Tag Archives: Urban Fantasy

Welcome to Shadowhunter Academy (Tales From the Shadowhunter Academy #1)

Read on 17th February, 2015

Authors: Casandra Clare & Sarah Rees Brennan

image

5 Stars

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

After living as a mundane and a vampire, Simon never thought he would become a Shadowhunter, but today he begins his training at Shadowhunter Academy. Simon Lewis has been many things. A mundane. A vampire. A hero. But Simon can’t remember any of that. His memories of adventures with Clary, Isabelle, and the rest of the New York Shadowhunters were erased by a demon, and now Simon is eager to reclaim that part of himself. But will he ever get back the parts of himself that he lost? Does he even want to?

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Despite being in the middle of two books (The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey & Death Before Daylight by Shannon A. Thompson) I could not resist the allure of Cassandra Clare’s. Filled with characters we know and love, as well as quite a number of introduced ones, laughter, wit and character development, Welcome to Shadowhunter Academy did not disappoint.

When Simon was first introduced in City of Bones, I was admittedly not impressed – I saw him more of an annoying hindrance than anything else. During the course of TMI, I was thankfully disproved of my initial judgment. Simon has evolved into a remarkable character and despite the minor fallback of the amnesia, I have no doubt that Tales From the Shadowhunter Academy is his time to shine and he will do so admirably. Personally, I have found that simply the first installment has made him so much more loveable (though that’s probably the Cassandra Clare withdrawal speaking) and brought to the table his adorable Simonness. I can’t wait to watch him flourish. (Also, did I mention that Simon is a Doctor Who fan? No? Well, he is and its absolutely fantastic!)

“Is that a weapon?” Julie asked.
“Um, no,” said Simon. “It’s a tennis racquet.”

Although I wasn’t entirely sure about George in the beginning (I must shamefully admit that it was more because of the rugby top than his phobia of rodents) I warmed up to him rather quickly. He is the best possible friend Simon could have at the Academy. Plus, he’s “an excellent horseman”.

The “bear-killing” dagger. I say no more.

Isabelle was brilliant. I won’t spoil anything, but damn girl.

Coincidentally, my favorite parts came near the beginning and at the very end of the novella – the “demonic” possum and the soup scenes. However, I loved it all and wholeheartedly recommend people to get on board the Tales From the Shadowhunter Academy bandwagon.

The Bane Chronicles (Companion to The Mortal Instruments & The Infernal Devices)

Finished on 18th January, 2015

Authors: Cassandra Clare, Sarah Rees Brennan & Maureen Johnson

image

4.75 Stars

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

It is not easy being Magnus Bane. As a warlock, he’s often called upon to fix the problems of others. His life has been long, and his loves have been many. And Magnus has a way of making sure he’s in the right place at the right – or perhaps wrong – time. The French Revolution, Prohibition, the first great battle between Valentine and the New York Institute… Magnus was there, and usually in the middle of it. Magnus will never be able to tell all of his tales. No one would believe him. But these eleven stories shed a little light on his often inscrutable character. They are stories he probably wishes had never got out.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Hilarious, touching, insightful, occasionally serious and riddled with foreshadow and insight, The Bane Chronicles are the brilliant tales of Magnus Bane, High Warlock of Brooklyn and much loved character of Cassandra Clare’s Shadowhunter world.

Not only does The Bane Chronicles tell the adventures of the elusive, glamorous and eccentric Magnus, but fans also find out what really happened in Peru, how the High Warlock found himself in the business of saving Rafael Santiago, some unmissable Malec scenes, the voicemail of Magnus Bane after the events of City of Lost Souls, plus the untold love story of Ragnor Fell and Rafael Santiago. What’s not to love?

Oh, and did I mention a sneak peek into The Last Hours, the upcoming series about the next generation of Shadowhunters after The Infernal Devices?

Full or intrigue, glitter, sparkles and more, The Bane Chronicles is an absolute must for fans of Cassandra Clare.

Clockwork Princess (The Infernal Devices: Manga #3)

Read on 11th January, 2015

Author: Cassandra Clare

Artist: Hyekyung Baek

image

4.5 Stars

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

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?

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

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.

Clockwork Prince (The Infernal Devices: Manga #2)

Read on 11th January, 2015

Author: Cassandra Clare

Artist: Hyekyung Baek

image

4.5 Stars

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

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…

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

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

image

4.5 Stars

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

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…

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

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.

image

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.

