Friday, January 27, 2012


Woohoo! I love this title. "Blood" makes it sound like it's going to be a gory, violent book, but then "Starlight" makes it sound like it'll be pretty and peaceful. I don't really understand all the hype around the first book (the love story, especially, was not my favorite. It seemed a little insta!love-y, which it kind of was-- because of the whole we-were-in-love-in-a-past-life thing), but I'm excited for this one nonetheless. Gah, so many sequels this year!
1. February 28th- Pandemonium (Delirium #2) by Lauren Oliver
2. March 13th- Froi of the Exiles (Lumatere Chronicles #2) by Melina Marchetta
3. May 1st- INSURGENT (Divergent #2) by Veronica Roth. SO. EXCITED.
4. May 1st- Bitterblue (Graceling #3) by Kristin Cashore
5. May 8th- City of Lost Souls (Mortal Instruments #5) by Cassandra Clare
6. May 29th- Dreamless (Starcrossed #2) by Josephine Angelini
7. June 14th- Timepiece (Hourglass #2) by Myra McEntire
Unknown dates:
Middle Ground (Awaken #2) by Katie Kacvinsky
Outpost (Razorland #2) by Ann Aguirre
Days of Blood & Starlight (Daughter of Smoke & Bone #2) by Laini Taylor
CLOCKWORK PRINCESS (Infernal Devices #3) by Cassandra Clare --UPDATE: sometime between March and September 2013. I'M GOING TO DIE.
The Madness Underneath (Shades of London #2) by Maureen Johnson --UPDATE: January 2nd, 2013. Sad. :(
The Evolution of Mara Dyer (Mara Dyer #2) by Michelle Hodkin

That's all I've got for now, but there will probably be more.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Can I just say how pretty this cover is?

I mean, I thought the Starcrossed cover was pretty. This is like... 

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Sky is Everywhere

For once in my life I'm going to try to do a real review of a book on this blog, rather than just ranting and raving about books/series I already know I love. I mean, I'm not all that interested in writing a review of a book I didn't like, unless I totally hated it and sincerely want to warn people against wasting their time on it.
Which is not the case with this book. I didn't totally love it in the I'm-giving-this-book-5-stars kind of way, because that only happens with 1. The Hunger Games, 2. John Green and 3. Stephanie Perkins (for now, anyway), but it is a solid 4 out of 5 stars.
Plot Summary (contains spoilers): Lennon aka Lennie Walker has been out of school for a month following her sister's death, which she's still trying to get over. She shuts just about everyone out, except for her sister's boyfriend, Toby, because she feels like he is the only one who understands. The two develop some kind of misguided attraction to each other out of their connection-- that they both love Bailey, Lennie's sister-- and Lennie knows it is wrong. She tries to stop it, but they can't seem to be in the same room without throwing themselves at each other. When Lennie goes back to school, she meets Joe Fontaine, drop-dead gorgeous boy who oozes brightness and smiles the kind of smile that takes over his whole face. He seems vaguely interested in Lennie, and one day he follows her to the tree she eats her lunch in, and they have an instant rapport with each other that neither of them understands. He shows up at her house and befriends her crazy grandmother and uncle, and then starts coming over every day and trying to get Lennie to play music with him (him on guitar, her on clarinet). Eventually she gives in and realizes that the music helps her release all of her feelings about her sister's death, so she keeps playing. They fall in love, but then Joe catches Lennie in one of her weird magnetic interactions with Toby, and this is a problem for him because his last girlfriend cheated on him. Yadda yadda, Lennie tries to get him back, she stops shutting everyone out, she becomes who her sister wanted her to be (which is to say she's no longer a "turtled-up" version of herself, but someone who's finally alive and not living in Bailey's shadow).
Review: I blew through this book in less than 24 hours. At first glance (or first read of the blurb on the back, rather) you might think it is a sappy romance book involving grief and self-discovery. To a certain extent, that's what it is. But it's also funny. I don't like my sappy romance books without a decent amount of humor as well, so I was not disappointed with this one. I loved how it felt like there were inside jokes between us, the readers and the characters ("out of her tree," for example). I loved the cast of crazy supporting characters. I loved the way that Lennie never held back any of her thoughts from Joe, except for the ones she thought would hurt him. She always chastises herself for it after, like when she blurts out "God, you're gorgeous," but I found myself thinking finally, a protagonist who doesn't hide her feelings from the person who's trying to get to know her. The way that Lennie and Joe fall in love is honest and believable. And I have to say, I kind of love it when an author is like "I'm going to make these readers swoon!" but then makes the character we're supposed to be swooning over, well... a complete dork.
That said, I felt that the characters had some discrepancies. Joe, for instance, with this brightness that just emanates from him, suddenly becomes very dark and unforgiving when he feels betrayed. And maybe that's how people are, maybe he has a right to be that way, but I just didn't get it. A weakness in his character should be a little more consistent with his personality. It would have made more sense if he had caught Lennie and Toby and forgiven her too soon-- which would make Lennie want him to be a little more unforgiving, because she's the kind of person to think she doesn't deserve such easy forgiveness. Especially for what she's done.
The inconsistency in Lennie's character, for me, was at the point when she started taking Sarah's advice and making desperate moves to win Joe back. Dressing like a hussy? What in the world made her think that would work? Bringing him the magic flowers, that she never really believed in herself? I don't understand why she didn't just write something to him all along. Even if she was still only writing things for strangers to find, he should have been worth it to her. When she's writing is when she's being the most honest, and she knew that Joe fell in love with her because he thought she was honest, so obviously this is the solution. I saw it coming way before she even attempted playing dress-up and using the powers of the roses. It seemed to me like she was reverting back to companion-pony status, taking Sarah's advice like that.
Overall, though, I thought the book had a good balance between humor and heartbreak, entertainment and depth. And it was also extremely adorable. "And then he smiles, and in all the places around the globe where it's night, day breaks." Cue the AWWWWWWs.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Get your stories straight.

