Review: City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

*This post may contain spoilers*

As I continue by re-reviewing of The Mortal Instruments, I am struck by the amount of details I missed the first couple of times reading. I was so caught up with the shocking, emotional, hysterical, amazing bare bones of the book that I didn't dive deeper into the details painstakingly produced by Cassandra Clare.

For example: In City of Bones, when the portal mirror smashes when Valentine leaves Renwick's, Jace picked up a shard of glass. That small, insignificant piece of glass turns out to be the opposite in City of Ashes, if you paid attention to the details. In City of Ashes, the shard of glass is the reason why Jace is captured by the Inquisitor. It becomes the device that tracks Jace, making him vulnerable to the Clave, and ultimately leading to the Inquisitor's death.

The imagination of Cassandra Clare still manages to astound me. The descriptions of the demons and the intricacy of the story is incredible. As I have said before, she certainly knows how to weave a story. Especially without leaving any loose ends, unless it is one of her infamous cliff-hangers. I think one of those cliff hangers will kill me one day... Waiting to find out if my beloved Jace will be alright or not.

Clary is not my favourite book character to claim the spotlight of protagonist. In City of Ashes, I feel like Clary is a bit too self-involved. "Oh I have this problem...blah di blah". But I did appreciate how much she thought about Jace, and the emotion behind her feelings for him and the fact that they couldn't be together. I also thought that Cassandra Clare created a likable side of her when Simon was becoming a vampire.

Simon. Hmm.....I never loved Simon, just because Jace completely overshadows him with his incredible personality, wit, and looks. That being said, I quite liked that Simon got a bit more of the spotlight shone on him when he became a Downworlder. It created a new dynamic in the story, and made me more susceptible to liking him. I still haven't truly come around to the idea of Simon being a vampire though. I still think of him as "the mundane". However, I do think it's good for him to be more involved in the new part of Clary's life and have a bigger role where he can actually help during battles instead of being a hindrance.

Overall, I loved the second Mortal Instruments the same, if not more, as I did the first time I discovered the series. It will always receive five stars in my mind.

My New (and hopefully improved) Blog

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

After a longer hiatus than originally planned, I have revamped A Reader's Ramblings with a new look and, hopefully, interesting features for readers like you.

At the top of each page, there are now multiple tabs which are connected to new pages.

Home: The home button will still connect to my most recent posts, and a blog archive at the bottom left side will direct you to my older posts.

Reviews: The reviews tab connects you to an alphabetized list of the reviews I have posted since A Reader's Ramblings was created. Each book name is connected to their respective review.

My Favourites: I have compiled a short list of my favourite books and series, if you need any recommendations.

My Affiliate: By clicking on my the "My Affiliate" tab, you will automatically be redirected to my affiliate, Amber Skye's blog, The Reading Addict.

Contact Eliza: This tab is to make it easy to contact me. If you have any questions or comments, I'd love to hear them!

I've Been Tagged

Monday, May 28, 2012

Okay, first of all, I feel extremely lame for waiting soooo long to help the tag chain along. However, I'm getting back into blogging as the craziness of this school year dies down, and I came across a comment from my affiliate, Amber Skye, saying I have been tagged.

The Rules: List ten fun facts about yourself, link back to your tagger, and then link to five other bloggers.

First of all, thank you Amber Skye from The Reading Addict for tagging me, it's really appreciated :)

Here are my ten facts:

1. I am obsessed with Starbucks
2. I love the Food Network, even though I don't cook...
3. I love love love Ed Sheeran- a singer/songwriter from England
4. I have broken my wrist in the same place twice (Fingers crossed there won't be a third)
5. My favourite movie is Titanic.  I cry every single time. JACK <3
6. My affiliate Amber Skye got me started on blogging :)
7. I can't watch the last Harry Potter movie without crying.
8. My favourite season is summer, because I love the heat and sunshine.
9. I have a cat...she hates me.
10. I have an unhealthy addiction to Grey's Anatomy, Jace Wayland, and my iPhone.

And so, I am tagging:

Review: City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

Sunday, May 27, 2012

I know I have already written a review for City of Bones, but I think the absolute amazing-ness of the series warrants a rewrite. I recently finished City of Lost Souls, which came out on May 8th, and the one book was not enough for my newly ignited Jace Wayland fix. And so, I am rereading and rewriting reviews for the series (except City of Lost Souls which you can read here).

