Tag Archives: Historical

Clockwork Princess (The Infernal Devices: Manga #3)

Read on 11th January, 2015

Author: Cassandra Clare

Artist: Hyekyung Baek

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4.5 Stars

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The threat of Mortmain’s Infernal Devices looms as the Shadowhunters race to work out a way to counteract the mechanical monsters. Meanwhile, plans for Tessa’s marriage to Jem are underway, despite her fiancé’s failing health and the unresolved feelings between her and Will. When Tessa is captured, Will must leave his comrade behind to save the woman they both love… But with the final missing piece -Tessa herself – in Mortmain’s possession, can anything stop his plot for revenge?

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I loved it. Clockwork Princess, in whatever form, is a stunning piece of work that toys with your emotions no matter how many times you read it. Although all of The Infernal Devices are brilliantly written and enthralling to the extreme, Clockwork Princess is perhaps the better of the three – however, being the finale (a Cassandra Clare finale, at note) it is expected to be spectacular and certainly does not fall short. Despite this, there are a few details from the book that are lacking in the manga.

In the previous installment, Clockwork Prince, one of the details missing was the mention of Adele, Starkweather’s granddaughter. Thankfully, this was rectified as the first thing that is seen upon opening Clockwork Princess is an excerpt of Adele’s story, which is later explained in greater depth as is true to the novel.

While the inclusion of the letters between the Consul and the Council are included (and thank goodness for that!), the text is barely legible and one must strain their eyes to read it.

The scones. That’s all I’m saying. The scones weren’t there.

In the novel, Tessa’s Clockwork Angel marks Will. For all those who have read Clockwork Princess, you’ll know what I mean and in what circumstances. This is not included in the manga. Keeping this as spoiler-free as possible, as a fan of The Mortal Instruments, this is a huge dillema. – Will’s mark, passed down through the generations, is how we find his bloodline in an important character. The scene was laid out, it would have been so easy to slip it in there, just add in an extra panel or so – I don’t understand why it was not included. At all.

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Clockwork Prince (The Infernal Devices: Manga #2)

Read on 11th January, 2015

Author: Cassandra Clare

Artist: Hyekyung Baek

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4.5 Stars

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Tessa Gray has found friends among the Shadowhunters, supernatural protectors of mankind who possess angelic blood. But Tessa’s new life is threatened when some members of the Clave challenge Charlotte’s leadership and pressure her to resign as head of the London Institute. If Charlotte is forced out, Tessa will be forced to leave as well due to her warlock blood, making her easy prey for the still-at-large Magister. As Tessa and her handsome Shadowhunter escorts, Will and Jem, journey far and wide to unravel the Magister’s secrets, they quickly learn that they have no secrets from the vengeful Magister… and nowhere is safe…

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Again, a great adaptation of the novel and a swift, easy read. However, I have three issues with Clockwork Prince: the Manga (aside from my continuing grievances at the visual depiction of Magnus Bane.

Upon their stay at the New York institute, Tessa did not stumble upon the portrait of Aloysius Starkweather’s granddaughter, nor hear his account of what happened to her, which is a major plot point in discovering what Tessa is, per say. I’m interested in how they’ll spin that one.

Whilst demon pox was still mentioned, I was gravely disappointed that there was no side story of Will believing it existed while no one else did, his little song that annoyed the hell out of everyone, and his gloating when he was proved right of his existence, milking it for all it was worth. That was a big highlight for me in the novel and I am rather sad to that it was not included.

In the novel, Bridget was infamous for her bellowing tunes (in Irish, I think it was, but I can’t quite recall) that irritated the hell out of everyone – they are key to what makes her such a strong character. Sadly, they were lacking in this adaption. I know that they can’t include everything, but the little details are always appreciated.

Clockwork Angel (The Infernal Devices: Manga #1)

Read on 10th January, 2015

Author: Cassandra Clare

Artist: Hyekyung Baek

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4.5 Stars

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A manga-adaption to the prequel of Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instrumentsseries, The Infernal Devices is the story of Tessa Gray, a sixteen-year-old American girl traveling alone to Victorian London who runs afoul of the city’s sordid supernatural underworld. Rescued by the Shadowhunters of the London Institute, Tessa quickly finds herself caught up in an intrigue that may very well destroy her new friends – including the two enigmatic young men, Jem and Will, who have taken her under their wing…

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As my first novel/manga adaptation, Clockwork Angel was rather well done. The Infernal Devices is by far one of my favorite series, so when a friend asked of I’d like to read the manga adaptations, I couldn’t refuse.

Clockwork Angel: the Manga was an understandably swift read, lacking no major plot points or crucial information (if I’m wrong, do keep in mind that I read the novel over a year ago).

My only issue with the rendition is the portrayal of Magnus Bane. To be prompt: he looks like a girl. I am not happy.

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See how depressing this is!? I just – there are no words to adequately express my devastation. No words. None.