I am starting to get really annoyed with the number of times The Hunger Games gets confused/compared with other series in the media. First, people who write professionally for magazines call it "Twilight meets Battle Royale," which is just ridiculous in and of itself, and then people started all the comparisons between it and Harry Potter-- which, yes, I appreciate, but only to a certain extent-- then came the dystopian YA movement in which every single dystopian book is/was compared to THG, and now THIS?
The Hunger Games is not like any of these things. It's not like anything else at all. This story, these characters... there is nothing like them anywhere, and acting like you can attract people to it by pretending this is the case, it's misleading and unfair. Just as confusing the series and its characters with other series/characters is totally ignorant and wrong. Do some research, Empire Magazine. If you're writing an article about The Hunger Games, you should know that Katniss Everdeen is not "the girl who played with fire." This is not the Millennium Trilogy. Katniss does not play with fire-- she doesn't even particularly like fire. The concept of her having anything to do with fire was thrust upon her by circumstance. The circumstance of being from District 12. The circumstance of being an otherwise unappealing tribute for the audience. And even if you take "played with fire" as meaning "took risks," it's wrong. Yes, Katniss takes some risks, but most of the time she fully thinks out what she's going to do. She doesn't see something as a risk if she's planning her course of action; she sees it as a necessity. 

So, let's think about this.
Twilight meets Battle Royale: So, The Hunger Games is a series in which supernatural creatures fight to the death, and some of them become obsessed with each other and call it "love"?
No, actually The Hunger Games is a series in which normal children who live in a post-modern United States with a dictatorial president are forced to fight to the death in an annual show of the government's power. The central conflict is making it out alive; the secondary conflict is remaining yourself when everything around you is trying to force you to be someone else.
Harry Potter: So, The Hunger Games is about kid wizards trying to defeat an evil dark lord?
No, actually The Hunger Games is about [extremely mature] kids, and a country of people whose hope has been stuffed down one day at a time, until it's no longer visible. But it's still there.
Dystopian YA: So, The Hunger Games is in some way like every single dystopian book out there?
No, actually The Hunger Games is one of the few actual dystopian books out there. The rest are utopian books masquerading as dystopian, which is fine. But they are not The Hunger Games.
Millennium Trilogy: So, The Hunger Games is a murder mystery?
No. They are, in fact, nothing alike.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Questions and discoveries.

