One Trick Pony: Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare

The Shadowhunters of Los Angeles star in the first novel in Cassandra Clare’s newest series, The Dark Artifices, a sequel to the internationally bestselling Mortal Instruments series. Lady Midnight is a Shadowhunters novel.

It’s been five years since the events of City of Heavenly Fire that brought the Shadowhunters to the brink of oblivion. Emma Carstairs is no longer a child in mourning, but a young woman bent on discovering what killed her parents and avenging her losses.

Together with her parabatai Julian Blackthorn, Emma must learn to trust her head and her heart as she investigates a demonic plot that stretches across Los Angeles, from the Sunset Strip to the enchanted sea that pounds the beaches of Santa Monica. If only her heart didn’t lead her in treacherous directions…

Making things even more complicated, Julian’s brother Mark—who was captured by the faeries five years ago—has been returned as a bargaining chip. The faeries are desperate to find out who is murdering their kind—and they need the Shadowhunters’ help to do it. But time works differently in faerie, so Mark has barely aged and doesn’t recognize his family. Can he ever truly return to them? Will the faeries really allow it?

Glitz, glamours, and Shadowhunters abound in this heartrending opening to Cassandra Clare’s Dark Artifices series.

Source: GoodReads

I always feel like I have to take a bath after I read a Cassandra Clare book.  This part of my review will be eliminated from the GoodReads version of it due to its policies.  But as a person I find Cassandra Clare to be rather foul.   I’ve read multiple reports of past behavior particularly concerning her behavior in fandom, and it has me wanting to take a sip of something really strong after every revelation I read.  Then there’s the fact that TMI series has been exploited to the point you want to call protective services (if book series had protective services) to keep it from being pimped out anymore.

Still though, despite ethical dilemmas I ended up reading her books.  And when Lady Midnight came out I was sort of in the mood for a throw back to early 2000’s plagiarized fan fiction.  Plus, I really was interested to see if Clare could actually make me eat my words that the series hadn’t been milked completely dry.

Note, I did not eat my words.

Rather, I got drunk with how predictable Cassie Clare is and always will be.

Before I discuss the rampant use of cliches, I want to discuss Clare’s writing.  I really wonder if the editor’s read some of the crap she wrote.  Seriously, some of the prose is just awful.  There are metaphors that just don’t make sense.  Descriptions that are unnecessary and just plain stupid.  The change in viewpoints can get confusing as well because there’s no breaks clearly indicating that the perspective is changing.

I usually overlook the technical aspects, but this is this woman’s tenth publication and by this point I would hope that there would have been some growth in prose.  But yeah, it’s not going to happen.

I am not going to rant on the technical aspects though, because their pretty common in all Cassie Claire books.  Rather, I’m going to discuss the formula for a typical Cassandra Clare book.  After reading ten of them and part of the infamous fan fic (because I live such an excited life, I tell you)  Cassie Clare almost always follows the same formula and uses the same tropes.

1) Love Triangles:

 Oh yeah, there is a love triangle in this one.  Or should I say love pentagons or octagons or whatever happens when several triangles overlap.  I sort of got a headache over the potential relationships in this book.   And honestly, while the ship that will probably be the main ship was a lot more tolerable than Clace, the relationships here were even shallower than those in TMI.

 

2) Abusive Relationships:

 There is at least one maybe two potentially abusive relationships here.   One characters relationship I really didn’t live because it basically seemed like this character had stockholm syndrome with the other character and it didn’t seem totally consensual.  I didn’t like how Clare tried to romanticize it.  It was just bad and a cheap way to insert diversity into the book.  I really hope that that one character dies a firey death beause I don’t want his victim to get back with him.   Said victim is better off in the potentially annoying love triangle that they’re being set up to be with.  Also, the jury is out on another abusive relationship which seemes to more emotionally abusive than the previous discussed relationship, but I’ll have to read more information before I make a final verdict.

3) Bad Ass=Dumb Ass Main Character: 

Seriously.  Emma might’ve been able to use a sword better than Clary, but she still had to be rescued just as much as her and Tessa.  It just gets exhausting how impulsively stupid the shadow hunters are.  I’m like really.  Common sense, it’s a thing.  Get it Clare, please.

 

4) Jace (aka fannon Draco) Ass Kissing: Yeah, still happens here.  Even though Jace isn’t physically in the book until the end of this masterpiece..  The adoration is that eye roll worthy.  I’m like get a room already.  Because you totally know Clare wants to be with Jace despite being a fictional character.

5) You Must Read All My Books to Get My Inside Jokes: Yeah.

6) Counteradictory Information: The whole forbidden love angle.  Um, yeah, that doesn’t really explain the whole Alec attraciton to Jace if parabatai were forbidden from being in a relationship in an earlier book.  I’m sure Clare has explained this on her Tumblr or Twitter account.  But I really could care less.