Okay, going back and reading a book again is always intriguing to me. Some people find it boring and to repetitive for them, but I just see it as digging in deeper to a story. Whether it is a book, movie, or tv show, I always find more interesting and new parts of the story when I can process it for a second time. If I have already read the main story line, it leaves enough brain power to truly take in the details.

The Mortal Instruments is pretty much my book- guilty pleasure, if that is even a thing... I'm sure if you are familiar with my blog, you will have seen the fan girl screaming in text form (ie "EEEEEEEEEEE JACE OMGGGG"). Quite embarrassing, I'll admit, but it just goes to show how much I love and appreciate this series.

First of all, it is refreshing to read a series where vampires are not the main focus, and an ordinary human girl can become the heroine, even in a world surrounded by magical beings of great power. The way Cassandra Clare created such a believable story world is incredible to me. She has weaved a story as if it were happening in today's society, making sure she has developed the details to cover for why we can't see this world of Shadowhunters.

Shadowhunters. If you haven't read the book it might sound stupid, but for me, the name Shadowhunter creates a feeling of awe and slight jealousy because I can't be one. The fact that they have been gifted angel blood and the power to eliminate darkness from the world is awe-inspiring in itself. Let alone when the one who is gifted is Jace Wayland.

Wayland is... obnoxious. He's not that pleasant at first, but he'll soon grow on you with his battles against demons and when he shows the softer side he guards with sarcasm. He is basically the ultimate book-boy crush...too bad he is not real.

However, he is real for Clary. Clary, the heroine, is not my favourite, but I can definitely handle her more than other protagonists. The love story between Jace and Clary happened at a great pace, in my opinion. They fought against their attraction, and slowwwwwly got to know each other as the book progressed. But it wasn't too girly or in-your-face romantic. Girls and boys will both enjoy this epic treat of a novel.

The action-adventure and romance vectors of the plot compliment each other in a way you would not think possible. One minute their is a heart-felt love declaration and the next page is sliced through with swords and covered in demon blood. This combination is certainly a masterpiece for my enjoyment, and if I ever meet Cassandra Clare I will bow down to her.

Review: Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver

Saturday, May 26, 2012

I'm pushing aside the memory of my nightmare,
pushing aside thoughts of Alex,
pushing aside thoughts of Hana and my old school,
like Raven taught me to do.
The old life is dead.
But the old Lena is dead too.
I buried her.
I left her beyond a fence,
behind a wall of smoke and flame.

Lauren Oliver delivers an electrifying follow-up to her acclaimed New York Times bestseller, Delirium. This riveting, brilliant novel crackles with the fire of fierce defiance, forbidden romance, and the sparks of a revolution about to ignite.

Review: City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare

Friday, May 18, 2012

I have literally just finished City of Lost Souls, the new Mortal Instruments book, and I'm not sure how I feel... Obviously, I am completely IN LOVE with the novel, but the twists and turns left me feeling like a kaleidoscope of emotions. I'm not sure which emotion is the most dominant, because over the last few days I have been bombarded with happiness, anger, shock, anxiousness, and a whole host of feelings I can't bottle down (Leaving me with rather embarrassing situations in which I squeal during class and get glares which might make an onlooker think I killed a person). Anyway, I'm digressing here.

The fifth installment of The Mortal Instruments is, in fan girl language, totally awesome. There are no words. Well there are some, like, OH MY GOODNESS. JACE. SEBASTIAN. JACE. AGHHH. If your brain thought like for a few days, you would be where I am right about now.

Throughout COLS, Clare switched characters, giving a wide range of character point of views and allowing the reader to understand each of the characters in a deeper way. It an sometimes be confusing to switch between so many different story lines, but Clare is so ingenious that she managed to do it in such a way that flowed. She also had a great way of separating each character by writing with their own "voice", making it easy to note when the POV changed.

In the fourth book, City of Fallen Angels, we are left with Valentine's son, "Sebastian" being killed and then brought back with the Greater Demon, Lilith's Mark which ties him to Jace. I wanted to cry when I read it!! Jace is the best book boy ever. Capable of making girl's swoon, even though he is fictional...a fact that I do not like to think about much, as I have dreamt of marrying him. However, the end of the book leaving you on one of Clare's infamous cliff-hangers, with a scene of blood and glass. Leaving me hanging until the new book came out.

