Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater

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“Humans were so circular; they lived the same slow cycles of joy and misery over and over, never learning.”

Blue’s mother has gone missing. Things with The Raven Boys have gotten more serious, and relationships have begun to change. As Blue and the boys get closer and closer to finding Glendower, it becomes apparent that they are part of something much bigger than they had even imagined.

Each of these books is better than the last! Stiefvater’s writing is phenomenal and I literally flew through this book because it was so good. I love all of these characters and I am so glad that there is another book coming because I am not ready to say goodbye to this series yet.

Blue is juggling a lot in this book. Her mother is missing, she is falling in love with Gansey even though she is trying her hardest not to, and she has to go back to her high school where everything is “normal”. Her relationships with the boys, even Ronan, grow stronger as they get closer and closer to Glendower. I love how we learn more about each character as the books go on. I hated Ronan in the first book, but as I learn more about him it’s easier to understand him and I like him much more as a character.

Blue and the boys finally decide to explore the cave in Cabeswater in hopes of finding Glendower’s resting place and finding Maura. This leads them on a series of adventures involving new characters and supernatural occurrences, and they begin to realize that this is no longer just a hunt for Glendower, but something much bigger that could be the difference between life and death.

Overall, Blue Lily, Lily Blue was an amazing third book in The Raven Cycle. I was on the edge of my seat while reading this and I can’t wait for the next book!

Blue Lily, Lily Blue was released on October 21, 2014 and is the third book in The Raven Cycle.

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The Fiery Heart by Richelle Mead

The Fiery Heart by Richelle MeadWARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD FOR PREVIOUS BOOKS IN THE SERIES

Sydney has finally made her decision and has chosen to be with Adrian despite the risk to them both. She has been part of The Alchemists for her entire life, and they absolutely forbid any kind of relationship with Moroi. However, once Sydney realized that the life of an Alchemist may not necessarily be what she wants, she decided to be with Adrian in secret. This is only made harder for her when her sister Zoe shows up, determined to prove what a good Alchemist she can be and pretty much attaching herself to Sydney’s side. Sydney starts to lead a double life–one in which she is the perfect Alchemist, and the other in which she is in love with a vampire.

I was so excited to read this book because the ending of The Indigo Spell was such a shocker. Finally, Sydney admits to her feelings for Adrian and they decide to be together and then Zoe shows up! And then when I heard that this book would also feature Adrian’s point of view I couldn’t wait to read it–he’s been one of my favorite characters since Vampire Academy.

I’ll admit the book started off a bit slow for me, but it definitely picked up towards the middle. I was worried that once Adrian and Sydney were together things would get dull, but Mead did a great job of making sure that didn’t happen. They had plenty of things going on that caused conflict, so it was very hard for their relationship to get boring. They constantly have to hide what is really going on, even from their closest friends, which made it very difficult for them both.

I loved getting Adrian’s perspective in this one. He is such a complex character and I feel like getting his point of view made it easier to understand him a bit more, especially where spirit is concerned. He always comes off as a drunk, but after he stopped drinking in this book it was obvious that the spirit really affects him and numbing himself to it is the only way for him to feel better. Adrian grew a lot in this book, both because of Sydney and because he was able to finally have some confidence in himself.

The ending to this book was even crazier than the last! I definitely did not see it coming, and I don’t know how I will be able to wait for the next book.

Overall, The Fiery Heart was a great addition to the Bloodlines series. There was a lot of character growth and an ending that will definitely change things for both Sydney and Adrian. I can’t wait to read what happens next!

The Fiery Heart was released on November 19, 2013 and is the fourth book in the Bloodlines series. The fifth book, Silver Shadows is set to be released on July 29, 2014.

Indelible by Dawn Metcalf

Indelible by Dawn MetcalfJoy Malone meets Indelible Ink when he tries to cut out her eye one night in a club. Instead of doing just that, he instead leaves his signature mark on her, marking her as belonging to him. This forces her to become part of his world, but also puts her in danger. She begins receiving messages at all hours from all sorts of creatures because they believe her to be Ink’s chosen one. She is forced to figure out where she belongs–in Ink’s world or her own.

This book had one of the most original stories I’ve come across in awhile. The way Ink and his sister Inq go around marking people was such a fascinating concept to read about. All of the characters were extremely well developed and I especially liked Inq’s role in the story. The relationship between Ink and Joy didn’t seem forced at all and I loved how they grew to care for each other. Joy herself was a great character and she grew a lot throughout the book, becoming more confident in her own abilities.

