The Infernal Devices: Clockwork Angel Volume One – A Spoiler Free Review

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Infernal Devices collage (cover and main three characters) thanks to eternally-reading over on Tumblr.

Book: The Infernal Devices: Clockwork Angel Volume One

Author: Cassandra Clare

Artist: Hyekyung Baek

Age Group: Teen

Genre: Graphic Novel, Action, Adventure, Romance, Fantasy

Rating: 4.5/5

Keeping with my steampunk theme we jump right into The Infernal Devices: Clockwork Angel Volume One, an adaption of one of my favorite series by Cassandra Clare. Surprised it took me this long to pick up? I was never a fan of the art I’d seen of it around. This series was very close to me and my personal imagery of it. I was honestly worried it would be ruined by this graphic novel adaption. I’m here to say that each depiction might have not been exactly to my own personal image, but it was fun and pretty darn close.

I’m a huge fan of REM’s art style, so moving from that to Hyekyung Baek style was a little hard for me. I’ve also been a huge fan of Cassandra Jean’s art style, check her out, and she’s done multiple fan art pieces, so this new artist was harsh on my eyes. The front cover, I find now though, is a bit deceiving of the styling inside the cover. The actual style is pretty soft and smooth, the era based fashion and architecture is pretty spot on. I also love the way that she depicts Jem and Jessamine. The emotions expressed throughout the graphic novel are spot on, and the monster are just gruesome enough to make you cringe, but keep reading. The Silent Brothers made me shiver, as they should, and I can’t wait to see more of them throughout.

My biggest faults with the depiction is the over simplification. The Steles, Angel Blades, and tattoos are all super simplified and I feel like the artist cut corners here. This is also for not with the automans. This actually disappointed me quite a bit as some of my favorite artistic pieces from the series have extreme depictions of the tattoos, muscle definition, clothing, and so much more. I’d link one of my favorite ones at the bottom, but it is a tad risque for polite company. Instead I’ll link a couple other samples. Saying this though, the actual graphic novel has some spectacular splashes such as this one:

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I’ve come to conclude that I believe what turns me off is Baek’s use of color because the black and white splashes are quite stunning.

The dialogue and progression of action is spot-on with the novel and I believe that it stops at a perfectly ominous place. Overall, I highly recommend that fans check this adaption out. I’d love to see this as a TV series, mini-series, or maybe a movie adaption eventually.

As always all opinions and views noted above are my own. If you’re thinking about buying the book then check out other reviews.

Thank you for taking the time to read this,

~ Yoku

PS. One of the following pieces is in fact by Cassandra Jean, can you pick it out?

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City of Lost Souls – A Spoiler Free Review

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Sebastion made by I’m a Mad on tumblr.

Book: City of Lost Souls

Author: Cassandra Clare

Age Group: Teen

Genre: Action, Adventure, Romance, Supernatural

Rating: 4/5

As we enter the second book of the second arc of the Mortal Instruments series I’ve bumped the rating up by .5 points. I’m still not entirely convinced that this second arc is needed for the series, but I’m beginning to treat it as a side series in my mind and that seems to be working. Clare successfully made me feel uncomfortable at various points in this novel, which is the mood I should have felt, as well as becoming closer to the characters. I’m not 100 % sure I agree with all the decisions that Clare decided to put Clary in, it felt almost “Mary Sue” at some points, continuing the feel of this book as being more of an author “fan fic”. But, characters like Magnus, Camille, Isabelle, and Brother Zachariah are right in line on exactly what they’re doing and how they’re going about it. I also enjoyed how Clare portrayed Sebastian. At one point while reading I posted on tumblr: “Is it sad that I’m beginning to understand Sebastian and feel for him?” I also, once again, found myself relating extremely well with Simon, especially with such lines as this:

Simon: “Oh no. I am a hipster. I am too cool for themed weddings.”

Clary: “You play D and D. You’re a geek.”

Simon: “Geek is chic. Ladies love nerds.”

Clare is continuing the quotability of this series, here are a couple others I feel in love with:

Simon: “You know me. We have delicate egos.”