7) Clare Pretending She’s JK Rowling: So now there’s a Shadow Hunter Academy.  I guess I would’ve known this if  I read all the little short stories that Clare outsourced to her friends, but I didn’t.  Instead, I was  just snorting about how much Clare WANTS to be Rowling.  There was even  the return of the flying motor bike in this installment.  All  kidding though, I get so tired of it.  TMI might have scored a bad movie and a quasi bad TV series, but it is no Harry Potter it is like a poor Harry Potter knock off  had a relationship with Edward Cullen and had a baby that was about as ugly as Michelle Tanner.   That’s not a good thing, people.  The characters are even HP knock offs.  Though, these newer characters were a little bit harder to place to their HP counterparts, so I suppose that is progress (somewhat).

9) Herondales: Because there always must be one long lost Herondale in these stupid books.  I hate that fucking family.  We know their name is really Malfoy and they just went to Idris when they were put in the Wizarding World Witness Protection (aka let Cassandra Clare disguise them with golden eyes  and darker blonde hair).  This further supports the reason that Jo really should’ve just done us a favor and killed them off instead of letting them go into Clare protection.

I really wanted to list ten cliches for this review because it would’ve been nice to do a top ten list, but a lot of the other cliches sort of overlap.   At this point in the review, I am going to be fair and list the sort of new elements that The Dark Artifacts series provides:

1) Setting: It’s in Los Angeles so that has to count for something I guess.

2) A Blonde Main Character: This makes identifying Emma as either Hermione or Ginny much more difficult.  The trick is she’s really a female Malfoy.  You realize this when there’s the comparisons to Jace.

3)A New Warlock: Don’t worry, Magnus just had to go on vacation for most of the book, I’m sure he will still have the go to warlock position in future installments.

Okay, I’m done bitching (for now).  Honestly, I will probably finish this series.  As I said, these books are sort of a weird trip down nostalgia and honestly I sort of want to see when it’s finally going to all crash and burn.  Much how I watched Fuller House for the same reason (hence, the Full and Fuller House gifs in this review).   BUT, but I don’t know if I’ll be reviewing them after this one.  I don’t like giving Clare’s books press  and honestly I’m afraid my reviews for this shit are getting a little repetitive.

Overall Rating: A C.  The writing is bad, but the story is oddly engaging.

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Let’s Get Drunk: City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare

 

 

Disclaimer: Unless you have a death wish do not actually drink alcohol while attempting to read this book.  Or for that matter you’d probably become over hydrated if you substituted the alcohol for something non-toxic.

Why Did I Decide to Do a Drinking Game: Because Cassie Clare makes me roll my eyes so much I realized if I did something constructive say take a shot of something every time something stupid happened in this book  (which happened a lot) it could actually be enjoyable.  Plus, I was a little annoyed to read this book in a series that really should’ve ended three books ago.

Take a Shot Everytime Clare References Another Shadowhunter Series: Prepared to get hammered on this one alone.  Not only do Infernal Devices characters make an appearance in this gem of a book.  But we also are introduced to brand spanking new Dark Artifices series that’s coming out next year.  I wouldn’t have mind a cameo or two, but there’s so much backstory to these characters that if you don’t read this book before you read that series you’ll be totally lost.  And for that matter, if you don’t read the five books up to this series and probably the Infernal Devices you’ll be somewhat lost. So if you’re interested in Clare’s new series, you have nine books to read .

Take a Shot Every Time Clare attempts to be a weird JK Rowling/Stephenie Meyer hybrid: This is why I always avoid reading Twilight/Harry Potter crossovers.  If Clare was still writing fanfic after Twilight was published, I can almost guarantee you she’d be writing some of these.  This book is really like a weird hybrid of Breaking Dawn and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows  complete with a scene that takes place out of Olivander’s and deranged kiddie vampires.  Fortunately, there is no teenage pregnancy though.  Although…

Take a Shot Every Time You Have a WTF this is YA look Your Face: Clare, you know there are like twelve year olds reading this, right? Seriously, there are more attempted rape scenes than in the last book.  There’s also a lot of consensual action in this book as well.  While no one does the deed on screen in the book, there is one scene that I thought was a little too suggestive to a younger audience.  And this is coming from someone who read her mother’s most raunchiest romances at the ripe old age of twelve.

Take A Shot Every Time Toxic Purple Prose Appears: You’ll be going to the hospital within a hundred pages.  I’d say try to diversify it by only doing  a shot when Clare describes characters.  But still guaranteed hospital business.

Take a Shot Every Time Clare Contradicts Herself: A lot of times I think Clare tries to justify past fallacies by not so subtly changing parts of the story.  There are many instances in City of Heavenly Fire where this happens, but I think one of the most obvious examples is the relationship between Maia and Jordan.  I won’t go into particulars, but the way Clare writes about the relationship is completely different than in the previous installments and just seems like a lame way to rectify what was a horrible relationship to begin with.

