastian.  Of course, all their attempts are in vain because those two crazy kids are next to impossible to find. When Jace shows up, desperate to see Clary and bring her to The Dark Side, an even scarier truth is revealed. The bond Jace and Sebastian have cannot be severed by any normal method.  To harm one of the boys would directly impact the other. Rats!

Clary, in her awesomely stubborn way, comes up with an extremely crackpot, dangerous way to save her lovely, lovely man. I mean, he doesn’t think he needs saving, but Clary decides to do it and the only person she lets in on her plan is Simon, the best friend who puts all other besties to shame.

As with all Mortal Instruments books, there are other important storylines: Magnus and Alec, Isabelle and Simon (be still my heart! These two are so cute!) and some wolfy business, but the most important story is the one that focuses directly on Sebastian because his evil plans will ultimately affect everyone.

My Take:

Overall , I still really love these characters. I love the incredible world Clare has imagined.  And she’s so gifted at the teasers (there are some great Infernal Devices references that I’d love to assume I understand, although I’m certain I’m way off). And there are other positives. I’ve loved watching Simon grow into this strong, amazing, butt-kicking character who, at his heart, is still an utter nerd.  And there’s always an underlying love I have for Clary and Jace and this intense, lovely relationship they have.

But honestly this book was missing some of the charm of the other books.  I can’t quite put my finger on it.  There was nothing inherently wrong with the story (although some of the Stepford Jace parts were a little slow), but it dragged a bit for me.  It wasn’t until the last third of the book, when something very specific happens with Jace, that the pace picked up. Then it was on like Donkey Kong—but in a book that’s 534 pages that’s quite a few chapters to get through before feeling truly engrossed.  I feel like such a traitor saying this, but I think when the final book comes out I’ll be ready to say goodbye to this series.

But don’t quote me on that. I still love Jace.

Crush Intensity: 3.75/5  There were a few parts I really loved. There were some great ID references.  And there was lots of other stuff that just didn’t do it for me this time around, but the end reeled me back in.
Memorable Quote:

Watching me play Scrabble is enough to make most women swoon. Imagine if I actually put in some effort.

I’m sure you can guess who said that.

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Clockwork Prince, Baby

Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare

In the magical underworld of Victorian London, Tessa Gray has at last found safety with the Shadowhunters. But that safety proves fleeting when rogue forces in the Clave plot to see her protector, Charlotte, replaced as head of the Institute. If Charlotte loses her position, Tessa will be out on the street and easy prey for the mysterious Magister, who wants to use Tessa’s powers for his own dark ends.

With the help of the handsome, self-destructive Will and the fiercely devoted Jem, Tessa discovers that the Magister’s war on the Shadowhunters is deeply personal. He blames them for a long-ago tragedy that shattered his life. To unravel the secrets of the past, the trio journeys from mist-shrouded Yorkshire to a manor house that holds untold horrors, from the slums of London to an enchanted ballroom where Tessa discovers that the truth of her parentage is more sinister than she had imagined. When they encounter a clockwork demon bearing a warning for Will, they realize that the Magister himself knows their every move and that one of their own has betrayed them.

Tessa finds her heart drawn more and more to Jem, though her longing for Will, despite his dark moods, continues to unsettle her. But something is changing in Will; the wall he has built around himself is crumbling. Could finding the Magister free Will from his secrets and give Tessa the answers about who she is and what she was born to do?

As their dangerous search for the Magister and the truth leads the friends into peril, Tessa learns that when love and lies are mixed, they can corrupt even the purest heart.(Goodreads)

The Story:

This book is the sequel to Clockwork Angel. If you’ve not read it then a) what the shizz is wrong with you? and b) this has spoilers. Consider yourself warned. But really. Why haven’t you read CA? Get on it pronto!

