The Mortal Instruments – City of Bones

So, as promised, I already had the ball in motion and fully planned to make way onto a series of reviews based on The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare and here I have the first instalment of six! I give you The City of Bones.

(A quick note- If you had the displeasure of watching the Mortal Instruments movie that based very loosely around the first book please don’t be put off by the book series. The movie was bloody awful and the book series is exponentially better. It isn’t our fault as a fandom that they graced us with terrible “film adaptation” of a fantastic book series and I’m more than happy they stopped after the failure of the first film and didn’t continue to ruin the remainder of the series. On a side note from that, the Netflix series wasn’t terrible, it’s cringy but it’s accurate to the books. I quite enjoy it.)

Anyway! The City of Bones is the first book in the series of six books in the Mortal Instruments series. TMI is a series within the Shadowhunters series and all in there is at least 12 actual novels within the larger series and more to come, with the second Dark Artifices book coming out later in the year (hooray!). They all tie in together and we see names and families pop up in loads of the books. I really enjoy how the books incorporate loads of different families at different periods in time, we get a history of people’s families and it’s fascinating and heartbreaking knowing what happens to them and how they lived in the Shadow world. The City of Bones introduces us to modern-day Brooklyn, where we meet Clary Fray and Simon Lewis, two best friends who lead incredibly normal  lives. That is until they are unexpectedly thrown into a world that they never knew existed, a world that Clary belongs in by blood. Clary’s mother, Jocelyn Fray (formerly Jocelyn Fairchild), was of the shadow world, married and part of an elite group of shadowhunters called The Circle. Jocelyn sees the error in her husbands objectives and fights against it, taking an important part of Valentine’s plan and runs far from that world. Away from Valentine. But when she runs from that life, pregnant with Clary, she promises to do everything she can to protect her from that life. So she takes Clary to a warlock, the High Warlock of Brooklyn to be precise. Enter Magnus Bane, one of my favourite characters. Magnus glamours Clary’s memories frequently, ensuring that she remembers nothing unusual and ensuring she remembers nothing of the shadow world. Fast forward fifteen years later, and Clary is none-the-wiser to the shadow world until her memories start to filter through and she starts to see weird things that she’d never noticed before. She thinks she’s going crazy and Simon is inclined to agree with her. Her mother, who is in hiding from the shadow world, is attacked and taken away from Clary. From here, Clary is thrown into the deep end and quickly learns that all the stories are true.

The Nephilim, or shadowhunters, are an elite group of demon hunters. Created by the Angel Raziel, they are charged with protecting the human world from demons that slip through from other worlds with the intent to kill and destroy. Clary learns that she is of the Nephilim, and learns that there is more to the world than angels and demons. Enter Jace Wayland and the Lightwood children. These guys are residents of New York’s Institute – a home for shadowhunters, a stronghold. it is place for the Conclave to meet.Between Jace, Alec, Isabelle and Clary they manage to gate crash a house party thrown by our favourite High Warlock, piss off a the Brooklyn Vampire Clan, rendezvous with a pack of werewolves and take on one of most notorious shadowhunters in history. Much of the City of Bones is a set up for the return of Valentine Morgenstern, the leader of the former Circle, and honestly he’s a bit of an ass. He’s a pretty good villain.

The title of the book refers to the Silent City or The City of Bones. The Silent City is part of the shadow world and is home to the Silent Brothers. The Silent Brothers are former shadow hunters who serve as medics and archivists to the nephilim. They take on powerful runes and often have mutilated face and it is because of this that they are feared by many shadowhunters. The Silent City is referred to as the City of Bones because it is also the place where the dead reside. The bodies of fallen shadowhunters are burned and used to create the very walls of the Silent City – hence the name.

It means ‘Shadowhunters: Looking Better in Black Than the Widows of our Enemies Since 1234’.

 

So for the most part, it’s pretty action-packed and set up the rest of the series quite nicely. We have our fair share of love interests within the first book. Let’s start with Jace and Clary. This is my second favourite pairing  in the series (we’ll get to Malec soon). Jace is the bad boy that deep inside we all want but won’t readily admit to so it is completely understandable when Clary falls for his boyish, bad-boy charm.