So, what I really should be writing about right now is The Fault in Our Stars, because I read that on Thursday/Friday (the 12th/13th), but I'm still having trouble coming up with coherent thoughts about it. And this might be a permanent condition, because I feel like nothing I write could do it justice. I sometimes feel like I use the same words over and over again to describe certain books, and I don't want that to happen with TFiOS. Just read it.

Thus, I'm going with something completely different and unrelated. I'm compiling a list of questions that need to be answered between the Mortal Instruments and Infernal Devices series (mainly dealing with family trees and the like).

Source: palnk
1. What is Tessa?
2. How are Jace and Will related?
3. Why does Alec look like Will?
4. If Alec looks like Will because they are somehow related, how did someone with Herondale blood become a Lightwood? --A theory I'm currently entertaining about this is Cecily and Gabriel. But the mingling could have happened later than that, so maybe not. I actually think it would be very entertaining, if Gabriel married Will's sister... after, you know, what Will did to Gabriel's sister.
---a NEW theory I just thought of: Gideon and Sophie have a son; Will and Tessa (or, you know, someone else... but no) have a daughter; Gideon's son marries Will's daughter and BAM, Herondale--> Lightwood. Personally I'm a fan of this theory.
Crap. I just realized something. See #10
5. So like, Jocelyn is a Fairchild, right? So technically that means Clary is related to Charlotte. I guess that's not really a question, just something I discovered whilst writing it.
6. What happened to the Branwell name? Are the Branwells just not in the Mortal Instruments because they stayed in London?
7. ^^This question again, but replace "Branwell" with "Carstairs." ...although I think I know the answer, and I'm not completely sure I want it. [UPDATE: NEW INFORMATION HAS SURFACED. DARK ARTIFICES MAIN CHARACTER IS A CARSTAIRS. MY BRAIN IS DOING SOMERSAULTS INSIDE MY HEAD AND I KIND OF LIKE IT. I mean, I am pretty sure Jem is an only child... but his father could've had a brother, I guess? But then why wouldn't Jem go to live with him instead of at the London Institute? I love how answers to questions only bring more questions.]
8. Tessa is the type to get attached to people, so how can she handle being immortal? I mean, she has to choose Someone (because I refuse to believe that she would accept choosing No One on account of that would be cruel to both her and them), but then they will die. It's just not right.
9. Is Valentine related to Mortmain? I can't help but idealize it so that there is only one family with such evil.
10. So neither of my Lightwood/Herondale theories are probably true, considering Maryse has the Will looks, not Robert. So the mingling somewhere along the line was between a Herondale and a Trueblood. Which is just SO much less fun, because who the frick are the Truebloods?!
11. How did the Herondales get the London Institute?
12. Silent Brothers. Why? How? I do not understand the reasoning behind people thinking that Will and/or Jem become(s) [a] Silent Brother(s). Will, I could maybe understand because he's into that self-punishment thing-- but what would he be punishing himself for? And also, it would be completely wrong to get rid of those eyes. And Jem... Jem has had time to accept his mortality, so I don't see why he'd want to exchange it for life as a Silent Brother.
13. Does Tessa only seem familiar to Clary in the same way as the runes she "creates" are familiar to her? As in, she knows them from some kind of distant memory that she probably didn't even experience, but knows them just the same-- even though they're not in the Gray Book? Also... is the name of the Gray Book a coincidence? What I'm saying is that maybe she has never had the experience of meeting Tessa before, just as she has never actually seen the runes before, but she feels familiar anyway, just like the runes?
14. What was Tessa doing in Idris? Was she somehow part of the Downworlder force? (This goes back to Question 1)

That's all I've got so far.