Take a Shot Every Time Clare Changes POV With Little To No Transition: Headache, people.  Headache.  In these sorts of scenes I want some transition.  Otherwise, I’m just going to be like what.  Unfortunately, this happens a lot.  It helps if you drink something I noticed.

Take a Shot Every Time You Hear About the Stupid Shadow Hunter Dress Code: Perhaps, Clare should start her own column in Vogue  if she wants to tell us just what the shadow hunters are wearing all the time.

Take a Shot Every Time You Sort of Feel Annoyed Because There’s a Part of You That Enjoys This Series: Yeah, I said it.  Despite it’s stupidity, I did enjoy reading this book.  Clare’s writing might annoy the beejeebes out of me, but there is a quality about it that’s just engaging.  It reads like a pretty decent (not great, mind you) fan fic.  But at the same time, while I enjoy it’s campiness and foulness there are just sometimes I get so annoyed with the book for the same thing.

Overall Thoughts: It was a decent conclusion.  If this would be the end of the Shadlowhunter saga (as I like to call all of Clare’s five hundred trilogies) I would’ve been fine with it.  The fact that Clare is obviously pimping out these other Shadowhunter sagas and sort of keeping some loose ends at the end of this installment to make the audience forced to read her new series just annoys me.

Rating: B-. Enjoyable but obviously flawed.  Yeah, I’m surprised with how high I rated it too.

 

Fucked Up YA Adaptions: City of Bones

Here’s a link to my actual review of this movie.  Because of my new miniseries “Fucked Up YA Movies” and a poll I put up, I decided to rewatch this movie.  I’m not going to write an actual review again because that would be monotonous, but I am going to take a critical look at the movie and point out some of the major faux pas that killed it and other YA adaptions:

1)  Poor Direction: Without a doubt, that’s what I really noticed about this film the second go around.  And I notice that this is an important factor in any YA adaption.  The director affects the mood of the movie.  You can see this very prominently in the Harry Potter films.  While the director that the film studio hired has done some decent films, I just don’t agree with his vision for City of Bones.  It was almost as if he wanted to do a throwback to the 80’s.  Which is fine, but City of Bones is not the film to do this with.  If you want to throwback anything, throwback Harry Potter.  That’s how Clare made her killing.

 

Hermione trying to get the two hours of her life back.

2) Author Control: The amount of control Cassandra Clare has is debatable, based on what you read from Clare’s blog before and after the film aired.  Regardless, of what version you believe, I think having too much or too little control in a book vs movie adaption makes a horrible movie.  While it is true authors know their world inside and out, they don’t know film making.  I think having a balance between director and author control is essential.  While I do think an author should have some insight in the casting, I don’t think they should say be there for the casting.  Perhaps someone who might look the part might not act the part, and while a casting director might recognize this an author who has ideas of her characters based on numerous fan art posted on her Tumblr probably won’t.

3) Use of Special Effects: I read somewhere that the director wanted to use old school effects and this actually made me excited.  I hate some of the newer CGI stuff, see the wolves in the Twilight movies.  But, and this is a big but, they didn’t utilize what made old school effects great.  Instead, the special effects that were given were down right cheesy.  Case in point: the big kissing scene.  Those effects just added cheese onto more cheese.  It’s a kissing scene.  A kiss is supposed to be magical on its own accord.  Having to use some cheap lighting, a rain machine, a fake bird, and some flowers that suddenly bloom when the two characters exchange saliva is just pushing it.

Even K Stew’s right hook look more realistic.

4) Miscast: Let’s face it, this film was seriously miscast.  Especially when it comes to Jace.  I don’t have anything against Jaime Campbell Bower, but he is not leading man material for a teeny bopper flick.  That’s not a bad thing.  He does have an interesting face.  A very interesting face where he could be very successful at doing films that actually have value.  But to be a teenage item of lust, not so much.  Though that’s what they try to push him as in this movie.  Also, I just really couldn’t see him and Collins as a couple which is sad because they were dating in real life. To be fair to him though, he made the best out of the script he was given.  But dude, get some shampoo on that head of yours, pronto. Interestingly enough, miscasting seems to be called out every time a YA adaption is made.  However, I don’t think it happens that much.  Sure, Robert Pattinson might not look like Henry Cavill (Meyer’s ideal Edward),but he was able to embody the part and the studio helped enough by styling him as Edward and giving him something to work with.  Poor Jamie though, he never had a chance.

5) The Score: Oh.  Dear. Lord.   I don’t think people often realize the importance of the score.  It really can make or break a movie.  Especially when you take the score and use it at inappropriate times.  The music is supposed to compliment the movie not overwhelm it like in the case of City of Bones.  Often I feel like music is used to hide the flaws in these movie.  Once again, I’m going to refer back to The Princess Diaries 2 and its five thousand montages.

