Trilogy of six?

City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare

Still slowly working my way through the Cassandra Clare series. This one really isn’t the strongest. Although I enjoyed the love triangles that Simon was in, or is it a love square? Jace and Clary’s relationship is a little bit less interesting to me. It’s not that happy couples with contrived drama (secret evil possession I guess?) isn’t exciting but a stable couple with compelling plot drama is a little more interesting to me. But I will take it all because of the six minutes of Magnus Bane and Alec Lightwood.

But I feel  like this series, which is marked as Book 4 really feels like the start of a second series with the same characters. There’s nothing wrong with that of course, but something about this book is a little off. I got a weird sense that this was meant to be the first book in the series – lay the groundwork, introduce the characters and set up a long term plot.

Only, we already have that stuff, at least as long as you read the first three books. So there’s this weird kind of pacing to the first book, as it tries to lay the ground work for the future plot, establish new characters and keep the old characters interesting. It worked out fine, it’s a good, compelling story about characters the reader probably already knows and loves but I hope by the next book things settling a little and become  a little more plot or character driven.

Last movie I watched:

Apart of X-men Apocalypse. Not going to lie, it’s not that good.  Better than Last Stand but not good.

Last TV show I watched:

This Is Us. Sob.

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Not the end of the trilogy?

City of Glass by Cassandra Clare

Okay, it’s been a long time since I actually read this book, but I didn’t want to skip it because I liked it so much.

I really, really liked this trilogy, although as it turns out, she wrote three more afterwards and I’m pretty sure they reprinted them as a … sixlogy?

Last movie I watched:

A Christmas Prince. A Netflix original that was clearly inspired by a Hallmark original. But it was good, for what it was.

Last TV show I watched:

Supernatural. So I guess Mary’s back then? Cool.

Cassandra Clare continues

City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare

While I had read the first book before, I had not read this one! I loved it of course, as I mentioned in a post not too long ago. For the sake of this, rather short post I am going to compare His Mortal Instruments to Harry Potter. I love them both, and I don’t have a favourite and that’s okay.

But let’s look at the similarities.

Both stories centre around a character who has grown up in the regular world, only to discover that they are in fact the children of supernatural beings and there is an entire world they have been unaware of their whole lives. They learn that an enemy everyone thought was dead is not, and is in fact coming after them. They learn that their parents were part of a secret order and together, with a group of friends and a slightly unusual power, even in this magical world, they defeat the big evil.

Of course, they are also very different. Mortal Instruments starts older – the issues it explores are more about identity, love, parent and child relationships, sexuality and the nature of good and bad. They are older, they have a more complex idea good and evil, their struggles with relationships are more about sexuality and expression and parents are really striped of any hero status.

It’s amazing how different those two stories turned out.

Also I could not adore Magnus Bane more. It’s simply not possible.

Last movie I watched:

A piece of Cinderella III. I didn’t love it, but the kid who I was watching it really seemed to enjoy it

Last TV show I watched:

Shadowhunters. I’m getting over it. Just not quite there yet.

The other book with vampires Edward and Alice

Greywalker by Kat Richardson

In a rare moment of adult book reading, I started this series about a young PI named Harper. In the first chapter she’s brutally beaten to death by a disgruntled client. She’s resuscitated at the hospital but when she wakes up in the hospital the world is different for her. She sees a grey mist everywhere, something only she can see, and cross into. Harper is now a Greywalker, a human who can step  into the Grey, an in-between place where the living, the dead and the monsters can all exist. Side effect: suddenly the living, the dead and the monsters want her help solving their cases.

I really enjoyed this book. Harper is a fun heroine, and has a pet ferret, with a balance of realist traits like denial, a ton of courage but also compassion. She does a great job of being the strong female lead, but also having character traits that aren’t being a strong female lead. The supporting cast is delightful too, from the eccentric computer genius who helps with alarm systems, the mentoring witch who’s husband studies magic academically and their baby son to  politically driven vampire group she gets involved in.

