Everland by Wendy Spinale

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After a bio-attack on London by an evil new German regime, most adults have perished from the deadly virus dropped on the population. The virus also seems to target girls, leaving nearly all of them missing from the city. Gwen and her siblings, Joanna and Mikey, are some of the last children living in the outskirts of what used to be London (now a ruined city called Everland). During a raid, Joanna is taken by the sinister Captain Hans (Hook), who uses the remaining children as experiments. When Gwen meets the charming but reckless Pete, leader of the “Lost Boys” and who claims he can help Gwen escape, can she trust him to help her get her sister back? And, can she find Joanna before the virus kills the remaining children in London?

If the cover doesn’t sell you on this book (because it’s awesome), think sci-fi Peter Pan with Steampunk. For the most part, this book is a super creative take on Peter Pan, and I loved reading how the author incorporated all the elements of the story into her piece. I also loved how Spinale takes time to humanize the “evil” Captain Hook, rather than just allowing him to be a flat baddie. If you’re into fractured fairy tales, love Peter Pan, or are just looking for a unique read, this is it!

Rating: 4/5

For full analysis (including flags and SPOILERS) click here.

Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare

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The final Infernal Devices installment finds the Shadowhunters of the London Institute once again up against the automaton forces of Mortmain. This time, Mortmain is closer than ever to achieving his demonic plans, for he finally has Tessa in his grasp. While Jem and Will scramble to rescue Tessa from her kidnapper, Charlotte struggles to keep control of the Institute. What follows are simultaneous races against time: Jem’s against his mounting addiction, Will’s mad search for Tessa, and Charlotte’s battle of wits and reason with the Consul. In this epic finale, the Shadowhunters must prevail, or face annihilation.

Wow! What an ending! I’ve always liked this series because it is part Shadowhunters and part historical fiction, and the ending really wraps everything up nicely. I especially liked how this book picked up speed right away and never slowed down. If you loved the Mortal Instruments series, make sure to give this one a try — but I don’t advise reading this one first. For thoughts about my feelings on the love triangle ending, check out the full analysis ;-).

Rating: 4.5/5

For full analysis (including flags and SPOILERS) click here.

 

Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare

 

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The second book of the Infernal Devices series finds Tessa struggling with the betrayal of her brother, Nate. Aside from being unsure of her supernatural heritage, Tessa must now confront the fact that she has lost her remaining blood family. Luckily, Charlotte and the London Shadowhunters will not turn their backs on her. Their support may be moot, however, as Charlotte inches ever-closer to losing the London institute forever. The Enclave, with the urgence of Benedict Lightwood, tasks Charlotte with finding the Magister within two weeks. If she fails, she will be deemed unfit to run the Institute. Once more, Tessa and the Shadowhunters must ban together to solve the deadly mystery of the Magister and his automatons, all while fighting the betrayal that lurks within their ranks.

Though this one wasn’t quite as good as the first in the series, it’s still really good. We find the answers to some burning questions in book one, and the Jessa/Wessa dilemma is in full swing (for more of my thoughts on this, see the spoiler page). This one also has a super-satisfying payback scene, as well, so look forward to that. Also look forward (maybe) to yet another cliffhanger and a ton of romantic drama!

Rating: 4/5

For full analysis (including flags and SPOILERS) click here.

 

Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare

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This prequel to Clare’s Mortal Instruments series finds ancestral Shadowhunters grappling with the dawn of a new age. Though accords have been struck, tension still rifles between the Shadowhunters and the Downworlders. Tessa, who previously believed she was nothing but a normal teenage girl living in 19th century America, receives a letter from her brother, Nathan, asking her to relocate to London. However, Tessa soon finds that the letter was a ruse to get her to England, and that dark forces have plans for her. Kidnapped and tortured into using a power she didn’t even know she had, Tessa must trust the Shadowhunters of the London Institute to help her find her brother and escape the warlocks. As with most dire circumstances of Clare’s making, things are not quite what they seem, and soon Tessa and the Shadowhunters are wrapped up in a deadly cat and mouse game, all struggling to save the London Institute and keep demons at bay.

Historical fiction + Shadowhunters = awesome. If you’re not normally a fan of historical fiction, don’t turn your nose up right away. This book reads more like a fantasy series that happens to be set in 19th century London than it does a traditional history piece. There’s also some really cool steampunk mixed in. While I did feel that Clare hardcore reused some characters (Will = Jace), the book had some exciting, juicy plots, romance, and intrigue. I’m really looking forward to reading what’s next. If you haven’t read the Mortal Instruments series, I recommend starting there. Clare doesn’t do a lot of background information about the Shadowhunter world. BUT, it wouldn’t be impossible to start with this series if you prefer to read prequels first.

*VOYA Perfect 10, 2010

Rating: 4.5/5

For full analysis (including flags and SPOILERS) click here.

Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld

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Set amid the outbreak of WWI, the first in Westerfeld’s Leviathan series follows characters Alek (the son of assassinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand) and Deryn Sharp. Both Alek and Deryn seek adventure – Alek is thrust into his when his parents are murdered and he must go into hiding; Deryn is a girl masquerading as a boy in order to sail on British air beast, Leviathan. However, though their lives are radically different, the two eventually cross paths and must work together in order to survive.

This was the first Steampunk novel I’ve read, and I have to admit I was skeptical. The Steampunk genre just seems a little weird to me, so I wasn’t sure I’d like it. I was wrong! Leviathan is incredible — there’s a ton of action and suspense. If you don’t know much about WWI, don’t worry — you don’t need to be a history nerd to enjoy the novel. Westerfeld provides some background information at the end of the novel, and the characters do a good job of explaining what’s going on. Westerfeld’s imaginative machines and “beasties” are truly amazing — I was completely blown away by the detail he goes into when describing how they work. The illustrations Keith Thompson provides are also exceptional, and really help with understanding exactly how these crazy creatures look and function. All around, this is a great read! The 400+ pages fly by, and the end will leave you reaching for the next two in the series, which are Behemoth and Goliath. I’ll definitely be reading them!

This one has a great book trailer! Click here to watch.

Rating: 4.5/5

Series: Leviathan, Behemoth, Goliath

For full analysis (including flags and SPOILERS), click here.