*SPOILER ALERT*- If you haven't read the book, do not read past here. And feel ashamed that you haven't read this amazing series -_-

Just as the last book ended, the fifth book started. Jace is gone (*sniff sniff*), Clary is obviously heartbroken, and Simon is a vampire who is being treated like a monster by his human mother. Not surprising, if you ask me, but my love for Simon makes me feel extremely sorry for him when he is so lonely. I think that he and Clary were supposed to be together. Were... until Jace showed up like a lightning bolt and ruined their relationship. Of course, Clary and Simon are still best friends, but they could have been soul mates, if Jace hadn't commandeered her soul.

In COLS, I have heard that Clary annoyed some people. Her crazy decisions and the way she jumps to action are the reason why Clary is a great protagonist. I think it makes her admirable as a heroin who is in love with a boy, but will not let him paint her as a dame in need of rescuing. I thought she handled the whole possessed-boyfriend, brother-trying-to-kill-her thing pretty well for a sixteen year old girl.

Sebastian was a strange one for me in this book. In City of Glass when he was introduced, and in City of Fallen Angels, I was right alongside the Shadowhunters who hated Sebastian. But in this book, I found myself actually started to like and empathize with the bad guy *gasp*. Although every time he made me laugh and smile inwardly I tried to remind myself that he killed little Max Lightwood and tried to make his own sister fall in love with him and whatnot, I couldn't help myself! It shocked me that I saw him as another Jace, someone I could actually like instead of an evil Valentine Jr.

Simon and Isabelle. Okay, am I the only one who is bothered by this new happening? Don't get me wrong, I love love love Simon, even Simon as a vampire, but I'm not too sure about him with Izzy. As I said, I think Simon was destined to be with Clary. But as that can't really happen because of Jace, he will have to choose someone else, just not his ex(?)love Clary's boyfriend's sister. It's weird. I never really liked Izzy in the first place. She's too standoffish and I think Simon should be with someone a lot more friendly.

Maia and Jordan...Okay, how cute?! I love Jordan now!! He is completely adorable, and although I was not so sure about Maia in the beginning, I like her with Jordan. The relationship just seemed to fit for me, and there were definitely parts that had me squealing and looking like a lunatic. I think Maia and Jordan were destined to be together also from the very beginning. There's something sweet about their memories of their teenage romance, even if they are slightly marred by him turning her into a werewolf. That also brings out his softer and more emotional side, it's nice to be able to see an eighteen year old boy instead of just a werewolf.

Jocelyn and Luke. I really like Luke (are you sensing a pattern yet with the boys?). However, I found Jocelyn to be a lot less enjoyable in this book. To me she came off as aggressive and rude. Yes, I know her fiance is dying and her daughter has run off to be with a demon and his assistant, but still she could have shown a softer side. I was slightly disappointed that Luke wasn't in the book quite as much, but his role was always kind of in the periphery anyway.

Alec and Magnus. I have grown to like Alec. I didn't really in the beginning of the series because of his treatment towards Clary, but being Jace's parabatai it's nice seeing the brotherly bond. Magnus makes me laugh almost as much as Jace and Simon do. He has some really witty lines, and it's hard not to be amused by his craziness. I like the two of them together, I think they are two completely different people who fit together so well.

And now, JACE. I saved the best for last of course. I don't know what to say for him. He is just soooo great. If I could magically make any book character appear, I would. He is so charismatic, charming, hilariously arrogant, and has an underlying sense of vulnerability that he only lets out occasionally. When Jace was possessed I started to believe this was the real Jace, until I was able to realize that it was not him but Sebastian. The part where he comes back to Clary around the middle of the book, I was so happy I wanted to cry tears of joy.

In short, I love it. I love it. I love it. Cassandra Clare is pure genius, but she might kill me if she doesn't release City of Heavenly Fire soon. As of now I can't even check her website because the account has been temporarily shut down. I'm assuming to stop the flow of spoiler filled comments that could have the potential to ruin the book for other readers. I think it's smart of her, and, if my theory is correct, that she cares about her readers experience with the book. The amazing, crazy, magnificent, thrilling book. I might be typing this and turning back to page one to reread it O.o

P.S. Sorry for rambling, but then again, it is a reader's ramblings on this website :) And I am also sorry for basically abandoning my blog for so long!!

P.P.S. If you would like to see mine and my affiliate Amber's personal picks for the CoB movie cast, click here.