Metcalf does a great job of constructing the world of the Twixt. It is fascinating yet confusing, but I feel like this is exactly how Joy felt as she was experiencing it so it made me feel like I was right there with her. The writing is very descriptive and makes the world of the Twixt just that much more vivid.

Overall, Indelible was an incredible book with such an original idea. I can’t wait to read what happens next!

Indelible was released on July 30, 2013 and is the first book in the Twixt series. The second book, Invisible, is expected to be released on April 29, 2014.

 

Rory by Ciye Cho

Rory by Ciye ChoRory is a cake decorator who gets taken by a demon into the land of Palladino, where ghosts and gargoyles and other creatures live. She is forced to train to be graceful and proper so that she can be auctioned off to a ghost lord. While she goes along with the training in order to survive, she secretly plots to escape Palladino even though she has been told it is impossible.

There were a lot of things I didn’t like about this book but there were also some things that I did. I felt like there really wasn’t enough character development–Rory is thrown into this situation pretty early on in the book and I felt like I couldn’t develop a connection to her character at all. There are flashbacks with random characters thrown in that don’t really make sense–there are two flashbacks with a neighbor boy that she had a crush on but other than that his character has nothing to do with the rest of the story so it seem forced and out of place. Also, Rory’s mother constantly warns her about demons and being out after dark, yet we never find out how her mom even knew about these creatures or why she would suspect that they would come after Rory.

The world building was something that I did like–Cho creates a very vivid world filled with castles and hot air balloons and an array of ghost and creatures. The whole ghost ballerina thing was kind of strange, and I really didn’t get the purpose of the girls having lessons on posture and how to hold a fan when supposedly the ghost lords only want them for their memories, but the whole concept of the story was a very original idea.

Overall, Rory was a bit of a strange book that was lacking in some areas but had great world building and an original story. While it was not really for me, I’m sure others may enjoy it more.

Rory was released on August 10, 2013 and is the first book in The Ghosts of Palladino series.

Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare

Clockwork Princess by Cassandra ClareWARNING: SPOILERS FOR PREVIOUS BOOKS IN THE INFERNAL DEVICES TRILOGY AHEAD

“’Most people are lucky to have even one great love in their life. You have found two.’”

Mortmain is determined to use his clockwork soldiers to destroy the Shadowhunters once and for all, and the last piece of the puzzle that he needs is Tessa Gray. When Tessa is kidnapped by Mortmain, the two boys who love her, Jem and Will, are willing to do anything to save her. While Tessa waits for someone to come and find her, she begins to realize that she is the only one who can save herself and hopefully the rest of the Shadowhunter world.

I am a huge fan of Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instruments series, so naturally I love The Infernal Devices as well. But honestly, I think Clockwork Princess is Clare’s best book yet. This book had a perfect balance of romance, humor, action, and suspense and the writing overall was incredible. Every loose end was tied up and I found myself nearly in tears at the end of the book, both because of the beautiful ending and the fact that such a great series is coming to an end. Clare really delivered with this book and I couldn’t have imagined a better way for this series to end.

Tessa is such a great character–she is absolutely no damsel in distress and she seemed to grow even stronger in this book, even after all she had to endure. She comes to realize that she is a vital member of the team of Shadowhunters, even though she is not exactly a Shadowhunter herself. Since the first book, she has been torn between Jem and Will, and this book starts out with her feelings once again conflicted because while she is engaged to marry Jem, she still harbors feelings for Will. I was worried that there would be no possible way for this to end well, but surprisingly Clare came up with something I completely didn’t see coming. I think the way she handled this love triangle was very unique but very fitting for the story. I loved both of Tessa’s love interests, so I was anxious to see how this love triangle would be resolved.

What really makes this book is the cast of characters. Clare really gives each of them a voice and I found myself just as interested in the side plots and romances as in the main love triangle. Each character brings something different to the story, and there is not a single character that I didn’t grow to love. Clare has a knack for jumping back and forth between characters without making the story choppy, which is something that is not easy to do. I also loved how Magnus Bane is still involved in this story, and it was interesting to see how some of the events in this book affect what happened in the Mortal Instruments books.

Overall, Clockwork Princess was the perfect conclusion to a fantastic series. While I am sad to see this series end, I am very pleased with the way it did.

Clockwork Princess was released on March 19, 2013 and is the final book in The Infernal Devices trilogy.

Book to Film: City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones

WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD FOR CITY OF BONES

To say that I have been anxiously awaiting this movie would be an understatement. I’m a huge Cassandra Clare fan and I love every book she has written so far. I was really excited when I found out a few years ago that City of Bones was going to be made into a film, and after such a long time of just being “in the works”, the movie is finally here! So, how does it compare to the book?