“Have you fallen in love with the wrong person yet?’
Jace said, “Unfortunately, Lady of the Haven, my one true love remains myself.”
“At least,” she said, “you don’t have to worry about rejection, Jace Wayland.”
“Not necessarily. I turn myself down occasionally, just to keep it interesting.”

At this point, all of the ships are new and there isn’t too much to go with for now but there is still five more books. Jace had an interesting start to life, raised by a tyrant who believed whole-heartedly that to love is to destroy, a mentality he drummed into Jace. Jace continues to remember his roots to a father he saw murdered when he was a child, who believed that love is a weapon. Jace knows that he wants Clary but his bones tell him that one of them will be left in pieces should he chose to give in to basal urges and have her. Towards the end of the book we learn something quite devastating that might perhaps change the way that the two visualise each other!

“The boy never cried again, and he never forgot what he’d learned: that to love is to destroy, and that to be loved is to be the one destroyed.”

 

On top of this we learn that Simon Lewis, Clary’s best friend and friend-zone resident, is in love with Clary. He doesn’t think highly of Jace, not understanding the attraction that Clary has to him and he truly just wants Clary to realise that he has been there the whole time, with more love for her than she might have anticipated. It is sweet, in a sense, that he has loved Clary for years and he has always operated in her best interest but as soon as Jace comes onto the scene, he realises that he has to try harder if he has any chance of getting the girl. It does bother me a little though. Simon is a great guy, and a great friend to Clary, but I feel like he needs to grasp that you can’t change someone’s feeling for you. You can’t make someone love you and I feel like that is what he starts trying to do. I mean, of course she loves him but not in the non-platonic way that he seems to hold out for.

To conclude our list of love interests for The City of Bones, we have Alec. Alec Lightwood is Jace’s parabatai, brother by bond and equal. They are there for one another, bound to protect each other by oath from the Clave. You can only commit to one parabatai in your life, and when you do your souls become entwined. There is, however, a rule. You cannot fall in love with your parabatai and that is exactly what Alec has done. He keeps it between himself and Isabelle, Jace is none-the-wiser to this development. Not only would such a thing disgrace his family name and he would face trail by the Clave, it also means that he a  gay shadowhunter which is something that is not readily accepted by the nephilim. It is hard for Alec to see Jace and Clary take to each other like a moth to flame, and he reacts badly to it for most of the first book. Clary sees Alec for what he is straight away, accepting it but not appreciating how she is treated because of his feelings. It starts messy, and Alec tries his hardest to push Clary out, encouraging her to go back to her life in the human world.

I was going to talk about Magnus Bane but I think I might just have to make an appreciation post for him seperately. Magnus is one of the most down-to-earth characters in the series, I think. Not that there is anything real about being the High Warlock of Brooklyn, but I mean he is the most sincere. He has lived a life, many lives, and he understands feelings and emotions. He has seen a great deal, has been hurt but still holds a soft place in his heart for shadowhunters, no matter how they have treated him in the past. He cares for the shadowhunters of the institute even when he is under no obligation to do so and all the while he feels more than he knows he should. He is destinctly human dispite it all. On top of this, he is fabulous. I wish I could pull off wearing half the clothing that Magnus can.

 

It is a fantastic start to the series and it introduces many stories within the stories meaning there is enough to keep you interested in the series. We meet a good number of the main characters and we get enough background to the shadow world without getting confused. There is a really fantastic Wiki page for the entire shadowhunters series which is helpful for some terms in the book you might not yet be familiar with but beware! There are spoilers inside. As always, I hope you enjoyed this and I’ll have a review for The City of Ashes very soon!

 

The City of Bones

The City of Ashes

The City of Glass

The City of Fallen Angels

The City of Lost Souls

The City of Heavenly Fire

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A Court of Mist and Fury – A Review

Court of Thorns and Roses was just the beginning of the series and, in hind sight, it was nothing in comparison to following book in the series, child’s play really. Let’s open the floor to the captivating A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas. This is a follow on from my first review of A Court of Thorns and Roses, the first book in the series.