Aside from that, I quite enjoyed the manga and I recommend it to any fan of The Infernal Devices looking for a quick read from a great series.

The FitzOsbornes at War (Montmaray Journals #3)

Read on 24th September, 2014

Author: Michelle Cooper

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4.5 Stars

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Michelle Cooper completes her heart-stealing epic drama of history and romance with The FitzOsbornes at War.

Sophie FitzOsborne and the royal family of Montmaray escaped their remote island home when the Nazis attacked. But as war breaks out in England and around the world, nowhere is safe. Sophie fills her journal with tales of a life during wartime. Blackouts and the Blitz. Dancing in nightclubs with soliders on leave. And endlessly waiting for news of her brother Toby, whose plane was shot down over enemy territory.

But even as bombs rain down on London, hope springs up, and love blooms for this most endearing princess. And when the Allies begin to drive their way across Europe, the FitzOsbornes take heart—maybe, just maybe, there will be a way to liberate Montmaray as well.

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A beautiful story that will brake your heart – multiple times – and make you laugh to no end. A story of bravery, intelligence, loss, family, growing up and the realities of war. The FitzOsbornes at War is absolutely stunning, with twists and turns that will have you smiling and balling your eyes out, laughing and grieving. The characters that you’ve grown to love will not disappoint, but rather endear themselves to you further. A brilliant conclusion to a wonderful series.

I cried – boy did I cry – but I was sucked into a torrent of emotions that would not let me go. After that absolutely heart-wrenching moment (about three quarters or so in – you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about once you’ve read it), the smallest things made me remember and a new round of tears burst forth. The thing is though, The FotzOsbornes at War, while terribly sad at some parts, was not a massive sob story – so don’t let that turn you off from reading it! It was the perfect finale to the trilogy and as beautifully written as the previous books.

There was so much character development. We’d grown to love them, but now we were able to see them flourish and face the harsh realities of life and war. Losses were sustained, old friends came back, relationships were tested, new love was found and support shared. All this came full circle and made them become stronger people, a closer family. Thankfully, Rebecca was hardly mentioned, I grew to love Simon and Henry – she grew up too fast, but I absolutely adore her and couldn’t get enough of her. The other characters were brilliant as well and I just loved them all!

Wow, my eyes are still prickling with tears… But The FitzOsbornes at War is definitely high on my recommendations – it is just an absolutely stunning piece of work that deeply touched my heart and which I hope will touch yours too.

The FitzOsbornes in Exile (Montmaray Journals #2)

Read from 2nd-10th September, 2014

Author: Michelle Cooper

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4.5 Stars

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Forced to leave their island kingdom, Sophie FitzOsborne and her eccentric family take shelter in England. Sophie’s dreams of making her debut in shimmering ballgowns are finally coming true, but how can she enjoy her new life when they have all lost so much?

Aunt Charlotte is ruthless in her quest to see Sophie and Veronica married off by the end of the Season, Toby is as charming and lazy as ever, Henry is driving her governess to the brink of madness, and the battle of wills between Simon and Veronica continues. Can Sophie keep her family together, when everything seems to be falling apart?

An enticing glimpse into high society, the cut and thrust of politics as nations scramble to avert world war, and the hidden depths of a family in exile, struggling to find their place in the world.

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I absolutely adored this book. While I enjoyed this book much more that A Brief History of Montmaray, it was necessary to read the prequel to full appreciate the sequel.

I highly recommend this book as it is a great read that you can pick up at any time. As I’m back at school, I have only had time to read on the bus and occasionally in class. However, this did not reduce my appreciation for this novel at all. It is a great novel if you’re busy but still want something to read on the go.

In my previous review, I expressed my irritation with Sophie as a character and a narrator. I am elated to inform you that Sophie has matured a lot and it was a pleasure to journey with her. In fact, all of the characters grew and developed beautifully – I loved them all! (Save that awful Mosley and Rebecca – but thankfully she didn’t make much of an appearance).

The FitzOsbornes in Exile is a unique and universal read. It focuses on friendships and family relationships as opposed to blind romance. The novel gives us a glimpse into the reality of post WWI England in the face of WWII. Mixed up in all of this is gender inequality, what they don’t tell you about marriage, what is seen as proper as opposed to genuine relationships, the lead up to WWII, the state of the politics at the time, and much more.

A truly well-rounded, exceptional read, The FitzOsbornes in Exile is a beautiful read of which I highly recommend. Admittedly, the first book in the series A Brief History of Montmaray was not the most captivating to me, but I advise you persist with the series, knowing that the second book is that much better.

A Brief History of Montmaray (Montmaray Journals #1)

Finished on 29th August, 2014

Author: A Brief History of Montmaray

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3 Stars

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“There’s a fine line between gossip and history, when one is talking about kings.”