First off, holy cow it’s been forever since I read and fell in love with Clockwork Angel, the first book in the Infernal Devices series (and this series is a prequel to the Mortal Instruments series. I know it’s alot to digest at once.Take a deep breath). When I started this book it felt like I needed a refresher course.  I was a little lost at first, but then it slowly came back to me and I was sucked into Clare’s vivid world.

Tessa is still living at the Institute under the care of Charlotte and the Shadowhunters.  The Clave is threatening to take the Institute from Charlotte if she cannot find the still elusive Magister.  It becomes clear very early on that Benedict Lightwood (yes, Lightwood, for all you Mortal Instruments fans) wants Charlotte out and will do anything—anything—to take over.

Tessa, Jem and the always perfectly arrogant and swoonworthy Will, begin to help in the search for the Magister.  Not only is this vital to the future of Charlotte and the rest of the “family”, but Tessa’s safety is still in question as long as he and his mechanical army are still on the loose.  Worse, he’s now using Will’s family as a pawn in his game.

And what would a Cassandra Clare book be without a steamy love story, right? This is Victorian Era steam, but it’s good nonetheless.  The problem? Tessa is clearly caught between two guys: Jem (who, let me make it clear, she should obviously not choose) and Will (who I think I love, just sayin). Neither seems to be a good choice because a decision for one would clearly destroy the other. But Tessa certainly spends thinking about it. And doing other things.  That’s all I’m going to say about that.

My Take:

This is an excellent book.  I was totally engulfed in the story from page one.  Since my memory is so terrible, I would have loved to have a family tree to better understand how it all relates back to the MI books (and it’s my understanding that Clare plans to do this but that she feels it would be spoilery at this point), yet I was able to recollect pretty quickly. As with all of her books, the story is highly imaginative and magical.  The characters feel so real and their emotions so palpable. And every word, every description is done with beautiful detail.

In Clockwork Prince,  Tessa is still wonderfully fierce, but I think it’s Jem and Will who really shine this time around.  We see a great strength in Jem (although he still maintains his delicate sweetness) and we begin to understand what truly makes Will tick.  It’s nothing less than heartbreaking, let me tell you, and those who may have disliked him in the past (is that even possible?) will probably be willing to forgive him for his misdeeds.

I also loved the role Magnus Bane played in this story. He is, as always, the coolest of characters, and it was awesome to see Clare answer questions raised by Magnus, Alex and Camille in City of Fallen Angels. I love when she does that and when we see how her stories overlap!

Crush Intensity– 4.75/5 The ending truly broke my heart.  It was so good. The third and final book, Clockwork Princess will be out September of 2013. Yes, 2013!  Gah!  I don’t think I can make it!

Fangirl Friday-December 16

Fangirl Friday is a feature hosted by my pal Evil Eva over at Nancy Drew is My Homegirl. Basically, we talk about the things we think are awesomely exciting.  The problem this week is that we’ve had half the household, including me, under the weather this week, so really all that I find super exciting right now is sleep (and maybe a warm blanket).  Here are a couple of things that have made me feel better though:

1. Saving June by Hannah Harrington– You guys, I just finished this book on Thursday and I thoroughly, thoroughly enjoyed it. The subject matter seems like a major downer, but it’s well written and sweet. There will be a review to come but you should check it out.

2. Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare– Has this been on every single one of my Fangirl Fridays? Probably. It finally arrived and I started it.  All I can say is holy. Freaking. Cow. Page 204 (Am I right Dixie? Oh yes).  It’s really good.

3. Young Adult– It’s Christmas vacation for my entire family (the hubby is a teacher so he has two weeks off, the kiddos are kiddos so they have three weeks off. Yea!) and at some point we will be going to the movies. I have to see Young Adult. I mean, not with my kids, of course, but me and the hubs.  I’ll totally have a love/hate relationship with Charlize Theron’s character, which is awesome.  I can’t wait.

That’s all for now!