The threat of Amarantha is gone, Prythian is free from her reign and Feyre, our broken and tortured protagonist, is adjusting to her immortal body. Her wish came true, she fell into immortality and won the hand of her great love, the High Lord of the Spring Court. Tamlin was what she wanted, what she fought to save and protect. She is praised and worshiped and dressed up and pushed into parties and, as the bride-to-be of a High Lord, she is smothered and coddled. But the invisible scars inflicted on her from under the mountain run deeper than anyone can imagine. Well, than most can imagine or comprehend. Enter Rhysand, the High Lord of the Night Court. A tie in from the first book, is the bargain that is struck between Rhysand and Feyre. It removes her from difficult situations in the Spring Court as Rhysand can feel her through the bond of their bargain. She is cracking, breaking under her own emotional stress and Rhys is the only one who understands the affect that her time under the mountain had on her, not even Tamlin takes the time to pull Feyre out of the bottomless ravine that she has soundlessly fallen into. But Rhys does. He sees her for the broken mess she has become, if only because he has become the same behind his mask of indifference and hostility. Rhys, beautiful and equally as scarred, whisks her away to his own court, away from Tamlin and the life she cannot seem to find her place in and he offers her santuary and friendship and the promise not to treat her like glass.

“He thinks he’ll be remembered as the villain in the story. But I forgot to tell him that the villain is usually the person who locks up the maiden and throws away the key. He was the one who let me out.”

He becomes a friend and she becomes part of his inner circle, part of his family. There is threat looming, and Amarantha was only the beginning, only one of Hyberns generals. Hybern is gathering its forces with intent to strike the wall, and only Rhys and his inner circle are willing to step up to the mark and stand against the King of Hybern.
There are many reasons why this book is my favourite of the series and is becoming my all-time favourite the longer I think about it. In this book we are introduced to the Court of Nightmares and the Court of Dreams and the city of starlight and the Illyrian warriors and their beautiful wings. There isn’t enough words, I cannot really describe how stunning this book is, how much it touches your heart and cripples it and just makes you feel so alive. It makes you want to be a part of it, to live it.

There is such character development too, so much more than the first book half and it hurts all the more but you can’t help but feel as they do. We learn more about our characters too and we meet new characters. We meet the High Lord of the Summer Court and he is the sun and sea and warm summer breeze incarnate. We meet Cassian and Azriel and Mor and Amren, Rhysands inner circle. The characters we once loved are scorned and the ones we were uncertain of becomes the ones we are rooting for. And the magic becomes more intricately worn into the story and we so quickly become lost in the fantasy world of Prythian. I am a dreamer and this is a book for dreamers. It gives hope and love and warmth even in the darkness of hardships. It reminds us there is always something better and that it is important to be your own person. To be the person that empowers you.

“There are different kinds of darkness… There is the darkness that frightens, the darkness that soothes, the darkness that is restful. There is the darkness of lovers, and the darkness of assassins. It becomes what the bearer wishes it to be, needs it to be. It is not wholly bad or good.”

Of course, we also have our characteristic steamy scenes between characters and they are guaranteed to leave you feeling a little hot under the collar. It isn’t tasteless, and it only enhances the detail and reality of the descriptive detail.

Something I feel that it is necessary to rant about is the love that is still felt for Tamlin. Okay. So in the ACOTAR we love Tamlin. He steals Fere away and introduces her into his court and they fall in love and all seems pretty sound. Except after the fanfare under the mountain something sort of clicks out of place and it isn’t quite the same for them and that’s really okay. People can change and their views change shift and their whOLE LIFE IS QUICKLY THROWN OUT OF PERSPECTIVE AND THEY DO THINGS THEY AREN’T PROUD OF IN THE NAME OF LOVE AND PEACE AND FREEDOM AND THAT IS OKAY. It changes who you are and I would have been worried if Feyre hadn’t reacted badly to the things she had to do under the mountain, who she had to kill and the families she tore apart just for Tamlin. I don’t think I could feel the same way about him if it had been me. Both Feyre and Tamlin change and it isn’t anything to do with not loving each other but it is enough of a change to drive a wedge between them. Tamlin doesn’t give FEyre what she needs to heal and fill that hole in her chest, a hole that was torn because of Tamlin. No Rhys didn’t steal her or manipulate her or anything to turn her against Tamlin. He wanted her help and he helped her see that she was more than Tamlin was allowing her to be, she was more than an accolade. She is a Queen and if he couldn’t accept her as his High Lady of the Spring Court then he 100% did not deserve her.