Clary: “I wouldn’t describe Jace’s ego as delicate.”

Simon: “No, Jace’s is sort of the antiaircraft artillery tank of male egos.”

“There are memories that time does not erase, Clarissa. Ask your friend Magnus Bane, if you do not believe me. Forever does not make loss forgettable, only bearable.”
– Brother Zachariah
Short review this time. Much of the same things to say as last time. I’m quite stoked for the movie on August 22nd, the final conclusion to this arc, next Spring, and for her next series to come out, the Dark Artifices. I’m also planning to pick up Bane Chronicles, audio books, at some point.
I thus leave you with a final quote and two other amazing images that didn’t quite make the cut for my main header image.
“My heart is your heart, my hands are your hands.”

– Jace

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Image on the left by weliveandbreathewords and right by nerdalter.

As always, I only have one set of opinions. Check out other reviews if you’re thinking about purchasing the book yourself.

Thanks for taking the time to read this,

~ Yoku

City of Fallen Angels – A Spoiler Free Review

ImageQuote photo by Happiness and the Absurd on Tumblr.

Book: City of Fallen Angels

Author: Cassandra Clare

Age Group: Teen

Genre: Action, Adventure, Romance, Supernatural

Rating: 3.5/5

First off I’d like to say that I found this book very disappointing. I ended my review on the City of Glass skeptical of the fourth book, City of Fallen Angels, as I felt that Clare had resolved everything that needed to be resolved. After finishing City of Fallen Angels, I still feel the same way, that the story should have stopped after City of Glass. It had a dynamic ending and was just enough for readers. Instead, the series has continued with City of Fallen Angels. I’m unsure whether this was the author’s original idea, the publishers pushing her for more of this popular series, or a strong enough fan base behind it pushing it for more. (I especially feel it could be one of those last two.) City of Fallen Angels felt like a fan fiction to me. Don’t get me wrong, the strong writing is there supported by the author’s immense knowledge of classic literature, myths, and stories; but the plot, relationships, and the things that happen all feel too “dreamy” for me. It broke out from its impressive original mold.

With most of the problems I had with the book out of the way I can fan girl for a moment and announce that in this installment they address many of the characters from Clare’s second series, the Infernal Devices, of which I’m a much bigger fan. This book ties the two series together nicely. Clare is once again addressing classic literature, myths, and stories, as mentioned above, and bringing them together in an intriguing way. One of the quotes I found myself posting on Tumblr while reading the book was this (small changes to the quote to cut out spoilers and “…”s were used):

Jace: Remember when I told you that I didn’t know if there was a God or not, but either way, we were completely on our own? I still don’t know the answer; I only knew that there was such a thing as faith, and that I didn’t deserve to have it. … You know that line from Dante that I quoted to you in the park? ‘L’amor che move il sole e l’altre stelle’?

Clary: I still don’t speak Italian.

Jace: It’s a bit of the very last verse from Paradiso — Dante’s Paradise. ‘My will and my desire were turned by love, the love that moves the sun and the other stars’. Dante was trying to explain faith, I think, as an overpowering love, and maybe it’s blasphemous … .”

This intricately shows how well read Clare is and how tied together her ideas of classical literature and her characters are. She also has her own well known quotes, such as the quote-image at the top of this review. Lines like this that stick with us to future novels and into our own lives.

I’m enjoying how Clare is going more in-depth into each of the character’s pasts, especially Maia’s and Magnus’s, so if you’re a fan of either of them you’ll love this read for sure!

Some of the events leading up to and at the end of the novel are still a little far-fetched to me and I’m having a hard time believing them. But they are there none-the-less and yes, I have indeed started the fifth book already.

As always, I only have one set of opinions. Check out other reviews if you’re thinking about purchasing the book yourself.

Thanks for taking the time to read this,

~ Yoku

City of Glass – A Spoiler Free Review

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Banner of Clarrissa Fray (Fairchild, Morgenstein, etc.) by Chibilina on dA

Book: City of Glass

Author: Cassandra Clare

Age Group: Teen

Genre: Action, Adventure, Romance, Supernatural

Rating: 5/5

WARNING: If you intend to read this book make sure you have all your “feels” ready because it’s a roller coaster!

