Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Hunted, by Meagan Spooner

Hey all! 

I just finished reading Hunted, by Meagan Spooner! 

"Beauty knows the Beast’s forest in her bones—and in her blood. Though she grew up with the city’s highest aristocrats, far from her father’s old lodge, she knows that the forest holds secrets and that her father is the only hunter who’s ever come close to discovering them. 

So when her father loses his fortune and moves Yeva and her sisters back to the outskirts of town, Yeva is secretly relieved. Out in the wilderness, there’s no pressure to make idle chatter with vapid baronessas…or to submit to marrying a wealthy gentleman. But Yeva’s father’s misfortune may have cost him his mind, and when he goes missing in the woods, Yeva sets her sights on one prey: the creature he’d been obsessively tracking just before his disappearance. 

Deaf to her sisters’ protests, Yeva hunts this strange Beast back into his own territory—a cursed valley, a ruined castle, and a world of creatures that Yeva’s only heard about in fairy tales. A world that can bring her ruin or salvation. Who will survive: the Beauty, or the Beast?"

This book is a re-telling of Beauty and the Beast, and I think that it was done, well, beautifully! I adored Meagan's writing style, and through it you could really feel the kind of magesty that comes with the Beauty and the Beast story we all know and love. 

Yeva, the main character, has some tropes that we have seen before, but I absolutely loved the character anyway! She is used to both mild riches and poverty, and yearns to go hunting in the woods, but is mostly fine with her life. There is a man who is in love with her, and she doesn't outright reject him, but believes she can learn to love him so gives him a chance. She is the youngest sister in her family and, overall, a very realistic and relatable character. 

One day, Yeva's father goes missing in the woods. She finds him killed, and this leads her to meeting the Beast - a wolf-like monster that has human attributes, such as speach and emotions. He captures her to make her agree to hunt a monster for him. Her task is to hunt and kill the one who cursed him into his beast form. Although she is angry at the beast for killing her father, she agrees and starts training with him. 

The subtle hint of magic in this book was really amazing - it wasn't an obvious, in-your-face magical world - instead, it was brought out through legends, stories, and a kind of 'music' the forest had. I though this was done really well! 

The Beast has some kind of double personality. Much like Gollum in Lord of the Rings, he refered to himself as 'we' and was often conflicted as to what to do or think. I enjoyed his constant mental conflict, and the snippets of his journal. 

One thing that I feel could be worked on a bit is maybe the emotion factor - you guys know, I love it when books hit by feels. This book had an enoromous potential for that, but I feel like emotional parts could have been drawn out a little bit more. On the other hand, moments of tension and action were practically like a single ring of a bell - bright and impressive! 

I'm giving this a 4/5 feathers! It was a beautiful read, and I would highly reccomend it to anyone who enjoys a good fantasy re-telling! 

Have you read Hunted? Or any other Beauty and the Beast retelling you would like to share? Let me know! 

Have a great day! 
Stay bookish, 

Saturday, April 15, 2017

The Bane Chronicles, by Cassandra Clare, Sarah Rees Brennan and Maureen Johnson

Hey all! 
I just finished reading the Bane Chronicles, by Cassandra Clare, Sarah Rees Brennan and Maureen Johnson. 

This is a novella consisting of short stories about Mangus Bane - his past and unusual adventures.  I read this as a part of Just Another Shadow Marathon! 

I do have one suggestion: If you pick up this novella, make sure that you have read all of the Shadowhunter books first - both The Mortal Instruments series and The Infernal Devices! This gives a good background about Magnus but would spoil absolutely major points about the story plot of the main series! 

"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."

Overall, this book was a very entertaining read! In certain novellas, Magnus automatically made me think of a magical, glittery Jack Sparrow! xD If anyone makes a short story of the two of them encountering I'd LOVE to read it! They both have a strange sense of sarcasm, honesty and swagger, which is especially noticable in What Really Happened in Peru

Each of the stories were unique in their own way - some really brough an interesting background for TMI and/or TID - while others were fun little anecdotes about everyone's favorite immortal. 

One thing I absolutely loved was that each of the stories came with a one-page manga/comic strip relating to a part of the story. These were so well drawn and fun and quirky! They gave an idea of the tone of the story without giving anything away and were generally super fun! 