Time for another song.

6) Sour Script: To be fair they didn’t have much to work with.  But some of the dialogue was so unnecessary and just bogged down the movie I wanted to get a red pen out and start marking things off the script.  It’s actually a problem you see in lots of YA movies, but other movies are able to hide their atrocious

7) It shouldn’t have been adapted in the first place:  I really believe that the Shadowhunter series never should’ve been a movie in the first place.  Just like I believe that there are many YA series out there that should not mean that all of them should be adapted into a movie.  This is one of those series that I think has way too much going on where it couldn’t be a decent adaption,unless major alterations were done.  It probably also doesn’t help the series that it is essentially a watered down version of Harry Potter+Twilight.  Even people who were unaware of Clare’s fandom past, commented on how the series tried t ride the coattails of other popular YA series.  People go to the movies to watch something new, watching a poor cardboard copy of something that’s already been released and sadly that’s what The City of Bones is.

Book vs Movie: City of Bones

Honestly, I probably won’t be talking about the book much.  Only that it’s better.  I know, weird considering its very cliche and has some horrible one liners and Clary is the worst version of Batman ever (even George Clooney and the bat credit card beat her).  This review will mostly be talking about what might be Cassandra Clare’s swan song in the movie universe.

Because God this is a stinker.  It’s worthy of being reviewed by the likes of the Nostalgia Critic in a few years it’s that bad.

And I really do feel for the actors.  Because there are a few good actors here.  Lily Collins isn’t horrible.  She made Clary at least more likable than Bella here.  It’s not that the Clary character was really great, but Collins limited the dumb assery of Clare’s Mary Sue.  And I thought her parents weren’t that bad either.  Though, Valentine’s role was performed with little gusto but given the actor’s past work I can’t blame him for not putting any heart in it here. The script sucked ass.  And Isabelle was good.  I actually liked her better here than in the book.

Usually when I watch movies, I watch them as an escape.  I like bad movies.  In fact, I love bad movies.  But movies like this just give me a headache because if I hadn’t read the book I would’ve been wondering WTF was going on.

And for that matter, I was still wondering what the deal was with the climax and I read the book less than a week ago.  It’s like they were trying to make the movie more complex than the book which a cardinal sin in adapting books to movies, at least in my opinion.

I’ll admit it, making a decent adaption is difficult you have to factor in lots of different factors but this one flopped big time and I think it’s in part because it tried to follow too closely to the book.

Despite what she may claim now, there is evidence that Clare played a large role in the making on the film.  She helped with casting.  With props.  With even the occasional line or two.  Which is fine.  I get why her input was needed.  But Cassandra Clare is not a film maker.  And I feel like the filmmakers relied too much on her.

And seriously, seriously, why out of all the scenes to leave in the movie do they decide to leave in that stupid falcon scene.  That was directly ripped off of Clare’s Draco Trilogy.  Stupid much?  I mean, with the amount of controversy that went on with that fan fic and the fact she borrowed it for her original fiction was bad enough.  But to put that scene in the movie it’s essentially an f you to anyone who witnessed plagiarism gate.  And is it really necessary to say I won five billion times?  And to include Draco Jace in leather pants?

We get it Clare, you’re the EL James of the Harry Potter world.

Rolls eyes.

It still doesn’t help the fact that this movie sucked.

The changes that they did make to the story just don’t make sense.  For example, the climax.  It goes on forever and ever and ever…At one point, right before we reach the epilogue I was like this would be a good ending spot.  Actually I thought that several times throughout the entire climax.  But they just kept continuing.

And that ending…Uh, eighty-five percent of the audience doesn’t know that Jace and Clary aren’t exactly brother and sister.  Um, having that quasi romantic moment between them at the end is more than a little gross.  Couldn’t you know, make it a little less obvious they’re in to each other?

Just saying.

The special effects were horrible again. I get that they didn’t want to rely a lot on CGI but this is worse than some of the things I’ve seen in the 80’s.  The old Indiana Jones movies effects look state of the art compared to this crap.  And this movie had a sixty million dollar budget.

Most of it, I’m sure, went to recreating Hogwarts but putting it in America (Side note, I thought about going to the theater dressed as Hermione Granger but then I realized no one would get the joke and just went in my college t and shorts instead).

You just don’t put Hogwarts in America.  It doesn’t work.  And how can you explain how the Institute which expands in size fits in a compact city such as NYC.

Oh, and as for NYC you feel no soul to the city at all.  They couldn’t even use any stock footage, save for the Brooklyn Bridge.  New York in itself is a character.  It might’ve been cool, you know, having a random demon attack near Times Square or something for exposition.  But nope.