This was by far Clare’s best installment in the Mortal Instruments series so far. Her writing is incredible, the attachment to the characters and their lives is powerful, and the scenes and plot twists are heart-stopping. I had a problem putting this book down, my fingers itching to pick it back up again and read more. Her writing was extremely witty in this installment and I believe that Clare really speaks for her characters. Their lives are intricately connected with  conversation between the characters like this:

Simon: ‘Good. If you want to know why, it’s because you smell like blood.’

Jace: ‘It’s my cologne. Eau de Recent Injury.'”

My biggest complaint, if you could call it that, was that I felt like Clare completely finished the series with the ending of this book. It felt resolved and I could imagine exactly what was coming next. This makes me intrigued, while at the same time skeptical of City of Fallen Angels. I’m finding myself worrying that Clare is going to write every last detail out of us so that our imaginations are left with nothing, or it could be the exact opposite and there could be an amazing plot twist coming. Only time and more reading will reveal this to me.

Regarding some of my previous review complaints, mostly pertaining to Clary’s and Jace’s relationship, don’t worry it is all revealed in this book! Although it took a while to get here, it is well worth it and your understanding will become clear.

Some more great quotes to come from this book:

“It’s like an injury you get from a demon poison—-you have to leave it alone and let it heal. Every time you rip the bandages off, you just open the wound up again. Every time he sees you, it’s like tearing off the bandages.”

– Isabelle to Clary (City of Glass, The Mortal Instruments Book Three)

“Perfection. Want to know what is perfect? This is… “I love you, and I will love you until I die, and if there’s a life after that, I’ll love you then.”

– Clary (City of Glass)

Check out more quotes and amazing things like this by just typing “City of Glass” into Tumblr search. Now I’m off to go draw some Isabelle fan art because I haven’t been able to get her image out of my mind for the last three days.

Sorry for the relatively short review this time, but honestly I feel like the book and the quotes chosen will tell you yourself, especially if you’ve made it this far in the series, whether you want to read it or not. My singular review will not twist your arm one way nor another.

As always, I only have one set of opinions. Check out other reviews if you’re thinking about purchasing the book yourself.

Thanks for taking the time to read this,

~ Yoku

City of Ashes – A Spoiler Free Review

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Art by far-eviler on dA.

Book: City of Ashes

Author: Cassandra Claire

Age Group: Teen

Genre: Action, Adventure, Romance, Supernatural

Rating: 4/5

I finished City of Ashes several days ago, but was on a quest to find a song that I heard on the radio before I posted this review. After a couple days of hunting and not being able to figure out what it is I have given up. But, while listening to the song I got a very distinct feeling that it described the relationship between Clary and Jace in City of Ashes. All I can remember about the chorus is that it was “Your love is like a disease, but also the cure” and it listed several pros and cons like that about their relationship. I remember it being a female’s voice, but that’s where my recollection stops. If you guys know what it is let me know because it’s driving me crazy! Anyway, onto the review.

Clare’s writing has significantly improved between City of Bones and City of Ashes. Her characters and dialogue are much more realistic and believable. Her settings are described in a few choice words that give the readers just enough. Her phrases are getting better, leading to a good use of quotes. She also is intertwining her well-read knowledge into the book better, with quotes at the beginning of sections and intertwining of phrases into the actual language within the book, like selections from the Bible.

I’m still finding myself struggling somewhat against the romance between Jace and Clary, but at the same time I don’t feel as put-off by it as I did in City of Bones. It feels more realistic and organic. On this note, I mentioned that the characters are becoming more real. They’re beginning to act how one would expect them to in given situations, with Jace’s reactions to things and how Clary is becoming a stronger and stronger character as the series goes on.

Overall I’m continuing to enjoy the series and am loving using the information I learned about the family names from the Infernal Devices to put it into the motivations and what has become of the generations in City of Ashes. This is especially true with what happened in the Bone City! But you’ll have to read the books to find that out yourself.