Sophie FitzOsborne lives in a crumbling castle in the tiny island kingdom of Montmaray with her eccentric and impoverished royal family. When she receives a journal for her sixteenth birthday, Sophie decides to chronicle day-to-day life on the island. But this is 1936, and the news that trickles in from the mainland reveals a world on the brink of war. The politics of Europe seem far away from their remote island—until two German officers land a boat on Montmaray. And then suddenly politics become very personal indeed.

A Brief History of Montmaray is a heart-stopping tale of loyalty, love, and loss, and of fighting to hold on to home when the world is exploding all around you.

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I am honestly ashamed at how long this took me to read. It wasn’t even the fact that I’m a slow reader (because I’m not) – but that I kept putting it off.

A Brief History of Montmaray was recommended to me by one of my best friends who gave it a raving review. While I did end up enjoying the novel, it took me until about halfway to get interested. The problem, I found, was Sophie.

In the beginning, I found her quite annoying, somewhat frustrating and an altogether unrelatable character – particularly with her almost obsessive unrequited love for Simon Chester. To be honest, it was only my friend’s review, my interest in Veronica and my determination to finish that kept me from putting this book down and not picking it back up again. However, my opinion (thankfully) changed and while this is not the greatest book out there, I did end up enjoying it enough to want to read the sequel.

Other Characters of Note

I mentioned beforehand that I loved Veronica – and I did. I always get excited when there’s a bookish character and she was just amazing. Veronica was not only intelligent, but pursued answers and was active in her political views. On top of that, Veronica somehow managed to manage the household affairs. She was without a doubt my favourite character throughout the whole story. I admire her greatly.

I never like Rebecca – not even in the beginning. There’s not much I can say without giving anything away, but as the book progressed I liked her even less – to the point where I even wished her dead. Rebecca annoyed me much worse than Sophie – she was useless, slightly mad, complicated things and just vexed me to no end. I really hope she doesn’t have a part in the next book, simply disappearing into the shadows (and taking Simon with her, ideally).

Henry was… unusual. I did enjoy her antics, and her endeavours to convince everyone that she really was a boy were rather amusing.

Toby was great. He sounds like the perfect brother! I did get slightly frustrated at him near the end, but he was great. He had some hilarious lines that made me laugh.

All in all, A Brief History of Montmaray was an enjoyable read after I got past the approximate half way point and I look forward to reading the sequel. However, I certainly do not believe that it lives up to all those raving reviews.

The Book Thief + Some Thoughts on the Movie

Read on 10th July, 2014

Author: Markus Zusak

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4.5 Stars 🙂

It’s just a small story really, about, among other things, a girl, some words, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist-fighter, and quite a lot of thievery.

Set during World War II in Germany, Markus Zusak’s groundbreaking new novel is the story of Liesel Meminger, a foster girl living outside of Munich. Liesel scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist: books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids – as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement before he is marched to Dachau.

This is an unforgettable story about the ability of books to feed the soul.

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First of all, I would like to thank my friend Zahra (who will never read this…) for lending me her copy of The Book Thief and putting up with my having it for several months. The irony is, she’s interstate so I can’t give it back to her for another two weeks or so…

It’s been a long time since I had a book that gave me a good, long cry. The Book Thief was amazing, with flawed, loveable, relatable characters (aside from Viktor Chemmel and Franx Deutscher who we’re meant to hate, I loved all of the characters) on a backdrop of one of the worst wars but in that finding hope, friendship and happiness. For some reason, it took me longer to read this book than it usually would, but that didn’t make it any less beautiful.

I loved Death and how he was portrayed. I loved the little bits and pieces that he put in and how he came across as a character. While I didn’t quite understand the concept of the “colours”, I think I got the general sense of what he was on about. At first, the prologue didn’t make sense, but it unravelled and revealed itself as we read on. Some people say that they didn’t like Death narrating because he gives out spoilers on who’s going to die – I actually quite liked these as they really ingrained with his character.

The library. Can I have a library like that? Please? That would be AMAZING! As a total bookworm myself, I could really relate to Liesel in that sense.

Honestly, this is probably only about the fifth book I’ve picked up about WWII and the first four were not only a few years ago, but were short and in a series that I grew very frustrated with (I couldn’t even bring myself to finish the last one). Anyway, I loved it and I appreciated the viewpoint from Germany itself – after all, not all Germans were Hitler-mad.

On the Movie

I found the movie to be a really good adaptation. I did actually see the movie before I read the book (not something I commonly practice) and my opinion hasn’t changed on it. Not to mention, both the book and the movie made me cry – a lot (which may sound weird as a positive note but so long as I’ve got a box of tissues I love a good cry over a book and/or movie). So don’t miss out on the movie because you don’t want to ruin your experience of the book! (Trust me, this is a valid reason for many. It’s also part of the reason why I cringe at the very thought of the Percy Jackson movies).

All in all, I loved it and it is definitely on my list of books to buy! Plus, it’s pretty awesome that he’s an Australian author – I really think that The Book Thief is going to become a classic.