As I said before the performances were a mix bag, while I liked Collins portrayal of Lilly, Bower never sold me on Jace.  He isn’t Jace.  He’s never going to be Jace.  And it’s not because I don’t find him to be that appealing to look at-seriously, dude, the 90’s are over by some L’Oriel already and clean that greasy mop of yours-its just that I don’t think he embodied the character or is that great of a romantic lead.  Yes, he’s saying the lines and sometimes they are somewhat successful, but for the most part…he’s just not doing it.  And I really think he did try.  I just think he was miscast.

As for Simon, the guy delivered okay.  I just felt like the character was unnecessary man candy that was just there for his abs to get stared at.  And I did stare at them.  The character, himself, is dressed like a young shorter Jeff Goldblum and acts like a hot version of Duckie.  Its a very weird combination.  And they completely ignore the rat thing (he’s just kidnapped and his shirt is taken off and he’s chained up so you get this weird BDSM allusion which is sort of creepy if you think about it since this is supposed to be advertised towards a younger audience).  And I think that’s ridiculous because him turning into a rat was one of the best parts of the first book-then again they might’ve cut that part out because it’s very Harry Potter-ish just like the flying motorbike (we do get a motorbike though, non-flying).

I think my biggest problem with the acting was with Magnus.  While he looked in character his acting was just horrible.  I’ve heard rumors that the voice was dubbed over and if that’s the case that might explain what the deal was.  But seriously…this is not how the most badass character in this lame series should be acting.  Though I’ll admit the short shorts and the smoking jacket were nice to look at.  And I liked the eyeliner.

There were other problems I had besides the acting and the story.  Most notably the cinematography.  Stop with the shaky cam already and that shot that makes all the characters distorted like they’re at a fun house.  It gave me such a migraine I’ve thrown up since I’ve gotten home.

And what the fuck with Bach?

Seriously.  I guess this is more of a plot point but I’m using it to transition to my bitch fit about the music.  Have you done any research on JS Bach?  That’s like PC and Kristin Cast claiming that every celebrity was a vampyre.  Oh dear lord…House of Night movie.  Now these people who handled this film could so handle that one it would be even…

Okay, back to the music.  I’m a bit of a score snot.  Maybe it’s because I grew up with a house full of musicians and had to buy every John Williams soundtrack ever made back when I was in high school, but I love movie music.  And I’m sort of snot about it.  Music can affect the story, the film’s tone.  Really everything about it.  Here the music seemed disjointed. Ominous pieces were used when the actual scene was hardly ominous and I just felt like overall it just didn’t work.

However, as awful as this movie was a sequel has been planned and shitty merchandise is already on its way to be produced.  Based on what I saw, they shouldn’t have been betting on a sequel.  However, at this point they might not have any choice to continue but if Clare wants her cash cow to keep milking the next movie is going to have to be a heck of a lot better.

There weren’t many people in the theater that I went to, but there was some interesting commentary.  An elderly gentleman told his wife as he was leaving the theater that City of Bones was the worst movie he’s ever seen. And that my friends that made me smile.  Of course then a fan girl went off about how hot she found Jace and Clary even after they were siblings and…

I think you can figure out what I was doing at this point.

At least I got to see the Thor trailer and Loki was in it.

The Reread: City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

Still sort of impressed that this cover never got any flack.  And seriously, Jace, you need a haircut.

I’m seeing the City of Bones movie next weekend.  And I’m only doing it for you guys.  Not that I think that my thoughts will be worth anything.  I’m sure other people will be cringing and laughing at the Luke and Leila reveal at the end, like myself, but I thought it would be interesting doing a book vs movie sort of review of the film.  When it comes out.

Which meant I had to reread COB.

I thought about putting all these thoughts with the book vs movie review, but I realized I had enough thoughts upon rereading the series that they designated their own review so to speak.  So I’m just going to list them.

Unlike some people, I don’t hate this book.  It’s not because I think it’s great literature by any means.  It’s pretty weak.  Relies heavily on tropes.  And God, Clary, what a bitch.  In the bad sort of bitch sort of way.  Here’s a character who thinks she’s like YA’s answer to Batman but in reality is weaker than Mary Jane Watson.  But is it the worst YA book I’ve ever read?

Well, no.

I think that’s a tie between the House of Night Series and the Halo Trilogy.  Probably the Halo trilogy wins since its the most mundane, stupid, insipid piece of shit to have ever exist.

However, upon rereading this book I didn’t like it as much as I did the first time.  It wasn’t just because I was fully aware of Clare’s antics, but because I think this wasn’t my first exposure to her.

When I first read COB I felt like I was on the inside of some omnibus inside joke-there were very big winks at tropes used in popular series like Star Wars and Harry Potter.  Especially Harry Potter.  Dear lord, if the media doesn’t at least acknowledge the similarities between these series I’m going to freak.