On a small aside, I’m an avid following of Clare’s Tumblr page and she has announced a Magnus Bane companion novel. Magnus is one of my favorite characters in both the series so I can’t tell you how excited I am. He’s a very complex character that Clare handles extremely well and I’m excited to see the depths of him written out.
As always, I only have one set of opinions. Check out other reviews if you’re thinking about purchasing the book yourself.

Thanks for taking the time to read this,

~ Yoku

City of Bones – A Spoiler Free Review

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Movie preview poster for City of Bones

Book: City of Bones

Author: Cassandra Claire

Age Group: Teen

Genre: Action, Adventure, Romance, Supernatural

Rating: 3.5/5

I finished this novel about two days ago, but wanted to sit on it before I breached my review. I read this novel once before, when I was younger, and was enraptured by the environment that Claire created. I craved to be one of them. As Stephenie Meyer points out on the front cover, “The Mortal Instruments series is a story world that I love to live in.” This quote in turn to me could not be more true. By the time I got to the end of the novel though, some of the romance she began to set up rubbed me the wrong way. I lent the book to two other friends and they felt the same way. Every time I tried to pick up City of Ashes I couldn’t help squirming uncomfortably and never got very far into it before setting it down again.

The second time I read it, I found myself less involved deeply in the world, plot, and characters, as I felt that they weren’t as well written, nor portrayed as in Claire’s Infernal Instruments series, this probably being as City of Bones was her first published novel. The characters aren’t as believable, nor as fleshed out as they were in the Infernal Devices. They leave me with blurry images of themselves on godlike tiers in my mind. Her word choices, descriptions, and sentences leave a little something to be desired, although still an enjoyable read.

Claire really understands her audience, the main character of this series being a female and an artist. The main character of the Infernal Devices being an avid book-reader. These connections not only reveal part of Claire herself, but make strong personal connections with her readers. Seeing this trend I can’t wait to see what the main character of Claire’s next Shadowhunter series will be.

This time I knew what ending was coming, so I felt that it didn’t hit me quite as hard. I also remained skeptical of it, as others who are farther along in the series advised me, and looked for Claire’s hints and loopholes that I didn’t read for the first time. In the end, the ending didn’t rub me the wrong way and I have moved onto the second book.

As always, my thoughts and opinions are my own and no one elses. Be sure to check out other sources. Also if you’re a lover of Cassandra Claire and of art, as I am, be sure to check out her amazing tumblr!

Thanks for your time,

~ Yoku

Clockwork Princess – A Spoiler Free Review

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Tessa Gray quote from Cassandra Claire’s series The Infernal Devices.

Book: Clockwork Princess

Author: Cassandra Clare

Age Group: Teen

Genre: Action, Adventure, Romance, Steampunk

Rating: 4.5/5

I recently finished the novel Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare. This was the third and final book in the trilogy the Infernal Devices. Currently, I’m torn on the ending. I feel like it could have been better, but every time I sit down to think of how it could have been changed, I’m at a loss for words. I enjoyed the fact that in Clare’s author’s note she mentioned that since the beginning of the series she had the final scene in mind. This gives me hope for the ending. But, I have chosen to continue to sit on it for a few more days before declaring a true opinion of it.

I read the first 250 pages in two days, and then began to slow down. I felt the book did a lot of things it needed to; wrapped up a lot of endings and opened new questions making me ponder reading Clare’s first series, the Mortal Instruments. I’m pondering doing this in order to tie some ends up, as well as see if any of the characters are referenced, or re-occurring in this later alternate universe.

I felt the craft at play continued to be strong, as it had in her earlier books, but at times the text was slow. There were amazing quotes in it, as always, one can be viewed above. Clare truly did her research of London, and her use of languages, Latin, Chinese, Welsh, etc. was inspiring. Clare’s universe that she has painted intrigues me in a way that it’s inspiring.I’ve also read an announcement on Cassandra Clare’s tumblr page that she plans to write two more Shadowhunters’ series. I personally, can not wait. Also, check out the tarot card set that will be coming out on Clare’s tumblr page.