Monday, July 30, 2012

Why, Magnus? WHY?

TID covers edit from tumblr. The Triangle of Misery.
This is going to keep happening until at LEAST next Spring, so I'm not even going to apologize anymore. I only have three followers on this blog anyway and I NEED SOMEWHERE TO TALK ABOUT THIS.

So, I just discovered this little extra (which is apparently in the Clockwork Angel paperback) called Magnus's Vow. Appropriately titled, I guess, seeing it's about his decision not to help Shadowhunters for free anymore-- considering how his heart was broken by Will's HORRIBLE, HORRIBLE TIMING and the fact that it was Magnus who led Will to allow himself to want things he couldn't have, etc. So I found some passages in this extra that made me squirm.
On the other side of Charlotte stood Jem, looking like a photographic negative himself with his silvery hair and eyes turned almost white; his hand rested on his jade dragon-topped cane, and his face was turned toward Tessa's- Tessa- Tessa's hat was in her hand and her long brown curls blew free, slightly blurred by their motion.   
There was a faint halo of light around Will: as befitted his nature and would have surprised no one who'd known him, he had not been able to stand still for the photograph. As always, he was hatless, his black hair curling against his temples. It was a loss not to be able to see the color of his eyes, but he was still beautiful and young and a little vulnerable-looking in photograph, with one hand in his pocket an the other behind his neck. 
First, I knew it was going to be this way. Magnus saves Will for last-- and I can't help but feel like that makes Will more important. Because Magnus is important. Also, a freaking HALO OF LIGHT around him?!?! I would like to know where he is looking. I know Jem is looking at Tessa, but *ahem* I need more information here.
Magnus looked at Tessa again. Thought she was not conventionally pretty in the way Jessamine had been pretty, her face was alive with energy an intelligence. Her lips curved up at the corner. She stood, as Magnus supposed was appropriate, between Jem and Will. Tessa. Tessa, who like Magnus, lived forever. Magnus looked at the detritus in the box-memories of love past, some of whose faces stayed with him as clearly as the day he'd first seen them, and some whose name he barely remembered. Tessa, who like him, had loved a mortal, someone destined to die as she was not.
dlkfajsdflkj;askdjfh;ds WHAT WHO ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT? WHICH ONE? And did this person fulfill their supposed destiny to die?! Or are you tricking us and talking about her brother/cousin/traitor Nate, who did die?!
Oh, and I guess I should say something about "She stood, As Magnus supposed was appropriate, between Jem and Will." I mean, I guess it's appropriate, because they both love her, but it's also not appropriate, because she doesn't want to come between them and we don't even know if she has the ability to do so. That's kind of the whole problem.
Knowing Will and his friends had made Magnus swear to himself that he would never again get involved in Shadowhunters' personal business. Because when you got to care about mortals, they broke your heart.
1. "Will and his friends" ahahaha. 2. Magnus, stop giving me Will feels. They are the kind of feels I am least equipped to manage. 3. At the same time, I also kind of love how much Magnus's heart broke for Will even though they weren't romantically involved. Heck, they barely even knew each other before Will went to him for help. And yet it was enough for Magnus to make a lifelong vow (which is very long, considering he is immortal) to himself never to help Shadowhunters personally again. *melts into puddle* *worries about restraining self from reading ahead in CP2*

Speaking of which, I'm going to have to come up with a plan to perform such restraint when I finally get my hands on this book. It's going to be a challenge like no other, because NOT ONLY could I read the last chapter and find out what happens, but there's going to be a family tree in the back of the book that I could look at and figure out how everyone is related, which would also be spoilerific. I'm seriously conflicted just thinking about it, and it doesn't come out until MARCH. What am I going to do when it's been 15 months since Clockwork Prince and finally, right in front of me, I have a chance to KNOW once and for all how it all goes down?!

Friday, July 20, 2012

You keep doing you, Noah.

You know what I hate about Goodreads?
It gives every single person on there the impression that their book reviews are naturally going to be masterpieces and everyone who reads them will find them witty and spectacular. Which is just not the case.
The review that brings on this latest bit of frustration is the review that is currently the first one on the page for "Noah and Mara's first meeting from Noah's perspective" (The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer), in which the reviewer said something along the lines of "I thought it couldn't get any worse than the actual book, but no. The book is still worse, but Noah's still a dick."