I know I’m not the first person to mention these similarities.  One of my favorite reviews of COB has an interesting cartoon illustration showing how Clare has borrowed from Potter.  I’m not artistic so there won’t be any illustrations here.  Instead I’ll be listing some Potter similarities.  I’m ignoring the Star Wars stuff mainly because I’ve never watched the movies and besides the Luke and Leila and Darth Vadar thing, I really can’t think of any similarities on the top of my head (though I’m sure they’re probably there).

1)  The characters: All are derivative of HP.  All of them.  If you read Clare’s fan fic this is even more obvious.  Jace.  He’s totally leather pants Draco. A trope that Clare when she was Claire helped establish in the HP fan fic universe.

2) The plot:  Is fairly similar to HP too.  A child born with special powers is hidden from the world that is her ultimate destiny.  Of course, this is a trope that is seen throughout the YA universe so I’m not going to nitpick that much.

3) Prejudice in the magical world.  Really?  Really?  Clare.  Even EL James isn’t that obvious with her Twilight borrowing.  Oh, but Clare borrows from Twilight too.  But that’s another story for another day.

4)Special motorbikes-enough said.

5) Any fanon cliche its there save for the fact they’re not actually HP characters.  You have the fan fic stories of where Voldemort has a child (often either Harry or girl Harry).  The fan fic stories of where Lupin was in love with Lily.  The fan fic stories where Harry is a bitchy girl.  The fan fic stories where assholes like Draco are hot.  If you type these in on a search bar on fanfiction.net something’s bound to come up.  Heck, you’ll even get a couple of good ole incest fan fics if you really wish Jace and Clary were brother and sisters.  After all, the first The Immortal Instruments book that Cassandra Clare wrote was a fan fic with Ron and Ginny love (yeah…going to throw up).

Is the book out right plagiarized? While the reliance on Harry Potter stereotypes and characters is ridiculous there’s no such thing as copyrighting ideas.  But is it just ideas?

Take this argument into consideration, Clare built up her fan base in the HP world.  Parts of the fan fic were directly taken from her fan fic, the falcon scene for instance.  But these are just paragraphs that she reworked from her fan fic to the new source.

Well, honestly they don’t seem that different.  Which brings me back to the dreaded plagiarism conversation.  Fan girls and Clare haters have been arguing about this one for years about Clare’s plagiarism.  Note, I didn’t say supposed.  I truly believe it did happen based on the evidence I’ve read.  And while I like to think that she’s grown up since then, the story itself is still tainted.  Mainly because she decided to incorporate parts of the fan fic into her original novel.  The fan fic whose integrity was questioned.  I know that in this reread there were some quotes that seemed a little off like I’ve seen them before, but given the fact I’ve read this book before and don’t have a photostatic memory I can’t judge.

Plagiarism issues aside, the second read of this book really was lackluster in a lot of ways.  The lines that appeared witty first read were just flat and annoying and rather forced.  Witty banter is a skill that one cannot force.  Clare forces it big time.  I can just image a big notebook full of The Immortal Instruments characters in her office and on the Jace page where she’s probably glued pictures of fannon Draco she has written: Platinum  No, have to make it different.  Golden blonde (that’s different), gold eyes instead of gray.  And snarky.  Girls love funny guys.  Better keep the leather pants thing, that was soooooo hott.  And then a list of lines that she thoughts sound smart-alecky that she inserts every couple of pages or so.

I truly believe that’s how she does her characterization.  Want another one?

If you insist.

Clary: Fiery (obviously).  Teeny tiny.  Cool.  Impulsive which equals Batman.

Yeah, I remember reading on her Tumblir that she thought the dark knight was impulsive and took risks.

She thought that Batman was impulsive.

Okay, I know not relative to the book.  But one of the biggest characters in the DC Universe.  Some say the biggest is hardly impulsive. While he does take risks they are well thought out.  Methodical.  Calculated.  That’s why no one not even the boy in blue can kick his ass. Or for that matter Deadpool according to this one video which is ridiculous because Deadpool can’t die.  But it’s freaking Batman.

And to compare a bitch like Clary Fray to the world’s greatest superhero pisses me off to no end.  It almost makes me want to watch Batman and Robin again just so that I can sort of sort of accept Clare’s logic without wanting to hurt someone.

Honestly, if it wasn’t for Clary being an insufferable bitch I might’ve enjoyed this book more the second time around.  Seriously, all she does is talk about wanting to yell at people and how she hates Isabelle because unlike Clary she actually has a bust.

Though Isabelle is a bit of a tart, though rightfully so.  I mean, wouldn’t you be if some strange girl came to your home took over and basically looked at you like you were a slut?  Even though you did nothing but cooked and let her borrow your clothes.