Both books are available on Audible as audio books and if you’re anything like me then you will be pleased to know that both books are narrated by the same person which makes me happy. I don’t wholeheartedly endorse Audible, I 100% recommend reading the book, but audible is handy for myself as it fits nicely into a busy lifestyle. Also, kindle has audio narration that accompanies a lot of its books which you may find to your liking (I hate it).

With the ending to A Court of Mist and Fury we are set up and ready for A Court of Wind and Ruin, the third booking coming this summer. The suspense is absolutely killing me. Prepare yourself, war is coming and if Hybern is going to fight dirty then the Night Court and its High Lord and High Lady will gladly rise to the occasion.

“To the stars the listen — and the dreams that are answered.”

For the Nostalgia – Twilight Saga (from the view of an adult)

Hey guys.

So I went home at Christmas for a week and, while I was browsing all my old books that never made the cut to come up to Aberdeen with me, I found my old Twilight books. I don’t know what it was; maybe I had too much time on my hands, maybe I was feeling nostalgic for 15 year old me, or maybe I was just subconsciously craving some vamp page time. Whatever the reason, I decided to re-read the Twilight Saga by Stephanie Meyers. My memory of Twilight is mostly Kristen Stewart acting like a whiny little so-and-so in the movies and Robert Pattinson showing the emotional capacity of a cabbage so I remembered the books to be equally as cringy. They certainly weren’t brilliant movies. I saw every one in the cinema, nonetheless. I wasn’t disappointed with the book series.

I can say confidently that if we removed the sparkly aspect of the vampires and the crap writing and lack of all the wrong details it could possibly be a pretty decent series. Stephanie Meyer is up there with J.K. Rowling- decent story, rubbish author. And that has to be said for the whole twilight series. Breaking Dawn does get a little better but I never understood why the first 3 books are written from Bella’s perspective but then Breaking Dawn comes along and BOOM! Jacob has a POV. As far as creativity and realism of text goes, Meyer is pretty bad at it. Withing 10 minutes of Bella knowing Edward she is irrevocably in love with him and I know it’s a fictional story about vampires but come on.

 

Twilight wasnt all that terrible from the perspective of a lover of YA novels. We get the vampires and the romance and the beauties that are Carlisle and Jasper. The ending was the downfall of the book, in all honesty. The fight with James was just too easy. Most of the book is wasted over pining over the fact that Edward is probably too good for her and the hunt of Bella from the rogue clan is short-lived. It could have been so much more. More action and violence and epic battles of the immortals. But no. Bella gets bitten, Edward saves her and then she passes out. Yawn.

 

We should all just forget about New Moon. Its the book we can all forget about and the series still flows just as fine. The whole book is spent reminding us that Bella really needs a better hobby. She’s a crap friend, she’s moody and bitter and it makes us depressed just reading it. There are pages, whole pages, just dedicated to the passing of the months she spends living in a shell of herself. It really is depressing. Charlie is concerned. All the drama with the Volturi is because of Bella being stupid. I mean, the love of her life could have killed himself because of her stupidity. She just wants to hear Edwards voice, which is created by her imagination. Like, show some remorse and stop treating him like the bad guy. But can we consider Jessica for just a second? She becomes friends with Bella and then drops her pretty much immediately when she starts dating Edward. She only makes an effort when there is a party or some social event involved that makes a good story. She’s a rubbish friend. I mean, so is Bella but Jessica is just as bad.

 

Eclipse comes along and following it we have the Short Second Life of Bree Tanner which was sad and not really worth the read. Eclipse is about the hunt of James’s mate Victoria. In a similar way to the first fight with James, the fight with Victoria is pretty short lived. The main body of the book is focused around Bella begging for immortality and the hype of the coming battle with the new born vampires. There is something that bothered me about the ending part Eclipse and that was the way that Bella tries to bargain her way into sex with Edward. It’s pretty crappy of her to put off her immortality (which is what Edward wants) and agree to marry him human and in return for that she wants him to try and have sex while she is still human which could be possibly fatal for her. Maybe I’m reading into it too deeply but I really does bother me.
Breaking Dawn was my favourite, and I think it always has been. Breaking Dawn is the written evidence of why vampires and humans should probably not have sex. After the initial horror of the first two sections of the book (no more dying humans and monster babies), it becomes smutty without being too tasteless and we get so much Volturi screen time, it makes me happy. The birth and Bella’s pregnancy were pretty vivid, gruesome and honestly, it’s the type of detail you need in a vampire story. I wish there was more little details like that. However, Reneseme was possibly one of the stupidest names Meyer could have strung together and every time I read the name I die a little inside. We get to meet some old time vampires in the desperate attempt to ready themselves against the Volturi.