City of Fallen Angels (like, finally. I know)

City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare

The Mortal War is over, and Clary Fray is back home in New York, excited about all the possibilities before her. She’s training to become a Shadowhunter and to use her unique power. Her mother is getting married to the love of her life. Downworlders and Shadowhunters are at peace at last. And—most important of all—Clary can finally call Jace her boyfriend.
But nothing comes without a price.

Someone is murdering the Shadowhunters who used to be in Valentine’s Circle, provoking tensions between Downworlders and Shadowhunters that could lead to a second bloody war. Clary’s best friend, Simon, can’t help her. His mother just found out he’s a vampire and now he’s homeless. Everywhere he turns, someone wants him on their side—along with the power of the curse wrecking his life. And they’re willing to do anything to get what they want. At the same time he’s dating two beautiful, dangerous girls—neither of whom knows about the other.

When Jace begins to pull away from Clary without explaining why, she is forced to delve into the heart of a mystery whose solution reveals her worst nightmare: She herself has set in motion a terrible chain of events that could lead to her losing everything she loves. Even Jace. (Goodreads)

The Story:

There is absolutely no way that I can review this book without getting a teensy bit spoilery. In fact, I’ve never even been able to bring myself to review the other books in the Mortal Instruments series  because I’m loving on them SO HARD. I can’t even put it into words because so much crazy business happens.  Let me just rephrase it with a few sentences. 1. Clary is a badass. 2. Jace is hot. 3. The story is good. So, so good.

With that in mind, if you’ve not read any of the previous books, consider yourself warned.

Let me bring you up to speed. Jace and Clary are finally together.  Clary is training as a Shadowhunter. Simon is a vampire who can walk in the daylight (thank you, Jace) and he’s dating Isabel and Maia (the wolf). In the last book, after Sebastian died, unbeknownst to everyone else, Clary brought Jace back to life after he was mortally wounded. Because of this, they are about to pay a hefty price.

The problems in MI books are always aplenty. Outside of the fact that Simon is trying to balance to girls at once (something he isn’t particularly adept at), Camille, an old, evil vampire, is trying to get him on her side. Meanwhile, Jace is having frightening dreams about Clary. They start out all sexy sexy but then in the dream he usually ends up trying to kill her so…not so sexy. This drives him away from Clary because he feels he’s a danger to her.  Yet, in typical guy manner, he doesn’t actually explain why he’s pulling away.  This pains Clary because she loves Jace (and, I suspect, that even cold and aloof he’s still smokin).

And there’s more. While all of this is going on, someone is killing people in an obvious attempt to heat up tensions between the Downworlders and the Shadowhunters. No one is sure who’s doing it, but somehow it all seems tied to Camille and her desire to have someone on her side.

My Take:

What, are you kidding? I loved it. Clare’s books never disappoint. She’s perfected the art of sucking her readers into this crazy, incredible paranormal world by writing books that are practically impossible to put down. Her stories get me. Every single time.

I love Jace and Clary’s relationship, which on the surface seems to exude such passion, but at its heart, it’s one of pure, sweet love.  I love his confidence and his insecurities and his determined love of Clary. And I love Clary’s willingness to risk anything for the ones she loves; her mom, Jace, Simon. She’s perfect and devoted without being mindless and self-deprecating like so many other popular heroines seem to be (Bella, I still hate you after all these years).

I also love the way Simon has grown. He’s become so much more than the lovesick best friend of Clary. He’s come into his own now. He’s funny and brave and his relationship with Clary is so touching now that they have set the right parameters. In this story in particular, the relationship between Simon and Jace takes such a good, interesting turn as well.

Crush Intensity: 4/5 The ending of this book drove me nuts (in a good way) because it just made me wish harder for the next book, City of Lost Souls, which isn’t due out until May 2012.

The Way I See It:

I think that the people who cast the actual Mortal Instruments movie have done a fantastic job, so we’ll stick with their choices.

Lily Collins as Clary Fray

Jamie Campbell Bower as Jace