Percy Jackson and the Greek Gods

Finished on 8th November, 2014

Author: Rick Riordan

rick-riordan-percy-jackson-and-the-greek-gods

5 Stars

*    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *

If you like horror shows, blood baths, lying, stealing, backstabbing, and cannibalism, then read on…

Who could tell the origin stories of the gods of Olympus better than a modern-day demigod? In this whirlwind tour of Greek mythology, Percy Jackson gives his personal take on the gods and goddesses of ancient Greece – and reveals the truth about how they came to rule the world.

*    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *

Pre-reading, I was expecting this book to be interesting, but sorely dry – like  a textbook. Thankfully, “Percy Jackson and the Greek Gods” surpassed my expectations by miles – the Greek myths and legends were totally Percyfied. (Which is totally epic!)

Reading this was like sinking into the embrace of an old friend. The writing was familiar, the backgrounds for so many characters were finally explained (there were a lot of “OH” moments when reading this) and, since this is Percy narrating, there was quite a lot of laughter in inappropriate moments.

Honestly, I’m not sure if I would recommend reading this before or after you’ve read the Percy Jackson books (or maybe in-between?) but either way, it is a great look into the history and make-up of the Percy Jackson universe. A well deserved five stars, “Percy Jackson and the Greek Gods” is a great, easy read that you can pick up at any time.

* * *

Before I go, I have to make a quick note on the cover – is it just me or is this the worst Pj/HOO cover yet? Because as much as I love Logan Lerman, the cover is absolutely hideous! The other version is slightly better, but unfortunately that only comes in hardcover… *sigh*.

What are your thoughts? Am I the only one who dislikes the cover? Be sure to let me know, I’d love to discuss it with you!

City of Heavenly Fire (The Mortal Instruments #6) + The Wedding (A Comic Strip Scene From After the Infernal Devices) – Contains Spoilers (Pictures)

Read from 5th-6th July, 2014

20140706-183200.jpg

5 Stars 🙂

In this dazzling and long-awaited conclusion to the acclaimed Mortal Instruments series, Clary and her friends fight the greatest evil they have ever faced: Clary’s own brother.

Sebastian Morgenstern is on the move, systematically turning Shadowhunter against Shadowhunter. Bearing the Infernal Cup, he transforms Shadowhunters into creatures out of nightmare, tearing apart families and lovers as the ranks of his Endarkened army swell.

The embattled Shadowhunters withdraw to Idris – but not even the famed demon towers of Alicante can keep Sebastian at bay. And with the Nephilim trapped in Idris, who will guard the world against demons?

When one of the greatest betrayals the Nephilim have ever known is revealed, Clary, Jace, Isabelle, Simon, and Alec must flee – even if their journey takes them deep into the demon realms, where no Shadowhunter has set foot before, and from which no human being has ever returned…

Love will be sacrificed and lives lost in the terrible battle for the fate of the word in the thrilling final installment of the classic urban fantasy series The Mortal Instruments!

I’m very proud of myself, it only took me 14 hours all up to read this ;).

I was super excited to read this! I’d heard so many great things about it, and I’m so glad I was able to borrow a copy from my friend Deanna. For those of you who read my “WWW Wednesday” post, you’ll know that I was planning on reading this a few days ago. Things came up, so I made a choice to wait a few days to read this – and honestly, I think those few days of suspense contributed in making me even MORE excited to read it!

I literally devoured this book. I started reading at about one o’clock yesterday afternoon and only stopped reading at just past twelve in the morning when my mum came in and took it away. I finished it today after a few more hours. Yesterday, I was interrupted thrice in my reading and my frustration was palpable – I don’t think I’ve ever washed the dishes, set the table, or eaten dinner so fast in my life.

“City of Heavenly Fire” held me in it’s thrall from start to finish. There was no filler, no disappointments. It was intense, gripping, unexpected and very true to the characters. I laughed, I cried, I shivered in anticipation – the feels were never ending. I was actively involved in theorising what was going to happen and I’m sure my family would testify to the continuous squeals that came from my room.

I loved the different perspectives, how there was so much going on, and it all fit so perfectly together. Most of all, I loved how her three series came together in one – the Infernal Devices, the Mortal Instruments, and the Dark Artifices (her future series). “City of Heavenly Fire” was an absolutely stunning conclusion to a brilliant series and, in my opinion, the best book that Cassandra Clare has written yet (though Clockwork Princess is a close second).

The only disappointments that I had was that Tessa wasn’t introduced in person until the Epilogue (but that’s understandable considering she was the star of TID) and that Emma and Jem didn’t have a touching scene where he told her that he was a Cairstairs too, though he hinted at it.

I could gush forever about this book, this series, this amazing author, but I won’t. However, I would like to publicly apologise to lilnerdling who’s messages I spammed with my reactions as I was reading. (For those interested, I’ll post them below).