 

There is so much that the series needs, it needs a good bit of work but it isn’t the worst series in the world and if you can ignore the cringiness that is Bella Swan (and the stupid name of her daughter) then you can actually sort of enjoy the series. You’ll never be able to appreciate it the same way you did 7 years ago but you can take some enjoyment nonethe less. Take some enjoyment in the Cullens and their origin stories which were my favourite parts of the books. I just would have liked more on Emmit and more on Alice’s history but hey. One thing I’d like to mention that I 100% did not realise the first time I read the books was the reference to the titles of the books. I’m not stupid and I do understand the names and the relationship to the changing states of the moon and the day. However, I never really paid much attention to the mention of the titles in the books and I think it is rather clever. Just think about it. All in, not the worst and I think we should all read them again just for the nostalgia.

A Court of Thorns and Roses – Review

It’s that time of year where I become fixated on all of my favourite books in the run up to Christmas before I do a new book haul of new books for and after Christmas. This kicked off with A Court of Thornes and Roses by Sarah J. Maas. Now, I don’t know how much you all know of the fantastic works of S. J. Maas but I wholly encourage you all to do some research intoThe Court of Thorns and Roses Series as well as her Throne of Glass Series, which are among my all-time favourite book series.

ACOTAR is a fantasy book, a world of magic and a vicious and relentless divide between fairies and humans. When I say fairies, I’m not talking small, mischievous creatures with wings, luring young children into fairie rings or switching sick children with fairie children. I’m talking High Fae and lesser Fae, creatures of magic, unearthly and immortal beauty as they should be in legends. Warriors. This book and its following series are beautiful. I truly cannot think of a better word to describe them. The language and description of colours and lights and seeing the way that Feyre’s mind thinks and feels in colour is outstanding. The series is written in a manner that, although it is wholly fictional, it is almost relatable. Hardships in life are a burden we all bear, but this book describes such issues in a way we all thought we could never put into words. It puts love into pages of a book, you feel the way they do you, it is so hard not to feel the love and hurt and pain as they do.

 

The series starts with Feyre in the woods, hunting for food to feed her family. She is tasked with the job of feeding and caring for her family through a promise she made to her mother years before on her death bed. She heard stories from the townsfolk of wolves in the forest, great tower beasts much bigger than the ones from the northern wolf territory, just south of the borders of Prythian, fairie territory, but she is forced further into the woods to hunt for game to ensure her family survive the winter. In the forest, she encounters one of the gigantic wolves and fears that it is fairie due to its sheer size. She is at the edge of a clearing in the forest, and there is a small doe but unbeknown to the doe, the wolf creeps up on it, a hunter stalking its prey. Fayre panics, knowing the wolf could kill her and the doe, and her family would starve. It’s kill or be killed, she realises and lets the wolf take down the doe before shooting the wolf with her only ash arrow. She kills the wolf, skins it and then drags the wolf pelt and the doe back to her families hovel on the edge of the woods.

A little later it turns out that the wolf was, in fact, a fairie. Andres, a high fae sentinel for the Spring Court, one of the 7 courts of Pyrthian and its High Lord, disguised as a great beast, takes Feyre across the border to his court as payment for killing his sentinel. the Payment is demanded by the Treaty, a life for a life. The High Lord either killed her or let her live in fairie lands for the rest of her mortal life. She has led her life believing fairies to torture and kill humans for fun, to keep them as slaves, and she would be right to think so after a war was fought and lost long ago. The Wall that divided the Farie and mortal realms was a result of the war. However, the High Lord lets her live her life, sympathetic to the hard life that she had led before and it is a culture shock to young Feyre. She is skeptical, it all felt too good to be true, and what was she supposed to do with her life? She had so much time now that she didn’t have to care for her family.