Really, all of the characters in this book were insufferable save for maybe Isabelle, her younger brother, and Magnus Bane who is actually a decent Dumbledore substitute and might actually be quasi original. But the rest of them…ugh.

Especially the love interest.  As I said before.  Jace=Draco in leather pants.  And Simon, well, he’s a whiney tool.  Not much else to say there.  Which is actually weird because I remember I sort of liked him in the first book the very first time I read it.

The writing for the most part isn’t awful.  Yes, it’s very purple prose but at times the dialogue compensates for it and then over compensates for it by being too campy.  There was one particular chapter that was Cast Craptastic-Luke’s info dump about being a werewolf.  Actually, it’s more like info  dumps in worst books than that (cough, The Raie’Chaliea, cough).  I really don’t know why the editor didn’t get up in her ass on that-must’ve wanted to eat a Twinkie (yum, Twinkies).

My overall thoughts on this book is its an ethics nightmare.  But if you don’t know about the potential plagiarism issues with the book you might enjoy it the first time you read it.  However, once you get past the initial camp you probably won’t love it as much.  Do I hate this book, no.  I’m not a passionate hater on the book as a whole.  But I do hate Clary Fray.  And Batman she is not.  In fact….

 

Clockwork Princess: Cassandra Clare





Warning: If you hate spoilers, don’t read this review.  There’s going to be lots of them because several of my issues with the book involve spoilers.

Honestly, I have mixed feelings about Cassandra Clare.  Her books for me are like mind junk food.  They’re not the best written (see has severe fan fic prose), but God that woman knows how to put emotion on a page.  And her plots, though cliche, are addicting in a bad soap opera sort of way.  That being said, I still feel icky reading her work mainly because of past accusations of plagiarism and I felt that parts of TMI were P2P fan fic.  That being said though, I really do enjoy her Infernal Devices series and Clockwork Princess was one of my most anticipated reads for 2013.

General Summary: Tessa is going all woo is me because two boys like totally like her but she likes them both.  Oh, and there’ s a crazy guy who’s sending robots after her too.  That has to be a bummer.

Review:

This book.

This is going to be one tricky review because I loved a lot of things about this book.  Like, with the exception of the heroine, I loved all the characters.  I thought each of them were well formed and had compelling backstories for the most part.  I loved the interactions with the characters too, particularly Jem and Will.  And even the subplots weren’t as annoying as they otherwise would’ve been.

The main story also was fairly decent if predictable.  Though I did get annoyed with a lot of things about the plot mostly involving Tessa.

Essentially the book could’ve been about two hundred pages shorter if Tessa had half a brian.  I know that sounds horrible but some of the choices she made in this book were just Disney Princess level stupid.  And I’m not talking about the modern day Disney Princess, I’m talking about Snow White level Disney princess where a man had to come to save Tessa despite the fact she could’ve transformed into anyone at anytime and kicked Mortimer’s ass via that way.  But hey….

And then when she was rescued….

Okay, this is going to be a bit of a rant.  One of the things I liked most about this trilogy was that it was so angst driven.  That’s why this love triangle worked.  You really felt all relationships-though honestly at this point I sort of wish it would’ve been Jem and Will who got together and forgot Tessa since I currently have no tolerance for her but whatever…the point was, you understood that people were going to get hurt no matter what the outcome was.  But what happened…..

Well, Tessa got her cake and ate it too to sum it up.  Okay, so she has those pesky immortality issues to throw some angst in there for a good measure but whatever.  The point is, both Jem and Will both got precious Tessa and precious Tessa really didn’t have to deal with any of their anger despite the fact that she and Will banged each other right after Will announced that Jem died.

GMAFB!

If you read this blog you know the one thing I despise more than anything else is grief sex.  I don’t understand how someone can think having sex can  make their worries go away especially after the love of their life dies.  It just doesn’t compute.  I get that coitus releases endorphins much like chocolate and exercise, but there’s consequences.  I’m only glad that it was Magnus not Jem who walked in on them.  Though given how the book was going, I wouldn’t have been surprised if Jem just….okay, I’ll keep this PG-13.

Best Feature: Engrossing read.  I really do feel absorbed whenever I read a Cassandra Clare book.  As flawed as they are, you becoming overwhelmed with the story the world.  This one is no exception, though the plot was predictable there was just something about it that made me not want to leave the Infernal Devices world.  I know it sounds strange and it’s something I can’t quite describe but it’s a good feeling whatever it is.

Worst Feature: Tessa.  Oh, dear lord, I don’t like Tessa.  Which is sad because I really liked her a lot more than Clary up till this point.  She’s essentially a glorified Mary Sue who makes some pretty horrible choices in this book.  And guess what, she gets rewarded?  She gets both boys.  Not even Bella Swan can attest to that since Sneezy came along and took boy number two away from her.  But Tessa, she gets her cake and can eat it too.  You can argue, I guess, that she really won’t have a happy that like Will, Jem will eventually die.  But still…not everyone should have a quasi happy ending and grief sex, grief sex, grief sex!

