Posted in Young Adult Lit

Clockwork Angel, by Cassandra Clare

7171637Clockwork Angel
Cassandra Clare
2009 Simon & Schuster, Margaret K. McElderry
ISBN – 9781416975861
Genre – Fantasy
Age – High School
3.2 Stars

Tessa Gray heads to London in search of her missing brother. She doesn’t expect that her search will lead her to be entangled in the supernatural underbelly of London. When she arrives, her brother’s landlords arrive to take her safely to him. Only they do not reunite her with her brother, but hold her captive to marry her off to someone called the magister. Before this happens she is rescued by a pair of shadowhunters. On top of learning about special skills that she has, she also learns about a world that she never could have imagined. Tessa and her new friends must battle The Pandemonium Club, made up of not so nice vampires, warlocks, and humans in order to save her brother, and protect humanity!

Oh Cassandra, I had heard this series was so much better than the Mortal Instrument Series (MI). I am not sold quite yet. I do enjoy a more historical setting, however, I feel that she is lacking in her world building, which was quite amazing in MI. So far I am not a huge fan of the characters, and I am beginning to think that Clare just creates pretentious, over confident jerky characters. On that note, I thought the story was clever. There was a lot going on without feeling like too much. It had a lot more action than MI. I am hoping that book two is better because I am not sure if I have it in me to read another 4000 page series that leaves me unsatisfied…

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Posted in Children's Lit

After Iris, by Natasha Farrant

16101131After Iris
Natasha Farrant
Dial 2013
ISBN – 9780803739826
Genre – Realistic Fiction
Age – Elementary School, Middle School
3.7 Stars

Blue Gadsby was a twin. Three years ago her family was thrown into a horrible downward spiral when her twin, Iris, was killed in an accident. Her parents have been completely engrossed in their careers and absent from their children and each others lives ever since. Chaos takes on a whole new meaning when Zoran is sent in to take care of them, and a mischievous boy moves in next door. Blue is and has been trying to keep her sanity, in a terribly insane kind of life. Will her family ever be able to move forward to the future, or are they doomed to recreate their past?

This book is sweet, but at the same time it made my heart ache with the overwhelming reality of it all. It doesn’t sugar coat the difficulties that Blue is facing. It doesn’t cover up the fact that some people do not handle hard situations with grace. It is honest, and at times quite raw. I like that it is written in different formats, this allows us to see Blue’s personal point of view in her diary entries, as well as more of an observer’s point of view through her movies. The characters are believable, even if some of them are a bit colorful! Overall, this book, the characters, and the story feels like something that could happen to any number of children. What is truly great is that throughout all of the hardship, tragedy, and conflict, it is not completely overrun with negativity.