First of all, why did you read this EXTRA SCENE if you hated the original book so much? Error: does not compute. People who hate Twilight don't read Midnight Sun unless they're looking for something to ruthlessly criticize, and for the people who do, my advice would be GET A LIFE. So here's a thought: when The Evolution of Mara Dyer comes out, save yourself the trouble of reading it and save us the trouble of encountering your ridiculous review, for it would no doubt only make us want to throw eggs at your car. It might be too logical for you, but I say give it a go. Read something else that week that you would actually enjoy!

Secondly, yes, you are right about Noah. But is his personality really a bad thing? At least he has one. And news flash: he doesn't act that way to everyone. Only the people who deserve it. In the extra scene, he was a jerk to that girl because he didn't want to use her (granted I was a little put off by his assumption that she would, er, do that without even knowing him, but maybe it was that type of club? We don't know). He's a jerk to bullies because they're bullies, and to shallow idiots because they're shallow idiots. I'm not saying he befriends every nice person he meets, either, but he doesn't go out of his way to prove to them what an "asscrown" (using Mara's word) he is. [P.S. In case you didn't notice, Mara points out that he is one. We know. You don't have to use it against him, because it's part of his intentional characterization. Ever think that maybe that's not all there is to him? The truth resists simplicity, anyone?]
Yeah, he's cocky and you want to punch him in the face sometimes. But so what? He's a good character. That's more than can be said about a lot of male love interests in other books. I've said it before and I'll say it again: Thank you, Noah Shaw, for being a real bad boy. I relish the fact that you are not a poetic and broody bag of sentimentality who is merely misunderstood by the adoring-yet-fearful masses. Thank you for also being a decent person, and for treating Mara right, even though you are about as warm and fuzzy as a porcupine. I want more of you in my YA books, Mr. Asscrown.

And thirdly, if you had really paid attention to the book at all, you'd realize that it is actually very complex and interesting. Mara has the power to kill people and she hates herself for it. She's an unreliable narrator, which is fascinating in and of itself. She is generally nice to people, and yet she can end their lives just by picturing their deaths in her head. Noah, on the other hand, is generally not nice to people, and he is the one whose ability could be used to save them. It's like your classic Good vs. Evil, except the lines are blurred and usually they're on the same side. I see your dystopias and vampires, and I raise you THIS BOOK THAT WILL BLOW YOUR MIND TO BITS.

I get that this might not be the book for some people. But why bother reading an extra just so you can attack it further? Why act like it's a universal truth that a jerky character is a bad character, and that a book with a jerky character is a bad book? Give me a break.
Personally I think The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer is well-written, compelling and hilarious. The characters are smart, mostly realistic (but let's not forget it is FICTION and we should not expect all characters to behave as we would) and, uh, hilarious. Also the romance has plenty of chemistry and zero insta-love, which is pretty much all I ask for. Where is bad?

Sunday, July 15, 2012

She who feasts on tears of readers!

So, I don't usually do these kinds of posts on this blog but I think it's pretty relevant to my "never trust a duck" tag. Because today I met Cassandra Clare.
These things don't usually happen to me. I mean, I get lucky with meeting semi-famous people all the time, but I don't go to book signings because there are zero cool bookstores around my area who like to host events with YA authors. So I've pretty much resigned myself to preordering signed copies of books if I want them signed.
But. About a week and a half ago, I learned that Cassie Clare was having an event with Holly Black and Sarah Rees Brennan in Rhinebeck, New York. I looked up how far Rhinebeck is from where I live, and learned that it was less than two hours. And then I freaked out. I immediately texted my friend Kaitlin (who you might remember from my hypothetical-Shadowhunter-lives post) and asked if she'd want to go with me. We had to work out travel arrangements, which involved me casually saying to my mom, "So, would you be interested in going to that book signing?" and my sister insisting that she HAD to come because I talk about "THIS WOMAN all the time" and it ruins her life. [To be clear: I do not talk about Cassie all the time. I talk about her characters all the time.] Anyway, and then there was this whole debacle about me having to work today, but that was resolved when my manager accidentally gave me the day off, then asked me if I could work, and I told her I had plans.