Update: Well, I just finished reading City of Fallen Angels, so now I have read all published Shadowhunter books, and obviously this leaves me with more questions.
1. When Brother Zachariah said that the Silent Brothers have ties with the Herondales from long ago or whatever, what is he talking about? This further begs the question of Will/Jem becoming a Silent Brother, but I still honestly don't think Will does (more on that in the next question). If anything, I think Jem may become one-- but not necessarily Brother Zachariah. We haven't met all of the Silent Brothers yet. To be fair, though, Brother Z [that's his rap name] does seem to be the most likely option thus far because he appears younger than the other ones, and the only reason I can think of that Jem would become a Brother is because he's dying already, and he's only seventeen.
2. When Camille is talking about a way for a Shadowhunter to become immortal without turning into a vampire, what is she talking about? Is this something Will could have done? They talk about Will like he's dead, but neither of them specifically confirmed it. Maybe they just don't see him anymore, for whatever reason. Magnus says that Tessa is one of the few remaining constants in his life, not that Will and Tessa are, so I can only assume that Magnus doesn't see Will anymore. But the reason for this has not been identified.
3. Another Magnus-related question about Will/Tessa: When he remembers London, he remembers the black-haired, blue-eyed boy and the brown-haired, serious-faced girl. No mention of anyone else. Not the Branwells or Jem or Woolsey (though he mentions him later) or anyone but Will and Tessa. Why? I get that maybe he was more familiar with them, but the way he thinks about them, it's like they're an epic love story. It makes me a little bit giddy.
4. In CoFA, there are a lot of references to things that happen in Clockwork Prince, even though CP hadn't come out yet when CoFA was published. Does this mean that there will be Clockwork Princess references in City of Lost Souls? Because I think that would be awesome. [UPDATE: THE ANSWER IS YES.]

1. I have already written about this extensively in another post, but I have to add here that the Brother Zachariah suspicion has gotten stronger. Except he could either be Will, Jem, or Stephen Herondale (Jace's father). It's up in the air.
2. A difficult question: would either Will or Jem really want to become immortal? I mean, if it's only one of them who does it? Because they're always talking about meeting each other in another life, as Jem believes in reincarnation and "when we rise or fall, we do it together." Does that apply if only one dies? Can the person who dies be reincarnated and meet the other person again if that person is still the same?
3. What is Emma Carstairs's FATHER'S first/middle name??? Could either one be JAMES????
4. An update to my Magnus-doesn't-see-Will-anymore theory: Brother Zachariah tells Clary to ask Magnus about memories that time cannot erase. So, if Brother Z is Will, does that mean Magnus doesn't know? And why wouldn't they tell him?

That's it for the questions, but there's one more thing I want to discuss. More for myself than anyone else. You see, there has been a lot of debate about the differences between Will and Jace, and many people have come to their defense with factoids and well-written arguments about how they are not the same person. But I have often wondered myself how they are all that different. I have thought about it, and I'll tell you how I know they are different: I love Will. I like Jace.
What, that's your big argument?
Yes. If you love one character and only like another, can they really be that similar? I'll tell you something: nothing Will has ever done has infuriated me to the point of wondering why people tolerate him. Even when he was completely horrible to people, like that time he basically called Tessa a prostitute, I always felt like there was something beneath that horribleness that made him act that way. Something bigger than self-hatred or bitterness. To me, Will's sarcasm and apparent ruthlessness has always been endearing. Even now that people know the reason behind his Will-ness, I hope that he keeps being the same person.
But Jace... sometimes I just wish he'd stop being the way he is. Just when you think he's realized that he's not a bad person, he goes and doubts himself again and pushes people away. And not the way Will pushes them away-- for their own good-- but in a way that seems, to me, more self-centered. He pushes them away because he doesn't think he deserves their affection. He thinks there's something wrong with him, so they don't get to love him. Maybe he thinks he's helping them, but in that case I say he needs to wake up. Pushing them away is only hurting them, so he should probably get over himself. If he really had any Valentine in him at all, these people wouldn't trust him; they wouldn't want to be part of his life. But they do. And yet, Jace keeps punishing himself-- and by doing so, he punishes them too. It's like he lets them care about him until he thinks he's not worth it, but by then it's too late and they care too much not to be hurt by the way he deals with feeling unworthy.