The Wedding (A comic strip scene from after the Epilogue of the Infernal Devices)

I have to admit, I read this as soon as I got the copy of this book – and fangirled like crazy. I think my parents were worried about me – they’d never seen me in hard-core fangirl mode before… (I think). It was rather amusing. *chuckles* But yes, it was SO CUTE, AMAZING AND JUST PERFECT!! The feels were palpable.

* * * * * * * * * SPOILERS * * * * * * * * *

20140706-184942.jpg

20140706-184958.jpg

20140706-185011.jpg

20140706-185025.jpg

20140706-185046.jpg

20140706-185059.jpg

20140706-185112.jpg

20140706-185127.jpg

20140706-185147.jpg

20140706-185200.jpg

20140706-185216.jpg

20140706-185230.jpg

20140706-185250.jpg

20140706-185259.jpg

20140706-185315.jpg

20140706-185329.jpg

20140706-185343.jpg

20140706-185400.jpg

20140706-185420.jpg

20140706-185438.jpg

20140706-185456.jpg

20140706-185514.jpg

20140706-185538.jpg

20140706-185601.jpg

20140706-185625.jpg

20140706-185641.jpg

20140706-185659.jpg

20140706-185712.jpg

20140706-185740.jpg

20140706-185757.jpg

20140706-185815.jpg

20140706-185827.jpg

20140706-185840.jpg

20140706-185853.jpg

Seconds Before Sunrise (Timely Death Trilogy #2)

Read on 5th July, 2014

Author: Shannon A. Thompson

20140704-121052.jpg

5 Stars 🙂

Two nightmares. One memory.

“Chaos within destiny. It was the definition of our love.”

Eric has weeks before his final battle when he’s in an accident. Forced to face his human side, he knows he can’t survive if he fights alone. But he doesn’t want to surrender, even if he becomes the sacrifice for war.

Jessica’s memory isn’t the only thing she’s lost. Her desire to find her parents is gone and so is her confidence. But when fate leaves nightmares behind, she decides to find the boy she sees in them, even if it risks her sanity.

 

Once again, I would like to thank Shannon A. Thompson for providing me with a copy of her book in exchange for an honest and timely review.

“Seconds Before Sunrise” is the brilliantly paced and equally emotional sequel of “Minutes Before Sunset.” The beginning of the story picked off clearly from the end of the previous book, and despite their new situation, Jessica and Eric’s reactions were true to what we knew about them. When Jessica lost who she was, Eric was the one who made her see that she wasn’t herself. Even when she didn’t have her memories and he had to stay away, they still managed to find solace in each other, to subconsciously love through their troubles.

Miss Thompson’s depiction of love continued to deepen as she writes in dual perspective, allowing the reader to feel Eric’s tension and Jessica’s confusion in a tragic but relatable way. If I were to pick up either of the two books in this series and turn to a random section, I would clearly be able to tell who was narrating. I loved being able to see from both perspectives and I honestly didn’t favour one over the other.

In their pain and frustration, they didn’t isolate themselves from those that care about them, developing stronger relationships with those around them. Although they had their moments of weakness and bad ideas, both Eric and Jessica were resilient in their struggles. They never stopped fighting.

I loved that the ending of the story was unexpected. The battle that was prophesied came to pass, but it was unlike anything we’d been lead to believe. And, of course, Jess regained her memory and power so she and Eric can to love each other again with nothing to hold them back. The scene at her parents’ gravestone was so touching. *wipes tear from eye* I didn’t find myself bored with filler because there is no filler. Every chapter, every scene, and every word has a purpose that pushed us closer to the end – an ending that left me wanting the last book.

The cover is just as purposeful and dark. Unlike some covers that are completely different to the book, you can tell that thought has been put into this. The cover depicts Eric in his shade form, the physical description matches what is shown. He’s of the right age (the amount of times covers get this wrong is ridiculous – e.g. Onyx and Opal by Jennifer L. Armentrout) and he is engulfed in shadows. It is really true to the book.

“Seconds Before Sunrise” is a marvelous exploration of a troubled subconscious, fear of identity, and the struggle of love among a world of war and chaos. I highly recommend it to readers of young adult and new adult fiction, especially those in search of a unique paranormal romance with subtle but powerful love and complex but relatable characters dealing with their own struggles and confusion.

Minutes Before Sunset (Timely Death Trilogy #1)

Read on 3rd July, 2014

Author: Shannon A. Thompson

20140704-002314.jpg

5 Stars 🙂

***********************

She was undoubtedly a shade, but I didn’t know her.