This book is classed adult, probably for the amount of sex in it, or possible for violence, so I’d probably think twice about recommending it to teens, mostly because their parents can get really bent out of shape, but for any readers who enjoy paranormal mystery, a dash or romance and a bit of horror, I strongly recommend. That’s all I got for now.

The last movie I watched:

Victor Frankenstien. I love James McAvoy, and certainly he was amazing in the movie, but it really wasn’t an amazing movie.

Daniel Radcliffe was great too.

Last TV episode I watched:

I have no idea but I’m guessing it was How To Get Away with Murder. Great show. Seriously great.

 

Buffy in Comic Land

Angel & Faith: Daddy Issues by Christopher Gage, Rebekah Isaacs with Chris Samnee and Joss Whedon

Obviously, I love Buffy. And no offense anyone who doesn’t but your life is sad. And for anyone who hasn’t seen it, boy are you in for a treat! But I hadn’t dabbled in the comics frankly because I’d heard a few things that happen in them and I wasn’t too pleased with how my favourite characters sounded like they were turning out. I probably would have gone on through most of my life perfectly content with that, but I came across one, solitary graphic novel in an amazing second hand book store a few Free Comic Book days ago so I decided to give it a go.

Years later.

This book fits in a larger story arch out there somewhere that I haven’t read, so there are a few gaps in my knowledge of the story, but as it’s own book, there’s a lot about it that I really, really liked.

As the title would suggest, the book centers on Angel (the champion, the vampire with a soul, basically doomed to love a Slayer and know that he’s no good for her) and Faith (a Slayer who went very, very rogue for a while but came around to the light side in the end). In the show these two characters were amazing together, although they didn’t spend a lot of time together. Faith was possibly the only good thing about Angel season 4. And the comic does a great job carrying that forward.

Angel and Faith and independently pursuing a monster that drives people insane. Their paths cross and they learn who the mastermind is: Drusilla, a vampire that Angel turned before he had a soul, but not before he drove her insane. She is using a demon to take away people’s pain, but in doing so, takes away who they are.  As the pair try to take down Dru, they  both struggle with their only feelings about fathers. Angel, by turning Drusilla is a kind of father to her and doesn’t know how to take responsibility for that. Faith’s dead beat dad has reappeared and says he wants them to be a family again, but Faith is is having trouble trusting him. Rightly so, as it turns out.

This story is really interesting because it asks a good question – could you give up the things that hurt you most? If you would, how would it change you and would you want it to?

As it turns out, in the context of the whole story, Angel is on a quest to resurrect Giles (MY FAVOURITE CHARACTER, HOW CAN HE BE DEAD?) And Faith joins him on it, leading to an entertaining encounter with his mysterious Aunties. Sadly, that story doesn’t get resolved in this book, but the characters were interesting, funny, sinister and offered a lot of insight into the amazing character that is Giles.

I’m still a little skeptical about some of the things that I’ve heard about Buffy comics but after this read, I’d be totally willing to give them a try.

Last movie I watched:

Might have been the Backup Plan. I can’t remember.

Last TV episode I watched:

A Smallville probably. It’s not a genius show maybe, but it sure is a nice show.

YA vampire Romance that’s still better than Twilight

House of Night: Chosen by Kirsten Cast and P. C. Cast

Alright so I really, really meant to start this series from the beginning but I didn’t. Someone I trusted told me it was the first book. It wasn’t and I realized it and was going to stop. But then I had an inconvenient lunch break and I had nothing else to do so I had to read it.

I regret it because it was great and now the first two books are kind of ruined for me so I don’t get to enjoy their greatness. But I also don’t regret it because it was great.

The story picks up, I assume where the last book left off.  Zoey’s best friend Stevie Rae has died and come back as a… well no one’s quite sure. Everything’s going well with Eric, her fledgling boyfriend other than one thing – she’s imprinted on her former human boyfriend Heath. And suddenly Loren, one of the teachers, is talking about how much he wants her. On top of all that, Zoey knows Neferet, a teacher and high priestess, has something to do with Stevie Rae’s death and she can’t tell anyone – not her boyfriends, not her best friends, not even her family. But there’s one person she might be able to – her worst enemy Aphrodite.