My brain after reading the book.

Appropriateness: There’s some violence in here similar to Clare’s other books.  Also, there’s a sex scene as well.  The language is mild.  But definitely not for pre-teens.

Blockbuster Worthy: Yes.  I’d actually like to see this series turned into a movie.  A lot more than The Mortal Instruments.  Though since they butchered the casting of Jace, I’m a little scared about this one being turned into a movie.

Tessa: Emmy Rossum, maybe. That’s how I sort of imagine Tessa looking like anyway.

Will: Tom Sturridge, duh.

Jem: Got to go with my favorite teen Asian actor from Glee, Harry Shum JR.  Though he’s really not a teen (he’s thirty). But still he can dance and kind of sing it wouldn’t be that difficult to think he could learn to play the violin.

Overall Rating: I’m going to give this one a six out of ten.  I loved a lot of things about this book and I can recommend it without feeling horrible about it, but the things that bothered me really bothered me.  Look, I get what Clare was trying to do with the relationships here, but I’m a traditionalist I think and the grief sex just rubbed me the wrong way.  And this is from someone who watches way too much Daytime television.

City of Lost Souls: Cassandra Clare

I read the Mortal Instruments series fairly recently after much begging from my friends and I really enjoyed it (save for the fourth book which I had some issues with).  So I was excited when I heard City of Lost Souls was coming out within a month after I read the fourth book.  Excited and scared.

General Summary: Jace disappears and Clary is on a misson to find and save him.  However, when Jace does reappear he’s not himself.  He’s connected to Clary’s creepy brother Sebastian.  So doing what she does best, Clary acts impulsively in order to save Jace’s life.  But will her impulsiveness work this time around?

Review:

I was a little skeptical about reading this book.  I wasn’t that impressed with the fourth one, but I had such great thoughts about the first three that I decided to read it despite my qualms.  The results were mixed.

Let’s talk about the good first.  I do think there was a lot of plot development in this installment of the series.  It is quite obvious that Clare is setting up Heavenly Fire to be pretty epic and I can’t wait.  Also, kudos to Clare for answering some questions while making me have even more.  It’s always good to raise interest for the next installment.  And she did this without an overt cliffhanger too.  So, good for her.

Okay, the bad.  There’s little Jace in this novel.  And when he is in the book, for the most part he’s this Sebastian-fied Jace which sucks ass.  Big time.  Jace was one of the only reasons I continued reading this series.   His point of view was so interesting, until he and Sebastian bonded now he’s essentially Sebastian’s patsy who likes to get high and try to have sex with Clary.  I don’t like reading that Jace.  In fact, I’d rather read about Simon.

Who was actually surprisingly better in this installment: yes, I liked Simon.

So that must tell you how much Jace sucked under Sebastian’s control or for that matter how much Clare has done a turn around on the Simon character.  And if it’s the latter good job, Clare.

My biggest problem  with the book was the return of incest.  I hate, hate, hated the incest plot in books one through three.  And I thought Clare put an end to this silliness in book three, but nope.  Sebastian apparently wants his sister so much he’d take her by force if necessary.  And all I have to say is

EW!

This ickiness aside, I really couldn’t get any Sebastian love.  He is a dark character.  And while I do enjoy a good baddie, I think I would’ve preferred Valentine to return from the bad because A) He was a gray character which allows for more character development, B) I like one consistent baddie in my series, and C) Sebastian just creeps me out.

Best Feature: Less Simon (or at least Tolerable Simon): Although, Simon played a huge part in this book he was more tolerable.  Almost like old Simon except he had fangs.  And even though I don’t like what he did to Isabelle in the previous books, I have to admit that they’re pretty cute together.

Worst Feature: Incest: I was hoping with City of Glass the series had seen the end to its incest plot.  However, it appears Sebastian has inappropriate feelings for his sister too.  And Clary, even though she hates him, can’t help but admit that he’s good looking.  Must I show this clip again:

Appropriateness: Let’s just put it this way, this book is a borderline adult book.  While there are not as many action sequences as there was in its predecessors, it still contained some rather grisly scenes with intense imagery.  Also, there are several sex scenes in the book.  Nothing too graphic but it’s implied that the characters are having sex.  Finally, there is an attempted rape in the book that involves incest.  So definitely for the older teen crowd.

Blockbuster Worthy:  I’ve already said yes.  To see casting picks click here and here.

Overall Rating: This is a tricky book to rate.  While a part of me liked it a lot better than City of Fallen Angels, there were parts of this book I found even to be more annoying.  Because of that I’m going to give it a six out of ten.