The number of ‘bad fairies’ entering the Spring Court increases as the months pass and the ‘blight’, the sickness that is affecting the whole of Prythin is worsening. Fayre begins to fall fo the High Lord, but can a human and a High lord really fall in love? She begins to see through the lies she has been told over the months she is in Prythian and learns to read between the lines. Is it possible for a thorny, cold human to save the magical realm? Can she help to cure the ‘sickness’?

There is obviously more to the story than this, a great deal more, including characters you’ll love from the beginning (Lucian and Rhysand, Nesta and Alice). Understanding that this is a YA, it is important to realise too that this book gets… steamy. The description and detail of particular scenes had me a little more hot under the collar than I would definitely like to admit too but it only aids the realness, the emphasis on life and love.

And Rhysand. How can you not love and despair for his character? He is beautifully flawed, broken and sarcastic in a way that makes you love his character all the more. In his first few appearances, you may not like him. He is selfish and arrogant with that gait and swagger that would cause the blood in anyones vein to boil a little. But towards the end, it is clear that there is a hard in the High Lord of the Night Court and in it there is a small space reserved for Feyre. I can relate to his character and through the excellent writing and description you feel every lick of pain bestowed upon him.

“I didn’t want you  to fight alone. Or die alone.”

(My heart breaks a little bit more every time)

 

One of the things I can openly admit to having difficulty with is the pronunciation of names throughout the book. I noticed it, particularly when listening to the audio book that I had one way of saying names such as Rhysand and the Attor but other people have their own way. however, there is a cute little pronunciation guide at the back of the book which is super handy.

 

I highly recommend this book, but more than that I recommend that you persevre with the rest of the series. There is just more one more book currently, A Court of Mist and Fury, where we get enough Rhysand to make everyones insides throb a little. But another book in the series is to follow in May of next year with its recently released title of A Court of Wind and Ruin. To say I’m excited would be the understatement of the year!

Thanks, guys

 

A Court of Thorn and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

ISBN 978-1-4088-5786-1

 

The second book review – Court of Mist and Fury

Audible by Amazon

​So recently I’ve set up a monthly subscription to Audible from Amazon. It seems like a good idea; you get a free book- your first month for free, and from there the membership costs £7.99 a month. When you compare the £7.99 a month for the subscription in comparison to price of and audio book (A Court of Mist and Fury is £30.79) it’s a good deal. However if you’re anything like me, and love getting stuck in to a good story then you could listen to a 30 hour audio book in a week. Except you only get only audio book per month from your monthly subscription. In the initial months, you’re limited to the small but steadily growing collection in your library. I’ll never lose my love for a good ol’ book in hand but audible makes life a little less restricted when time is limited for reading.

It isn’t all bad though. It’s great to hear the prenunciation of all of you beloved characters name and nothing is more satisfying than placing a voice to a character. You also get to keep the audio books if you ever cancelled your subscription. Its great to listen on the go, it’s easy to download and listen offline, saving precious mobile data and being free from Wi-Fi restrictions. It’s also great for studying (if you’re a miserable student like myself) as it puts a little bit of excitement into a night of stressful essay writing.
I’ll continue with my subscription, it’s going to take a while to build up a decent audio library. I’m currently listening to A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas and rekindling my love for the plot. And I have the Daughter of Smoke and Bone lined up for when ACOTAR is finished.
Until next time,

Louise

The beginning of the Story

Hi guys, I’m Louise.

I recently started writing blog posts for my friend on her site iamthenatnat.wordpress.com and have been pleased to see that people are actually reading my posts and reviews. I’ve decided that it’s time for me to set up my own book blog. It’s been something I’ve wanted to do for a while but finally I’ve had the kick that I needed to actually set one up. So here it is!
I just wanted to post a little about myself. I’m nineteen and I am currently a student of Geography in my third year of university at Aberdeen University. I’m a trainee manager at in a well known fast food chain and I don’t entirely hate it. I enjoy reading and writing, film and cinema. I particularly enjoy sci-fi and fantasy, young adult and romance novels but I enjoy most fictional reads.
I will post regularly, probably not in any consistent order but it will be often and there will be many blog posts. I’m going to offer views, opinions, and reviews on books. I’d love to hear from you guys, and I’m happy to take recommendations for books that you would like to see reviewed. I’m very excited to start this and I hope others enjoy reading it as much as I will writing.
Until next time!