Eric Welborn isn’t completely human, but he isn’t the only shade in the small Midwest town of Hayworth. With one year left before his eighteenth birthday, Eric is destined to win a long-raging war for his kind. But then she happens. In the middle of the night, Eric meets a nameless shade, and she’s powerful—too powerful—and his beliefs are altered. The Dark has lied to him, and he’s determined to figure out exactly what lies were told, even if the secrets protect his survival.

He had gotten so close to me—and I couldn’t move—I couldn’t get away.

Jessica Taylor moves to Hayworth, and her only goal is to find more information on her deceased biological family. Her adoptive parents agree to help on one condition: perfect grades. And Jessica is distraught when she’s assigned as Eric’s class partner. He won’t help, let alone talk to her, but she’s determined to change him—even if it means revealing everything he’s strived to hide.

***********************

First of all, I would like give a huge thank you to Shannon A. Thompson for providing me with a copy of her book.

“Minutes Before Sunset” is an absolutely stunning novel that completely messed with my emotions. I laughed with the characters, cried with them, felt all warm and fuzzy inside, was heartbroken, proud and sympathised with the pain in their lives.

I loved learning all about the shades, the Light and the Dark with Jessica. I also discovered the full prophecy alongside Eric and the betrayal he felt by everyone keeping it from him was palpable.

All the characters were so humane, so relatable, even when they shouldn’t have been. There was also a lot of sass, sarcasm and witty banter mixed into all the relationships – particularly that of Jessica and Eric. The characters each had their own quirks, their own flaws, and that’s what made them so perfect. Most of all, we were with them as they learned to love in spite of everything.

Miss. Thompson twisted the concept of Light and Dark, reversing the well-known roles, changing the time-old dance and making it her own. Brilliant and true, “Minutes Before Sunset” is thought-provoking, bringing real-life lessons and morals from a world of the supernatural.

I loved how Jessica’s relationship with Eric during the day paralleled with Shoman’s relationship with the nameless shade at night. These relationships provided a refuge for the characters, a much-needed solace. There was a lightness in the air that made my heart soar, and when they fell in love it was beautiful and seamless, a tune to which my heart melted. Shannon’s depiction of love is like none that I have read before, sweet and without angst. Theirs is the love that you wish you could have.

The ending… Without giving anything away, it was heart-wrenchingly sad yet full of hope. It was the perfect solution, but the one you wished didn’t have to happen. I also loved how the fireworks was brought full-circle, it was a very nice touch.

“Minutes Before Sunset” is brilliantly written and left me aching for more. I highly recommend it to all, particularly those interested in young adult and a unique branch of the supernatural.

City of Glass (The Mortal Instruments #3) – Contains Spoilers and References to the Infernal Devices

Read on December 11, 2013

Author: Cassandra Clare

City_of_glass

4 Stars

 

 

***SPOILER ALERT***

Finally!! I thought that they’d NEVER get to the point of finding out that they weren’t brother and sister… But now they have, and Clary and Jace can be together!!! The depiction of Idris is beautiful and YES, LUKE AND JOCELYN ARE FINALLY TOGETHER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! They are SO going to get married… Not to mention there was so many MALEC moments that I almost cried in happiness…

WARNING: References to the Infernal Devices

Am I the only one who noticed that not only is Jace William Herondale’s heir but that the star that he has as a birthmark originated from when Will was marked by Tessa’s Clockwork Angel (the same angel, mind you, that Valentine captured) after they had spent the night together in her cell at Mortmain’s headquarters? Yes? No? Maybe?

I also happened to notice that Jocelyn’s maiden name is Fairchild – and you know who else’s last name is Fairchild? Charlette! Or, more accurately, her SON. So Charlotte’s Clary’s ancestor! Isn’t that awesome?!

Hodge’s last name is Starkweather – as in, Tessa’s great-grandfather’s name. Since Tessa’s immortal (indeed, I have heard that we catch up with her in “City of Fallen Angels”) it is more than likely that at some point she took on the name of Starkweather – maybe, but I’m not sure – presuming that I’m right, Hodge and Jace are distantly related.

The Lightwoods. The Lightwoods are already an amazing family as it is (a part of me died with Max) but to make them even better she’s tied them to Gabriel and Gideon – who’s father, might I recall, turned into a giant worm because he had demon pox

Don’t you just love Shadowhunter surnames? I know I do! Cassandra’s references to the Infernal Devices (in my opinion) just make her writing even better! Though, she DID write the Mortal Instruments first (I think) but I still think that it’s brilliant how she’s tied them together – after all, the Infernal Devices ARE set a couple hundred years back.