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.

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Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

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In this mix of fairytale and myth, Feyre, sole provider of her once-wealthy family, finds herself at the mercy of an angry fairy after she kills one of his kind. Due the human-fairy treaty, Feyre can choose to either live in the fairy world forever, or be killed for her offense. She leaves for the fairy court with her new companion, Tamlin, never to see her family again. In the Spring Court, Feyre laments the change in her situation, despite the surprising kindness from her host. But, as with everything in Feyre’s life, all is not what it seems. Tamlin and his court harbor a dark secret — one that it will fall to Feyre to discover and solve, before she loses everything she loves.

As you know, I LOVED Throne of Glass, so I was super excited about Maas’ next series. It doesn’t disappoint. This new book is largely a Beauty and the Beast retelling, with some other multicultural myths thrown in. The world-building is amazing, the female characters (especially villains) strong and entertaining, and the drama will make you want the next book right now. Hold on through the beginning (it’s a bit slow), but the end is definitely worth it.

Rating: 4/5 

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

City of Bones Full Analysis

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Clary has a pretty average life – friends, school, and an overprotective mom. But all that changes when she stumbles across what she believes is a boy getting mugged in a nightclub. It turns out that the boy, Jace, is a Shadowhunter — an otherworldly being charged with saving humans from demons. Suddenly, Clary is swept up in the Shadowhunter world. Her mother is kidnapped by a demonic force, and Clary must battle demons, solve ancient mysteries, and learn truths about her past that she never expected.

Though there’s not much depth to this novel, it is super entertaining. The characters are all well-written, and Clare does a good job of making you care about them. I also totally didn’t see the big twist coming in this novel, so get ready for that. If you love it, there’s a ton of books in the series and this first book provides excellent set up for what comes next!

Rating: 4/5

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

 

The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud

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Britain has a ghost problem. Beset by spirits once the sun goes down, the people of England employ teenage ghost hunters in order to be free of their nightly visitors. Lucy Carlyle is one such hunter. Having lost her position at a high-ranking ghost-extermination firm, Lucy finds herself working for the eccentric and reckless Anthony Lockwood. Unfortunately, after accidentally burning a client’s house down, the firm finds itself in financial (and legal) trouble. Lockwood and Co. needs a case, and a big one, in order to save their reputation and continue hunting ghosts. Luckily, one such case comes along. Unluckily, everyone who has attempted to solve the case has died in the process.  

I loved this one! Think British Ghostbusters with teenagers. It’s got great ghost stories, plenty of scares, an excellent mystery, and is just all-around awesome. What really impressed me was that this book managed to pull off being so entertaining without having a love story. So, if you’re not a fan of “mushy” books, give this one a read for sure. Though the storyline can occasionally lose focus, the mystery is interesting enough that it makes up for the meandering. The ending is a total cliff-hanger as well, so, if you love it, make sure you reach for the next in the series. I definitely will!

*Lonestar List, 2014

Rating: 4.5/5

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