As far as teen paranormal fiction goes, there’s a lot of good stuff in this book. On the teen front there’s a lot of fun and genuine teen experiences, or at least wish fulfillment. Having 3 hot potential boyfriends, one of whom is much older and talks about how you’re the only person who’s ever made him feel that way may not be completely realistic but boyfriend drama, group dynamics, keeping secrets and family tension are all things teens will relate to really well. Unlike a lot of love triangles, or in this case love squares I guess?, it’s really hard to guess which one Zoey really loves and the Casts do a great job of showing what she loves about each of them. Her circle of friends, all of whom are pretty fun and well developed for secondary characters have a great dynamic and realistic response to Zoey keeping secrets from them. Zoey also struggles with her family – her mother and stepfather are slowly severing ties with her, but it’s messy. You know, like a real family.

The paranormal aspect is pretty neat too. The world building is comprehensive and beautiful and I love the focus on Nyx, the goddess of vampires. The rituals, the elements and the process of becoming a vampire are all beautiful, original twists that make a lot more sense then “they sparkle”.

This book also did a good job of seamlessly incorporating characters who could use some representation. Zoey is Aboriginal and details included in her identity without making her into a stereotype. Her friends Damien and Jack are gay but their relationship is more important, which is unusual – they aren’t Jack from Will and Grace, they’re a couple who have separate and overlapping identities. I’m pretty pleased with that.

I’m going to read the whole series, you know, one day when I have time to do nothing but read and happily recommend it in the meantime.

Last TV show I watched:

Unbreakable Kimmy Smitt. LOVE IT.

Last movie I watched:

The Backup Plan. Babies are cute.

 

The anti-Potter

Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins

Just straight up, this book was really fun. I enjoyed it immensely but when I think about it really critically I have a more complicated reaction to it. On the one hand, it made my feminism feel a little prickled but on the other hand, it was really cool in its pretty direct opposition of the genre that Harry Potter spawned. Like, I could have a T-chart about it. Actually, I will probably do that. On the other side of the description obviously.

Sophie Mercer is a witch, she’s known that since she was twelve years old and her powers manifested. What she didn’t realize was that if she used them in front of mortals and therefore threatened the safety of all Prodigium, that is shifters, witches or fairies, she would get sent to Hex Hall. A school for kids like her.

So there are lots of obvious similarities with Harry Potter. Two kids who aren’t in touch with their magical parents, raised unaware of their own standing in the magical community and sent to a school where they would learn how to control their powers.

But what I thought was neat was the complete oppositeness about it. There isn’t a  Dumbledore character in this – the Head Mistress is a kindly, but aloof woman who seems found enough of the main character, but doesn’t have a particularly close relationship with any of the kids. Instead of have the grumpy Snape teacher you have an aggressive woman who teaches self defense. Instead of Sophie being the ultimate force of good she might well be the ultimate force of evil. Her parents aren’t dead. Hogwarts is beautiful, Hex Hall is old and crumbling. Hagrid is a half giant, Cal is a sexy lumberjack like gamekeeper who is also a super human healer. Sophie doesn’t make a crew of friends but she does develop a core of mortal enemies. It’s immediately clear that romance and crushes are going to drive the story. The kids don’t fight each other over issues like prejudice or bullying so much as dresses and boys.

And that’s where my feminism gets rubbed the wrong way. On the one hand Sophie and her best friend Jenna (who is gay and it’s so beautifully handled I could cry) are both pretty kick ass ladies in their own way, powerful and feminine and motivated and driven. On the other hand, the apparent evil characters are three…. for lack of a better word, bitches. And they literally get into a near fatal battle over a dress. Which is just, I mean while I firmly support anyone who loves clothes, I’m partial to them myself, but honestly…. murder over an outfit? Is that really what we like our teen girls to read? That’s a thing?

But it was also a good story with delightful turns, great supporting casts, lovely descriptions of outfits and a powerful heroine who’s pretty easy to love.

Last movie I watched:

Ummmm probably still Fingersmith

Last TV episode I watched:

The same Charmed. Unless you count part of  a Daily Show. In which case that.