I'll go through this review story by story. I'm not going to try to hide spoilers, so goodbye non-spoilery people! Note: The spoilers are for TMI/TID, it's hard to spoil short stories =P 

What Really Happened in Peru
This story was probably one of my favorites! In one of the Mortal Instruments books, you learn that Magnus was banned from Peru, and refuses to say why - This story has a bunch of short stories that go over all of the stupid and/or unfortunate things that happened to/by Magnus in Peru... yet you never get to know exactly why he was banned from the country. You get a great introduction to Ragnor Fell and Magnus's background in general. This story was super fun and quirky, and often let me sitting there shaking my head and giggling! 

The Runaway Queen
For me, this story was less interesting than the others - Magnus helps the Queen of France escape during the French revoltion. You do get a really cute relationship starting between Magnus and Axel, yet the story in general didn't catch my attention as much. I'm not too sure why, it just didn't stick with me ^^

Vampires, Scones, and Edmund Herondale
This short story was so great! This is the point at which Magnus first meets a Herondale, Will's father. His dad is really cool and suave, just dropping in by jumping off of the roof, kind of like Jace! There's a cool fight scene in which Edmund saves Linette, a mundane, with Magnus helping out. There's a lot of Nephilim-Downworlder discussions, which is always interesting to read about, and there's more Magnus and Camille! One of the best short stories of the novella :) 

The Midnight Heir (!If you had to choose one to read and liked TID go for this one!)
My feels broke on this one, over and over again. Why? The Infernal Devices, that's why. You guys know that that trilogy is a part of me and I love it and it gets to my emotions time and time agian. I can't wait to read it again! This short story is about Tessa and Will's son, James, who goes from being a super sweet, model teen to a rebel, because he believes he's damned. He is in love with Grace, another shadowhunter. Magnus brings him unconcsious to Will and Tessa, and they call upon Jem (Brother Zachariah) to help them heal him, and their encounter practically had me in tears. It was beautiful. 
The short story went from emotional to really good when Grace started trying to kill Magnus. This is the shadowhunters I know and love! 

The Rise of the Hotel Dumort & The Fall of the Hotel Dumort
To be fair, I mostly skipped these short stories. They didn't interest me as much as the others. There was a lot of tension and too many unfamiliar names for me to latch onto the story as much as the others. 

Saving Raphael Santiago
This story, however, I really enjoyed! Raphael is a very enigmatic character in The Mortal Instruments, and it was great to have some of his background as well. His mother approaches Magnus to save him, thinking he's dying. You meet Raphael right after he transformed and killed the head of the vampire clan out of bloodlust. He's about to jump into a patch of sunlight when Magnus saves him and brings him to his house to live in, until he can pass off as a warlock rather than a vampire. Loved it! 

What do buy the Shadowhunter who Has Everything (And who You're not Officially Dating Anyway)
Aah, a Malec story! This one was really cute! It's all about Magnus asking people what he should get Alec for his birthday, all while summoning a demon for a customer. This one was just a fun, quirky read! The demon, Elyaas, was the best! 

The Last Stand of the New York Institute
This story was epic! It was about the end of the Circle, when Valentine had the Shadowhunters working against the Downworlders. There is an epic battle scene in which Magnus is trying to save a little werewolf girl while getting stabbed by Valentine, you get to read about when Jocelyn started bringing Clary to get her memories wiped, and you generally have an amazing background for at least the first three Mortal Instrument books! Highly reccomended! 

The Course of True Love (And First Dates)
In short terms - Malec's first date. This story didn't contribute to the context as much as the previous one did, but it was cute and fuzzy and a must-read for any Malec fans! 

This novella was super entertaining! I would reccomend it to any Shadowhunter fan! 

I'm giving it a 4/5 feathers! Even though I didn't put much deapth into reading every single one, the ones that I did read were amazing!! 

Have you read The Bane Chronicles? What did you think? Let me know! :D 

Stay bookish! 

Friday, April 7, 2017

City of Glass, by Cassandra Clare

Hey all! 

I just finished reading City of Glass, by Cassandra Clare! 

Make sure to follow this re-read with #JustAnotherShadowMarathon on Instagram, and each of my Cassie Clare book reviews here! :) 

What I love about this series is you can really follow Cassandra Clare's writing evolution - it gets better and better with each book opened, with each paged turned. It's really incredible. 

Or she's just great at writing third books? 

"To save her mother's life, Clary must travel to the City of Glass, the ancestral home of the Shadowhunters - never mind that entering the city without permission is against the Law, and breaking the Law could mean death. To make things worse, she learns that Jace does not want her there, and Simon has been thrown in prison by the Shadowhunters, who are deeply suspicious of a vampire who can withstand sunlight.

