12 Nov 2011

DELIRIUM - LAUREN OLIVER

SUMMARY
They say that the cure for love will make me happy and safe forever. And I've always believed them. Until now. Now everything has changed. Now, I'd rather be infected with love for the tiniest sliver of a second than live a hundred years suffocated by a lie. There was a time when love was the most important thing in the world. People would go to the end of the earth to find it. They would tell lies for it. Even kill for it. Then, at last, they found the cure.

REVIEW
This book is marketed mainly at adults but is actually an adult/YA crossover with a particularly YA dystopian theme and feel. I know it has been extremely popular and as such felt compelled to read it.

I have to say I was rather disappointed. I believe it has been marketed as an adult novel because it is more philosophical than action-packed and there were a number of times when I actually found my thoughts drifting off to other things. It's hard not to compare it to novels like Matched by Ally Condie, which have almost the same storyline but seems to be more successful - it has the same philosophical feel with action that fires up towards the end but does it in half the page count.

I felt like Oliver repeats her sentiments over and over again and I became very bored with this very quickly. It's most redeeming feature, though, is its brutality. The beatings of the raids and the end... well fortunately the end makes the whole book worth reading. 

This book is about how much we would sacrifice for our freedom, how important the lows are in life because they afford us the highs. In addition it's also a criticism on how science is developing and our ability to change not only our looks but our personality and attributes too. 


HE'S AFTER ME - CHRIS HIGGINS

SUMMARY
His smile faded and our eyes held and that's when it happened. A charge passed through me, like an electric shock. Anna meets Jem when her life is falling apart. He is everything Anna needs him to be. Her dad may have run off with a younger woman, her mum may be a wreck and her younger sister, Livi, is swerving off the rails - but as long as she has Jem, Anna will be OK. And for the first time in her life Anna falls. Deeply and truly and intensely in love. The end? Not quite...

REVIEW
Every now and again you read a book that knocks you off your feet. You can't put it down, and when you finally have to because it's finished, it still runs through your head.

I don't know if I liked this book because I can relate to it, because it's set in set in the UK with an education system that I understand, or because I loved how intense it is. One thing I do know is that I could read this book over and over and still be excited by it.

Anyone who has had that first love, the whirlwind romance that makes you forget everyone and everything around you, will understand and 'get' this book. You're first love is usually so intense and so captivating that you don't get a chance to take a look around you before you even take a breath. 

Anna and Jem's relationship is this. 

Anna thinks it's hard to imagine Jem, the boy shes loves over everyone can do any wrong, especially when he makes her feel like a princess. But there are two sides to every person and love can change you. Anna starts to lose sight of what is right and wrong and only what makes Jem happy, but Jem isn't wholly good for her. She stops listening to what her family tell her about him and heads straight into disaster.

Interspersed between the chapters is an internal monologue by an unknown character. It's pretty easy to guess who that is, but there is always a part of you that thinks, no. It can't be. And the final twist is like a slow motion car crash; you know it's coming but when it hits it's still like dunking your head in cold water.

CLOCKWORK ANGEL - CASSANDRA CLARE

SUMMARY
Magic is dangerous – but love is more dangerous still... When sixteen-year-old Tessa Gray arrives in England during the reign of Queen Victoria, something terrifying is waiting for her in London's Downworld, where vampires, warlocks and other supernatural fold stalk the gaslit streets. Friendless and hunted, Tessa seeks refuge with the Shadowhunters, a band of warriors dedicated to ridding the world of demons. Drawn ever deeper into their world, she finds herself fascinated by – and torn between – two best friends and quickly realizes that love may be the most dangerous magic of all.

REVIEW
First of all, for those of you who may have lived underground for the last few years, Clockwork Angel is the first book in the new Infernal Devices series, a spin off from the Mortal Instruments series that follows the lives of Shadowhunters- humans with Angel blood that govern over downworlders (vampires, werewolves etc) that live in our world.

I'm going to try not to talk too much about the Mortal Instruments but it is rather difficult considering both series are set in different time periods in the same world and parallel each other in many ways. For example, the main premise in the beginning of the Mortal Instruments is that Clary's overprotected life begins to unravel and become entangled with the Shadowhunter world and she gets taken in by their Institute. Similarly, in the beginning in the Infernal Devices series Tessa is sent from her normal life in London and ends up being kidnapped by those rebelling against the Shadowhunters, and as expected, Tessa ends up living in the London version of the Institute. All characters begin to mirror each other and we can only expect this is because all the traits of the families in the Infernal Devices will be passed down to their offspring in Mortal Instruments.

Having said this the story line in Clockwork Angel is quite captivating and a must read for anyone who enjoys Steampunk. The whole automaton army is a Steampunk dream and even Clare's vision on London is covered in a slightly changed Industrial veil. 

I highly recommend reading at least the first 2 Mortal Instruments before you read this because it gives away the secrets behind the creations of Shadowhunter equipment, like to Sensor - not that this will ruin any of the story line but is just a little more fun.

You also get to meet the very 'young' Magnus Bane, which is pretty cool, and I expect that this series is going to get better and better. It's dark, haunting and full of danger, not to mention brilliant characters, twists and settings.

6 Nov 2011

CITY OF ASHES - CASSANDRA CLARE

THIS IS BOOK TWO OF THE MORTAL INSTRUMENTS SERIES AND MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS OF THE FIRST BOOK.

SUMMARY
With her mother in a coma and her father hell-bent on destroying the world, Clary is dragged deeper into New York's terrifying underworld of werewolves, demons and the mysterious Shadowhunters. Discovering the truth about her past was only the beginning, now Clary must save the world from her own father - the rogue Shadowhunter Valentine.

With two of the Mortal Instruments at his command, Valentine is assembling an army of demons to wage war on the council of Shadowhunters and destroy them once and for all. As the battle begins, Clary must face her darkest fears - and come to terms with her feelings for a boy she wishes wasn't her brother.

REVIEW
I'm a big fan of the Mortal Instruments series; it has great characters, great settings and, even if somewhat far-fetched in places (even for a fantasy novel) a good and complex story line.

One of the things I have really come to love about this series is how gritty it is, the fighting and action is pretty graphic in places and certainly grows in this book. It shows a real sense of danger which is important to ground the reader. The threat to the Shadowhunters is real, regardless of age, and is both physical and psychological. It gives a depth to the growth of the characters, and a series this long gives the chance to do this well. Relationships and friendships between certain characters strengthen or fall through, and more importantly (especially for the spin-off The Infernal Devices series) you get a real sense of history. The world Clare creates is so wonderfully complex it gives the story line an infinite number of places to go, and that keeps you guessing as to the direction the story will take.

Clary is still our guide through the strange, almost parallel world, which is great considering you're constantly finding out new pasts and information that can be slightly bewildering - at some points some of the new surprises are even better than in the first book. The reader becomes as engrossed in the world as Clarey is entangled in it. Her ability to move between the Shadowhunter world and and what we would see as the 'real', or natural world, is another grounding feature and is really helpful for a fantasy novel.

If you enjoyed the first you will like this too. I'm still a little weirded out between Clarey and Jace's strange and still growing relationship, but I think we all have our theories about that...
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