Book Review: City of Ashes (The Mortal Instruments #2) by Cassandra Clare

Synopsis from Goodreads:

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?

My mini-review:

“Growing up happens when you start having things you look back on and wish you could change.”

In retrospect, I am now extremely grateful that I started out with The Infernal Devices. I believe TID set the mood for me to really appreciate, or at least try to appreciate, The Mortal Instruments series. This second book was a huge improvement from City of Bones, and I’m happy that a certain someone‘s true lineage is slowly coming to light. I knew there was something I liked about him.

★★★ (3.5 stars) for keeping my dreams filled with a substantial amount of angels to counterbalance the numerous demons.

Book Review: City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments #1) by Cassandra Clare

Synopsis from Goodreads:

When fifteen-year-old Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder― much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with strange tattoos and brandishing bizarre weapons. Then the body disappears into thin air. It’s hard to call the police when the murderers are invisible to everyone else and when there is nothing―not even a smear of blood―to show that a boy has died. Or was he a boy?

This is Clary’s first meeting with the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons. It’s also her first encounter with Jace, a Shadowhunter who looks a little like an angel and acts a lot like a jerk. Within twenty-four hours Clary is pulled into Jace’s world with a vengeance, when her mother disappears and Clary herself is attacked by a demon. But why would demons be interested in ordinary mundanes like Clary and her mother? And how did Clary suddenly get the Sight? The Shadowhunters would like to know.

My review:

“Where there is love, there is often also hate. They can exist side by side.”

So, I have a love/hate feeling about this book. Someone recommended that I read The Infernal Devices before The Mortal Instruments series (which I did), but now I wish I read TMI first. Or I don’t. I don’t know. My point is: The Infernal Devices was good. I really enjoyed it. And then I read City of Bones and was very disappointed. The Shadow World is essentially the same but I suppose I had higher expectations going into it. I will also say that right after I finished reading this book, I looked at the reviews and had absolutely no idea about that whole plagiarism business with Cassandra Clare. Needless to say, I’m shocked. Grossed out, really. I tried not to let this affect my review but I didn’t like the book so much to begin with, so I hardly think it matters.

If I focus only on City of Bones as a singular thing to assess, I would say that it has the elements of novels I like: an interesting premise (demons and hunters and angels, etc.) and a somewhat interesting mix of characters. I say “somewhat” because each character is kind of predictable in their own way. If I’m being completely honest, I only wanted to finish this book in order to see where Jace and Clary’s romance went (if it went anywhere). Let’s just say it was cringe-worthy. Which is quite funny because I’ve seen the movie and I already knew what was coming and it still made me cringe. I physically and emotionally cringed when that information was revealed. Even the word cringe is making me cringe now. I’ll stop.

If I hadn’t read The Infernal Devices already, I wouldn’t be giving this book 3 stars right now. However, I will give it ★★★ (3 stars) because my enjoyment of the prequel series suggests that there is potential for the next book in TMI to please me. I don’t know anything about what happens after the first instalment, and I am genuinely curious to see how the individual stories of each character unfold. And I am a little obsessed with the Shadow World, so I can’t not finish this series.

P.S. Let’s face it. If I read this book years ago (when it was at its peak), I would have absolutely loved it.

Book Review: Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare

Synopsis from Goodreads:

A net of shadows begins to tighten around the Shadowhunters of the London Institute. Mortmain plans to use his Infernal Devices, an army of pitiless automatons, to destroy the Shadowhunters. He needs only one last item to complete his plan: he needs Tessa Gray.

Charlotte Branwell, head of the London Institute, is desperate to find Mortmain before he strikes. But when Mortmain abducts Tessa, the boys who lay equal claim to her heart, Jem and Will, will do anything to save her. For though Tessa and Jem are now engaged, Will is as much in love with her as ever.

As those who love Tessa rally to rescue her from Mortmain’s clutches, Tessa realizes that the only person who can save her is herself. But can a single girl, even one who can command the power of angels, face down an entire army?

Danger and betrayal, secrets and enchantment, and the tangled threads of love and loss intertwine as the Shadowhunters are pushed to the very brink of destruction in the breathtaking conclusion to the Infernal Devices trilogy.

My mini-review:

“Sometimes one must choose whether to be kind or honorable,” he said. “Sometimes one cannot be both.”

I have nothing else to say other than it has been an absolute pleasure reading this trilogy. I almost wish I would have read slower so as to prolong my experience in the world of Shadowhunters.

★★★★ (4.5 stars) for truly placing me in another world.

Book Review: Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare

Synopsis from Goodreads:

In the magical underworld of Victorian London, Tessa Gray has at last found safety with the Shadowhunters. But that safety proves fleeting when rogue forces in the Clave plot to see her protector, Charlotte, replaced as head of the Institute. If Charlotte loses her position, Tessa will be out on the street—and easy prey for the mysterious Magister, who wants to use Tessa’s powers for his own dark ends.

With the help of the handsome, self-destructive Will and the fiercely devoted Jem, Tessa discovers that the Magister’s war on the Shadowhunters is deeply personal. He blames them for a long-ago tragedy that shattered his life. To unravel the secrets of the past, the trio journeys from mist-shrouded Yorkshire to a manor house that holds untold horrors, from the slums of London to an enchanted ballroom where Tessa discovers that the truth of her parentage is more sinister than she had imagined. When they encounter a clockwork demon bearing a warning for Will, they realize that the Magister himself knows their every move—and that one of their own has betrayed them.

Tessa finds her heart drawn more and more to Jem, but her longing for Will, despite his dark moods, continues to unsettle her. But something is changing in Will—the wall he has built around himself is crumbling. Could finding the Magister free Will from his secrets and give Tessa the answers about who she is and what she was born to do?

As their dangerous search for the Magister and the truth leads the friends into peril, Tessa learns that when love and lies are mixed, they can corrupt even the purest heart.

My mini-review:

“If no one cares for you at all, do you even really exist?”

I care, William Herondale. I care.

I want to give all the stars to the entirety of The Infernal Devices, but I don’t want people to think that I am too easily enamoured.

★★★★ (4.5 stars) for turning around my dreadful weekend/life.

Update (February 15, 2016): I am giving this series all the stars.