So, I got up at 5:40am. My sister and I are housesitting for our aunt, so after getting ready we had to meet our mom at home, and then we had to drop my sister's car off at our dad's to get her brakes fixed. Anyway, we officially left around 7:40. In the morning.
The bookstore had emailed all of the attendees saying that tickets for the signing line would be first-come-first-serve, starting when they opened at 10am, so being a regular concert-goer, I figured we had to be there early. We got there around 9:15, and there was nobody there. At all. We waited in the car, and then Kaitlin met up with us, and someone else showed up too and went to the door. So we got out and waited a while, and then they let us in and we got signing line tickets. Two different groups between the four of us, but whatever. Having gone to the Tour de Nerdfighting for TFiOS, we were used to the signing line groups and didn't really care.
After that, we had to find something to do until seating started at 3. We walked around Rhinebeck. A lot. Turns out, Rhinebeck is a really old town with some really neat old buildings, but it is also a really boring town. We didn't want to lose our parking spot so we tried to find things to do within walking distance, and it was not easy-- we went to a farmer's market and got cider donuts, walked around, went back to the bookstore, I FOUND FOUR SIGNED COPIES OF AWESOME BOOKS, walked around some more, went to lunch, and it was still barely 12:30. Pretty much the whole area we had to walk around consisted of two sidewalks that went maybe half a mile before ending or turning into a residential area, intersecting in the middle. Not to mention it was 93 degrees out and many of the places we went into didn't have air conditioning. So we got ice cream! And walked more! I'm using exclamation points because I'm trying to make Rhinebeck sound more exciting!
We went back to the bookstore a little before 2:00 and sat down, but they said they'd be kicking everyone out at 2:45 to line up outside, so we just went out and started the line ourselves so that we could be in the front. We were in the second row for the event and while we may not have had to get up as early as we did to be there, I was glad we weren't in the back.

Anyway, Holly, Cassie and Sarah came out at 4 and each read something from their upcoming books. Holly read the first chapter (?) of her totally new book (it hasn't even been seen by her editor yet) The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, Cassie read the prologue of Clockwork Princess (!!!!!! Will and Jem's first meeting, from Charlotte's perspective slafhds;fknl), and Sarah read/acted-out a chapter from Unspoken, which I'm pretty sure I preordered a while ago and I'm excited to read it. Can I just say, Sarah Rees Brennan is an extremely amusing person? Like, she was the only one there whose books I haven't read yet, but I'm glad she was there in all her cardigan-unbuttoning, Taylor Swift fangirling, sometimes-Irish-accented glory.
After that they took audience questions and it was extremely amusing. Being me, I could not help but analyze every single thing Cassie said that related to the Infernal Devices, and I also could not help but notice that whenever she was talking about the love triangle or just Will and Jem, she always said Will's name first or talked about Will and Tessa's relationship first. Also his name is the first word of the prologue, which means it's the first word of the book (side note: he is also the first character mentioned in the whole series). Huzzah! That's got to mean something, right?! *wishful thinking*
They also gave away many prizes to people who asked questions, and I suffered the curse of the introvert yet again: if you don't speak up, you get nothing. Including a clockwork angel. 

So after the Q&A they started the signing with Group 1. My sister and my mom were in that group, so my sister took my Clockwork Angel to have signed, and then she met me in the signing line to show me that Cassie wrote on the wrong page and printed her name instead of doing her signature ahaha. Oh well. Then I had Holly sign Black Hearts, Cassie Clockwork Prince, and Sarah The Demon's Lexicon. We stood at the signing table for a while because the people before us were talking to Sarah, so Cassie asked me if I'm a Will girl or a Jem girl, and naturally I said "Will." She told me that nobody at the signing had said Jem yet, and I said, "Well I like them both!" Then she was like, "Well sure, you don't want Jem to die, right?" And then she and Holly started talking about crazy things that could happen, including Will murdering Jem. Kaitlin was like, "You have no idea how often we talk about this!" She didn't mean the whole murder scenario, but I'm not sure Cassie and Holly realized that, considering their faces when she said it:

God, I'm laughing so hard right now. When we got to Sarah, Kaitlin had to talk to her about Revenge, and she proceeded to ask me if I watch it and I said no, so she wrote in my book, "For Paige-- Watch Revenge! --Sarah Rees Brennan"
So yeah. It was good times. I went with the intention of getting 4 books signed, and left Rhinebeck with EIGHT autographed copies of some of my favorite books (and Pandemonium). I think that is the definition of SCORE.