As Clary uncovers more about her family's past, she finds an ally in mysterious Shadowhunter Sebastian. With Valentine mustering the full force of his power to destroy all Shadowhunters forever, their only chance to defeat him is to fight alongside their eternal enemies. But can Downworlders and Shadowhunters put aside their hatred to work together? While Jace realizes exactly how much he's willing to risk for Clary, can she harness her newfound powers to help save the Glass City - whatever the cost?

SPOILERS! If you haven't read the series, there's no way to not be spoiled for the following, I'm sorry! Goodbye non-spoilery people, have a great day! 

This book brings the Shadowhunter universe to the next level. We finally see this magical land of Idris and Alicante. We get some insight on Shadowhunter politics and everyday life, and we can see how extensive this whole system is - it's not just New York!

So much happens in this book! Epic battle scenes and revelations and major character deaths, everything to keeps a reader reading! And more about side characters, finally! 

I really enjoyed the multiple perspectives this book is written in - Clare is great at being able to have several storylines happening parallel to each other to create one large story. It makes the book hard to put down, and things are rarely ever at rest. 

OH and Sebastian. One of the best villains ever! 

In City of Glass, we still get a lot of the weird/gross Clary and Jace relationship they're trying to have while thinking they are siblings. THANK FREAKING GOODNESS they're not brother and sister! I mean there are so many hints that they aren't related, but it doesn't really make it any less strange, to be honest. 

I love how you start this book with a fight scene between the Shadowhunters and a group of Forsaken. To save his life, they drag Simon to Idris, a place where vampires and downworlders are technically illegal. 

Poor Simon in this book! Where City of Ashes was all like "Everyone hates Jace", this book is against Simon. He keeps being put in situations where he has no control and is helpless. However, at the end, where Clary gives him the Mark of Cain, I thought it was amazing! I can't wait to see how that plays out in the next books! Basically, no one can hurt him now, which will probably play a huge role in the upcoming books. 

In this book, we also meet Inquisitor Aldertree, who is plain awful. He seems nice and honest but can trick anyone into every situation with just a few well-chosen words. 

So Simon is in jail and has a cell neighbor who he talks to about practically everything. It turns out that his neighbor is Hodge. As soon as Simon and Hodge escape, there is what is, in my opinion, the best fight scene in the book, between our group of shadowhunting friends and Sebastian. Sebastian is an amazing fighter. He hurts almost everyone and kills Hodge, single-handedly. 

SEBASTIAN - It turns out that he's Clary's brother, which is so much more credible. Where Clary was injected with Angel blood, Sebastian was affected by demon blood. He is dark and dangerous and tbh kind of amazing. He acts all sweet and innocent at first, pretending to be Aline's cousin from Paris, but soon shows his true colors to everyone. But the devil KILLED MAX which just hurt to read! 

Did anyone else who re-read this after reading The Infernal Devices kind of get a mini heart attack when Clary described her fairytale prince as "a king's son who was under a curse that meant that everyone he loved would die." Clary is somehow dreaming of Will. When I read that I sat there kind of fangirling xD 

Here's a list of some of my favorite parts:
- When Jace and Clary found the angel Ithuriel in the basement
- When Alec and Magnus finally get together, finally there was no more tension! 
- When Simon walked up to the other vampires like 'heh can't hurt me'
- The fights in Alicante
- When Sebastian starts admitting that he's the bad guy
- The end, where Valentine summons the angel and is destroyed because of his wrong intentions, and he kills Jace, who is eventually brought back to life. 

I have to get going, but I'm giving this book a 4.5/5 feathers! This book was a lot more emotionally intense than the first few, and a fun, dynamic read! 

Have you read City of Glass? What did you think of it? Let me know! 

Stay bookish, 

Monday, April 3, 2017

City of Ashes, by Cassandra Clare

Hey all! 

I just finished the second part of my super long marathon - City of Ashes! 

If you weren't aware, I'm currently re-reading all of the Shadowhunters series, in anticipation for Lord of Shadows, which will be published on May 23rd of this year! You can follow my re-read with #JustAnotherShadowMarathon on instagram :) 

But for now, here's my review for City of Ashes! 

