Friday, November 2, 2012

City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

Title: City of Bones
Author: Cassandra Clare
Publisher: Simon & Schuster, Margaret K. McElderry
Publication date:  March 27, 2007
Pages:  485
Source/format: Borrowed from the library, hardcover

Rating: ☆☆☆☆

Synopsis  (from Goodreads):

When fifteen-year-old Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder― much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with strange tattoos and brandishing bizarre weapons. Then the body disappears into thin air. It's hard to call the police when the murderers are invisible to everyone else and when there is nothing―not even a smear of blood―to show that a boy has died. Or was he a boy?

This is Clary's first meeting with the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons. It's also her first encounter with Jace, a Shadowhunter who looks a little like an angel and acts a lot like a jerk. Within twenty-four hours Clary is pulled into Jace's world with a vengeance, when her mother disappears and Clary herself is attacked by a demon. But why would demons be interested in ordinary mundanes like Clary and her mother? And how did Clary suddenly get the Sight? The Shadowhunters would like to know...  

Exotic and gritty, exhilarating and utterly gripping, Cassandra Clare's ferociously entertaining fantasy takes readers on a wild ride that they will never want to end.

My Thoughts:

I have to admit that I read the Clockwork Angel before diving into City of Bones. I was late to the reading game for the Mortal Instruments series but I do not regret reading City of Bones when I did. I actually enjoyed reading Clockwork Angel before City of Bones since the Internal Devices series is a prequel series. 

Just like in Clockwork Angel, Cassandra's world building is amazing. Still set in the Shadow World, City of Bones takes place in modern day New York. It was a bit of a chance of pace compared to Clockwork Angel but for good reason. 

Clary used to live a normal life as a mundane with her normal friend Simon until unseen events happen which introduces her into a Shadow World. There is a secret her mother, Jocelyn, has been hiding from her for her entire life. Clary find out more about her heritage and meets her evil father for the first time. 

Can I say I love Magnus? It's great that he appears both the Infernal Devices and the Mortal Instruments series. He is definitely one of my favorite characters in this Shadow World. I also love Izzy too.

Friday, October 26, 2012

The Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan

Title: The Mark of Athena
Author: Rick Riordan
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Publication date:  October 2, 2012
Pages:  608 
Source/format: Borrowed from the library, hardcover

Rating: ☆☆☆☆

Synopsis  (from Goodreads):

Annabeth is terrified. Just when she's about to be reunited with Percy—after six months of being apart, thanks to Hera—it looks like Camp Jupiter is preparing for war. As Annabeth and her friends Jason, Piper, and Leo fly in on the Argo II, she can’t blame the Roman demigods for thinking the ship is a Greek weapon. With its steaming bronze dragon masthead, Leo's fantastical creation doesn't appear friendly. Annabeth hopes that the sight of their praetor Jason on deck will reassure the Romans that the visitors from Camp Half-Blood are coming in peace.

And that's only one of her worries. In her pocket Annabeth carries a gift from her mother that came with an unnerving demand: Follow the Mark of Athena. Avenge me. Annabeth already feels weighed down by the prophecy that will send seven demigods on a quest to find—and close—the Doors of Death. What more does Athena want from her?

Annabeth's biggest fear, though, is that Percy might have changed. What if he's now attached to Roman ways? Does he still need his old friends? As the daughter of the goddess of war and wisdom, Annabeth knows she was born to be a leader, but never again does she want to be without Seaweed Brain by her side.

Narrated by four different demigods, The Mark of Athena is an unforgettable journey across land and sea to Rome, where important discoveries, surprising sacrifices, and unspeakable horrors await. Climb aboard the Argo II, if you dare....

My Thoughts:

At the end of the Son of Neptune, Ella recites the following:

Wisdom's daughter walks alone,
The Mark of Athena burns through Rome,
Twins snuff out the angel's breath,
Who holds the key to endless death.
The Giants' bane stands gold and pale,
Won through pain from a woven jail.

Well, first of all, who doesn't like books by Rick Riordan? The Mark of Athena is the fourth book in the Heroes of Olympus series which is the spin off of the Percy Jackson series. I absolutely loved this book. It's my favorite so far out of the whole series, especially since Annabeth is my favorite character. Annabeth's journey through her quest was amazing. Seeing Annabeth's strengths and weaknesses makes her a real person.

The alternating POVs are nicely paced. Even though the book is about Annabeth's quest, we see how the other demigods are growing in strength through the battles they have to fight. The Mark of Athena brings together all 7 demigods and gives a chance for both Greeks and Romans to build a relationship.

I love seeing the relationship between Percy and Annabeth blossom. With every book I read, their love grows. They are my favorite couple Rick Riordan's books. I was on edge of my seat when I read the end of the book. The ending is such a cliff hanger involving Percy and Annabeth. I seriously cannot wait into the next installment of this series.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare

Title: Clockwork Angel
Author: Cassandra Clare
Publisher: Simon & Schuster, Margaret K. McElderry
Publication date:  August 31, 2010
Pages:  479 
Source/format: Borrowed from the library, hardcover

Rating: ☆☆☆☆

Synopsis  (from Goodreads):

In a time when Shadowhunters are barely winning the fight against the forces of darkness, one battle will change the course of history forever. Welcome to the Infernal Devices trilogy, a stunning and dangerous prequel to the New York Times bestselling Mortal Instruments series.