Also I would like to comment on how quick-witted Cassie Clare is. Like, the words that come out of her mouth are words that would never even pop into my head. I'm not sure I can explain it... but let me just say it makes sense that she is a writer. And that her characters are so awesome.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Another 30-day challenge in one day

Skins 30-Day Challenge

So this is weird because I don't talk about Skins that much (I have mixed feelings about it), but I feel like doing this challenge will bring up some reasons why this show is actually worth watching, as opposed to the many reasons it's not.

Day 1 - Your favorite generation 
So far, generation 2. I can't really explain why... I think it's just that I like all of the G2 characters, whereas there were a couple G1 characters I couldn't really stand.

Day 2 - Your favorite character G1
Maxxie. I just saw someone on Tumblr say that Maxxie was their least-favorite G1 character because he's "flighty and one-dimensional," but I don't understand that at all. Maxxie was the only one who was always true to himself, and he didn't really care what anyone else thought of him. Even when his best friend was having a sudden case of homophobia, he stood his ground. He wasn't about to let their friendship die because of it, but he wasn't going to disown himself either.

Day 3 - Your least favorite character G1
Anwar and Sketch. I just can't stand Anwar and I absolutely hate Sketch.

Day 4 - Your favorite character G2
Freddie, aka the one with the most functional moral compass. Also, a winning I'm-so-disgusted-I-can't-even-look-at-you face.

Day 5 - Your least favorite character G2
Katie. I hate it when they try to make me care about what happens to her.

Day 6 - Your favorite character overall
I'm going to take this opportunity not to use either of the favorites I picked above, and say Effy. And it's not just because I have a think for emotionally screwed-up characters. It's because she cares so much about people that she almost can't handle it, so she acts like she doesn't care about anyone at all. But as Tony said, "You don't fool me, Effy Stonem."

Day 7 - Your favorite episode
"Effy," season 1 (keep in mind I haven't watched every episode yet; this was the first one that made me go all DKASD;FHADSFL)

Day 8 - Your least favorite episode
Possibly "Michelle" in season 2? It just made me uncomfortable, mostly.

Day 9 - Your favorite scene
Season 2, "Everyone," the Jal's speech/fireworks scene.

Day 10 - Something you hate about Skins
How trashy it is. Like, I get that it's not really supposed to be realistic so it's pointless for people to complain about how unrealistic it is, but does it have to be so trashy? It would be such a good show if people weren't constantly doing drugs or running around naked.

Day 11 - Your favorite quote from Skins
"You know, love's thoroughly overrated, Panda. I've never even had a girlfriend, and look how happy I am... In between minor psychological breakdowns." -JJ
[I can't really say this is my favorite favorite, but it's one of the only ones I remember, other than Cassie's "Oh wow... But, f-ck you" and Effy's "Nobody breaks my heart."]

Day 12 - Your favorite funny scene
The only one I can think of is when Effy found shrooms in the woods and Katie's all like MAHHH NO SHROOMS GUISE COME ON and then everyone else is like SHROOMS, WHO SAID SHROOMS? ahahaha OH and also in the S3 finale when the old lady is all mad at Freddie for giving up the race ahahaha

Day 13 - A scene that makes you sad/cry
In the first "Effy" episode when Tony finds Effy and then the guys take his clothes off and try to make him do things to her and he starts crying, and then later when he's telling Sid that he doesn't want to be a "wanker" hah, also when Chris dies and then Jal's speech at his funeral slkdfh;sdlafd

Day 14 - A scene that makes you happy
Strange that these are both Cook-related, but when Cook shows up when everyone's camping and he's like "Effy doesn't want me anymore, do you princess?" and also when his dad turns out to be a selfish jerk and keeps saying "I'm Cook!" and Cook is like "No, I'M Cook!" and pushes him off the boat ahahaha

Day 15 - A scene that makes you angry
Pretty much any scene with Katie.

Day 16 - Your favorite Skins finale
Season 2, hands down.

Day 17 - Your favorite Skins friendship
Tony/Sid and Cook/Naomi-- sorry, I seem to have trouble picking one of each answer.