There is a very small percentage of movies that are better than the books they are based on, at least in my opinion. I definitely was not expecting the movie to be better than the book because things are always changed/cut out for one reason or another. While the movie wasn’t amazing, it was still a pretty good adaptation in my opinion.

I had been very nervous when I heard that Jamie Campbell Bower had been cast as Jace because for some reason I just could not see it at all. However, after seeing the movie, I think he actually did a really good job! He brought Jace’s wry humor and arrogant attitude to the screen very well, and he did a good job of acting more vulnerable and sensitive when he was alone with Clary. Lily Collins did an excellent job as Clary, and there was definitely some great chemistry between Jace and Clary on screen. As for the supporting cast, I would have to say my favorite was Simon–he did a really great job and he was exactly how I had pictured Simon in the books.

There were, of course, some changes from book to film. Now I haven’t read City of Bones in a few years so correct me if I’m wrong here, but I seem to remember the whole Simon becoming a vampire thing happening in the first book. While Simon’s abduction by vampires happened in the movie, it was only hinted at that he would later become one. I could’ve sworn this happened in the first book but I could be wrong. Also, in the book the final scene with Valentine and Jace and Clary occurs at some abandoned house somewhere, while in the movie it happens at the Institute. I would imagine this change served budget purposes–they wouldn’t have to build another set/find another off site place to film–but the only thing that bothered me about this is that the Institute is supposed to be their safe house and suddenly it was so easy for all of these people to break in? Kind of defeats the purpose a bit.

Overall, The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones was a good film with great casting and really well done action scenes. While it is not the best book to film adaptation, it is most certainly nowhere near the worst. I really enjoyed this one and I look forward to seeing the next film!

The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones was released in theaters on August 21, 2013 and is based on City of Bones by Cassandra Clare, which was released on March 27, 2007.

The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater

The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater“Ronan Lynch lived with every sort of secret.”

After waking the ley lines, things for Ronan, Gansey, Blue, and Adam begin to change. Adam begins to feel the full weight of his sacrifice, Ronan’s dreams begin to intrude upon reality, and Blue desperately tries to fight her fate. Meanwhile, Gansey begins to realize that he is not the only one searching for the truth about Cabeswater, and must figure out the puzzle before someone else does first.

I seriously squealed with joy when I received an ARC of The Dream Thieves at BEA this year. The Raven Boys was one of my favorite books from last year, and I was eagerly anticipating the sequel. I was a little bit worried that it wouldn’t live up to my expectations, but it honestly was even better than I expected! The writing in this book was incredibly beautiful–Stiefvater has the ability to drop hints and clues throughout the book so subtly that at the end of the book I still found myself being surprised. I love the dialogue between the characters also–they all fit together like pieces of a puzzle and it is evident what each character brings to their little group.

This book focuses a lot on Ronan, which at first I was unhappy about because he was probably my least favorite character from the first book, mainly because of his abrasive personality. However, after reading the entire book, I’m glad that Ronan was a big part of it because we actually learn why he has this roughness to him. We finally get the backstory behind his family’s problems, and let me tell you–it was nothing I could have guessed at all!! We also learn a lot more about Ronan’s ability to bring things from his dreams into real life, and how it affects the ley lines in Henrietta. Ronan realizes that there are people looking for him–people that want to use his ability to do wrong.

Adam actually ended up dropping down to my least favorite character in this one. After waking the ley line he begins to change. He grows more angry and standoffish, and constants pushes Blue away without realizing it. I think it was necessary for him to undergo this change so that he and Blue could go in the directions they needed to, but I still missed the old Adam.

Gansey is still definitely my favorite character. I love his quirky nature and the fact that he is an old soul. He still tries to fix everyone’s problems without giving much thought to his own, and he proves time and again what a good friend he is. Blue is another great character–she loves being part of the boys’ group but at the same time feels like an outsider. She is tough and always stands up for herself and still tries to fight her fate. She is as determined as the rest of the boys to discover the true secrets of Cabeswater, but at the same time she is dealing with the fact that Gansey may be dead in less than a year. I loved the interactions between Blue and Gansey in this book and I’m excited to see where the next book takes them!

Overall, The Dream Thieves was an amazing sequel with fantastic character development and beautiful writing. I don’t know how I am going to wait for the next book!!

The Dream Thieves is the second book in The Raven Cycle and will be released on September 17, 2013.