"Clary Fray just wishes that her life would go back to normal. But what's normal when you're a demon-slaying Shadowhunter, your mother is in a magically induced coma, and you can suddenly see Downworlders like werewolves, vampires, and faeries? If Clary left the world of the Shadowhunters behind, it would mean more time with her best friend, Simon, who's becoming more than a friend. But the Shadowhunting world isn't ready to let her go — especially her handsome, infuriating, newfound brother, Jace. And Clary's only chance to help her mother is to track down rogue Shadowhunter Valentine, who is probably insane, certainly evil — and also her father.

To complicate matters, someone in New York City is murdering Downworlder children. Is Valentine behind the killings — and if he is, what is he trying to do? When the second of the Mortal Instruments, the Soul-Sword, is stolen, the terrifying Inquisitor arrives to investigate and zooms right in on Jace. How can Clary stop Valentine if Jace is willing to betray everything he believes in to help their father?"

This book was more enjoyable than book 1 - the story is developing in a darker direction which is always more interesting to read about, especially in a familiar, modern-day context. I feel like Cassandra Clare is exploring with messing with our emotions in this book - we all know how she destroys us in the Infernal Devices, right? (Looking forward to being crushed again. Us readers are strange ^-^). You start to see some character relations becoming deeper and more emotionally impacting. The Shadow World she created became darker and you feel a stronger sense of danger than was felt in the first book, and you get a bit more of the side characters. 

You also learn a lot more about Valentine in City of Ashes - for now, he is one of the best characters, in the way he was written and developed. He's sadistic and manipulative, all while using the excuse of 'family' as a reason for his actions. You can totally see why he was popular back in the day. 

I also appreciated that Clare eased off of the huge info dumps - it was refreshing to just get plot and characters for a bit! 

That's all I'm going to say for the non-spoilery bit! From here on I'll be going into specific plot details! 

(I started putting small page markers when sections or phrases spark my interest and it's so helpful!)

Okie let's get to the details! 

I was talking about this book with a friend who read it when I first read it way back six years ago. We just realized how... inappropriate the relation between Jace and Clary is. I mean I get it - They got together then realized they were siblings so some feelings are left over. But both Jace and Clary at separate times approached the other to get back together DESPITE KNOWING THEY WERE SIBLINGS. Plus Clary was with Simon... it's just all kind of a nasty situation, no? (So, so glad they aren't actually related, but I'm amazed I wasn't put off when I first read City of Ashes!) 

That scene in the Seelie Court - you know which one I'm talking about - had both amazing scenery but awkward circumstances. I really have a love-hate relationship with this scene. I feel so bad for Simon! The fact that Clary subconsciously chose Jace over him makes him go so crazy that he goes to the Hotel Dumort to get changed into a vampire - That's so sad, nerdy drama queen! 

"Alec looked at her and shook his head. 'How do you manage never to get mud on you?'. Isabelle shrugged philosophically. 'I'm pure at heart. It repels the dirt.'"

I wasn't exactly comfortable with the Climon relationship - I mean, they're best friends, and I feel like he just assumed that since Clary was now single, they could be together. Simon, you're the best but you're just a bit pushy with her. I never really shipped them, sorry! 

But now Simon and Maia feels so much more right! I'm glad that at the end of the book Simon accepts that and makes that a possibility! 

"Clary stepped aside to let him pass. 'How old are you, anyway?' she asked curiously. Magnus winked at her. 'I was alive when the Dead Sea was just a lake that was feeling a little poorly.'"

Magnus is awesome - I can't wait to get to his novella! Well, his novella that's the size of City of Bones! 

This book is also the book where Clary's power with runes is discovered - I actually really liked this part of her character development! I love how she can make practically anything happen with runes, but doesn't overplay it either. 

In this book we also get Valentine trying to perform something called the Ritual of Infernal Conversion - he needs the blood of the four types of downworlder - warlock, vampire, werewolf and fairy - to turn the Angelic Soulsword into a demonic one. As Simon says, it has to go from "Lawful good to Chaotic Evil". This leads to the death of unknown characters, and almost to the deaths of Simon and Maia. 

One of my favorite parts was when Simon was 'dead-er', and Jace steps up to save his life by letting him drink his blood. That was majestically written, and I think made Jace's character grow a lot in a short timespan. It was so great! 

I fangirled when Inquisitor Herondale pointed out the Herondale star birthmark on Jace's shoulder! Hehehehe ^-^ 

I'm loving the little Malec moments! The way Alec tries to hide it is so cute, while Magnus is just so sly! 

Thats it for City of Ashes! 

Have you read it? What did you think of it? Let me know! :D 

I'm giving this a 4/5 stars! 

Stay bookish!