Day 18 - Your favorite Skins romance

Day 19 - A whacky ship that you would love
Tony/Cassie ...I just feel like their crazies are about equal. They could understand each other.

Day 20 - Your favorite character entrance
They don't really have "entrances," do they? I mean, maybe Cassie because they talk about how crazy she is before we see her, but then we learn that she's not really crazy.

Day 21 - Your favorite minor character G1
Like I said, Maxxie.

Day 22 - Your favorite minor character G2

Day 23 - The character that is most like you
HAH absolutely none of them. But I'll go with Jal.

Day 24 - An episode you wish never happened
I haven't seen it yet, but the episode where Freddie dies. It's not okay.

Day 25 - Something that you wish happened but didn’t
It would be so interesting to see Tony meet Effy's friends.

Day 26 - Your favorite Skins fanvid
Don't watch fanvids

Day 27 - Your favorite cast picture
This one's pretty good I guess

Also this one because Maxxie what are you doing ahaha

Day 28 - Something you love about skins
The characters

Day 29 - Your favorite Skins fanfic
Don't read fanfics

Day 30 - Anything Skins related
Uh.... Tony Stonem is dating Katniss Everdeen. What.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Why will I go down with this ship?

So, it seems that Cassandra Clare has challenged me to write an essay. Well, not me personally, but I take it personally. This question-asker is QUESTIONING MY SHIP.
Why does everyone like Tessa and Will so much as a couple? I keep seeing blogs and posts and all I can think is “Tessa and Jem, Tessa and Jem, TESSA AND JEM!” It saddens me. 
Alright. I have broached this topic many a time on this blog, but I think it's time I compiled it all together for you.

Part I: Do you read?
From the perspective of an avid reader/fangirl (and let's get this straight: Tessa and Will are fangirls), it's hard not to see why Will/Tessa is the perfect ship. Lovely asker of this horrid question, can I presume that you are a reader? I mean, I think I can, given the fact that you have messaged an author about a book. So I ask you, don't you love finding people with whom you can talk about books? Someone who understands your love for people who are not real? Who can empathize when your favorite character dies, or is heartbroken, or is in pain of any kind? Yes? Do you also love telling people about your favorite books, or getting them to change their mind when they're not a fan? Yes?
Well, surely you see where I am going with this. Tessa and Will have both spent their lives hiding inside novels. Both have felt-- if not been-- alone for a long time, so they made friends inside the pages of Vathek and A Tale of Two Cities, among others. Not only this, but Tessa has been completely cut off from every real person she knew before arriving at the Institute; she has no one except the Shadowhunters. Will, on the other hand, can finally stop cutting himself off from other people. This realization comes quite soon after Tessa convinces Will to try A Tale of Two Cities again after he had dismissed it, and he falls in love with it. Do you think it a simple feat to change Will Herondale's mind, about anything? Need I remind you of his hatred for ducks and his conviction that demon pox existed? So yeah, I think the fact that Tessa had the power to change his mind screams something big about their relationship.
But let's back up here. Your question seems to be more Tessa-specific, as in "Why do people want her to be with Will, to choose Will, instead of Jem?"