The year is 1878. Tessa Gray descends into London’s dark supernatural underworld in search of her missing brother. She soon discovers that her only allies are the demon-slaying Shadowhunters—including Will and Jem, the mysterious boys she is attracted to. Soon they find themselves up against the Pandemonium Club, a secret organization of vampires, demons, warlocks, and humans. Equipped with a magical army of unstoppable clockwork creatures, the Club is out to rule the British Empire, and only Tessa and her allies can stop them....

My Thoughts:

I have been following Cassandra Clare ever since she wrote Harry Potter fanfiction and had a presence on Livejournal way back when I was in high school. When I found out about her Mortal Instruments series and her Infernal Devices series, I knew I had to read both series.

Clockwork Angel is the first book in the Infernal Devices series. I love the fact that the Shadowhunter world takes place in the late 1800's. It's part historical fiction and part paranormal fantasy which are two of my favorite genres to read.

The world building of this book is amazing and the characters Cassandra created are phenomenal. I love the interactions between Tessa, Will and Jem. Also, who doesn't like Magnus? Cassandra does an awesome job with the descriptions about the time period whether it be about the clothing the characters wear to the background setting. There is something magical about Victorian London and it is captured beautifully in Clockwork Angel.

Even though I normally despise the love triangle, for some odd reason I was okay with this one. It was about Tessa picking and choosing one guy over another. She cared for both Will and Jem and Will and Jem cared for her as well. But Will and Jem, being parabatai, also care deeply for one another as well.

What I love was how Charlotte was a strong woman leading fellow Shadowhunters in a time period where men had the power. Even though some doubted her, she never gave up. She always stood her ground and did what she needed to.

I am sure the rest of the series will be just as good or even better than Clockwork Angel.

Friday, October 5, 2012

The Selection by Kiera Cass

Title: The Selection
Author: Kiera Cass
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication date:  April 24, 2012
Pages: 336 
Source/format: Borrowed from the library, hardcover

Rating: ☆☆☆☆

Synopsis  (from Goodreads):

For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in a palace and compete for the heart of gorgeous Prince Maxon.

But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her. Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn't want. Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks.

Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she's made for herself--and realizes that the life she's always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined.

My Thoughts:

America is living in a society where everyone is a number in a cast system. This is a very fast and light Batchelor like dystopian read. America's mother and her sister persuades her to enter her name in a lottery like system in order to be one of 35 girls to have a chance to court the Prince Maxon in order to gain a hand in royal marriage. America is one of the lucky girls to get selected and one of the only Fives to be selected.

However, being selected isn't everything that America hoped for. She must choose to leave her secret lover, Aspen, behind in order to enter the Selection. What I loved was how America's first impressions of Maxon. She wasn't interested in marrying Maxon at all. She, however, forms an alliance with him and they become good friends.

I found it a bit weird how America thinks that Maxon can be a potential lover later on in the book. First, America is is in love with Aspen and doesn't want to be with Maxon. And now she has interests in two guys? America has been on the fence about this and she needs to choose. Love triangles are finnicky and I always find it always being a girl trying to decide between two guys. I hope America ends up making her mind because I feel bad how she is leading both Maxon and Aspen on with her affections for both of them.

What I do like about this book is the friendship America builds with Marlee. Also, America is fierce and is willing to stand for what she believes. She is honest and will not give in just because someone wants her to. She is strong.

I cannot wait to read the Elite.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Divergent by Veronica Roth

Title: Divergent
Author: Veronica Roth
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Publication date:  April 25, 2011
Pages: 487 
Source/format: Purchased, hardcover

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆

Synopsis (from Goodreads):

In Beatrice Prior's dystopian Chicago, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue--Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is--she can't have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles to determine who her friends really are--and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes infuriating boy fits into the life she's chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she's kept hidden from everyone because she's been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers a growing conflict that threatens to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her.

My Thoughts:

An amazing book! It's a mix between Hunger Games and Harry Potter but with a twist. One of the best YA dystopian books I've read. A must read!

Tris is strong and finds the fault in the system. She is strong and is determined to make things right! She knows who the true enemy is and needs to fight for what's right. I always found it weird how people who are divergent are bad because they are not easily controlled. Like in Harry Potter, one may have traits in Gryffindor and Slytherin but he or she has a choice of what house she or he wants to be in. If someone is divergent, she or he has a choice of what faction she or he wants to be in. What is wrong with a Slytherdor or a Dauntnegation?

I don't want to spoil the book for anyone, but if you are looking for a dystopian novel with a lot of action, a bit of romance and a bit of finding yourself, I highly recommend Divergent.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The Beginning!

Welcome to Nicole's Novel Reads. It's exciting to post this entry. Hopefully, this blog will expand throughout many years. I hope to share my journey within the magical world of reading as well as my love for Harry Potter.