Part II: Why not Jem?
I'll tell you. Because Will is Tessa-specific. Jem is the guy that everyone loves, who connects with her because he is there for her, he's her friend, he cares about her. But those are all extremely general things to look for in someone. And let's not ignore the fact that Will has those qualities too, with the added benefit of actually having things in common with her.
It's kind of late and I'm having trouble coming up with words, but there is good news! I have already written a fairly relevant post about this, so here's a pretty long, slightly modified excerpt explaining why I ship Tessa and Will.
I think it's important to believe in couples based on their actual relationships, and not based on their comparisons with other couples. By which I mean that saying you ship Jem/Tessa because Jem and Tessa are friends and know each other pretty well is pretty short-sighted, and in my opinion a little incorrect. Will knows Tessa. Knows her enough to see that writing an apology of sorts in one of her favorite books will make her come around to him; knows and understands when she still loves Nate even after everything he's done; knows her enough to differentiate between when she can stand up for herself and when she needs his help. Jem does say that Tessa won't break, but he still often treats her like she will. He's never in favor of letting her do things that put her in danger, even when they're important to her. Will understands that when something is important to Tessa, it's better to help her than to try to stop her. And yet, I agree that there are a lot of things Jem and Tessa know about each other that Will doesn't. That even makes me ship Will/Tessa more, because I don't really buy into the notion that a better friendship always leads to a better relationship. Tessa loves Jem because of the things she knows about him, but she loves Will despite all the good things she doesn't yet know about him. Now that she has the chance to learn what kind of person he really is-- and she has already begun, based on how he agreed to suffer in silence so that Jem could be happy-- she'll see that he's actually just as good a person as Jem is, and that can only make her love him more. He won't always have to be the mysterious, angsty Will Herondale who pushes people away.
I ship Will/Tessa because, to me, they are equals in their relationship. They can stand not only side-by-side, but toe-to-toe as well. They have disagreements. Neither of them is uncomfortable arguing with the other-- in fact, I think Will finds it amusing and Tessa gets unrivaled satisfaction out of taking Will down a few pegs. As someone else (whose tumblr URL I do not remember) said, he doesn't get to put on the Will Herondale Show with her. But still they protect and comfort and joke around with each other, because they are friends just as much as Tessa and Jem are.
People seem to be under the impression that Will only loves Tessa because of the things she wrote in her letters, which is not true. Although they are a part of it-- and I will point out that they were letters she never thought anyone would see, so she was free to be her true self, and he loves that Tessa as well as the external Tessa-- he loves her because of who she is. He says he fell in love with her almost the moment he met her. Not love at first sight, but not love that only came from her letters either. He loves her because she is passionate, she genuinely cares about people, and she makes him laugh [which is pretty difficult for anyone except Will himself to do]. He loves who she is, just as Jem does. But Jem and Tessa do not seem like equals in their relationship, because they are always so eager to take care of each other (Jem with the over-concern every time Tessa does something dangerous, Tessa with the agreeing to marry Jem to make him happy, regardless of her internal conflict). It seems like one of them is always standing behind the other, rather than side-by-side. Which is fine, but there has to be more. They can't be afraid to disagree or yell or argue with each other. Yes, they have passion and are obviously attracted to one another, but Jem loves Tessa so much that he actually believes his love for her is keeping him alive, while Tessa is completely torn between him and Will. It's not really a good balance. She has chosen, but only* because she was under the totally reasonable impression that being with Will was not a possibility. She mentally chastises herself every time she thinks of Will-- but still she thinks of him. It's not possible or fair (to anyone) to ignore that, just because Jem is the more pragmatic choice.
The big question is really who Tessa loves more, to which I believe the answer is Will. If she truly loved Jem more, this triangle wouldn't be quite such a big problem, would it? She wouldn't be burning herself on fire stokers or sneaking glances at Will or wondering about who he really is. She might be pained by Will's pain, but she wouldn't torture herself over it.
* I say "only" not to minimize Tessa's feelings for Jem by insisting that she only picked him because she couldn't have Will, but to point out that she probably would not yet have chosen either of them if she had actually thought she could be with Will.
Part III: The future
Let's take a look into the ghosts of Christmas futures, shall we?

Christmas, 1889:
Jem has managed not to die somehow, and he and Tessa have been married for ten years.
Tessa: "This book of poems you gave me is lovely! I must share it with someone!"
Jem: "I am so glad you enjoyed it, but you must know that I have not read it..."
Tessa: "Oh, of course. I know you do not like poetry, it is just that when I read poems such as these I love to discuss them, and Will has gone to Wales for the weekend..."
Jem: "I wish that I could appreciate them as you do, but I just-- perhaps it can wait until he returns?"
Tessa: *sad face*

Christmas, 1889:
Tessa and Jem were married for nine years, and then Jem died. Tessa still mourns his death. She and Will spend all of Christmas reading to escape reality.

Christmas, 1889:
Tessa and Will have been together for nine years and married for ohhhh let's say five.
Tessa: "This book of poems you gave me is lovely!"
Will: "Which book would that be, Tess?"
Tessa: *holds up book*
Will: "Oh, that one. I thought you might like it. Personally, my favorite part is the inscription from that gentleman with the winning sense of humor and such a talent for songwriting. I imagine he must be--"
Tessa: "Very good-looking, yes, I've heard. Though I am fairly certain that Church the cat could write better songs."
Will: *sings song about Church the cat*